‘Mind, Matter, and the New Real’

Esalen-Hot-Springs-Amanda-MarsalisCentre for Theory and Research, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California

From 3 to 7 December 2017 Professor Roderick Main attended an international invitational symposium on ‘Mind, Matter, and the New Real’ at the Centre for Theory and Research, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California, where he presented a paper titled:

Egoless awareness, numinous matter, and the scope of C. G. Jung’s holism.  

The aim of this presentation was to demonstrate, contra widespread scholarly opinion, that Jung’s thoroughgoing holism extended, in his later thought, to encompassing even some of the further reaches of introvertive mystical experience, while the limitations he nevertheless placed on such experience can also be understood holistically as expressing his implicitly panentheistic metaphysics.

The organisation hosting this symposium, the Esalen Institute, has been one of the world’s most influential centres of holistic theory and practice for over fifty years (see https://www.esalen.org/ctr).


Holism and Analytic Training

On Saturday, 25th November a symposium on Holism and Analytic training was held at the Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University. The symposium was held in conjunction with the AHRC funded project, ‘One-World’: Logical and ethical implications of holism. Dr. David Henderson, Co-Investigator on the project, hosted the symposium. The principal discussants were Dr. Werner Prall (Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex; Guild of Psychotherapists) and George Bright (Society of Analytical Psychology). The purpose of the symposium was to examine the significance of holistic thought within the field of psychotherapy. An intended outcome of the project has been to facilitate a better understanding of the concepts of the whole that can underpin holism, and of the ethical implications of the concepts, which could contribute to debates about efficacy and funding, providing an overall more nuanced understanding of holistic approaches to psychotherapy. During the morning session participants focused on ‘What are we trying to teach,’ a discussion of the curriculum of analytic training. In the afternoon session they discussed ‘How much is enough,’ a consideration of what qualities and accomplishments are expected of a candidate at the end of training. These questions provided a platform for critical discussion among representatives from training committees of the following organisations: Guild of Psychotherapists, Westminster Pastoral Foundation, Association of Jungian Analysts, West Midlands Institute of Psychotherapy, Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy, Netherlands Association of Analytical Psychologists, and Association of independent Psychotherapist.

A fuller report will be published shortly.

(Christian McMillan, Research Officer)

Holism: possibilities and problems conference (University of Essex) – review

(The following review appeared in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies newsletter, October 2017)

From Friday 8 to Sunday 10 September 2017 the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies hosted an international interdisciplinary conference on ‘Holism: Possibilities and Problems’, which was part of the ‘“One world”: logical and ethical implications of holism’ project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  The conference attracted 49 speakers from at least 16 countries (Australia, China, Japan, India, USA, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Romania, Greece, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, and the UK).  The speakers included both established and emerging scholars and practitioners, who, reflecting the inherently interdisciplinary nature of holism, represented a wide range of disciplinary perspectives: ecology, education, history, literature, medicine, philosophy, physics, poetry, psychology, psychosocial and psychoanalytic studies, psychotherapy and counselling, theology and religion, and refugee studies, among others.  The conference included, on the Friday evening, a public talk, reading, and discussion by the internationally acclaimed poet Richard Berengarten (see photo).  The full conference programme can still be viewed at: https://oneworldprojectholism.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/panel-distribution-holism-conference-for-publication.pdf.

The Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies was well represented by current and former graduate students and members of permanent and visiting staff, including Dr David HendersonDr Mathew MatherDr Valeria MussoDr Christina SjostromDr James AnslowBob LanganDavid Guy,Orsi LukacsXiao You (‘Anais’)Camilla GiamboniniDr Christian McMillanProfessor Roderick MainDr Nasir Warfa, and Professor Megumi Yama.

For further details of the conference including conference feedback and evaluation follow the link below:


Roderick Main
David Henderson
Christian McMillan
R. Berengarten 1
Richard Berengarten








CHANGING: making poetry with and through the Yijing

Richard Berengarten (Friday 8th September, University of Essex)

Publicity details: Public Talk – Richard Berengarten (Friday 8th September, The University of Essex)

Berengarten - Book cover - Changing


Entry to the lecture is free but you will need to book a ticket:


Eventbrite booking page


Those already registered for the Holism conference on the Friday do not need to register additionally for Richard’s talk.

Conference registration has now closed


Registration, registration packages, day rates and options are now open for the forthcoming conference: ‘Holism; possibilities and problems’. Please follow the links on the right (alternatively see ‘conferences’).

Further questions and queries can be addressed to Christian McMillan: ckhmcm@essex.ac.uk

Registration has now closed

Holism – possibilities and problems – time-table

Panel distribution – Holism conference – for publication

Conference opening and closing times:

Friday 8 September 2017: ARRIVAL: 12.30 – 14.00: Registration

Sunday 10th September 2017: 13.00 – 14.00: Lunch: DEPARTURE

Holism poster

Recent contributions to the IAJS conference – Cape Town (July 2017)

The Principle, Co-Investigator and Research officer of the ‘One World’ project recently attend the International Association of Jungian Studies conference in Cape Town, South Africa (July 27th – 30th, Centre for the Book). The title of the conference was ‘The Spectre of the Other’. The project team presented on panel to all the delegates. The title of the panel was ‘Jung, Deleuze and the Problematic whole’. Below is a selection of the material presented.

Jung, Deleuze, and the problematic whole

This panel is based on work undertaken by members of ‘“One world”: logical and ethical implications of holism’, a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) (https://oneworldprojectholism.wordpress.com; http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/projects?ref=AH/N003853/1).  The project aims to determine key strands of thinking underpinning contemporary holism, especially within the field of psychotherapy, and what ethical implications might most reasonably be drawn from such thinking.  It focuses on the influential but contrasting concepts of the whole in the works of the depth psychologist C. G. Jung and the post-structuralist philosopher Gilles Deleuze.  The three papers in this panel discuss resonances between the thought of Jung and Deleuze and their implications for the practice of psychotherapy (Henderson); a Deleuzian critique identifying fundamental limitations in Jung’s concept of the whole (McMillan); and the possibility of articulating a concept of the whole that remains consistent with Jung’s thought yet can answer the Deleuzian critique (Main).

Professor Roderick Main:

Creative holism: metaphysics for engaging otherness

There is deep resonance between the psychological thought of C. G. Jung (1875-1961) and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995), based variously on shared problems, common sources, and (from Jung to Deleuze) direct if concealed influence.  However, it has also been powerfully argued that Deleuze’s philosophy of difference and pure immanence can provide the basis for a fundamental critique of the concept of wholeness underpinning Jung’s psychological model, calling into question the ability of Jungian psychology genuinely either to be creative or to engage with otherness.  This paper explores whether this critique is answerable, either by refining Jung’s thought or by challenging the assumptions of the Deleuzian critique.  The paper focuses on the understanding and role of immanence and transcendence within each thinker’s model, comparing Deleuze’s more pantheistic concept of the whole, which aims at pure immanence, with Jung’s more panentheistic concept, which embraces both immanence and transcendence.  A site for this comparison is the influence on both Jung and Deleuze of Western esoteric thought.  Some key questions are whether Jung does indeed use transcendence as a means of placing favoured aspects of identity beyond change and so limiting his capacity for engaging otherness; whether pure immanence, as conceived by Deleuze, firstly is adequately theorised and secondly really does foster greater creativity and openness to alterity; and whether, overall, this encounter between the models of Jung and Deleuze can contribute to a more open concept of the whole and an enriched form of what may be termed creative holism.

Roderick Main – Creative holism

Dr David Henderson:

Deleuze and psychoanalysis

The uncanny experience of being reminded of Jung when one is reading Deleuze is expressed by Žižek in characteristically pithy fashion: “No wonder, then, that an admiration of Jung is Deleuze’s corpse in the closet; the fact that Deleuze borrowed a key term (rhizome) from Jung is not a mere insignificant accident – rather, it points toward a deeper link.” This deeper link has been more sympathetically explored by Kerslake, Semetsky and McMillan. Hallward observes, “If there is an analogue within the psychoanalytic tradition to Deleuze’s conception of the cosmos-brain it is not Lacan’s unconscious, but Jung’s cosmic consciousness.” Most academic work on the relationship between Deleuze and Guattari and psychoanalysis focuses on theoretical and personal links with Lacan. This paper explores resonance between the thought of Deleuze and Guattari and Jung, with particular focus on the practice of psychotherapy.

David Henderson – Deleuze and the Passive Synthesis of Time (power-point)

David Henderson – Deleuze and the Passive Synthesis of Time

Dr Christian McMillan

The basis of autonomy in Jung’s model of the psyche: the problematic of the Other as a ground of constitutive finitude

Is the Self a site of truly radical alterity? Is it a site of immanent ungrounding, the unconditioned of the condition? Or is the Self an overly structured foundation, one that does not fully extricate itself from what it conditions? These are primarily philosophical questions, which this paper seeks to address from a Deleuzian perspective. Scholarship on the status of the ‘Other’ in Analytical Psychology indicates competing accounts of its philosophical status in Jung’s thought. What kind of ‘otherness’ is incorporated into the ‘whole-Self’? Does this ‘whole’ contain implicit presuppositions that might logically serve to ‘erase’ otherness and difference? Whilst one can attempt to align the notion of Self and Other within a Levinasian discourse, this may not adequately represent its construction in Jung’s thought as either a transcendental postulate or thing-in-itself: two kinds of foundation for constitutive finitude which do not go far enough in safeguarding otherness/difference. In both accounts it is the status of ‘identity’ that is problematic in terms of the alterity or difference of otherness. Seeking to account for the unity-identity of the ‘whole’, it could be argued that the structure and dynamics of Jung’s model of the psyche logically prohibit (a priori) an overcoming or act of transcendence (Fichte, Heidegger) because the ‘whole’ always refers to a being external, outside or superior to the world which guarantees the continuity between the world of perception and the realm of transcendence. This attempt at guarantee, to ground constitutive finitude in a prior identity, closes the ‘gap’ between subject and transcendental subject.

Christian McMillan – IAJS pps