Final comment

What Buber and Marcel are pointing to in their reflections on religious faith is the birth of a new spiritual horizon (or a reclaiming of an old one, with some profound modification, but calling to mind an Axial sensibility). Indeed, Buber and Marcel put into sharp focus a dimension of the spirit that most psychoanalysts and others have not adequately noticed, let alone embraced in their theory and practice. That is, most of the time analysts view faith as mainly an intrapsychic phenomenon as a way of relating to and being open to the vicissitudes of one’s barely hinged mind. No doubt the ability to metabolize the upsurge of strong emotions, however they are induced, is one of the key conditions of possibility for Buberian/Marcelian faith. However, as Marcel aptly put it, “the only religion [and psychoanalysis?] that can count for me is that which opens to us another world where the miserable barriers that separate beings of flesh vanish in love” (Marcel, 1967, p. 229). Put differently, the enactment in everyday life of Buberian/Marcelian faith includes not only the intuitive opening to the unknown possibilities of psychic reality, a kind of facing the catastrophe of living that Bionian-inspired analysts have described (Eigen, 2014), but even more importantly, it suggests an originary, divinely inspired, if not commanded, ethical/moral obligation to the human/divine other.To quote Marcel again, “What is not done for love and by love is done against love,” and it is such a love-derived faith-affirmation that represents the “royal road” to hope (Hernandez, 2011, p. 117). Indeed, Buber and Marcel would probably agree that love is the starting point for grasping the mysteries that faith and psychoanalysis strive to encounter. For love is the example par excellence of mystery, when “the distinction between what is in me and what is only before me can break down”; when I am not able to place myself outside it or before it, a faith-animated total engagement in the encounter that envelops me and understands me, even if I don’t understand it (Marcel, 1949, p. 20).