Four Guild leaders, who had attended the first conference of the International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority in Berlin last summer, gave presentations to a circle of twenty-six interested people on themes inspired by the conference and the work of Wolfgang Giegerich. The audience was composed of people familiar with Jung’s depth psychology and the personally transformative possibilities that the work of individuation affords. They are curious and interested in what psychology as the discipline of interiority is all about. Everyone was actively engaged all day.
The aim of our gathering was two-fold. One, to introduce an interested general audience to the new psychological syntax of Giegerich’s bracing and challenging thought, and two, have an opportunity for the presenters to enter more deeply into the new syntax of consciousness that articulating the work out loud entails.
Richard Naegle presented an introduction that did not shy away from the proposition that psychology is not for the popular self-help audience, but for “professionals” who are willing to engage the difficult thought a psychology with soul entails. Richard showed that Jung’s classical “map of the psyche” is an ego-centered point of view, while psychology with soul must be “theoretical,” that is, it must be thought, and thought through in such a way that the thought thinking itself comes to reality, comes home to itself. He introduced the idea of “binocular vision” as that ability to see both the depth of soul and its particular manifestation simultaneously, to see what we are seeing as a differentiated unity of both the logical form and the phenomenon that appears to us.
Hal Childs presented an “interpretation” of Giegerich’s keynote address, “Soul and World,” emphasizing the importance of grasping the notion of interiority as those meanings embodied in language that are the dialectic of soul-world. The ontological split between soul (mind) and world (matter) is the legacy of modernity, and does not belong in psychology’s realization that there is no non-linguistic “world” that can be sundered from soul’s meanings and significance. This unitary view sees that Soul and World cannot be “outside” each other but rather exist as the place of our experience illuminated through language. The “world” can only be “our” world as the unified soul-and-world that continually produces itself as culture and history.
Faith Mason’s presentation gathered several of Giegerich’s startling and provocative statements about the private and irrelevant nature of personal psychotherapy (“As long as psychology is in fact acted out as one’s private self-indulgence, it is truthless. Just fun, entertainment, or self-stabilization.” (CEP 4, p. 581) She then went deeper into exploring the symptom as soul’s thought attempting to think itself into a new form of consciousness as the person who suffers. She showed us how the larger perspective of soul shifts away from the ego’s preoccupations, illustrating this shift with the problem of personal failure in relation to our intractable problems. Faith shifted the problem of failure to the larger perspective of soul with the story of Thor’s failure to lift the cat of the frost giant Utgarda-Loki. Thor failed to lift the "cat" because it was in fact the disguised Midgard serpent. (Soul’s Logical Life, p. 55) The psychotherapist is the one who holds, for the patient and the work, the particular and universal together in their dialectical unity and difference.
Hal Childs also presented the paper he delivered at the Berlin conference: “From ‘God” to psychology: tracing the ‘I am’ through myth and history in the Judeo-Christian, western tradition.” This paper attempts to demonstrate the soul’s historical transformations as logical forms of consciousness from the creation myth in Genesis, through the “I AM” of YHWH in the Jewish myth, the “I am” of Christ in the Christian myth, the “I am” of Descartes in the Enlightenment “myth” of modernity, to the psychological “I am” embodied in Jung’s realization of the significance of consciousness during his trip to Africa.
Harry Henderson gathered his thoughts around examining the seventy-year history of the Guild for Psychological Studies and its intellectual legacy of the historical-critical approach to the Jesus traditions in the synoptic gospels and the psychological framework of early Jung. The Guild's founders creatively combined a critical approach to the teachings of Jesus with the resources provided by Jung's depth psychology, but were limited by the ego-centered, humanistic frame of mid-20th century consciousness. The open question is how the Guild might shift its focus from trying to redefine old concepts (a semantic, horizontal move) to entering the syntax of our technological-medial world today. We are looking for ways to help ourselves and others live with a more conscious appreciation of the psychological difference.
See the links below to download papers by Hal Childs, Faith Mason, and Harry Henderson.
To access the recorded lectures (MP3 files) click on the title "Report from Berlin" and then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen to see the list of attachments. If you click on a file name it should start playing on your computer. Alternatively, you can right click on a file name and download the MP3 file to your browser's downloads folder.
Introduced "Giegerich for Newbies"
Soul and World
The I am story
Interiority and Psychotherapy
Revisioning Guild Work