What lies at the foundation of human history and life in a society? According to Massimo Recalcati, it is not the sentiment of love for one’s neighbor preached by Jesus in the Gospels but the brutal hatred 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
Massimo Recalcati is a psychoanalyst and author who teaches at the universities of Pavia and Verona. His numerous books have been translated in several languages. He lives and works in Milan.