by Luigi Zoja
The inaugural volume in Spring's new Analytical Psychology & Contemporary Culture Series. Series Editor: Tom Singer, M.D.
James Hillman has called Luigi Zoja of Milan an "anthropological psychologist" with good reason. Drawn from Zoja's lectures in Europe and the Americas between 2000 and 2007, this collection probes in depth one of the core issues that vex contemporary life: violence. Zoja brings a breadth of vision to bear on this terrifying subject as he seeks to understand it in a broad historical, mythological, and psychological context. His basic approach is that of analytical psychology, but he also avails himself of the insights of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and other disciplines. This unique collection is an invaluable contribution to Jungian thought on the subject of violence and is the perfect inaugural volume of Spring's new Series.
In "Violent Hearts: America’s Divided Soul" (Chapter 1), Zoja challenges the reader to consider America’s cultural propensity for puristic, self-polluting violence. In "Trauma and Abuse: The Development of a Cultural Complex in the History of Latin America" (Chapter 2), he presents a psychological analysis of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico. In "The Duel and Honor" (Chapter 3), he addresses the general human attempt to contain the ego’s murderous origins through honorable duel. In "Nightmares" (Chapter 4), he presents the nightmare as a violent confrontation between the dreamer and his or her own villainous inner other, which the dreamer has rejected precisely for its otherness. In "Reductivism: Against Ismene" (Chapter 5), he takes up two modern Western phenomena: the reduction of values and the reduction of time. In "The Clash of Civilizations? A Struggle between Identity and Functionalism" (Chapter 6), he explores the broad social and psychological implications for Western society of the September 11 attacks. In "Almachius and the Demon: Mass Entertainment and Violence-as-Spectacle" (Chapter 7), he explores the mob psychology and blood lust that gives rise to the insatiable demand for violent forms of entertainment in the mass media.
"The culture of the era reflects itself in each of us. If that culture is unrefined and brutish, impoverishing our humanity, the individual finds himself inhabiting a tragic tension. Every society lays down a code of norms, usually unwritten, to which we must pay attention because the majority demands it. On the other hand, in order to avoid spiritual impoverishment, the individual for whom complaining is not enough must step out and take the lead, being the first to make corrective experiments. This tragic dilemma is our own condition today."
(from the book)
Luigi Zoja is a native of Italy and a graduate of the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. He lectures, teaches, and maintains a clinical practice in Milan. A former President of the International Association for Analytical Psychology, he has written a number of books, which have been translated into fourteen languages. His publications include Ethics and Analysis: Philosophical Perspectives and Their Application in Therapy (2007), Cultivating the Soul (2005), Jungian Reflections on September 11: A Global Nightmare (co-edited with Donald Williams) (2002), The Father: Historical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives (2001); Drugs, Addiction and Initiation: The Modern Search for Ritual (2000), and Growth and Guilt: Psychology and the Limits of Development (1995).