Friday, December 30, 2022

Cain's Act: The Origins of Hate by Massimo Recalcati

(Thank you to Europa Editions for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

From one of Italy's most renowned philosophers and psychoanalysts, an urgent and stirring reflection on violence, morality, and our relationship with the Other

What lies at the foundation of human history and society? According to Massimo Recalcati, it is not love for one's neighbor, as preached by Jesus in the Gospels, but the brutality, jealousy, and violence depicted in the story of Cain and Abel.

As timely as it is brilliant, this essay examines Cain's murderous act through the lens of psychoanalysis, showing how delusions of self-sufficiency and individual perfection lie at the deepest roots of fear and violence in our societies.

True completeness can only be achieved through others--not despite them. This, argues Recalcati, is the lesson of Cain, one that resonates powerfully in our time.

"Recalcati explores the most fundamental of questions--for Cain, Abel, and every human being: can we believe in love?"-- La Stampa

my thoughts:

Wow! What a fascinating look at the story of Cain and Abel. I absolutely LOVED renowned philosopher, Massimo Recalcati's use of psychological criticism in his essay, Cain's Act: The Origins of Hate. It is just so interesting to look at this famous biblical story via the concepts of love and completeness. After all, the story of Cain and Abel is one of jealousy and violence - Cain and Abel are brothers. Cain gets jealous of Abel, because God shows favor to him. So, he brutally kills his brother with a rock. And, when God asks after Abel, Cain lies to God. So, God punishes Cain. Talk about taking jealousy to the extreme, right? 

In this terrific essay, Recalcati explores delusions, perfection, and fear as a means for examining such a vicious act. He delves into the human experience and what drives them to crave the idea of being the 'absolute' one. He also looks at the way in which God's love shines through when punishing Cain - he is not vindictive, in fact, he promises Cain that no one will kill him. I feel that Recalcati's essay shows respect for the biblical history of the story and a clear look at the ways in which modern day ideals help to provide a new interpretation of the story and its meaning. 

I definitely enjoyed reading Cain's Act and would highly recommend this essay to fans of philosophy and to anyone looking for a new great read - you will definitely fall in deep with this book. Make sure to check it out!

Thank you to Europa Editions for providing me with a copy of this book!

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