The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority

2014 Conference Papers

THERE IS PSYCHOLOGICAL PROGRESS.

santo

February 28, 2015

THERE IS PSYCHOLOGICAL PROGRESS.

CAN THERE BE PROGRESS OF PSYCHOLOGY?

From The Soul Always Thinks, Collected English Papers, Volume 4

By Wolfgang Giegerich, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst

Facilitated by Santo Tarantino, Ph.D.,

Jungian Analyst

More Information

About the Society

About the Society (Spanish translation)

Announcement of the Society and An Invitation to Membership

A Definitional Statement

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.

This, however, requires that a contradiction in the way that psychology has previously been developed and practiced be overcome. In keeping with the positivistic spirit of recent centuries, most psychologies during this time have been committed to an empirical science approach even though such a methodology was not truly compatible with the discipline’s constituting insight about the psyche both creating and at the same time investigating itself.

The consequence of this has been the unfortunate one of psychology’s having saddled itself with a distorted conception of its subject matter. Down to the present day, most psychologies regard what they call “the inner” to be a function of something external in which this “inner” is enveloped. In such conceptions “the inner” is taken for granted to be the inwardness or subjectivity of the human person, of the individual’s personality and its component parts, and of what usual psychoanalytic psychologies call “the unconscious.” This, it is believed, can be reached introspectively, by reflecting upon oneself, for example.

But the true inner has no outside, nothing surrounding it. It is not the inside of people. Nor is it some sort of positively existing interior world. On the contrary, having been absolved from having to be yoked in a binary relation as the inner of some outer or the interiority of something external, its inwardness can be described as an absolute inwardness which is produced by a methodological stance that approaches each psychic phenomenon, whatever that may be (an affect, dream, idea, cultural artifact, life situation, or technological innovation) in a speculative manner such that the inner dialectical logic as which each matter of interest exists is allowed to think itself out and to become explicit.

At the time of its inauguration The Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority draws mainly upon the theoretical work of the Jungian psychoanalyst, Wolfgang Giegerich. In the course of a prolific writing career that commenced in the early 1970`s and which now spans four decades, Giegerich has made a most incisive contribution to a truly psychological psychology. Though not limited to or restricted by the contributions of this author, the Society has been formed, in part, by the compelling need felt by its founding members to draw the consequences of his theoretical work and to give these a real place within the depth psychological tradition while appreciating, at the same time, the place and significance of that tradition within the broader horizons of a history of consciousness perspective.

It is a matter of succession, on the one hand, and of the keeping up of a soulful tradition, on the other. The depth psychology that began with Freud, Adler, and Jung was itself but a late expression of the history of consciousness, the history of the soul. Passing through many stages and statuses on its way to becoming conscious of itself—stages such as the shamanic/ritualistic, the mythological, the religious, the metaphysical, and so on—consciousness only “came home to itself” very recently in such simultaneously phenomenal and theoretical expressions as the philosophies of the subject, medial modernity, and contemporary depth psychology. And to this list there may now be added psychology as the discipline of interiority.

Speculatively constituted, at once both the incumbent and anti-incumbent of the tradition to which it is heir, The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority now welcomes into its membership individuals from any of a wide variety of backgrounds who share in its aims of studying and further unfolding the interiority of our human world-relation in its present determination as mindedness, thought, and logical life.


Thor struggles to lift the Midgard Serpent, which he thinks to be a cat. Woodcut by H. G. SorensenThor struggles to lift the Midgard Serpent, which he thinks to be a cat. Woodcut by H. G. Sorensen

 

 

The picture is pertinent to the interests of this society as it aptly conveys the speculative notion of concrete universality. The empirical matter at hand with which consciousness or “the subject” grapples (here, a cat in the palace of the Jotuns) is at the same time all that it is not (i.e., the whole horizon of human being-in-the world, in mythological terms, the Midgard Serpent). Far from being a mere content of consciousness, the seemingly empirical cat speculatively reflects the overarching form of consciousness per se or mindedness as such.

 

 

Owl of MinervaOwl of Minerva

 

The emblem at the top left corner of this page is a representation of the Owl of Minerva (Athena).

Its inclusion here is an allusion to the famous lines of Hegel in which he cautions against our giving instruction with regards to how the world ought to be: “Philosophy in any case always comes on the scene too late to give [instruction]... When philosophy paints its gloomy picture then a form of life has grown old. It cannot be rejuvenated by the gloomy picture, but only understood. Only when the dusk starts to fall does the owl of Minerva spread its wings and fly.” In keeping with this insight, psychology as the discipline of interiority has to do with the “coming home” to consciousness of what has already shown itself to be or to have been the case. And the specific reference to the Owl of Minerva's flight might correspondingly be taken as descriptive of that logical movement wherein the thought as which the matter at hand exists is explicitly given the form of thought.

“We have tried very hard to learn that external things are not as they appear to us--well, then! The same applies to the inner world!”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak 116


“If a certain class of phenomena are supposed to be the 'inner' as opposed to others as the 'outer,' and if there is a hypostasized object called 'the self,' I myself as subjectivity am exempted; I do not have to become aware of myself. Its all out there. Psychology, however, begins where any phenomenon (whether physical or mental, 'real' or fantasy image) is absolute-negatively interiorized into itself and I find myself in its internal infinity. This is what it takes, psychology cannot be had for less.”

Wolfgang Giegerich, CEP IV, pp. 161-2


“Returning from here to psychology, the concept of an autonomous psyche seems to me not only a question of personal preference, of one's ontology, of epistemological logic, theoretical and therapeutic valuableness, or empirical evidence. It, above all, seems to me a simple necessity. In order for psychology to be, it must posit an autonomous psyche, because only then is psychological inquiry possible in the first place. For only if the psyche is granted autonomy and spontaneity does psychology relentlessly bind itself to the unknownness of its own root fantasy, having to explain everything psychic 'tautologically' from the psyche herself, and only if psychology strictly refuses to base itself on anything outside the idea of 'psyche' (whatever 'psyche' may be) will it be inescapably forced into the depth of its subject matter and be able to establish its own (psychological) version of exactitude and certainty. ”

Wolfgang Giegerich, CEP I, p. 99

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