Pathological Gambling

Misstep on the Path of Individuation.

Whenever I mentioned the subject of my thesis, I would invariably be told of a horror story of some sort; my interlocutors always knew of “someone who had lost everything,” someone “who had lost his soul.” This is a topic that does not leave anybody indifferent and this very fact points towards the presence of an archetypal field. A Google search for “pathological gambling” produced 479,000 hits! I chose to focus my thesis on casino gambling.

In this mini-lecture, I will explore the theme of addiction to casino gambling in three different ways: Escape, Abaissement du niveau mental (lowering of consciousness) and ego inflation.

  1. Ego isolation – escape from the responsibilities of the present,
  2. Ego dissolution – Abaissement du niveau mental – the casino as the womb-like paradise (music, symbols, hypnosis…)
  3. Ego inflation – playing at being God.

All these themes of life represent missteps on the path of individuation.

Testimonies of pathological gamblers (interviews, dreamwork…), excerpts from F. Dostoevsky’s, The Gambler, and excerpts from movies will be used to support the thematic analysis. Discussion will follow the mini-lecture.