Without reflecting on people’s desires, emotions and fantasies, it is not possible to understand today’s world. While feelings, myths, symbols and imaginary constructs have always been present in politics, in the 21st century, the human dimension of politics has become even more central and evident. Many contemporary societies are permeated by fear, anger, frustration and humiliation which provoke conflicts at both the domestic and international levels. In order to protect themselves from anxiety, imaginary worlds made of illusions, hallucinations and dreams have been created. Through the search for refuge in a mythical past and in an idealized future, dreaming and fantasizing today seem to represent the most efficient way to support, correct and to transcend a painful reality.
The conference “Shared Traumas – Silent Loss. Public and Private Mourning” was organized between 9-11 March 2012 by Psychoanalysis and Politics. Prof. Salgó in her presentation used Hungary’s example to demonstrate that the path toward democracy is not irreversible. In order to unveil the causes of the country’s moving away from European values, she explored the profound meaning and the unconscious roots of aggressive nationalism.
From her point of view the loss of the illusion that the European Union would represent the Garden of Eden, provoked in society a collective trauma. Hungary’s integration into the European Union in 2004 didn’t create those paradisiacal life conditions that people had been yearning for – instead of disappearing, problems proliferated and deepened. Hungarians failed to accept that their dream did not match reality, and were unable to respond creatively to their experience of loss. Prof. Salgó relied on Cornelius Castoriadis’ and Donald Winnicott’s theories to show that an autonomous and playful society is still to emerge in Hungary.
Psychoanalysis and Politics is an interdisciplinary conference series, which aims to address how crucial contemporary political issues may be fruitfully analyzed and addressed through psychoanalytic theory. It is financed by, and forms a part of, NSU, an initiative of The Nordic Ministerial Council.