At the risk of the order Publication date : March 27, 2014
Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor is a philosopher and psychoanalyst. She teaches psychopathology and psychoanalysis at Paris-7-Denis Diderot University. She is the publisher of Topique, a journal on psychoanalysis, and the president of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP).
Could order exist in the absence of any sort of authority to enforce it?
We all feel the need for order: this can be seen in such collective creations as myths but also in individual approaches to the management of daily life and in education. But our need for order is not free of risk, particularly when we blindly trust an external authority to maintain order for us.
How can we ensure that order — which we need for survival — is not just an expression of power but is, instead, established and especially maintained by consensus? What conditions would allow the emergence of an effective authority that was not directly produced by power nor maintained by force or even violence? And what about trust?
• A timely, precise and well-argued study of the reasons so many centres of revolt and potential change have arisen worldwide and of the inherent risks of confusion and chaos, but also an examination of the conditions for the creation of a new, mobile, harmonious order aiming at greater justice.
• A multidisciplinary approach that borrows from philosophy, psychoanalysis and history to assess some essential issues for today: indignation, protest, the struggle to overcome alienation through disobedience, melancholic anxiety caused by disorder, the temptation to adhere to extremist ideas, the cult of the leader, nihilism, the civilising function of order.