Professor Emeritus John Carroll engages audience at St Edmund Campion Lecture and Dinner

SEC Lecture Dinner June 2023 11
SEC Lecture Dinner June 2023 11
23 Jun 2023

On Thursday the 22nd of June, Campion College students, staff and special guests gathered for the annual St Edmund Campion Mass, Lecture and Dinner.

Following Mass in the College chapel, everyone took a moment to admire the ground floor library within the new Academic Centre before moving into the Grand Hall for the end-of-semester address.

This year’s talk was delivered by John Carroll, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at La Trobe University and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. Professor Carroll’s work focuses on culture and its crucial role in the human search for meaning, with particular reference to modern Western society. He has authored several books including The Western Dreaming, Terror—a Meditation on the Meaning of September 11, The Wreck of Western Culture—Humanism Revisited, The Existential Jesus, andEgo and Soul—the Modern West in Search of Meaning.

In his address, Professor Carroll explored the central themes of his latest book, The Saviour Syndrome, which delves into the sociological and psychological rationale behind idolisation and seeking messianic figures in post-Christian societies.

Following discussion on the three big metaphysical questions - the origins question, the life question and the death question – Professor Carroll discussed how contemporary literature and creative expressions offer alternatives to religion for seeking answers to these existential questions.

He went on to say that although Jesus may be forgotten or considered obsolete by many, the yearning for a saviour remains deeply ingrained in Western culture.

“I said we live in a post-Christian culture but that is not entirely true. Deep in the cultural bloodstream of the West are the Christian archetypes and above all the saviour archetype.”

“We can't escape this fact [that] deep inside us, almost all of us in the West, there's a yearning for a saviour.”

Following the lecture, attendees gathered for the St Edmund Campion Dinner, providing an opportunity for further discussion and reflection on Professor Carroll's ideas. The atmosphere was one of intellectual curiosity and debate, as participants engaged in lively conversations, sharing their own perspectives on the lecture and its implications.

Photos from the evening can be seen in the gallery below. An audio recording of Professor Carroll’s address will also be available on the Campion College blog and podcast in the coming weeks.

The Saviour Syndrome is available to purchase on Booktopia and Amazon.