[Marxism] Awakening from the Nightmare of History

Orion Anderson libraryofsocialscience at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 4 10:36:49 MDT 2005


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AWAKENING FROM THE NIGHTMARE OF HISTORY:
Psychological Interpretation of War and Genocide 

Richard Koenigsberg

A character in James Joyce's novel Ulysses said that "history is a nightmare
from which I am trying to awake." We might do well to take literally the
idea of "history as a nightmare." In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud
provided a method for analyzing the dreams of individuals. I have developed
a method for analyzing collective dreaming. I interpret elements of culture
as manifestations of shared fantasy--as if a dream that many people are
having at the same time. The psychological interpretation of culture
revolves around delineating the nature and shape of those desires, conflicts
and fantasies that give rise to and are articulated through ideologies and
social institutions.
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The complete paper by Richard A. Koenigsberg is available for the first time
as an on-line publication.
 
To read: AWAKENING FROM THE NIGHTMARE OF HISTORY: Psychological
Interpretation of War and Genocide
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NATIONS AND THE FANTASY OF IMMORTALITY

The idea of omnipotent bodies politic is a dream that people experience
while they are awake. Nations constitute a shared fantasy of immortality.
The dream of the nation may at times seem to be a benign, beautiful dream,
fantasy of oneness with one's beloved country. However, this dream
transmogrifies into a nightmare at the moment when people begin to doubt the
omnipotence of their nation.

Wars come into being in order to demonstrate--test the proposition--that
one's nation is all-powerful. Nations bring forth or manifest power through
their capacity to kill and bring about death, that is, as a result of their
willingness to sacrifice the lives of human beings. As long as there are
people who are in the process of "dying for the country," we are persuaded
that nations are real.




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