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“It is one of the great romantic visions… vital in the systems of Hegel and Marx, that the history of mankind consists in a departure from a condition of undifferentiated primal unity with himself and with nature, an intermediate period in which man’s powers are developed through differentiation and antagonism (alienation) with himself and with nature, and a final return to a unity on a higher level or harmony. But these categories – primal unity, differentiation through antagonism, final harmony – remain in the romantics arbitrary and mystical because they lack a foundation in psychology. The psychoanalytical theory of childhood completes the romantic movement by filling this gap.” (Brown, Norman. Life Against Death. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1985, Pg. 86.)

This line of thought intrigues me. Is there any way in which Christian theology can utilize this historical dialectic for its own purposes? Perhaps we could replace the ‘remembrance of the childhood state of play’ with a collective unconscious remembrance of the Edenic paradise. According to Freud, infantile sexuality finds its primary object-fixation in the Mother. On a macro level, would we do well to place God in this role, positing an Augustinian restlessness in the heart of every man? Could we say that our natural yearnings for this primal harmony, for a utopian society where evil is fully eradicated, are an unconscious paradise-fixation? Is this the aim of human art and beauty? Or does this give too much sway to the analogia entis?

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