Q: You are convinced that religion will triumph?
A: Yes. It will triumph not only over psychoanalysis but over lots of other things too. We can’t even begin to imagine how powerful religion is.
I spoke a moment ago about the real. If science works at it, the real will expand and religion will thereby have still more reasons to soothe people’s hearts. Science is new and it will introduce all kinds of distressing things into each person’s life. Religion, above all the true religion [Christianity], is resourceful in ways we cannot even begin to suspect. One need but see for the time being how the place is crawling with it. It’s absolutely fabulous.
It took some time, but they [Christians] suddenly realized the windfall science was bringing them. Somebody is going to have to give meaning to all the distressing things science is going to introduce. And they know quite a bit about meaning. They can give meaning to absolutely anything whatsoever. A meaning to human life, for example. They are trained to do that. Since the beginning, religion has been all about giving meaning to things that previously were natural. It is not because things are going to become less natural, thanks to the real, that people will stop secreting meaning for all that. Religion is going to give meaning to the oddest experiments, the very ones that scientists themselves are just beginning to become anxious about. Religion will find colorful meaning for those. We need but look at how it is working now, how they are becoming abreast of things.
Q: Will psychoanalysis become a religion?
A: Psychoanalysis? No. At least I hope not.
Jacques Lacan, Bruce Fink translator, The Triumph of Religion (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013), 64-65. Original interview form a press conference held in Rome on October 29, 1974 at the French Cultural Center.
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