A New Culture of Energy

Luce Irigaray


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Columbia University Press
5 October 2021
ISBN: 9780231177139
128 pages

From the publisher

In A New Culture of Energy, Luce Irigaray reflects on three critical concerns of our time: the cultivation of energy in its many forms, the integration of Asian and Western traditions, and the reenvisioning of religious figures for the contemporary world. A philosopher as well as a psychoanalyst, Irigaray draws deeply on her personal experience in addressing these questions. In her view, although psychoanalysis can succeed in releasing mental energy, it fails to support physical and spiritual well-being. In pursuit of an alternative, she took up the bodily practices of yoga and pranayama breathing, which she considers in light of her analysis of sexuate belonging and difference. Reflecting on these practices, Irigaray contrasts yoga's approach to the natural world with how the Western tradition privileges mastery over nature. These varied sources provoke her to question how a tradition imagines transcendence and the divine. In the book's final section, she reinterprets the figure of Mary through breath, self-affection, and touch, recalibrating her physicality within a natural world. A reflection on the liberation of human energy, this book urges us to cultivate an evolutionary culture in harmony with all living beings.