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Sabbadini, A. (1987). The year 2000: a psychoanalytic perspective on the fantasy of the new millennium. Free Associations, 1(9):56-71.

(1987). Free Associations, 1(9):56-71

The year 2000: a psychoanalytic perspective on the fantasy of the new millennium

Andrea Sabbadini

The world's great age begins anew,

The golden years return …

P. B. Shelley, 1822

I was born in 1950. Human life expectancy in Europe being now approximately seventy-five years, I have good chances of being still alive in the year 2000.

The fantasy of witnessing the turn of the millennium is important to me, as I believe it is to many others of my generation belonging to cultures not only adopting the same Gregorian calendar1 as we do, but also sharing with us a mostly linear experience of time. Such temporality, dominant throughout the urban-industrial world, is consistent with one of its central tenets, the illusory idea of progress; it is intrinsically different from the circular time prevalent in rural societies, built around seasonal and biological rhythms.

Those born in the first thirty years of this century, even if they live long enough to see the third millennium, will do so only in their old age and will mostly feel that they belonged to the second one; while those born in the last ten or twenty years of our century will to a large extent experience themselves already as children of the new millennium, because in it they will reach maturity and spend most of their lives.


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