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October 13-14, 2000: Thomas Singer

Lecture: George Bush, the elder, did not have in mind the fundamental interconnectedness of myth, politics and psyche when he inadvertently coined the phrase "the vision thing." Yet, the very awkwardness of Bush’s phrase points to the inherent tension between the real and the visionary between the conscious and unconscious. Indeed, the "vision thing" problem is at the heart of ongoing paradoxes in our individual and collective lives and in our mythological and political orientations. This lecture will explore the "vision thing" through examples from contemporary American and international political conflicts.

Workshop: Building on the basic premises of the lecture, this workshop will explore in greater depth the relationships between mythology, politics and psyche. Drawing from several essays in The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World, we will explore the complex intermingling of mythological themes, psychological forces and political conflicts in contemporary life. Everywhere we look — be it politics, sports, economics or entertainment — the experience of our individual and collective lives is permeated by the interplay of myth and psyche. The workshop will examine several "case studies" that tease out these relationships. Some of the material includes: the feminine in politics; race relations in America; ethnic conflict in Bosnia and Pol Pot’s Cambodian genocide; the relationship between myth and vision in leadership; the link between Alexander the Great and cyberspace; and the challenge of practicing politics in the economic myth. Even the Wizard of Oz has an honored place in the exploration of The Vision Thing.


Thomas Singer, M.D. is a Jungian analyst, Chair of Extended Education at the C.G. Jung Institute in San Francisco and author. Educated at Princeton University and the Yale Medical School, Dr. Singer’s most recent book, The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World (Routledge), is a collection of essays that features an essay by Senator Bill Bradley on the role of vision and myth in leadership. His other books areWho’s The Patient Here? Portraits of the Young Psychotherapist and A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Fever: The Official Medical Reference.

The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World
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