The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority
April 2014 Issue
The soul is no longer "out there." Subjectively this may be experienced as alienation. The psychological difference that formerly existed between man and soul/ the natural world/ transcendence, now imparts itself on man himself. It is now an internal difference. Man can now gain a distance to himself. He exists now as a difference, a duality, a tension: the difference between his more egoic, pragmatic orientation, on the one hand, and his potential of a soulful mode of experiencing and reacting. The soul, having lost its transcendent and substance quality, is now a mode or style in man. (Wolfgang Giegerich, 2012, What is Soul? p. 279)
Greetings from the Executive Committee
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Welcome! We hope you are looking forward to the conference in Berlin, July 19th-21st 2014.
This will be the second international conference of the ISPDI in Berlin, and we hope to make this very important event as satisfying and intellectually stimulating as the first one.
The conference in 2012 seemed to crystalize and make explicit the passion and dedication many of us have for psychology as the discipline of interiority. It was a surprise to find oneself surrounded by so many colleagues with the same interest, the same questions, and the same excitement about this new understanding of psychology.
It was also gratifying to hear so many presentations and to have one's own encounter with PDI's concepts reflected in the thoughts of others. The opportunity to confer with people engaged in the serious, critical work of comprehending the evolution of psychological thought made for a wonderful time together.
Of course, this conference is again largely focused upon the work of our honorary patron, Wolfgang Giegerich, who since our last meeting in Berlin has contributed three more major publications. Our hope is to take up the challenge of this pioneering work through shared discussion, reflection, as well as responding with contributions of our own.
As was the case with our first international conference, our time together will not be only "serious." We will be organizing another boating excursion on the river Spree which will pass through many of the most beautiful and historic sites of Berlin. We will also plan for other occasions for participants to meet and get to know one another. So please stay tuned.
The hotel will be the same as in 2012, The Crowne Plaza Berlin City Centre. It is located within walking distance to many tourist destinations including the Zoo, Tiergarten, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Kufürstendamm, KaDeWe, etc. In addition, there are numerous other important cultural destinations throughout the city, many within a short bus or taxi ride. We will have tourist information available in your welcome package.
As far as the program is concerned, we are making a few alterations compared to the last conference. For example, we are planning to have slightly fewer presentations so that more time can be spent on questions and discussions. We will also be reserving a segment each afternoon for a discussion on a specific topic, led by a facilitator.
We are all very excited about our program. We are most grateful to be welcoming as special guest speakers Toshio Kawai, Patricia Berry, and, of course, our very own Greg Mogenson.
So we hope you will be inspired to make the journey to Berlin next summer and join us as we continue our work of developing, comprehending, and celebrating PDI.
The Second International Conference of the ISPDI
Berlin, July 19th - 21st, 2014
Conference Theme: The Psychological Difference
CROWN PLAZA, BERLIN CITY CENTER HOTEL.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE:
This shift from a phenomenon to a soul phenomenon can only be remembered “after the fact”, i.e. we cannot, in advance, will it, but some will is involved, coupled with surrender. I suspect a new word is needed for this psychological act (which also contains receptivity in its meaning) of “making soul”.
I found this shift happen to me in regards to two modern phenomena and I later realized I had been in the presence of a display (as image) of the psychological difference, a concept that is central to psychology as the discipline of interiority (PDI). In this essay I want to describe these two soul phenomena in an attempt to articulate how the concept of the psychological difference as a living power works through our lives today, our actual conduct, in a self-disclosive fashion.
An Incident on the Subway
Where was everybody else on this crowded subway? They were, in one sense, sitting right there, next to the killer. At the same time they were somewhere else—absorbed in their iPods, phones, Blackberries etc. This fact is what shocked the reporter.
As I was listening intently to this alarming report, I made a shift to the “within”. The story was now a soul phenomenon. Associations began to gather, as attracted by the soul phenomenon itself, not by my subjectivity:
Our inwardization into the dream means our (methodological, temporary!) going under into the dream, our emptying ourselves, so that we can go pregnant with it and, ipso facto, the inner spirit or logic of the dream image itself may be given free rein in us to productively unfold itself, its inner complexity and potential. This is why it is so vital not to allow anything from outside in, not even the idea of the dreamer (!), and on the contrary altogether dissolve the naturalism of the unio naturalis, because external associations would inevitably serve as a distraction and inhibit, maybe even quench, the image’s further thinking itself in us.… Psychological dream work in the Jungian spirit is the art of letting the dream interpret itself, which, in order to exist, presupposes our having given way to it so that it can do its thing in and through us. 2
I cannot in this short space describe the rich nest of images and thoughts that emerged as I “became pregnant” with this story (now as reflected, i.e. as mindedness, soul). What I can do here is, in a more deliberate fashion, try to articulate how this soul phenomenon became understood by me as a self-display of the psychological difference, as this living concept actualized itself through the lives of those people on the subway, and perhaps contributing to the death of this young man.
The people on the subway were sitting, standing, or leaning, in their customary manner. Some indeed probably saw this killer waving his gun around. They got in and out of the train, adjusted their coats, ate chocolate bars, and listened to their technological devices. They thus inhabit the same world as we all do: that world of background intelligibility that Heidegger has shown to be the world of Dasein, our way of understanding and coping in a pre-reflective manner. 3
At the same time, we inhabit another world, one that renders us immune to the world of Dasein. This other world we inhabit is reflected in our daily use of technological devices but we must be careful here in our description. These devices can be seen simply as Heidegger’s ready-to-hand, i.e. the equipment that we use in such a way as to reveal the background intelligibility of the world of Dasein. For example, I may use an iPod, my laptop, and then my iPhone during the subway journey, all as equipment in Heidegger’s sense: if used in connection with one another and in the larger context of my activities that day, they together reveal my pre-reflective understanding, my ordinary way of intelligently coping, as a modern business man embedded in the world of business, say.
Crucially, technological devices can also be seen from the soul’s point of view whereupon their “thingness” or “appearance as equipment” (Heidegger’s “occurrence” and “ready-to-hand”) are not and can no longer be ensouled.4 Rather they may be seen at best as indicators, or instances that can point us to the life of the soul today, which “appears” as the living thinking that gives rise to our technological civilization in the first place.5 We are psychologically embedded in this world that we call our technological civilization.6 We do not have to be using technological devices to “be in this world”. As a matter of course, we psychologically live “out in space” where we gaze upon the empirical world or “environment”, a perspective that was impossible for our forebears who were embedded in ensouled worlds, appearing as nature, for example. The modern soul may be discerned, not as image, but as the “invisible syntax” informing our every-day speech, as we language our world.
In an almost perfunctory manner we speak the world as way below us, a world upon which we commonly make pronouncements, judgments, decisions, and take actions on behalf of. Global warming, environmental factors, world court, macroeconomics, world population, are but a small sample of the way we commonly language our psychological world today. Within such language, we may discern a consciousness that is exterior to and above the world-as-a-whole. Our search for and enthusiasm for wholes, or totalities, or unity, springs from this source. We no longer concern ourselves with individual entities but only the totality. For example we easily replace one iPod with another but have grave fears for any sign of the Internet crashing. It’s the same with people–I can feel, on the empirical individual level, how utterly dispensable I am, while at the same time we all share anxieties about the end of our entire species.
In other words, this simple, though distressing, report of an incident in our ordinary lives today reveals that soul (psychological life) has long departed the world which has thus become Heidegger’s world of Dasein.
We thus inhabit two worlds simultaneously. The world of background intelligibility for most people does not include gun-waving murderers. Although the passengers undoubtedly saw the gun, they only saw it as occurrent, in Heidegger’s terms, a mere item that in-itself carries no meaning. It was not part of their ready-to-hand, their equipment, so to speak. They thus could take no intelligible action. We could suggest that for a military person, on the other hand, the gun would appear as equipment (a ready-to- hand) and he would therefore know what to do next. The gun’s meaning would be self-evident, as revealing the intelligibility of the world of the military.
The psychological world of our technological civilization certainly does include guns etc. as its equipment but these guns are virtual. Every game player would know exactly what to do if a virtual gun is displayed in a game, or as an icon etc. However, the empirical world is now externalized and cannot therefore engage us psychologically, although, as Dasein, we can and do cope quite successfully in that world, except when, as above, there is an appearance that intrudes into that world and is not part of its ready-to-hand (equipment that can be related to intelligently).
Now we can turn to another (what became for me) soul phenomenon in order to explore the psychological difference from another angle: can there be a soul phenomenon that displays the psychological difference in action in our lives, in terms of a break-down of the dissociation (collapse of a world)? As before, my final description is a re-worked version of the experience of “becoming pregnant with” or “interiorized myself into” it, so that it could speak (in image, or thinking).
This synopsis places the human beings at the centre, making the plot a human story set “against a chilling backdrop of thick fog, sharp rocks, and the merciless Arctic Sea”. However, this movie appeared to me as a soul phenomenon, i.e., I felt it held a hint of soul movement, and I gave myself over to it.
Gazing at the photo above, I immediately saw the figure physically surrounded by the chilling, inhospitable Arctic ice and rock. But wait! He is wearing head-phones. He is listening to some rock music. Although he is physically rather a small frail figure, in a wilderness of ice, psychologically he is quite dissociated from all that: 10
The person with the walkman seems to move through the real world: he is sitting in a tram, he does his homework, he is jogging through nature, and yet in actuality he is totally enwrapped in the music coming at a deafening volume from his walkman and, as far as the soul (not the ego) is concerned, shielded from the external world. One must not be misled by the external impression that the person with a walkman is in the outside world and as ego may be fully aware of it. In truth, i.e. psychologically, he is inside the hermetically sealed world of sound, swallowed by it… (266)
The entire purpose of the two men’s stay in the Arctic is scientific. They are there to collect data from helioscopes. They have radio isotope generators nearby and computers inside the station. They must convert this data into telemetry that can be compared with that from other stations. Each man psychologically is a physicist. They each are relating to the outside world as bits of data. In other words, for them as psychological beings, the world exists as content within their consciousness. They in their consciousness surround the world. They are above the world, like satellites and the world appears to them as a digitalized content. For example, their interest in the sun lies solely in its appearing to them in the form of data gathered up by the helioscopes. We must not be fooled by apparent engagements with nature such as the older man’s going fishing. The fish to him are simply produce, to be gathered, salted, and brought home to his wife. There is no hint of a relationship of say, worship, or ritual killing requiring an act of propitiation to the “Master fish”, as happened in the original tribal methods of hunting.
Animals, and indeed the men’s own physical bodies as animals, only exist as empirical objects (Heidegger’s occurrences – see above) for these two men, in their psychological existence, and indeed so it is for us in our modern form of existence. This may be seen quite clearly in the older man’s complete disregard for his own, or the younger man’s physical being. There was no music, no comfort, and no discussions taking place in the station that may have “warmed the hearts.” There was simply sleeping in between broadcasting the ever-demanding telemetry, which clearly dictated the terms of their existence. Their lives in the station expressed the cold, abstract, utterly alien character of the telemetric data.
The cost of this dissociated consciousness as which we exist today begins to emerge in the movie through the disintegration of the world of the physicist and his data (the inverted, digitalized natural world). This was accomplished dramatically through increasing increments of fear and mistrust in the younger man as he sensed his utter dependency on the older man who was rather brutal in his manner. Each man descended from his lofty realm of abstractions where he felt purposeful, authoritative, knowledgeable, etc., back to earth where animal survival once again prevailed as it once did for our ancestors.
Unlike our ancestors however, there is now no soul life reflecting itself in nature, which the men could rely on for wisdom, guidance, and perhaps ritual preparation for death. Nature therefore became a terrifying alien presence! Nature once embraced us, contained us, and provided meaning to us. No more! Nature now reflected back the degree to which we have become alien in our existence to nature. Brute survival enwrapped in terror was all that was left, as one man set about murdering the other.
Our modern status as psychological beings totally alien to nature is captured very well in the dramatic moment of the men finally leaving the station and going back home to the city—a move totally impossible and unthinkable for our ancestors who were surrounded by nature in its animal presence at all times in their existence.
Although the status of our modern consciousness did not come home to our protagonists, the movie does show us the dissociation in stark dramatic form, as it begins to break down.
He offers us a challenge with respect to the psychological difference: once we know of the reality of the psychological difference, can we live it consciously?11 12 Or, to extend Heidegger’s terms, perhaps illegitimately, can I understand my way of being as such a dissociated consciousness, and thus live authentically. If so, what world would thus self-disclose itself to me?
Subsequent to writing this essay I discovered a passage by Wolfgang Giegerich that may shed light on “living the reality of the psychological difference”. R. F. Lukner, a member of ISPDI had posted his translation of an excerpt from Wolfgang Giegerich’s article: Drachenkampf oder Initiation ins Nuklearzeitalter.13 This excerpt seems to me to address the question of how could we live in this time of transition between what he calls natural Being and the New Being of our technological world civilization:
The death of nature, of the entire naturally, mythically and ethnically constituted reality, calls the Furies into action. It is they who are deeply enraged and who afflict the human race in order to precisely avenge the death of nature. It is their fury that vents itself in the rage of the people, in terrorism. For they are the guardians of natural Being.… We cannot simply shake off or rid ourselves of the Furies. They cannot be banished no matter how great the technological surveillance… The feeling relation toward the pain of leave-taking is the manner how nature, blood, body, sexuality, race, ethnicity, the mythic gods, the cultural tradition, the customs and rituals become psychologically real and live on as chthonic-absent ones and how the doubling of the worlds is realized, how the duality-in-unity becomes reality.
If we would, while we were moving by way of the going-under into the New Being of the technological world civilization, conclude a contract with what was before, we could neither identify ourselves with the standpoint of nature (and with what was before) nor with the New Being. We would be neither one nor the other. We would be standing between them and would be only ourselves: finite humans, even though we are subject to a great world drama, the ONE ritual of history and in which we are playing a role. Our task would be, while being only ourselves, to see and hold both sides together, to prevent a dissociation that would come about if we esteemed the one side as the right one and condemned the other as the reprehensible one; it would be our task to preserve the feeling relation in their regard, in the pain of loss, in compassion with that which was inconsiderately killed and outdated, with understanding for the rage of the Furies on the one hand, and on the other, with the composed and humble readiness for pro-gressing into the unknown. While we would be moving into the New Being as ones taking leave from that which was before, we could truly become human by always carrying the weight of the Furies in us. To live with the respect for the Erinyes enthroned in the hidden depth of the soul could no doubt lead us into a human modesty, into an attitude of humor, of self-irony, of melancholy—and into an ability of being more understanding and loving.
I had a shock of recognition when I read this passage. In 1994, I had what I call a dream-vision, the impact of which has shaped my life ever since. A dream-vision occurs when the usual categories of awake-sleep, inner-outer, can no longer describe the experience. I simply “saw” an image of natural Being (goddess) destroying itself in an apocalypse of rage-terror, as the technological civilization gains hold as the New Being. A poem burst through! It seems to me even today that this poem expresses the soul movement that Wolfgang Giegerich describes above: always “carrying the weight of the furies” as we become truly human, with understanding and love: 14
in her agony
incomparable grief and rage
such terrible agony
beauty, sublime beauty
how is love possible?
yet this is what I feel
1 John C. Woodcock is a practising Jungian psychotherapist in Sydney Australia. He writes numerous essays and books as well, which may be found at http://www.lighthousedownunder.com.
2 Giegerich, W. (2012). Saban’s Alternative. An Alternative?
3 Heidegger’s momentous contribution to modern philosophy seems to have been to discover and articulate this world of background intelligibility, in which we cope prior to any reflection on our part. His criticism that tradition (philosophy) has long ignored this world of being is based on the long-held distinction between being and “what-is” (the ontological difference). Over time, being was increasingly ignored, or was regarded as the new “what-is”, meaning that we sacrificed being for the developing subject-object relationship that characterizes knowing (knowing what vs. knowing how). In terms of soul, we could say that as the historical soul separated from (what became) “the things”, we turned the new status of soul into a “new thing” at the expense of its and our being. This is the history of metaphysics. Heidegger’s existential phenomenology (world of Dasein) opens up the world in which we know how—pre-reflective knowledge, in an attempt to overcome the Cartesian subject-object form of knowing.
4 To grasp this point fully would take very long discussion of the soul’s view of history but everything said here is from the historical soul’s point of view.
5 This soul perspective on technological things seems to be very similar to Heidegger’s concept of bestand which points to things that are completely replaceable and do not “gather” any “conditions” around them that, together, display a complete style of life, such as, say, an old handsaw might do. It does seem to me that “bestand” describes “things” that no longer carry soul, although Heidegger does not use this term. Instead he talks of “gathering the four-fold” which “der bestand” lacks.
6 This soul perspective on technological things seems to be very similar to Heidegger’s concept of bestand which points to things that are completely replaceable and do not “gather” any “conditions” around them that, together, display a complete style of life, such as, say, an old handsaw might do. It does seem to me that “bestand” describes “things” that no longer carry soul, although Heidegger does not use this term. Instead he talks of “gathering the four-fold” which “der bestand” lacks.
7 See Giegerich, W. (2005). The Neurosis of Psychology. Spring. New Orleans. P. 111.
8 This section is extracted from my book Animal Soul (2012). iUniverse. Bloomington.
9 Film Movement. (2011, April 18). Retrieved from Film Movement: http://www.filmmovement.com.
10 Giegerich, W. (2007). Technology and the Soul. New Orleans: Spring Journal Books.
11 Giegerich, W. (2008). Soul Violence. Spring. New Orleans. P. 298.
12 Giegerich, W. (2010). The Soul Always Thinks. Spring. New Orleans. P. 521.
13 Zweiter Band der “Psychoanalyse der Atombombe”. Basel (Schweizer Spiegel Verlag, Raben-Reihe) 1989, S. 217-219. With thanks to R. F. Lukner for this surprising and timely gift of translation.
14 To read the text of the dream-vision in its entirety, along with a discussion see: Woodcock, J. C. (2013). Overcoming Solidity: World Crisis and the New Nature. Bloomington. iUniverse.
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