Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Bloch’s Theories Concerning Religion

  • Heather McKnightEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_200130

From Hunger to Hope

Ernst Bloch (1855–1977) is frequently described as being the philosopher of hope and is credited with having returned dignity to the term utopia within critical theory. Bloch’s theory begins with the individual self-experience and pre-experience. He explains how the self is emergent from hunger, from which emotions arise and understand us as creatures created out of internal forward reaching conflicts. For Bloch, the original drive is not linked with Freud’s life and death drives, but with hunger. Bloch notes that hunger is “the drive that is always left out of psychoanalytical theory … it alone might be so fundamental” (Bloch 1995a). In the immediacy, we die without nutrition; therefore hunger accompanies and precedes all emotions, and emotions precede sensations and imaginings. All other drives form contingently onward from this hunger which is subject to social conditioning. A fundamental flaw in psychoanalytical theory for Bloch is that the unconscious as...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law DepartmentUniversity of SussexSussexUK