From one of Italy’s most renowned philosophers and psychoanalysts, an urgent and stirring reflection on violence, morality, and our relationship with the Other. What lies at the foundation of human history and life in a society? According to Massimo Recalcati, it is not the sentiment of love for one’s neighbor preached by Jesus in the Gospels but the brutal hatred and violence depicted in the story of Cain and Abel. As timely as it is brilliant, this essay examines Cain’s murderous act through the lens of psychoanalysis, showing how delusions of self-sufficiency and individual perfection lie at the deepest roots of fear and violence in our societies. True completeness can only be achieved through others–not despite them. This, argues Recalcati, is the lesson of Cain, one that resonates powerfully in our time.
Massimo Recalcati is a psychoanalyst and author who teaches at the universities of Pavia and Verona. His numerous books have been translated in several languages. His latest book to appear in English was The Night in Gethsemane (Europa, 2020). He lives and works in Milan.
Will Schutt is the author of Westerly (the Yale Series of Younger Poets) and translator, most recently, of Carlo and Renzo Piano’s Atlantis: A Journey in Search of Beauty (Europa, 2020), Andrea Marcolongo’s The Ingenious Language (Europa, 2019) and Starting from Scratch (Europa, 2022), and My Life, I Lapped It Up: Selected Poems of Edoardo Sanguineti.
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