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Grundy, D. (1999). A review of The Psychoanalytic Mystic: Michael Eigen. Binghamton, NY: Esf Publishers, 1998. xi + 220 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 35(4):725-731.

(1999). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 35(4):725-731

An Apocalypse in my Soup

A review of The Psychoanalytic Mystic: Michael Eigen. Binghamton, NY: Esf Publishers, 1998. xi + 220 pp.

Review by:
Dominick Grundy, Ph.D.

I have always lived on the ground floor and in the basement of the building — you maintain that on changing one's viewpoint one can also see an upper floor housing such distinguished guests as religion, art, and others…. If I had another life ahead of me, I would dare to offer even those high-born people a home in my lowly hut. I already found one for religion when I stumbled on the category “neurosis of mankind.”

— Sigmund Freud, 1936

AS PREPARATION FOR MICHAEL EIGEN'S The Psychoanalytic Mystic, I revisited Freud's (1927) The Future of an Illusion, a psychological interpretation of religion. Freud's argument reflects irritation with humanity and our self-deceptions, not to mention suspicion of the uses to which religion is put. Although the dominant tone is stoical and weary, Freud has a clear point of view, laid out in logical steps; the clear writing suits his antiobscurantist theme. He anticipates counterarguments through dialogue in which an imaginary speaker poses objections that defend religion, objections Freud easily bats aside. In the final objection, the imaginary speaker asks if psychology, as Freud has defined it, is itself an illusion.


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