Paranoia in Society and History

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Date(s) - 16/11/2018
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Istituto Italiano di Cultura


Paranoia in Society and History

Professor Luigi Zoja

Italian Cultural InstituteImage result for direttore istituto italiano di cultura londra

Book cover of Paranoia by Luigi ZojaAfter experiencing September 11 in New York, I started studying paranoia as a collective phenomenon. Among mental illness, only paranoia can literally make history, as it did through Hitler and Stalin. It can take hold of events directly because, unlike the rest of psycho-pathology, it is contagious. Its dynamics can be self-replicating, devouring entire societies. A leader can foster it, but then lose its control. Once infected, the collective madness acquires an autonomous life and rolls uncontrollably down the slope. Masquerading behind false logic, paranoia is fatally attractive, far more seductive than any political, religious, or ideological discourse, and looks for victims. Paranoia relied on “spokesmen” but with modern mass communication and simplification, it can easily be multiplied at low cost, endowing collective aggressiveness with an amplifying self-feeding power.

My talk looks at the use and misuse of paranoia throughout Western history from Ajax to Trump. I reflect upon paranoia through psychopathology , history and literature to better understand its power over the individual and society. Through a combination of circumstances , leaders, history and the power of social media this task is timely and necessary.

Watch professor Zoja talking on Paranoia

Luigi Zoja, PhD, is a training analyst at the C.G. Jung Institut, Zurich, past president of the International Association of Analytical Psychology and former lecturer at the Universities of Palermo and Insubria (Italy) and visiting professor at Beijing Normal University.He has a private practice in Milan, having previously worked in New York. He has published several books, including Ethics and Analysis (A&M Texas University Press, 2007; Gradiva Award 2008); Violence in History, Culture and the Psyche (Spring, 2009); Paranoia. The Madness that Makes History (Routledge, 2017).

This evening is a free event, hosted jointly by the Society of Analytical Psychology and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura.

2 hours CPD credit

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