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Cavell, M. (1998). The Power of Fantasy and the Fantasy of Power. Freud and the Politics of Religion. José Brunner. Pp. 786-816. Psychoanal Q., 67(3):535-536.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Power of Fantasy and the Fantasy of Power. Freud and the Politics of Religion. José Brunner. Pp. 786-816

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(3):535-536

The Power of Fantasy and the Fantasy of Power. Freud and the Politics of Religion. José Brunner. Pp. 786-816

Marcia Cavell

This study examines Freud's writings on the psychology of religion. The author demonstrates that Freud's initial motivation in discussing the analogy between religion and neurosis was to substantiate his theory of the meaningful nature of compulsive neurotic symptoms. With Totem and Taboo, however, Freud's perspective changed. His intention from then on was to discuss religion with a view to casting light on humankind's relationship to power. Brunner identifies two genealogies of religion posited in Freud's work. In Totem and Taboo the deity is a

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form of compensation for the loss of a protecting father. In Moses and Monotheism divinities are seen as a compensation for the loss of an authoritative political structure. Brunner suggests that Freud believed implicitly in the enlightening potential of the sciences and their ability to break the absolute power of religious fantasy and the human's fantasies of omnipotence. The author takes issue with Freud's assumption that a position born of this attitude must necessarily be the preserve of an elite; in taking this line of thought Freud was not only neglecting socioeconomic factors but also forgetting that scientific activity itself is in part the product of anxiety impulses.

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Article Citation

Cavell, M. (1998). The Power of Fantasy and the Fantasy of Power. Freud and the Politics of Religion. José Brunner.. Psychoanal. Q., 67(3):535-536

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