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April 8 – 9, 2011: Glen Slater

Technology brings many gifts, but the constant innovation and change have a psychological cost. We can become disoriented or distracted and lose sight of the inner compass. Finding our direction in these liquid times is a challenge—a challenge that’s only going to deepen . . .

Until recently, our gadgets have remained largely external and have not directly altered our basic nature. Today, however, we stand on the threshold of reengineering our essential being. For large numbers of people cyberspace has already begun to replace everyday life. Devices designed to further the adaptation of mind and body to the computer world are already in the works. Chip implants beneath our skin will soon be commonplace. Around these innovations lies a sea of developments in psychotropic medication, genetic engineering, plastic surgery and robotics, all aiming to transform the very fabric of our existence.

The impact these changes will make on the psyche is an unexplored question. Uncovering the shadow side of this ultimate makeover seems critical, but simply turning back may not be an option. How then are we to respond?

Lecture: Jung was leery of technology. He once said, “civilized man . . . is in danger of losing all contact with the world of instinct,” adding that this loss “is largely responsible for the pathological condition of contemporary culture.” In this lecture Jung’s understanding of instinctual life and psychological wellbeing will be discussed in light of impending technologies. We’ll try to find our psychological feet in the face of this tinkering with Nature.    

Workshop: The history of psychopathology is curiously linked to industrialization and the mechanizing of life. In this workshop we’ll take a look back at the cultural-historical weave of technology and depth psychology, and then consider how Jungian perspectives have been working to compensate for the culture’s increasing speed and incessant innovation. Together, we’ll reflect on ways to preserve soul in the face of these changes and explore how technology might support rather than erode our psychic foundations. Cinematic images will be used to aid this exploration.     


Glen Slater, Ph.D., has studied and trained in religious studies and clinical psychology. For the past 15 years he has taught Jungian and archetypal psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in California. He edited and introduced the third volume of James Hillman’s Uniform Edition, Senex and Puer, as well as a volume of essays by Pacifica faculty, Varieties of Mythic Experience, (with Dennis Patrick Slattery). He has also contributed a number of essays to Spring journal, where he is the film review editor. He now lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington and is writing a book on depth psychology and new technologies.

Technology and Soul: Living at the Turning Point
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