On December 11th the Institute of Psychoanalysis hosted ‘FEAR’ in collaboration with the CPVA. The event reflected on fear in the philosophical context, in clinical care as well as in artistic practice. Dr Sacha Golob began by examining the “ambiguous relationship” between fear and philosophy: while fear has been a crucial stimulus for philosophical endeavour, it has also often been neglected by philosophers due to its seeming incompatibility with a ‘good life’. Dr Golob then explored philosophical approaches to the structure of fear and its politics, which he also linked to the current situation surrounding COVID-19.
Dr William Badenhorst followed with his assessment of fear in the clinical context drawing from his psychoanalytical practice. He distinguished fear from anxiety and gave an overview of its developmental theory. Badenhorst further examined the close relationship between fear and shame and finally presented treatment strategies in cases of significant impairment due to fear and anxiety such as the therapeutic relationship or applying group therapy.
In her concluding talk, Dr Caterina Albano examined fear from a cultural perspective. She referred to Zygmunt Bauman’s concept of an all-encompassing “liquid fear” in modernity and pointed out the current rise of fear as a result of COVID-19. She then analysed several modern artworks, ranging from photographs to video installations, to illustrate expressions of fear in artistic practice and elaborated on fear’s effects on our interpretation of these works.
The speakers agreed that, in light of current developments, fear has become even more prominent in our daily lives and that it needs to be addressed from all mentioned perspectives to enable a more thorough understanding, make treatment options more easily available and facilitate an overall social dialogue.