Sample of the New Topos Series
The ISPDI has had many gatherings since the society began in 2012 and our pattern has been to hold a larger event about every 2 years and an “off year” event in-between these conferences. Last year, in 2021, we held a larger conference “The Soul’s Logical Life” and this year, instead of a more formal event, we thought we would try something different for our members. Throughout the year we will hold informal opportunities for discussion where a presenter, perhaps from the executive committee perhaps someone else, will present a relatively short topic which will be followed by questions and discussion.
Topos, was originally an ancient greek word for “place” and
over the years it has come to mean a common or rhetorical theme, more a mental “place.” So the term’s history is a movement from literal place or location, in reality, to one in the mind, in thought and discourse.
The point of these discussions, and in fact the whole focus of the ISPDI, is to open a space, a topos, to talk, think and learn about “soul”, especially the psychological idea of soul formulated by C.G. Jung and Wolfgang Giegerich.
In any case, welcome to TOPOS, a place that is, in some ways, “no place”
Our first host is Jennifer M. Sandoval. She is a licensed psychologist, lecturer, and writer. She is also your treasurer, so be nice to her! She is the author of A Psychological Inquiry into the Meaning and Concept of Forgiveness and co-editor of a book of collected essays, Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority: The 'Psychological Difference' in the Work of Wolfgang Giegerich, both published by Routledge. She resides in Southern California with two dogs, two birds, and quite a few fish.
What is the ISPDI?
Essential to psychology is the recognition that the psyche is not only the object of psychological investigation, but at the same time, and recursively so, its subject. Having no point of perspective outside the psyche to view it from objectively, and no substrate or pre-suppositional base in anything more substantial, literal, or positively existing, a truly psychological psychology, it follows, must be internal to itself, a discipline of internal reflection.
As its name implies, The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority is dedicated to the furthering of psychology by means of this very same process of rigorous self-application and continuing self-redefinition. Embracing the inwardness of psychology in an absolute manner, its aim is to advance the discipline by subjecting psychology, again and again, and at ever new levels, to its constituting recognition that everything that it asserts about the psyche--all of its insights, theoretical statements, knowledge claims, and topic choices--are at the same time expressions of the psyche, a part of its on-going phenomenology.
Letter from the President
Dear Members and Colleagues,
Of course, the ISPDI is affected by the pandemic and as you know we had to postpone our conference on the theme of “The Soul’s Logical Life,” which had been planned for Lisbon this past summer. Fortunately, the virtual Summer Gathering that was held in place of this event proved to be a worthwhile stand-in. By all accounts it was interesting and successful. Thank you once again to all who presented, attended, and importantly, thanks to those who helped with the organization and running of the event. Also, a warm welcome to the new members and guests who attended this event as their first experience of an ISPDI event. We hope you join us again in the future. You can read a more detailed summary of the Summer Gathering below.
Our attention now turns to the original conference planned for the summer of 2021. After monitoring the COVID situation carefully and realizing that there are still a lot of unknown factors at this point including, most importantly, the ability for all people to be able to travel internationally safely, the executive committee has made the decision to have our conference on-line, via Zoom. Needless to say, we are disappointed in having to do this. Much of the inspiration that comes from a conference such as ours stems from the enjoyment and satisfaction that comes when interacting with each other in person, in and out of the conference room. A Zoom conference cannot replace this, of course. However, we have seen that a properly organized virtual conference can indeed be an adequate platform for facilitating presentations, discussions, and the exchange of ideas. We are confident that the conference next summer, with the same theme, “The Soul’s Logical Life," will be as successful as the previous one was.
More information will follow in the coming few weeks regarding any date changes and scheduling details. We are expecting to have the same excellent array of speakers as was previously planned. Please stay tuned for updates via email and the website.
A reminder to check out the new website, Dusk Owl Books, the only publishing site dedicated to PDI related publications. Go here https://www.duskowlbooks.com to find books by Greg Mogenson, Marco Heleno Barreto and Wolfgang Giegerich.
Available now are two of Giegerich’s latest books, The Historical Emergence of the I, and What are the Factors that Heal? Two important books which will be foundational for understanding psychology theoretically and practically. The former includes a helpful explication and differentiation of subjective consciousnesses throughout the course of history. For example, Giegerich looks at the difference between what he calls the psychic or linguistic I, and the psychological I, as well as between the modern “I” and the “ego.” The range of examination is from archaic consciousness through to modern times and beyond, with the final section titled: “The soul’s way into the future through its self-overcoming: projecting its future goal as “God” into heaven and slowly realizing its projected idea.” What was particularly fascinating for me were the numerous beautiful colour plates that Giegerich included to illustrate how these historical developments of consciousness were represented in art from different eras.
The second book is a therapeutically based account of healing viewed from the “soul’s” perspective, really unlike any to be found in the Jungian world. Very insightful for psychotherapists or anyone interesting in how “soul” heals itself within the context of psychology as the discipline of interiority. Parts of this comparatively short book come from lectures Giegerich gave at various locations including the C. G. Jung institute. I was lucky enough to attend one of these lectures and am very happy that this work is now available to a larger audience.
Also, a note to consider trying out the ISPDI Open-Inquiry monthly meetings, now on Zoom, organized and moderated by Colleen EL-Bejjani. Presently the group is making its way through The Soul’s Logical Life. Contact Colleen for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, thank you once more to those involved in putting this newsletter together, Josef Kalicun, our webmaster and Colleen EL-Bejjani. Thanks as well to Jennifer Sandoval for her contribution in this current issue.
Best wishes and good health,
This alchemical engraving well conveys the dialectical process wherein the mind attains new statuses of itself via a process of negation and sublation.
In the foreground of the picture, the reigning or existing concept, imaged as the King, is shown to be negated. He is a fallen King, and the inner discrepancy or contradiction that has occasioned this is tautologically out-pictured as a wolf eating into his side.
It is the famous recursive and self-redefining Hegelian formula A = A and –A by which the mind or a particular concept drives itself into new determinations of itself.
The King emerging from the flames higher up in the background of the picture represents the sublated or newly defined reigning concept which is produced by the aforementioned negation having been “tarried with” to that point where it is itself negated and the restored or newly defined position attained.
Entrance Requirement for Psychology
A rupture in one’s identity is the only entrance requirement [for psychology]. He who wants to be admitted has to have left his old self-identity behind and has to enter with or as a new identity. Not: I am not allowed in, whereas others are, but: my ordinary self in my street clothes is not allowed in, while some other part (hitherto probably unknown to me) of my personality is allowed to enter. (Giegerich, 1999, The Soul’s Logical Life, p.17)
The goddess Artemis on her stag
Royal Ontario Museum
The Psychological Difference
The substantial difference between a psychological and unpsychological mode of being-in-the-world is explained by Jung with the notions 'inside' and 'outside.' Especially since Jung emphasizes the notion of two 'sides,' these words foster a spatial imagination: 'inside' as in us, 'outside' as the world out there, around us, the physical or cosmic dimension. This would be a very preliminary, imperfect way of conceiving of this difference. We would do better to comprehend psychology as the discipline of interiority or inwardness, not in a spatial, but a logical or methodological sense. Interiority here does not refer to containment in something else, in a kind of vessel, e.g., ourselves. It means the process or work of interiorizing a phenomenon into itself, into its concept as its soul. 'External' and 'exteriority' would consequently refer primarily to that mode in which phenomena are not inwardized into themselves, but taken as how they appear, in their first immediacy, as empirical facts, as positivities.
Wolfgang Giegerich, CEP,III p. 3
“To become conscious means to have learned to distinguish oneself, to see oneself soberly, detachedly, as if from outside. It means to have become de-identified from oneself. The
original participation mystique or unio naturalis with oneself has to be disrupted. One has to become to oneself just an objective fact, a given (given to ourselves), in the same sense that all the other facts of our world around us are objective facts and givens. One has to take an empirical, almost scientific, attitude toward oneself, maybe like a zoologist towards the animal he observes” (Giegerich, 2020, The Historical Emergence of the I, p. 314).
Wolfgang Giegerich and ISPDI president John Hoedl at the inaugural conference in Berlin, Germany 2012