Keywords: Cognitive Science of Religion; Defence Mechanisms; De Martino; Subjective Identity; Technique of the Body; Unity of Self-Consciousness.
Self-consciousness as subjective identity means finding oneself at the center of one's own subjective world, hence at the center of a historical and cultural environment to which one feels one belongs. However self-awareness is a "precarious" acquisition, exposed to the risk of falling apart. This precariousness allows us to grasp the defensive nature of subjective identity. Its construction and defence is a topic at the intersection of psychology and anthropology; defence mechanisms fall along a spectrum that stretches from the individual to the collective level. Against this backdrop, we analyse religion from the perspective of its being a system of techniques designed to protect the unity of self-consciousness.