Lecture by Professor Andreas Philippopoulos- Mihalopoulos, University of Westminster, London

Why not Utopia? Jung's relevance today

Torsdag, 10 maj, 2012 - 12:35 to 14:15

Why not Utopia? Jung's relevance today

Carl Jung’s analytical psychology has changed the way we see the world. The combination of straightforward Freudian psychoanalytical concepts and occult, mystical and religious analyses that Jung pioneered has reinstated some of the tools and concepts that until then were rejected by science. We can now talk about the collective unconscious, the psyche, the archetype, introversion and extroversion and so on, without raising any scientific eyebrow. Indeed, Jung’s main achievement is the reintroduction of a spiritual psychic complexity into the occasionally sterile, and often scienticised Freudian psychoanalysis.

Jung’s principal method of analysis was the analytical confluence of opposites. Thus, for Jung, we are all admixtures of animus and anima, namely male and female elements that together organise our personality. The issue of course is that we often have no access to either anima or animus, with the result that we become almost enslaved by our shadows, namely the darker, repressed part of our conscious self. Ideally, however, the conflict is resolved in an uroborous way, namely a circular, self-referential way that manages paradoxically to include both opposite directions. This is very different to a Hegelian synthesis, since here the two elements never leave the scene but remain fighting for prominence.

The above concepts and processes, together with several others, form the basis of Jungian psychology. I intend to explore them in the context of myth-making and more particularly fantasy literature. The reason for this is multiple. First, Jung himself often operated through mythology and indeed reserved a very special place for it in his psychology – the place of the well-known collective unconscious, the depository of humanity’s archetypes. Second, myth is one way in which spirituality becomes accepted in contemporary thinking without being discounted as religious fanaticism or irrelevant sentimentality. Third, myth is a utopian space of projects and ideas, all of which form part of our every day planning mechanisms. Yet, we are often restricted in our choices of projects for fear of being irrelevant and romantic. What I propose instead is a radical reintroduction of the utopian in contemporary organisational matters, in an attempt to unleash the potential of dreams. This is combined with a strict analytical methodology of paradoxical syntheses, in order to balance the project horizon with the current position of each organisation.

About the speaker

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos is a professor at Westminster Law School, London, and has been working in the cross disciplinary field for several years. Andreas's research interests include critical legal theory, autopoiesis, philosophy, psychoanalysis, linguistics, geography, art, phenomenology, and their critical instances of confluence. He has written various articles in the areas of environmental law, human rights and postmodern jurisprudence.

He is the co-director of The Westminster International Law and Theory Centre, http://www.wmin.ac.uk/law/page-661, Director of Doctoral Research Training, and the Staff and Graduate Students Research Seminars Convenor. http://westminster.academia.edu/AndreasPhilippopoulosMihalopoulos

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Sidst opdateret: Communications // 07/05/2012