Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eugene McCarraher on "the Triumph of the Purely Therapeutic"

"The triumph of the therapeutic has consisted not of a straightforward shift from religion to therapy but of a triune metamorphosis of religion therapeutics into what Reiff calls the "purely therapeutic," a redefinition of therapy and personality from moral and religious to psychic and secular terms, a transfera of therapeutic powers from religious authorities to secular experts, and an uncoupling of personal therapy from aspiration toward a broader, collective destiny. In religious terms, personality denoted the human glory of likeness unto God, whereas therapy meant the transformation of desire in accordance with a community directed toward the "otherworldly"--a radically different world anticipated through practice in this one. In secular, "purely therapeutic" terms, personality marks the varieties of desire and facade, whereas therapy entails evasion of moral commitment--an evasion enabled by a market society that registers rather than transforms desire--and a simultaneous identure to professional expertise and cultural fashion."

- Eugene McCarraher from
Christian Critics: Religion and the Impasse in Modern American Social Thought

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