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Drugs, Addiction and Initiation: The Modern Search for Ritual

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Drugs, Addiction and Initiation: The Modern Search for Ritual.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Luigi Zoja(Author)

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Luigi Zoja argues that the pervasive abuse of drugs in our society can in large part be ascribed to a resurgence of the collective need for initiation and initiatory structures: a longing for something sacred underlies our culture's manic drive toward excessive consumption. In a society without ritual, the drug addict seeks not so much the thrill of a high as the satisfaction of an inner need for a participation mystique in the dominant religion of our times: consumerism.

A native of Italy and graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Luigi Zoja lectures, teaches and maintains an active clinical practice. This book, first published in Italian and then German, has received wide acclaim. Dr. Zoja, current President of the International Association for Analytical Psychology, has recently established his home and practice in New York City.

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Book details

  • PDF | 144 pages
  • Luigi Zoja(Author)
  • Daimon Books; New Ed edition (1 Jan. 2000)
  • English
  • 2
  • Health, Family & Lifestyle

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Review Text

  • By Richard C Robertson on 22 March 2004

    Drugs, Addiction and Initiation: The modern search for ritual by LuigiZoja. Foreword by Adolf Guggenbuehl-Craig. Daimon. ISBN 1-85630-595-5.133p, Includes bibliographical references and index. A synopsis.Luigi Zoja writes that addiction, (etymology: 'to be enslaved to'),subjugates Western society as a whole: the 'sadness' experienced as amatter of course in our daily lives all along the path of thenecessary psychic deaths and rebirths is denied and repressed with thepurchase of consumer goods - consolatory 'presents'. The alcoholic andpersistent user of other mind-altering substances achieves the sameresult with greater risk of losing contact with the ecology of hissoul and, ironically, in his drive to escape from the vital deaths andrebirths, may well end up losing his life. The author endows theaddict with full responsibility for his state of affairs resultingfrom his inability to accept 'la condition humaine' or living life onlife's terms.Initiatory rites where the adolescent may pass over to adulthood, intoa state of ritual death and regeneration, are, he writes, no longerexistent in our Western culture. The focus of the writing is aninvestigation into the delusion that equates the encounter with a drug(or alcohol) with that of a new life. The addicted individual ispossessed, the author writes, by the archetype of the negative hero,an archetype shared by both the drug-user and the terrorist; both veryclose to death, and both capable of inciting our secret envy . Heplaces first the physical addiction, second a psychologicalconditioning, and lastly the para-religious element which he sees ashaving its origins in the soils of archetype. In Kleinian terms theuse of drugs always brings about an attempt to introject the 'goodobject' . The addict has not passed through the necessary stages ofreparation and guilt feelings and is therefore deprived of theexperience of his own vital ritual deaths and rebirths. The drug-userhas reversed the model we are familiar with; rebirth comes in thefirst moments of the 'high', followed by the death of withdrawal.Renunciation, a conscious relinquishing of superceded behaviouralelements, is denied as a necessary psychological phase, and latermanifests itself as biological deprivation.. Some deterioratedremnants of the ancient and universal propensity to sacrifice can, theauthor states, be recognised in the drug addict's self-immolation. Isthe addict's slow suicide as a devitalized and unproductive sacrifice?He claims that sacrifice is henceforth impossible; Christianity hasmonopolized it, devaluing mythical models by entrusting man with thetask of redemption.After the self-sacrifice of God himself, who couldpossibly conceive of an object worthy of offer? Ancient rituals arethus made insignificant.The author continues stating that the real initiatory rite diesbecause at least three of its characteristics are missing; Sacrality,irreversibility, and absence of alternatives. Sacrality depends on theirreversibiblity and absence of alternatives - the present dayreversibility of choice (vows of marriage, adherence to Holy Orders),deprives it of its transformative character, complete with the deathof the old personality, necessary for our satisfaction of our needfor deep psychic rebirth. Absence of choice, true constant commitmentcan lead an individual through the stages of falling-in-love to loveitself, from studying to knowledge, from ideological inebriation totrue political and social commiment.The addict and the alcoholic, have an affinity with the population atlarge insofar as both groups, he claims, are passive and lacking increativity. Both share in that the most salient feature of Westernsociety; consumerism. The 'constant-growth' value system in the West,a phenomenon never before seen, envisions an ever-growingaccumulation of goods; tenaciously denying the value of mourning andof death.As final punctuation, the author offers Jungian psychotherapy as apossibility for initiation and psychic rebirth. He writes; " The workof analysis is simultaneously an affective process and one whichclarifies and adds to consciousness. It is subject to rigid andritualized bonds. It takes a long, gradual and difficult process ofself-discipline for one to be able to assimilate what has beenclarified by analysis in terms which are not solely rational. The sameself-discipline is needed if the affective element is to betransformed from a form of projection into a genuine "love of self".Richard

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