Why Psychoanalysis in the 21st century?

Because it still counts. Especially in times where democratic values and accomplishments of the Age of Enlightenment are challenged by violent acts, doctrines of tyrrany, extremism, greed, exploitation and ignorance.

These circumstances remind us that consciousness is not something that we can take for granted. Without it, we regress to brute, archaic, purely instinct-driven behavioural patterns. Without it, we are controlled by drives that make our lives and these of others miserable; we remain developmentally immature while creating disasters we and others suffer from.

We are reminded how important it is to reflect, feel and to continue learning, to be able to engage in meaningful interactions with each other, to be able to take responsibility for the past, present and the future. To be able to appreciate nature and culture, to live a decent,  meaningful life and to pass on these values to the next generations.

One book to recommend is a timeless classic:  Freud’s “Group Psychology and Ego Analysis” (1921). Reading it and reflecting on its analysis of psychological mechanisms in groups and individuals cannot undo tragedies of the past, but it can reduce the probability that present and future generations allow seduction and abuse by the very same political and ideological leaders they have chosen- under the condition that the democratic privilege of voting exists and that people actually use their hard-earned right to do so.