Gift and obligation. A reflection on social contribution

Luigi Zoja

Gift and obligation. A reflection on social contribution

may fri 25, 2012 - 5.30 p.m.
piazza del Duomo
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Ethnology, psychoanalysis and neuroscience tell us that man is a social animal. Not only ethics and law but also instinct demands that part of our toil be destined to others. But this natural drive has been lost in mass society: giving the public administration its due—tax—is perceived as a constriction or even an abuse. Since the economy plays in our collective life the central role once occupied by religion, public finance represents a pillar of social equilibrium. In our subconscious, an economic crisis takes the place of Evil. Having to pay for the current crisis is perceived as a punishment: let the others, the ‘responsible ones’ take care of it (since bearing more guilt is more difficult than bearing more expenses). Paradoxically, however, in the face of this contradiction, we see a revival of the age-old drive to work for one’s community in the increasing popularity of volunteer work and of non-profit organizations. A reflection on the many forms of social contribution.

Luigi Zoja, was born in 1943 and has worked in Zurich, New York and Milan. He was President of the Centro Italiano di Psicologia Analitica (1984-‘93) and President of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (1998-2001), the association of Jungian analysts around the world, as well as serving as President on its International Ethics Committee. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich and the University of Insubria. He has published books and articles in fourteen languages including: Nascere non basta. Iniziazione e tossicodipendenza (Raffaello Cortina, 2003); Coltivare l’anima (Moretti&Vitali, 1999); and Storia dell’arroganza. Psicologia e limiti dello sviluppo (Moretti&Vitali, 2003). Bollati Boringhieri published: Il gesto di Ettore (2000); Giustizia e Bellezza (2007); and Contro Ismene. Considerazioni sulla violenza (2009). Other works include: La morte del prossimo (2009, Einaudi); and Centauri. Mito e violenza maschile (i Libri del Festival della Mente, Laterza, 2010); Amare oggi (with Lidia Maggi, il Margine, 2012).