He offered Freud a simple illustration. Imagine that a child drops a plate in the presence of his parents. When he seeks forgiveness from his father, the child is rebuffed. He experiences a pang of emotion linked both to fear of impending punishment and to anger and resentment at his father for his harsh reaction. This, according to Kosawa, approximates Freud’s understanding of guilt in the religious context. But then the child asks the mother for forgiveness — and receives it. The mother takes the child’s fearful and rebellious guilt and alchemises it into a ‘reparative guilt’: an overwhelming response to total, unconditional forgiveness. This latter reaction was, for Kosawa, a truly ‘religious state of mind’ and he saw it as the core of his own Shin tradition. Freud appeared unmoved, however. ‘I have received and read your essay and will save it,’ he wrote rather distantly. ‘You do not seem to intend to use it immediately.’ There is no evidence that he gave it another thought.

via How psychoanalysis came to Japan and was turned on its head | Aeon Essays

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