The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority


The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority  

August 2014 Issue         


The soul is the dialectic process of producing works and symbols both as "corpses" and, at the same time, as self-negating ones. It is not we as empirical human beings who have to perform the negation. (If we performed it, it would merely be an acting out of the logical negation and not the real thing). The birth, into the world, of soul and thus of negativity is itself a negative, self-contradictory birth. Soul phenomenon are "in themselves different," exponents of the psychological difference. They open up within themselves their own inner mystery and inner infinity (Wolfgang Giegerich 2012,,What is Soul? p.54).


Report on the 2nd ISPDI Conference in Berlin, Germany, July 19th-July 21st 2014, hosted by ISPDI Executive Committee.

Dear ISPDI Members,

IMG 20140719 155316 229Organizing a Conference for a Psychological Society with one theme offers challenges for the Planning Committee. However, despite this concern, the 2nd ISPDI International Conference, titled "The Psychological Difference," went off without a hitch and turned out to be a great success.

Held on July-19th to July 21st 2014, the Conference featured excellent speakers who offered a range of insights and ideas concerning the 'Psychological Difference,’ a core notion of PDI. With around 50 participants including the 23 presenters from different countries, the Conference was abuzz with ceaseless activity and discussions, from beginning to end. It was inspiring to see the attendees' highest degree of interest and involvement throughout the Conference, which included the presentations, question & answer section, discussion sessions, and trips to the beer garden and boat ride.

The energy generated by the guest speakers, presenters, attendees, and by Giegerich's own presence contributed to a vigorous exploration of the topic of the "Psychological Difference." We believe this expresses the point directly and clearly. The Conference served as a unique opportunity for speakers to make noteworthy contributions towards PDI.

Day 1-July 19th: The ISPDI president, John Hoedl, in his opening address, referred to the topic of the "Psychological Difference" as an important psychological concept of PDI. He was followed by ISPDI Vice-President, Greg Mogenson, who made some opening remarks on the conference theme in the form of a PowerPoint presentation titled "The Psychological Difference, Variously Drawn."IMG 20140719 101410 693

Toshio Kawai, the guest speaker of the day, presented his thoughts on "Initiation and Transcendence as Substantiated Goal or Psychological Difference in Psychotherapy and Buddhism."

Former ISPDI President, Santo Tarantino contributed his important thoughts on the "Soul as the Psychological Difference."

Pamela Power expressed her ideas of the "Psychological Difference" through the alchemical concept of the Mysterium Coniunctionis.

Sven Doehner brought in the idea of the "Psychological Difference" as the dialectic of the soul in "Sounds of the Soul: Developing a Sound Imagination."

Giorgio Tricario expressed his concerns in 'The Birth of Man, the Quest for Meaning' as reflection of an analyst in crisis.

Nihan Kaya reflected on the vertical and horizontal idea as the "Psychological Difference" expressed in Art form in her paper "Art as a Challenge to its own Subject."

Gary Brown shared his thoughts on refining the process of Individuation in his paper "Refining Individuation through Psychological Difference."

Hal Childs presented his inquiry of the "Psychological Difference" in his paper titled "Am I the psychological difference? An inquiry"

Jordan Dessertine, in terms of the "Psychological Difference" reflected in the ecological crisis of the times, presented "This loss is not an interlude: revisiting the ecological project."

IMG 20140719 101525 356Day 2-July 20th: The guest speaker of the day, Patricia Berry brought light to the conference through her reflection, in terms of "Psychological Difference," on one of Jung's dream-image of holding a candle, in her presentation of "A Little Light to be carried through Night and Storm."

ISPDI Asst. Web Discussion Monitor, Marco Heleno Barreto, enlightened the audience with his reflections on "The End of Man in the Modern Form of Consciousness."

ISPDI Recording Secretary, Samina Salahuddin, presented her research on the "Perfect Man" of the Islamic world and the "Overman" of the West in her paper "Perfect Man, Overman, and Modern Man as Psychological Concept."

Michael Whan gave his thoughts on "The Analytic Relationship as Alchemy: Critical Thoughts on a Simulated Phenomenon."

Andres Ocaziones reflected on the discipline of psychology and psychologists in "On Psychology's Exhaustion of its Own Disciplinary Project."

Yasuhiro Tanaka talked about "Jung's Substantial Denial of the 'Psychological Difference' in his Psychology."

John Knapp brought in his well thought-through reflections on "The Nuclear Bomb Re-visited through the Eyes of the Shoah."

Day 3-July 21st: ISPDI Vice-President, Greg Mogenson, as the guest speaker of the day, highlighted the relation of the psychological difference to speculative thinking in a paper titled "Interiorizing an Underlined Passage into Itself: Some Reflections on Being Only That!"

IMG 20140719 155302 317ISPDI G-Mail Monitor, Dan Anderson, took the audience into the world of psychotherapy as "Psychological Difference" expressed in his paper "A Case Study of Neurosis in Light of PDI."

Michael Caplan reflected his deep thoughts on the "Psychological Difference" through the trinity of monotheistic religions in his presentation of "The Initiation of the Word."

ISPDI Director of Tele-Seminars, Colleen Hendrick reinvigorated Giegerich's The Lesson of the Mask through her presentation of "A Temporal Dance with the Psychological Difference: A Lesson from 'The Lesson of the Mask.'"

ISPDI President, John Hoedl, enriched the concept of the "Psychological Difference" through his reflections on man's landing on the moon in "One small step for man...': The Moon Landing and the Psychological Difference."

Jennifer Sandoval presented her dialectical notion of forgiveness in "Forgiveness as an Expression of the Psychological Difference: The Sin which is not a Sin."

Philip Kime brought a pleasant end to the presentations with his reflections on "Image as Picture, Image as Debris."

And of course, one should not forget the charming hosts for each day, Michael Caplan, Hal Childs, and Faith Mason, respectively, who brought much enthusiasm to each conference day. Also, special thanks to Josef Kalicun for his technological support throughout the conference

The conference concluded with a farewell gathering and toast for ISPDI, within an enriching melody by ISPDI members, Julie Brown and Michael Caplan.

In conclusion, we would like to thank all our conference guest speakers, presenters, and attendees, for their support and enthusiasm in making this event a success!

ISPDI Executive Committee

John Hoedl, President<
Greg Mogenson, Vice President
Samina Salahuddin, Recording Secretary
John Robertson, Treasurer
Peter White, Web Discussion Moderator
Dan Anderson, G-mail Monitor<
Colleen Hendrick, Director of Tele-seminars
Marco Heleno Barreto, Assistant Web Discussion Monitor

Highlights of the 2nd ISPDI Conference 2014: The Psychological Difference “

with pictures courtesy of Hal Childs and Faith Mason.

photo 1photo 52photo8photo6photo2photo 45

More pictures will be posted in the Gallery as well as transcripts of some of the Presentations will be posted as Articles in the Members Area as they become available.

Colleen Hendrick EL-Bejjaniphoto 3

A Temporal Dance with the Psychological Difference:

Lessons From Lesson of the Mask

Fifteen years ago, deep in the village of Kibola in Guinea, West Africa I was part of a cleansing ritual by a village elder. A tall, stoic, silent woman performed the event, which was equally stoic and silent - without any pomp or ceremony. After weeks of busy city life in Conakry, I couldn't sleep the first night in the village as I wondered what to expect from the event. After a long day of walking in rice patties that appeared to reach toward the ends of the earth, on a night so dark one couldn't see more than a foot ahead, I ventured out of my hut and groped in the dark to find a place to sit and wait for sunrise, an event which happened suddenly – not a slow shift from dawn to day, but from night to day in an instant. A dozen goats calmly walking unattended surrounded me; a man on a bicycle with a basketful of baguettes slowly made his way deeper into the village--much activity for a village where no cars, electric lights, toilets, refrigerators, the taken for granted conveniences of modernity, could be found for miles and miles. It was this trip to Africa where the most substantial part of my study of Guinean culture began. Since then I have continued to work with dozens of Guinean born artists and jellis (oral historians) studying, teaching, and performing traditional drum and dance from the region. Currently I am completing my thesis for a Master's degree in Liberal Studies using PDI as the methodology for analyzing the traditional culture of Guinea in Africa and abroad. Needless to say, Giegerich's essay, "Lesson of the Mask" has come to hold a particular relevance for me.

Now, of course, learning any lesson, whether it be dance or psychology, depends much on the discipline that we apply to that learning endeavor. At this point it might serve us well to be reminded of the level of discipline required for our work, by Giegerich's observation that "... psychology begins where any phenomenon (whether physical or mental, 'real' or fantasy image) is interiorized absolute-negatively into itself, and I find myself in its internal infinity. This is what it takes; psychology cannot be had for less" (The Soul Always Thinks 2010, 161,162). Allowing this insight to serve as our North Star, we begin the journey into the phenomena of the masked dance and thereupon discover a multiplicity of lessons.

Psychology begins with its relentlessly giving itself over to each topic and subject matter--to in essence its putting on the mask of their eachness--and dancing with itself in what it has apperceived as its own other. Giegerich's brief essay interiorizes the phenomena of the mask dance into itself, allowing us to see how this hollow, lifeless object, when met with the dancer, sets the performance of the psychological difference into motion. Might it be that every topic and subject matter for psychology has this mask-character, that implicit in this "lesson of the mask" is the "lesson" of our need to put on the mask of whatever phenomena lay claim to our attention? At this moment of thinking these thoughts of the lesson and the mask, I am reminded of the masked dances that I have seen first-hand, and these lines from Giegerich's "Lesson of the Mask," (Giegerich, The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers towards a Critical Psychology 2005)both which have served to inspire this talk of mine.

The dancer who in everyday civil life is an ordinary member of the community familiar to everyone, first of all puts on a mask of some spirit, demon, or god. He thus shows himself as being different from himself. The need the wear the mask expresses the implicit notion that he is not exclusively himself, is not confined to and within his own empirical reality and personal identity. He is more. He is also what he is definitely not. Thus, by putting on the mask, the dancer sets himself up as, enacts, and thereby becomes, the "psychological difference," the difference between himself as an individual of the species homo sapiens and himself as soul, spirit, or divinity. He is both at once; in other words, he is the unity of his identity with himself and his difference from himself.

Let's look at that same paragraph substituting some of the words to make my point.

The psychologist, who in everyday civil life is an ordinary member of the community familiar to everyone, first of all puts on a mask of some subject or phenomenon. He thus shows himself as being different from himself. The need to enter the phenomenon expresses the implicit notion that he is not exclusively himself, is not confined to and within his own empirical reality and personal identity. He is more. He is also what he is definitely not. Thus, by putting on the subject he wishes to interiorize, the psychologist sets himself up as, enacts, and thereby becomes, the "psychological difference," the difference between himself as an individual of the species homo sapiens and himself as soul. He is both at once; in other words, he is the unity of his identity with himself and his difference from himself.

The obvious lesson of the essay is an example of how the psychological difference is made explicit by the masked dancer, and how ritual enactment served to articulate the logical life (the logic of their embededdness in their ritualistic mode of being in the world) of pre-modern culture. The implicit lessons of the essay are extensive, such as the need for not only the empirical dancer to give himself over to the concept of the mask--which on its own is "a dead and man-made object," as are the implicit lessons, such as psychology's artful act of giving over of itself to the hollow, thin and always ever-thinning absolute negativity of all phenomena studied psychologically, or more so, for each performance of psychology to be a masked dance in and of itself. And what a contradistinction this is to Jung's idea of the mask as persona! For Jung the mask stood in front of the soul as though it (soul) were a possession of subjectivity, a reified and resuscitated presence of the mythological world held in the interior of our true selves. The PDI lesson is that when psychology, through psychological thinking, relentlessly dances with the soul side of the psychological difference, "the real human being is reduced to the status of an instrument, a mere support for the 'unreal' image shown by the mask that is unable to stand on its own" (The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers towards a Critical Psychology 2005, 259). Again, the mask in our modern context is only the interiorized subject matter – not the material object used in the pre-modern ritual of the masked dancer.

Giegerich writes:

It [the concept of the mask implicit within the object of mask] is not simply there as a given, natural reality. And as spirit or god it is also not an eternal being that demands human devotion. No, it is in itself temporal, a momentary event. It ... has to be brought forth ... through the act of the empirical person's disappearing behind the mask [as object]. ... To the extent that the human person disappears the (to begin with unreal) true self, i.e. the spirit or god, can manifest and become real... (The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers towards a Critical Psychology 2005, 260).

I want to address two very significant characteristics of the psychological difference that are brought forward within this paragraph; first, the significance of temporal event, and secondly, the significance of disappearance.

In another essay, "The Soul as the Axis of the World," Giegerich notes that ritualistic culture's performance of ritual created within the moment of the performance itself the very axis of the world for that moment. In other words, each event of dancing the masked dance of psychology is within that moment an event that temporally establishes itself--and its own destruction. The life of the soul is a temporary moment of being, becoming, and ceasing to be, as opposed to an entity existing in a location, or due to a performative repetition. As Geigerich writes,

[T]he performance of the ritual that you (ritualistic culture) performed originally established the center ad hoc. The spot where the ritual was performed turned, for the duration of the ritual and by virtue of its power, into the spot where the axis mundi both penetrated the ground below and rose to heaven. ... 'Soul' is merely a name we give to this real movement and event (The Soul Always Thinks 2010, 297).

And, "as such the dance could also be said to be the 'psychological difference' comprehended dynamically, as logical life or dialectical movement" (The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers towards a Critical Psychology 2005, 261). Thus, the psychological thinker's lesson is to approach each new dance with the psychological difference not only relentlessly giving way to the soul side of the equation, but in so doing to comprehend each event of soul-making as an end within itself. The "logical infrastructure" (The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers towards a Critical Psychology 2005, 261) created by ritual society was a sensuous, temporal event, whereas for us it becomes an event of consciousness – a performative act of thinking thinkingly the logic of our subject matter; an act of dialectical movement within thought.

Now let me move on to the second significant aspect of the Geigerich paragraph where he speaks to the necessity of disappearance. The word disappearance appears eight times on page 260, and many more times in "Lesson of the Mask." This leaped out at me and I began looking for it in other essays and thinking the logical act of disappearance as it relates to the psychological difference. I would like to add here that in Guinea, as in many West African countries, there are masked dances that employ a dancer able to perform feats with the intention of confronting the observers' reality. The dancer is able to appear out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere in unexpected ways. This no-where, no-time quality allows for the possibility that he is always there, somewhere. In Guinea this is magic, a fetish dance. I will come back to this idea in a moment. First I want to spend time considering the logical disappearance of empirical man as it relates to the performance of the psychological difference.

It is easy for us all to utter the words that we must disappear as ego in order to approach the phenomena at hand from its interiority, or, in order for the masked dancer to enact the psychological difference he must give himself over relentlessly to the negative concept of the mask that is dancing him; that he as empirical man must disappear. We are also all aware of the so-called dangers of giving our ego selves over to the archetypal--the dangers of inflation. So how might we approach this idea of disappearance in a manner that does not involve inflation or the paradoxically ego-driven claim of allowing the subject matter to occlude us as empirical human beings?

Referring to the psychological difference, Giegerich writes in "Lesson of the Mask:" "[I]t is all movement, all given over to the flow of time and thus also to its coming-to-be and passing-away" (The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers towards a Critical Psychology 2005). Or, in Hegel's words, "[w]hat is thus found only comes to be through being left behind...the reflective movement is to be taken as absolute recoil upon itself" (Hegel 402). Giegerich's notion of historical time is akin to Hegel's in that it is a movement of the logical life toward its becoming the truth of its essence, (from substantiated, sensual, and externalized toward absolute negativity, thought, consciousness); in other words, "the soul is historicity" (Giegerich, What is Soul? 73). Historical time is always pregnant with the next stage of itself, always a becoming, always both the past and the future and not either. Even the present moment is a becoming of another moment and the release of a past moment. In such, the psychological difference as a methodological interpretation of soul display has in its very nature the temporal.

With these thoughts in mind, disappearance as a significant aspect of the psychological difference concerns itself with what remains in disappearance, the negative aspects of the equation and our conscious reflection which can only go under, interiorize, when we have faced the "rock of impenetrability" (Giegerich, The Soul Always Thinks 2010, 166). For the masked dance of ritual culture this meant that the unseen soul's appearance could only be had by the disappearance of empirical dancer behind the negative object--for modern psychological thinking it means that the unseen soul's appearance can only be had by the disappearance of the empirical psychologist behind the negativity of recursive reflection. "So it is only in the return itself that what we return to emerges at all" (Zizek 2014). It is only by our performance of reflection that what we reflect upon comes into being--mask up front. "Take away the illusion and you lose the truth itself. A truth needs time to make a journey through illusions to form itself" (Zizek 2014).

Our reflecting on the psychological difference results in our having danced with the temporal event of soul-making. Our dance partner remains in disappearance, never to hold us, or to be held by us, for it is the unseen that engages us in this performative act.

Gadamer. n.d.

Giegerich, Wolfgang. Neurosis: The Logic of a Metaphysical Illness. New Orleans, Louisianna: Spring Journal, 2013.

—. Soul Violence. New Orleans, Louisiana: Spring Journal Books, 2008.

—. Technology and The Soul: From the Nuclear Bomb to the World Wide Web. Vol. II. IV vols. New Orleans, Louisiana : Spring Journal, 2007.

—. The Collected English Papers, The Soul Always Thinks. Vol. Volume IV. New Orleans, Louisianna : Spring Journal , 2010.

—. The Flight into the Unconscious: An Analysis of C.G. Jung's Psychology Project. New Orleans, Louisiana: Spring Journal Books, 2013.

—. The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers towards a Critical Psychology. New Orleans, Louisianna: Spring Journal, 2005.

—. The Soul Always Thinks. New Orleans, Louisiana: Spring Journal Books, 2010.

—. The Soul's Logical Life: Towards a Rigerous Notion of Psychology. 2nd. Translated by Peter Lang. Frankfurt, am Main: Die Deutsche Bibliotek - CIP-Einheitsaufnahme, 1999.

Zizek, Slavoj. Event: Philosophy in Transit. London: The Penguin Group, 2014.

Spring Journal and Spring Journal Books
Spring Journal Books
(the book publishing imprint of Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, the oldest Jungian psychology journal in the world)
"Dreaming the Myth Onwards"
C.G. Jung on Christianity and on Hegel
Part 2 of The Flight into the Unconscious
The Collected English Papers of Wolfgang Giegerich
Volume Six
by Wolfgang Giegerich

ISBN: 978-1-935528-61-6

486 pp.
Price: $32.95

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