In Defense of Lost Causes

In Defense of Lost Causes:

Seeking an “Impossibly” Better World

A Series of Seminars in Livingston, Montana

 What can happen in a small town in Montana when people who still dare dream of a radically[1] better world get together to discuss the interfaces of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, and related schools of philosophy and cultural studies?

 In Livingston, Montana, we have begun an ongoing series of lectures and seminars which take seriously the idea that today’s pervasive technocratic solutions to socio-economic, environmental, and human rights injustices are short-sighted, inherently perverse, and ultimately ineffectual.  Even as they claim to be hopeful and creative responses to today’s problems, our dominant policies and worldviews only serve to conceal that they are in fact symptoms of the System, and to perpetuate our current deadlock.  Here are a few examples: The disdainful dismissiveness toward any serious critique of capitalism. Control of the public message in terms of what is possible through psychoanalytic treatment, from neurotics to psychotics, over and against the cognitive and neuro-sciences, and psychopharmacology. Educational policies which cloud over the most crucial questions regarding equal educational opportunity, and standardize the singular human subject. Whether our current global politico-economic trajectory is capable of saving the Earth.

In these matters and so many others, there is no place in the public discourse for deep psychological and philosophical analysis of contemporary society.  Our ongoing lecture and seminar series offers an exception to this silence.   We bring philosophical and psychoanalytic tools to the table and together try to look through and beyond contemporary public rhetoric and discourse to what a better world might be, of what might be the contours of a world in which there is an actual material Good and Justice for all; we expose places in contemporary life where policies and programs which claim such noble aims actually amount to, and conceal, a mere guilt-relieving perpetuation of the status quo and its exploitative privileges by the few.  We dare to conjure up the possibility of a transformed human ethic, in which everyone would ask “What is good for all?” and not “What is good for me?”

Joseph Scalia III leads the seminar discussions.  We meet monthly at his office, 103 ½ South Main Street – Room 11, in Livingston, Montana.  Interested parties should contact Scalia at the email address below to inquire about joining us.

Joseph Scalia III is a psychoanalyst and cultural critic in Livingston, Montana.  He is a Psya.D. Dissertator in Psychoanalysis and Culture at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, Director of Northern Rockies Psychoanalytic Institute and its Center for Cultural Critique and Intervention, and a member of Groupe Interdisciplinaire Freudien de Recherche and d’Intervention Clinique et Culturelle.  He is the author of Intimate Violence: Attacks Upon Psychic Interiority, published by Columbia University Press, and, most recently and with Lynne Scalia, “Ideological Critique and Ethical Leadership”, in Philosophical Studies in Education.  Scalia also leads the CCCI Gallatin Project discussions (see CCCI page).


1 “Radical” here should be taken in the sense of both of its first two definitions, as appearing in the Oxford American Dictionary: 1) relating to the basic nature of something; fundamental, and 2) supporting [the potential for] complete political or social reform.