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Bomford, R. (1990). The Attributes of God and the Characteristics of the Unconscious. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 17:485-491.

(1990). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 17:485-491

The Attributes of God and the Characteristics of the Unconscious

Rodney Bomford


This paper investigates the logical similarity between Freud's five characteristics of the unconscious and the attributes of God in Christian philosophical theism, in the light of Matte-Blanco's concept of symmetric logic.

If philosophical theism has described something like the unconscious, then the mystic also has moved towards God through his or her unconscious. This suggests, by analogy with the human mind, that God might be seen as in a sense both conscious and unconscious. Philosopher and mystic, in their different ways, deal with the unconscious of God, but most faiths relate to another 'conscious' aspect also. Religions may be characterized by the weight they place on the conscious and on the unconscious aspects of God.

May the balance struck in religions between conscious and unconscious have parallels in the aim of psychoanalytic practice? This seems worth investigating since religion and analysis appear to be dealing in concepts with a similar logic. Possibly aesthetic considerations are relevant in the achieving of this balance.

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