Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To suggest new content…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Help us improve PEP Web. If you would like to suggest new content, click here and fill in the form with your ideas!

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Piers, G. (1983). The Three Superegos of the Western World: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Judaism, Catholicism, and Calvinism. Ann. Psychoanal., 11:335-350.

(1983). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 11:335-350

V Psychoanalysis and Religion

The Three Superegos of the Western World: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Judaism, Catholicism, and Calvinism

Gerhart Piers, M.D.

It is not easy to define the exact topic of my presentation. I am not talking about religion as such, about religious history, religious dogmas, and the like. Anyone familiar with these subjects will find holes in my thesis. If I am not dealing with theologies, neither am I exactly concerned with value systems. These are, after all, only aspects of what the Germans call so beautifully Weltanschauung, the way to perceive the world. The fact is that all aspects of personality, including behavior, are inextricably interwoven and embedded in the social environment, and when we use one approach, we have to abstract, reduce, and simplify.

What I am interested in is the relationship between the individual superego (plus ego ideal) and the collective superego, the latter largely synonymous with “culture.” Out of the fabric of today's culture, I will take three distinct strains which can be traced in their reflections in the individual, on the couch, and in everyday experience.

Ours is still a Judeo-Christian culture, although that is difficult to see in a world of technology and comfort. Perhaps some of our popular culture would have to be described as no-culture, some of it as reaction formations to or degenerations from the “basic culture.”

A word or two about the influence of ancient Greece which is usually claimed as a direct ancestor of our culture.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.