Identity and Intimacy: Secular Mutations of the Inner Light

  • Suzanne R. Kirschner
Conference paper
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)

Summary

In this paper I explore how contemporary post-Freudian psychoanalytic models of the development of the ego and/or self evince the continuing legacy of “inner light” (Christian) mysticism. Two important goals or ends of development in psychoanalytic developmental psychology (i.e., ego psychology, object relations theory and self psychology) are the achievement of a sense of identity and the capacity for intimate relationship. I suggest these ideas of identity and intimacy are transmutations of the centuries-old Christian mystical doctrine of the “inner light,” i.e. the spark of God in the soul. Drawing upon the work of several celebrated scholars in religion, history, literature and philosophy, I trace the genealogy of the notion of the inner light, and explain how it became secularized in romantic and expressive individualist literary and philosophical themes and images. These secular descendants of inner light mysticism have been absorbed into psychoanalytic discourse.

Keywords

Permeability Posit Metaphor Rene Stam 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne R. Kirschner

There are no affiliations available

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