What can a long-forgotten myth tell us about the ways that we love or resist loving, the ways in which we both seek and fear human connection? We’re familiar enough with the ancient Greek notion of Eros and with images of cupids, and we may recall that Jung positioned Eros as a principle at the center of his psychology. But what might the myth of his forgotten brother, Anteros, add to the equation?
In one version of his story, Aphrodite, the mother of Eros, noticed that her child would not grow. Following the advice of her sister, Themis, she had a second child, fathered by Ares, the god of war. The story says that as long as Anteros was present, Eros would grow, but when Anteros was absent, Eros regressed.
This lecture examines how the cult of Anteros compensated for a collective erotic problem in classical Athenian society. We will consider why Anteros emerged when and where he did. And we can ask, what are the collective erotic problems in our day, and what might Anteros bring to a maturing of our experience of Eros?
Craig E. Stephenson, PhD, is a graduate of the C. G. Jung Institut Zürich, the Institut für Psychodrama auf der Grundlage der Jungschen Psychologie, Zumikon, and the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. His books include Possession: Jung’s Comparative Anatomy of the Psyche(2009/2016), Anteros: A Forgotten Myth (2011), and Jung and Moreno: Essays on the Theatre of Human Nature (2013). For the Philemon Foundation, he edited On Psychological and Visionary Art: Notes from C. G. Jung’s Lecture on Gérard de Nerval’s Aurélia(2015). He serves as Director of Training for the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association, New York City.
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