Our Promethean Debt

Jeffrey Kiehl

“… our progressiveness, though it may result in a great many delightful wish-fulfillments, piles up an equally gigantic Promethean debt which has to be paid off from time to time in the form of hideous catastrophes.” – C.G. Jung, (CW 9i, par. 276)

The past few years full of ‘hideous catastrophes’ have brought on overwhelming feelings of fear, anxiety, and deep suffering. In times like these, hope is a word that fades from our imagination. How do we find meaning in our fragmented world? Is hope even possible? The story of Prometheus provides a rich, complex narrative that has captured the imagination of poets and artists for millennia. Its origins date back to a time of difficult struggles within ancient Greece. Using this Greek myth, we will delve into the archetypal themes of trickery, theft, fire and hope to better understand psychologically our current world of catastrophes. Reflecting on the Promethean myth sheds light on how a semblance of order may arise from our current state of chaos. More details.

Working with the Promethean Complex

In this workshop we will dig deep into the myth of Prometheus to better understand how our increasing focus on progress and technology has led to our chaotic world. Using stories and images we will explore ways to work with and through our Promethean complex. The Promethean complex leads to rich creativity, but also catastrophic destruction. As such, it is imperative we consciously engage with this complex to learn how trickery, thievery, and hubris influence us. We also consider how technology affects our daily lives and the psychological debt we accrue due to our increasing involvement with technology. Finally, we will explore the mythic motif of the superhero in its varied modern forms and how this motif influences our personal and collective lives. More details.

Jeffrey Kiehl, Ph.D., is a Diplomate Jungian Analyst and senior training analyst for the C.G. Jung Institute of Colorado and the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. He has an M.A. in psychology. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an adjunct faculty member of Pacifica Graduate Institute, where he teaches a course on Ecopsychology. He carried out basic research on climate change for forty years. He is the author of Facing Climate Change: An Integrated Path to the Future, which provides a Jungian perspective on climate change. Jeffrey has presented on various Jungian topics at national and international conferences. He lives in Santa Cruz, CA.