Gratitude and Meaning
Presenter: Jonathan Lear
September 27, 2022 6:30 - 9:00pm Central Time
In Person: University Club, 76 E. Monroe, Corner of Michigan Ave,
Chicago 60603 (refreshments will follow)
and virtually by Zoom
Drawing on a life-time of psychoanalytic experience and delving into traditions of western European thinking, Melanie Klein laid down envy and gratitude as two fundamental polarities in human life. An enormous amount of psychoanalytic thinking has since been devoted to figuring out how envy works, though the phenomenon remains puzzling. Gratitude has been almost ignored -- though it too has its puzzles. For example, how is it that even when things go well for a person, she feels gratitude rather than merely feeling satisfied? And what is so good about that? What makes gratitude part of our flourishing? Of course, there are answers offered from evolutionary biology and the social sciences. But psychoanalysis seeks insight into the inner logic, the psychodynamics, of what it is like to be creatures capable of gratitude. It also seeks normatively to endorse gratitude as a mode of our flourishing.
Jonathan Lear, PhD, is one of the two or three foremost thinkers who employ a psychoanalytic perspective in exploring social, psychological, and philosophical questions. He is a member of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society and a faculty member of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute. As a Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, he teaches philosophy and courses on psychoanalytic theory and practice. In addition to his PhD in philosophy from the Rockefeller University, he trained as a psychoanalyst at the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis. His books include Freud; Wisdom Won from Illness: Essays in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis; Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony; A Case for Irony; and Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation. His new book, Imagining the End: Mourning and Ethical Life, will be published this autumn. Professor Lear is a member of the Friends of the Ukrainian Psychoanalytic Society.
After attending this session, participants should be able to:
- Explain the function and dynamics of gratitude;
- Elucidate how patients in psychotherapy makes use of, or fail to have a capacity for, gratitude.
Admission is free. Registration is required in order to receive the zoom link, and for in-person attendance. Continuing Education Credits are offered exclusively to Society members in all membership categories and those intending to join.
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.