“ONE” BECOMES “TWO”
THE VOCATIONAL CHARACTER
THE MEDIATING OTHER
AN “ENTERVIEW” WITH
BY ROBERT HENDERSON
Robert Henderson (RH): I understand that you were born in
Saskatchewan and have roots in the rural life of that Canadian
province. What impact do you think that may have had on your
later life and career as a Jungian analyst and marriage and family
Greg Mogenson (GM): Both of my parents grew up on farms in
Saskatchewan during the “dirty thirties” of the Depression era. The
first in generations to leave the farm and to become educated, I think
they felt a debt to the lives and the relatives they left behind. In my
father’s case this was especially strong. It was only because his older
brother was adamant about not wanting to go to high school (which
involved living away from home and boarding in a town some distance
away that had a school) that my father, the next oldest, had had the
Jungian Analysis Post Mortem Dei
Published by Dusk Owl Books as a title in the Monograph Series
of The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority.
In a filmed interview with the BBC in 1959, C. G. Jung was asked if he believed in God. On that occasion, the great psychologist readily answered that for him it was not a matter of believing, but of knowing. He did not believe there was a God, he knew there was. This, however, was by no means the whole story. Not only did Jung back down from this statement in a subsequent exchange of letters with the Jewish religious thinker, Martin Buber, he also recognized in other statements “that we are …. living in the time of the splitting of the world and the invalidation of Christ,” and “that the present is a time of God’s death and disappearance.” In this essay, Greg Mogenson re-examines these contradictory views in relation to occasions when a patient of today may put the same question to an analyst. Whereas traditional Jungian psychology had tended to present itself as the immanently-transcendent “third” of the persisting religious needs and contesting negative insights that it was potentiated by, Mogenson offers instead a Jungian psychology that is soulfully informed by the death of God experience that has characterized our modern times. First published in a volume of Spring Journal that was dedicated to the discussion of an essay by Wolfgang Giegerich on the theme of Jung’s thesis concerning the one-sidedness of Christianity, Mogenson’s contribution to that spirited exchange is offered here as a stand-alone piece. For the context it offers as well as for its inherent interest, the “Guest Editor’s Introduction” he wrote for that “Jung and Christianity” issue of Spring is also re-published here as an appendix.
Colleen EL-Bejjani hosts ISPDI's Open Inquiry the third Sunday of each month from 2 p.m. - 3:30 EST via Zoom. Each month's topic and reading is sent to the membership by email. Please join us! Open Inquiry has a special event Sunday, March 21! I hope you will join us. RSVP by linking here.
When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges,
then as Nietzsche says, ‘One becomes Two,’ and the greater figure, which one always was but which remained invisible, appears to the lesser personality with the force of a revelation. He who is truly and hopelessly little will always drag the revelation of the greater down to the level of his littleness, and will never understand that the day of judgement for his littleness has dawned. But the man who is inwardly great will know that the long expected friend of his soul, the immortal one, has now really come, ‘to lead captivity captive,’ that is, to seize hold of him by whom this immortal had always been confined and held prisoner, and to make his life flow into the greater life—a moment of deadliest peril! (CW 9, i: 217)
Greetings to you all and welcome to the new ISPDI website! Have a look around and tell us what you think. We hope it will give our members easier and more reliable access to the goings on of the society. There will certainly be some hiccups to be worked out as we familiarize ourselves with it, but we anticipate that this new website will serve the society well moving forward. You'll notice changes such as an updated format, easier navigating, the ability to listen to past lectures, an expanded gallery, and hopefully a more robust defence against problematic bugs and glitches. Our thanks go to Peter White who has spearheaded the website work, along with help from Jennifer Sandoval and others, and has spent many hours building it and transferring data from the old site. Thank you Peter!
To all members, I hope you are doing well in both body and spirit these days, as well as continuing to mange the effects of this now year long (!) pandemic. With vaccinations well underway, one can perhaps begin to imagine stepping into whatever kind of collective life awaits us once we have this thing more or less under control. It will certainly be good to meet once again as a society at a physical location and to see everyone in person.
However, since it will not be possible this year, we have planned the next conference for this summer, July 8-11th, 2021, to be online. The theme, once again, is “The Soul’s Logical Life,” chosen to mark 23 years since the publication of Wolfgang Giegerich’s landmark book of the same title.
We have 21 speakers scheduled to present during the 4 day event including the keynote lecture given by George Hogenson and special guest speakers Nanae Takenaka, Philip Kime, and Andrés Ocazionez. We hope you will be able to join us for this event! Please see the website for more information. Registration for the conference will begin soon.
Another significant announcement to make is that there have been important changes in the executive committee. Perhaps the most notable is that our longstanding vice-president Greg Mogenson is stepping back from the executive committee and will now take his place as regular member of the society. Greg has been a key member of the executive since the beginning of the ISPDI and is a founding member of the society. In truth, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the ISPDI would not be here today if not for Greg’s vision, leadership, and enthusiasm for Giegerich’s work and psychology as the discipline of interiority.
In a salute to Greg at this time of his retirement, I hope I will be forgiven for recalling once more that by now mythical meeting in the bowels of the Fairmont Hotel in Montreal that resulted in the forming of the ISPDI. It was during an IAAP Congress and Greg had been struck by the fact that during a week long international assembly of Jungian colleagues he was unable to find a presentation sufficiently interesting or challenging enough to get him excited about the gathering. Wandering around in the corridors, he managed to bump into enough people interested in Wolfgang Giegerich’s work to call a meeting with the idea of forming a society and maybe even organizing a conference that focused specifically on this new and somewhat radical way of looking at psychology. In short order a society was formed and only two years later the opening conference of the ISPDI took place in Berlin with Giegerich delivering the keynote lecture.
Since that initial meeting in Montreal, Greg has been a central source of inspiration, experience, and theoretical support, not to mention perfectly timed humour, for the committee. We are sad to see him step down and we will certainly miss him but of course we respect his desire to have time and energy to focus on other areas in the next chapter of his life. And of course we hope he enjoys his activities as a regular member of the ISPDI.
I’ll return to Greg’s departure from the committee in a moment, but want to mention now the good news. To help us move the ISPDI into the next part of its journey and to continue the process of developing interiority-based depth psychology, we have added two excellent and long-time members to our ranks:
Pamela Power, from Los Angeles, is a graduate of L.A. Jung Institute. After receiving her diploma she spent many years teaching, supervising and then serving as the Institute’s Clinical Director for 13 years, as well as the Training Director for 6 years. She has presented at every ISPDI conference including the inaugural event in 2012, as well as presenting twice as a special guest speaker. She has also lectured at two IAAP Congresses and two Journal of Analytical Conferences. We are delighted and grateful to have someone with such a wealth of experience and knowledge join us. Pamela’s position will be Member-at-Large.
Harry Henderson lives in El Cerrito, a small town near Berkeley, California. He is a semi-retired tech and science writer who has had a longtime interest in psychology. He has been a seminar leader and board member with the Guild for Psychological Studies for more than ten years. Harry has also been involved in the ISPDI since the first conference in Berlin in 2012, both as a participant as well as a presenter. If you are ever lucky enough to chat with Harry and glean some of his keen insights into PDI, especially in relation to science and technology, you’ll understand why we are very happy to have him as part of the executive committee. His position will be Secretary.
Thank you to both Pamela and Harry for offering your time and energy to the committee. We look forward to working with you!
In terms of the rest of the committee, Marco Heleno Barreto, has agreed to move to the position of vice president, which we are very happy about, and Colleen EL-Bejjani’s title has been updated to that of Director of Communication. Peter White has graciously taken on the important position of Webmaster and has spearheaded the work of building our new website which we are very grateful for!
The other executive positions of President, Treasurer and G-Mail Monitor filled by myself, Jennifer Sandoval, and Dan Anderson respectively, have remained the same.
So the present executive committee, with the changes looks like this:
John Hoedl, President
Marco Heleno Barreto, Vice President
Jennifer Sandoval, Treasurer
Peter White, Webmaster
Dan Anderson, G-mail Monitor
Colleen EL-Bejjani, Director of Communication
Pamela Power, Member at Large
Harry Henderson, Secretary
If I could end this letter on a personal note, I want to add that it’s been meaningful to have had Greg on the committee, both as a colleague and friend, in part because we share some common Canadian experiences. He and I both grew up working on family farms. In some of our conversations we shared memories of, for example, the “joy” of driving heavy machinery or of walking through ripening fields of grain and the work of harvesting that often lasts deep into the night. One can spend long, thoughtful, solitary hours in a field under prairie stars waiting for the combine to signal that it needs to unload its grain.
If you know about farm life, you’ll also know that one of its ubiquitous and bittersweet experiences is going to the farm auction. This is a time of transformation when the farmer sells his equipment (and everything else that happens to be lying around) to neighbours and strangers alike still in the business or sometimes young farmers just starting out.
Greg wrote a poem about this and I’m hoping he won’t mind if I quote just a few lines from it as a thank you to him for all the work he has done for the society and the executive committee for the last 10 odd years. I know he’s not literally "selling the farm,” (after all he’ll continue to be a member of the society, a writer, presenter, purveyor of ISPDI books through Dusk Owl, and so on), but nonetheless this feels like an important transition. I know many of us will continue benefiting from his labor and the seeds he has sown; the work he has done thus far in the field that is psychology. We wish him the best.
Farm Sale this Thursday
The auctioneer holds up a rusty old milking pail.
“Who’ll give me a dollar for this beau-ti-ful pail?
What! No takers? Well here, now,
What if we throw in a box of nails?”
All day long,
Item after item,
The inventory of my days till now
Is tossed in with those nails, somehow….
And now it’s the farmer
Whose farm this was I see.
Tall as his silo,
No, a storey taller still,
He looms out over the farmyard
Like the statue of some Catholic saint
Towering over a small South-American town.
Look up into his face!
Where did his eyes go?!
They’re just openings now,
Portals giving onto the cloud-filled skies beyond him!
From Ink in My Pocket by Greg Mogenson
Below is a link to an interview with Greg that was published as, An “Enterview” with Greg Mogenson by Robert Henderson. The title is, “When ‘One” Becomes ‘Two’ The Vocational Character of The Mediating Other.”
Thank you to Colleen EL-Bejjani and Peter White for their work on putting the newsletter together.
All the best and take good care,