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The Politics of Experience: existential anxiety. Hugh Knopf. 18th May 7pm-9pm.

May 18, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


In ‘The Divided Self’ R.D. Laing describes an ‘ontologically secure’ individual as experiencing her/ his ‘being’ in ‘ordinary circumstances’ as:

“..real, alive, whole; as differentiated from the rest of the world… ..that his identity and autonomy are never in question; as a continuum in time; as having inner consistency, substantiality and worth…” (p.41, The Divided Self)

R.D. Laing describes individuals for whom ‘the ordinary circumstances of life’ “…do not afford a perpetual threat to one’s own existence..” (ibid: p.42) as ontolologically secure. Those who do not have this ‘basic threshold of ontological security’ are at risk of psychosis and what he describes as: ‘engulfment’, ‘implosion’, ‘petrification and depersonalisation’ (ibid: see pages 43-61).

While some measure of ‘security’ or ‘identity’ is necessary day to day, life being contingent and subject to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ none of us, I suggest, have the ‘ontologically secure’ life described above. It would almost certainly be terribly dull at the very least!

For the R.D. Laing of ‘The Divided Self’ our relatedness to others is an aspect of our being that can be used for therapeutic ends. Drawing further references from Laing, from J.P. Sartre and from personal and clinical experience (and with playful exercises) the workshop aims to open conversation on relatedness alongside what Laing describes as crucial to the existential therapeutic project, the tragic paradox of our separation from others.


Hugh Knopf.

This event will take place on Zoom. A link will be sent prior to the date.

SEA members enjoy a 25% discount at checkout.

A 2-hours Certificate of Attendance will be emailed to participants.

If you think you have a new and interesting topic to share with us and would like to be our next speaker please don’t hesitate to contact our events organiser on events@existentialanalysis.org.uk.



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May 18, 2021
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Thoraya Alkasab