Merger with the Perfect Object
Previous chapters described conversions that centered on an attraction to tangible human figures, powerful authorities, or loving peers. This chapter centers on conversions in which the object of infatuation is primarily a transcendental object. As one would expect, in some conversion stories the love relationship is between the convert and the Divine, but in these stories the Divine becomes a personalized, concrete object responsive to the convert’s needs. The conversion is the occasion for a nondemanding love relationship that offers unconditional salvation through a union in which the convert’s wishes are promptly recognized and cared for. In the religious revelation the object of infatuation is experienced as merged with the self, thereby endowing the convert with new powers. A wish to unite with a perfect, idealized object, a sense of being a pawn in a struggle of giants and yet of being chosen or called for a special mission, and the perception of personalized miracles—special messages to the self that the convert decodes in common, everyday events—these themes are examined in this chapter and are discussed in light of the development of narcissism and self-worth.
KeywordsAcademic Domain Love Relationship Religious Conversion Plantar Wart Sexual Perversion
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.