Saturday 7 March 2020, 18:00 - 19:00
Lectio magistralis.

Massimo Recalcati. Against Sacrifice. Beyond the Sacrificial Phantasm

MAXXI Auditorium – admittance € 5
10 individual seats free and reserved for myMAXXI cardholders writing to by the day before the event

A lecture on the potentially erroneous interpretation of the concept of sacrifice, as imposed by Christianity.

In the words of Recalcati, the passion for sacrifice is exclusively human. People have not restricted themselves to sacrificing on their altars animals as offerings to their gods, but also their own lives. This is the case with the hyper-moralist who sacrifices their desire, or the terrorist martyrs who sacrifice themselves for a cause.

A fundamental spectre has traversed the west: living in sacrifice in order to obtain unlimited recompense (from god, from one’s family, for the other). In psychoanalysis, his is the paradoxical law of the super-ego: sacrifice is not a mere surrender of satisfaction but actually a masochistic form of satisfaction. It is a phantasm that derives from a wholly guilt inducing interpretation of Christianity. Psychoanalysis, together with the most profound words of Jesus, is instead committed to freeing life of the weight of sacrifice. This involves a different approach to the law: man is not a slave to the law, because the law – as Christian teachings claim – is made for man rather than man for the law.

Massimo Recalcati is a Lacanian psychoanalyst and author. He trained as a psychoanalyst in Paris with Jacques-Alain Miller. One of the best known psychoanalysts in Italy, Recalcati is an analyst member of the Italian Lacanian Association of Psychoanalysis and the director of the IRPA (the Applied Psychoanalysis Research Institute). He currently teaches Psychopathology of Eating Disorders at the University of Pavia and Psychoanalysis and Human Sciences at the University of Verona. In 2017 he won the Ernest Hemingway Prize, Witness of Our Time, with the following motivation: “… for having recounted in his works, with profundity and intelligence, the changes that have occurred within our society, indicating issues and needs that, thanks to his analytical acumen, become paradigms of our time.”