Analyst, philosopher, psychoanalyst, Julia Kristeva is one of the few figures of the French intelligensia widely recognised throughout the world. Of Bulgarian origin, she arrived in Paris in the 1960. She has a honorary doctorate in eight universities, including Harvard and Sofia. Author of “this incredible need to believe”, she spoke to our Paris correspondent about faith in the 21st century and her impressions of the new pope.
Giovanni Magi, euronews: What are you expecting from Pope Francis?
1.32 Julia Kristeva: I think he’s very spiritual. He has to be, he’s a Jesuit with all the mystical dimension of Jesuitism and one who embodies this contradiction: to respect tradition and do the most for society, just like Jesus on the cross, one arm to the left, another to the right, and that demands an enormous amount of self-confidence and faith. Taking the name of Francis is certainly no accident. Taking that name for the first time means he doesn’t want to be compared to anyone, but he wants to revive an ecclesiastical figure from the 13th century who was also called Francis. Is this the Jesuit pope who told us: “I’ve come from the other side of the world,” the same pope who will tell us: “ I want to reform the Church, I want to make it solid like the ancient Francis did.”
euronews: “It’s not difficult to understand what the Pope signifies for Christians, for believers. But what does he represent for those without faith, but who were nonetheless glued to their televisions during the conclave?”
JK: “We can wonder: why this audience? Of course, we could think we were in some sort of technical era and everything is happening on television. We saw so much because of all the technical resources available. But I think our modern society is very demanding. We live in a society that’s lacking sense, lacking fathers. We’re lacking sense because we no longer believe in politics, we don’t believe in finance, humanism, which I represent, has difficulty restructuring itself. There’s solidarity, more or less but we can’t manage to enact it. The Catholic church tell us it’s possible and those of us who don’t believe say, ‘perhaps, give us an example.’ It’s human nature to reflect on these aspects of faith which require and give values.”
3.44 euronews: Can we talk about a need to believe? Is a need for faith natural for men and women?
3.48 JK: “My experience as a psychoanalyst has taught me that there’s a need to believe which exists that predates religion or politics. In any case, homo sapiens is groomed from a young age to invest emotionally in an external figure, which is the father. The link between the mother and child is physical. There’s a psychic investment with the father. It’s about recognition, father recognises me, I recognise him. This need has existed in all people since the dawn of time and oral tradition has preserved it. We’ve carried out research in sanskrit, for example and there exists a root, a root called “cred-srada” which gave birth to “credo” which is about faith, but it’s about “credit” too, again another investment. We’re having difficulties today because of credit and faith.”
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