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Open English-Language Event at UPEACE - War, and Why

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The U.N. mandated UNIVERSITY FOR PEACE is hosting a Forum with psychoanalyst Adrian Price:



On Freud's Reply to Einstein's Letter on War and Violence



Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 12 - 1.15pm

Universidad para la Paz (UPAZ)

Ciudad Colón

Costa Rica

No entrance charge, but please confirm attendance to Charles Skinner at:



Argument: The brief but portentous Einstein-Freud correspondence, published in 1933 under the title Why War?, is a curiously neglected document, both in psychoanalytic theory and political science. The very climate in which it was penned was increasingly given to darkness and despair: the fledgling League of Nations which commissioned and published the exchange was struggling to enforce its authority; the rise of Nazism would lead first to the burning of the book and then to the exile of both Einstein and Freud over the ensuing years; and the correspondence itself consists of Freud's bleak amplification of Einstein's already pessimistic observations on humankinds capacity for self-destruction. Despite the fate of this document, however, Freud's reply to Einstein stands as a pragmatic and far-sighted exposition of the factors at stake in international law, sovereign force and peace processes. Above all, it poses the question as to whether the only effective antidote to dictatorships of power might be a "dictatorship of reason". From this angle, we shall ask, with Freud, why our objection to war stems not only from our baulking at its cruelties, but from our offence at its "lowering of aesthetic standards".



Edited by ARP
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