Forging our Individual and National Character: The Images of Anselm Kiefer as a Portal into the Nature of Conscience
In light of the personal and national shadow that shows itself in our politics, wars, and oppositional discourse, Jacqueline West has refocused her presentation in order to respond to what we are experiencing individually and collectively today.
Lecture: Jung offered us a compelling theory about the development of conscience. He suggested that conscience relies not only upon communal mores, but also upon an inner voice, upon one’s connection to the archetypal realms. He noted that these realms are often difficult to bear but that with analytic fortitude one could turn towards our shadows, ultimately forging a psychological wholeness. It was his insistent belief that by doing so, by turning towards the dark stirrings of the unconscious, we integrate destructive forces that otherwise remain split off, fueling injustice, chaos, and war. Jungian discourse about the emergence of conscience, along with clinical knowledge about the transformation of narcissism and the healing power of reconciliation processes, has further developed the idea that we can indeed forge flexible and strong character structures, both individually and collectively. These resilient structures, with conscience at their core, enable us to maintain a creative relationship to the destructive forces that have the potential to cast such large shadows in our lives. These reflections will be woven into a chronological review of the works of Anselm Kiefer that detail how an integrated conscience may emerge alchemically from the patient practice of nourishing a relationship between the opposites, individually and collectively.
Workshop: In this workshop, we’ll focus more specifically on the analytic processes involved in the transformation of narcissism. We’ll also delve into the evolutionary perspectives that emphasize the progressive development of collective empathy, cooperation, and altruism reflecting upon how their enhancement furthers our capacity to access choices with integrity. We’ll hold images from Kiefer as guides into the alchemical world that addresses the enlivening processes of living with the opposites. Into these reflections, we’ll weave writing exercises, as well as active imagination in order to explore the active presence of conscience.