Among the many threads to this discussion, one in particular concerns the ”push” to get the word out about DP (depth psychology) into the larger public arena. I think I heard tones of enthusiasm, even urgency, along with felt difficulties (e.g. many “out there” have not even heard the term DP). I want to elaborate a little the post I made during the discussion regarding the complexities involved in getting the larger public to develop an ear for DP.
First of all our modern culture does not lack its own understanding of depth, just like any other age did. In what way is DEPTH commonly understood today? In what way is depth counted as real knowledge, taught in our institutions, around which cultural practices are formed and maintained, with big money supporting them? In two ways:
These modern notions of spatial and temporal depth are determined by the time we are born into. None of us chose to have these concepts of space and time. Our language, the governing narratives all spring form these fundamental structures of experience today.
As individuals, certain people can have an “initiatory” experience that can only be understood outside these fundamental modern categories that structure our everyday experiences. Such an individual immediately drops out of the mainstream in her quest to understand the disturbing experience in terms of concepts that no longer are shared by the greater community e.g. depth as soul depth—meaning infinite depth of meaning, for example, or history as soul history—meaning the past as a living presence, for example. These categories also structure experience and can bring profound understanding to an individual’s experience but they remain outside the categories that we are all born into today. Thus such individuals often end up quite socially isolated.
So, the difficulty is not that we lack an understanding and knowledge of depth today. The difficulty is that our current understanding of depth is a purely positivistic (literal) interpretation. The difficulty is that this particular interpretation cannot see or allow any other understandings of depth, It locks us in to an ONLY positivistic understanding of reality. It shuts out, for example, a psychological understanding of depth.
Why are other perspectives of depth shut out or not allowed? Hillman puts it this way: Our modern perspective is the only one that takes itself literally, as the only perspective to be had, and that includes its perspective of depth. Campbell’s story of Indra and the Ants (The Parade of Ants in Zimmer’s book, Myths of India) is very relevant to this modern problem. Or as Heidegger says, the only interpretation that obtains today is that of various “world pictures”, based on calculation and measurement. All else slides into oblivion (which is why he bent to the enormous task of languaging a reality (Being) that is prior to our “world pictures”, which we take to be the ultimate reality).
So given this argument, to simply try to get the word out, would be to enter and compete in the market of ideas, the growing circus of voices each with its ideological “world picture”. Good luck with that one!
There is another, powerful way …. Begin with Russ Lockhart and Paco Mitchell’s book, Dreams Bones and the Future, featured here on DP Alliance.
Thanks very much Eva. You know, just to take it a bit further, I believe a key to responding adequately to the present felt absence of soul in the world (by many anyway, not all, as most have just accepted fully the technological world and its views/gifts and are prospering within it) lies in discovering for oneself the historical nature of our modern positivized understanding of depth as I noted above. Generally it has the characteristic of taking itself as absolute so that all the previous views are simply mistaken.
How could there be other viable culture-creating perspectives of space, for example? To discover them and to see our present notion of (spatial, positively conceived) depth as arising from those previous views, from within them ( i.e. our view is historical, not absolute), is to open the question of what could arise from within our own presently dominant view of depth. In other words we would begin to understand that we are not condemned forever to the modern situation of nihilism, although it is our starting place for any further inquiry, and we would then begin (be able) to look for those hints of what is to come.
Such a historical study as Foucault's The Order of Things is a wonderful eye-opening study of the historical transformations in what counts as knowledge.
Thank you too, John,
This is an important conversation, I believe. Our denial of "death" is to a large degree at the root of this problem of "positivism". Although, I have not studied it at this point, I have certainly been aware of its effect both personally and in the collective. It is not something that is comforting as this viewpoint denigrates those most in need; namely those who are aged, ill, frail, depressed or grieving and we see this shadow reflected around us and the less heed we pay to it, the larger and more insistent it becomes. We are at the end point and on the verge of what Jung called the "enantiodromia", the turning back when the pendulum has swung to its extreme in one direction.
A society that does not comprehend or value myth, metaphor and the search for meaning will inevitably concretize even the concept of "depth". We must look into the well and gaze at the reflection looking back which is ourselves or we will stumble and fall into its depths, Ironically.
Time and space are relative as you point out, it is interesting to overlay our concepts of the temporal and spatial onto the historical context but of course, that is correct and appropriate as we have no perspective but the one embraced by the particular historical and cultural period in which we live. This discussion however, points beyond to what is emerging. It will take time to take root and much rugged terrain ahead.
Is this ultimately a cultural problem, do you think? It seems that the culture we are growing towards is a global one with the technological shifts and the road ahead for humanity is unpaved.
I am intrigued by this discussion for many reasons and have been struggling with this issue for years.
What has happened to inclusion of the possibility of redemption?
I will certainly look at Foucault's study as I have not read it and this is not the first time that it has been suggested.
Good morning John + Eva - I join you here knowing I am way over my head, not sure how to best contribute to all the threads of deep soul connections that will, no doubt, emerge in our individual, shared group threads, so…I decided that I will only reply to others “words” I can personally relate to [like weaving], within the context of my real, surreal lifetime experiences, and below are my reason why:
I remember a story Leo Buscaglia [31 March 1924 – 12 June 1998], shared in one of his books…he stated he had finally booked a time/place to meet with a guru he had always admired…they met, starting walking and Leo was so excited he became a “chatty Cathy.” The guru stopped walking…looked him directly in his eyes and said, “Stop walking with your muddy feet in my brain.” I have never forgotten this story and took it in – deeply to my heart. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Buscaglia
What follows next are the wise words from my primary teacher, Father Bernie Black whom I had the absolute good fortune and privilege to walk closely and he said to me, “Sometimes you will be a mirror, sometimes a messenger and sometimes both” and we meet people for a reason, a season or two or a lifetime and lifetime people are rare connections.”
With these heart warming, guiding principles operational in me, I move into your wise words that rang true for me… for I am one of those girls with an “initiatory experience – mine being birth [traumatic; NDE]. I now know I have travelled backwards in my life [retro-causation theory just came to me this year to study but I am not getting into it for I am spending time in DPA conversations will all of you] and these connections are more important to me right now.
By grade 11 [age 16], I dropped-out of “formal” education [mainstream], not knowing what I already knew deeply embedded within me, except I can hear deeply your words now, “her quest to understanding disturbing experience.”
So, what path did I go on…in accordance to the law of similarities…one is given/goes to that which resonates deeply within [balancing principle] and I enter practical nursing [twist of fate], which takes me to the front-line service and words of Florence Nightingale who stated, “I give and take no excuses” and contrary to qualifying for an art scholarship, I served in disturbance [deep human suffering], up to this month, and I formally retired from the helping professionals. Just noticing: not the opposites!
And now I can speak/travel/share freely in any direction [backwards…here + now…forward …dependent upon how the spirit moves me…intact and integral… with the messages and mirrors, in mind/hear while simultaneously just being in the music with all of you.
I was patient, waited a life-time for this phenomenal opportunity…it’s all golden now for me… on so many levels...and I plan on slowing right down, enjoying and savoring the moments left to me, breathing easy in the presence of so much goodness, beauty, strength and courage noteworthy within the DPA community - my new found virtual [non-locality, vibrational…friends. We are manifesting Bonnie’s vision and are an energetic, holographic beehive...lots of buzz and we are all working, contributing to make jelly.
These are the theorums that helped me “survive” my core trauma impacts, blueprints invisible wounds: state-dependent memory, learning and behavior [SDMLB] - the works of Rossi + Cheek : Methods of Ideodynamic Healing, the work of Gerber [3rd edition 2001]: Vibrational Medicine and the mysteries of “The Human Energy Field:”
This image just came to me today and I have not looked at this author’s [InGoodHands.us] “word” descriptors or guiding principles carefully, but the life energy forms portrayed in this image – the ”bodies,” I am familiar with are: the physical, etheric, astral, mental and causal bodies.
Peace + Love Linda
Thank you for this, Linda,
Your thoughts, memories and the imagery. This "auric" field in which the figure is encased is the same one that is referred to as the "soul" in many texts. It is always depicted as an oval egg shape in all traditions as I think that is how it appears in the astral plane.
So much to ponder and explore here...
Thank you for your words.
Solstice Blessings to you,
June 27, 2015
Hi All – I got brave and cracked open the “Varieties of Anomalous Experiences” text I purchased in 2000 and voilà; Jung is mentioned on page 7 and these are the gist of a few highlights to that point:
“Tales of strange, extraordinary, and unexplained experiences…the unknown…fascinated artists, scientists, and the lay audience. The 19th century European Romanticism …a time of deep interest in alterations of consciousness; such works as George Elliot’s The Lifted Veil featured reputed parapsychological phenomena as a central part of their plot. In the 20th century, the Surrealist movement paid special attention to automatic writings and drawing, altered states of consciousness, and dreams…The popularity of The Twilight Zone or the X Files…the beginning of the 21 century, popular interest in DE, purported parapsychological phenomena, and mystical events has remained very strong [pg.3]”
“A friend of Theodore Flournoy [1901-1994], Carl G. Jung [1902-1970] conducted a landmark study with another medium. Using a word-association test he had developed, Jung traced the origins of the names the medium gave him of her own “spirit guides” and of the “forces” that guide the universe. Jung terminated his work when the medium, Jung’s young and enamoured cousin, exhausted her flights of fancy. Later it was found that at least part of her mediumistic performances had fraudulent aspects (Ellenberger, 1970). Jung would later use his analytic psychology to explain UFO sightings and other unusual events (Jung, 1959) [pg.7].”
Jung is further mentioned in pages 20, 272, 279, 420 and 435 in this text. My early morning contribution to the panel discussion and now I can go to sleep. Peace + Love Linda
Thank you for this extremely meaningful reflection on conceiving of and getting the word out about depth psychology. You are so right! It is far more complex and not simply something that can be marketed as an idea to the masses. However, carefully thought-out strategies might allow all of us to focus upon the small ways in which the idea of depth can be fostered among various groups within our culture.
I can see how The Alliance could designate groups with countries, states, cities to work within smaller communities to improve upon education and politics, for example. This is a very brief and simplistic view of what I have often thought about, but this at least brings the idea to the table.
Many thanks for your thoughtful references and wisdom.