Farewell Address: Luigi Zoja, IAAP President
Congress : August 2001 : Cambridge
Continuity is important, and I will start this address with a reference to the last two Presidents.
In his 1995 Farwell Address, President Tom Kirsch noted that the IAAP Constitution was basically the one of its origin – that is the 1950ies – and hoped for changes in it.
In her 1998 Farwell Address, President Kast underlined that many constitutional reforms had been set in place, aiming at more participation and shared democratic processes.
As it has been explained in detail in the last Newsletter - and as I have tried to summarize in my Report - also during this term the Executive Committee has been working hard in that direction. However, we have also realized new activities within the existing Constitution. Also in this sense continuity is important. For instance, calling the Council of Societies with much advance, has given it the possibility of having a really effective role. And splitting the Executive Committee into many Sub-Committees with specific tasks, has allowed better coordination and the accomplishment of much more work – of course, at the cost of supplementary work on the part of the Committees. Both things were not foreseen by IAAP Constitution. But the guiding principle has been the one of extending our functions and the sense of participation as much as possible, while bringing about new institutions and new constitutional formulations as little as possible. For the first time, IAAP has elected its Honorary Members. This type of membership was already in the Constitution, but had been never used. We have achieved this without new costs and without institutional changes.
Only in few instances it was unavoidable to touch our Constitution. For instance, you might have noticed the Art. 2 speaks of high standards of ethics. But this formulation, as it was not accompanied by constitutional instruments allowing to enforce it, risked remaining a lip service to ethics and was already exposing IAAP to criticisms from outside.
Keeping all this in mind, I hope to have guided the Executive Committee in a direction which is the continuation of important steps taken by the previous Presidents.
After this premise, I would like to expand on some reflections that I have published on recent occasions. This has to do with the understandable wish that IAAP should not be concerned only with IAAP institutions, but with Jungian analysis and Jungian thought in general. Indeed, with the role of analysis and of psychology in the broadest possible sense.
Part of those reflections were unavoidably inspired by the change of the Century and of the Millenium.
Speaking of the XX Century, I happened to use the term "the Century of analysis". Such a definition is neither totally new, nor totally true. But it helps us to make a point. During the XX Century, Western culture – which, through globalization, tends to become universal, world culture – has been revolutionized. And one of the revolutionary powers, whether we like it or not, has been psychoanalysis. Unlike Fascism and Communism – which have been powerfully revolutionary movements, but have been defeated, respectively, in a military and in an economic confrontation – but similarly to the technological revolution, the analytic movement has impregnated the culture of the XX Century to a point of no return. Literature has radically moved towards the description of the inner world, has almost given the inner dialogue a priority over the outer one. Painting has dropped figurative in favour of non-figurative styles: that is, in favour of psychological rather than sensorial perceptions. In favour of depictions not of an outer, but of an inner vision of the author. Also cinema has mostly become an expression of inner states, of dreams, of the unconscious. And so on. Artistic work became, to a great extent, a direct expression of the psyche of its author. Every relevant cultural expression has been funnelled through an "analytic channel". And, the other way round, an analytic point of view has acquired full citizenship and has become indispensable as an instrument for the evaluation of the products of our culture and our history.
In a way, we should be proud of this. Our small and peaceful army – basically led by Freud and Jung – has won a big "revolution", without spreading any blood.
Let us consider more specifically in what sequence this took place during the century.
The first half of it was dominated by the presence of the two masters. In spite of their dramatic split, and of the fact that – at least officially – they didn’t keep reading each other, their research reveals a common trend even after they parted.
After his first, typically clinical phase as a psychiatrist at the Burghölzli, Jung underwent a deep transformation. He re-emerged as a scholar not of psychopathology, but of general psychology. Not of specific situations, but of great collective symbols and themes: of these universal productions, which, in the end, he called archetypes. Freud remained predominantly clinical for a longer time. Yet, at a later phase, he trod with determination a path similar to that of Jung. Although, of course, he didn’t use the term archetype, he dealt with the big themes of our civilization (like War and Death) and collective symbols (like Moses).
Both masters moved from what is particular to what is universal. From what varies – the single case, the pathology, which is by definition a variation from the norm – to what is stable. They searched for archetypal foundations of human events. May be, the shift had to do with the fact that the two masters were getting old. What is unchangeably stable is associated with immortality. And getting older we become curious about immortality. May be, it had to do with the fact that both had become immensely famous, and were constantly asked to share their opinions about the world at large. In any case, it is undeniable that, in spite of their radical differences, they both were attracted in a similar direction.
This responded to a dramatic collective need. Shattered in depth by two world wars, by the Communist Revolution, by the atomic weapons, the world was longing for a new stability and for unifying factors. This engagement on their part contributed, on its turn, to their fame and to the enormous influence of depth psychology over the century.
Let me now sum up how, on the contrary, I have viewed the evolution of Jungian psychology after the death of its founder.
During the first generation following that date, the expression "symbolic versus clinical" was often heard in Jungian milieus. The two polarities had almost come to represent, on their turn, two symbolic parents of the international Jungian movement. They expressed the tension of two opposites, which were still united by a creative confrontation. This lasted roughly until the Jerusalem Congress, whose title was precisely Symbolic and Clinical Approaches.(1983)
By then, things has started to change. In some countries, universities and other institutions, private and public, had started to be interested in Jungian analysis and to set up departments of analytical psychology: of course, departments of clinical training. In other countries, laws regulating psychotherapy were being enforced: those laws, for the first time, defined psychotherapy, and defined it as a clinical activity. Research centres had started verifications on the clinical effectiveness of the various school of psychotherapeutic thought: and health insurances were exerting pressure in the same direction, in order to save on repayments. All these institutionalisations could be summarized as aspects of a growing clinical competition. Analysis, once an individual endeavour, had become a market phenomenon. In most countries – I am roughly speaking of the last two decades of the century – the psychotherapeutic market begun to be overcrowded not only by psychoanalytic schools, but by new kinds of psychotherapies. These had mostly poor cultural basis, but boasted about rapidity and effectiveness of results. For the first time, analysts really started facing unemployment. Clinical institutionalization, and clinical competition started being reflected in debates, congresses, publications centred more around the treatment aspects of Jungian psychology. The newly graduated analysts received an indirect, but clear message: in a pionneering situation, an analyst can be clinical, symbolic, archetypal. In a competing market, an analyst should first of all impress with clinical skills.
By the end of the century, the clinical had won over the symbolic within the Jungian family. Training activities reflected this change in every continent. With a bit of exaggeration, we could say that the polarities had been separated. The tension of the opposites had dissolved. The symbolic parents had divorced: and custody of the symbolic child – analytical psychology – had been given to the clinical one.
In the new situation, Jungians were often at odds more than Freudians and neo-Freudians, as they had been traditionally less equipped with [primarily] clinical tools.
One way of seeing the new trend would be to consider it a return to the origins. After all, as we have recalled, both Freud and Jung started their work strictly as clinicians. And their involvment with great collective themes was encouraged by exceptionally tragic times and by the exceptional prestige they enjoyed as maitres à penser. We now live in more peaceful times. We are a generation of followers and, as it usually happens, do better than the previous one in quantity but not necessarily in quality. Who among us has enough authority to speak about the great themes and symbols of our times? So, our endeavours gradually have taken the opposite direction than the founding fathers. From the universal, we are going back to the particular. From what is stable – the archetypes and the collective symbols in which they express themselves – to what is variation: to the pathology – which is variation from the norm – to the evolutionary psychology – which is variation throughout growth.
All this, after all, seems in keeping with a great trend of the Western World, and of the globalisation which administrates it to the rest of the world: a tendency towards individualism, disengagement from big collective themes, refuge into private dimensions and specialization.
The conclusion could be that the Jungian analysts have gradually chosen to reverse the path of their founder, and to go back: from what is fixed, stable and eternal, to what expresses variation.
From archetypes and symbols to clinical interests.
However, this is not the case. We are not watching a free choice on the part of the analytical psychologists. All the factors we have mentioned a minute ago – institutions, universities, laws, market – are sociological, cultural, political and, above all, economical factors. Not by chance have we spoken of clinical competition. Of the two words, the decisive one is competition, which holds the clinical in its grips. The change does not stem from an internal debate of Jungian psychology. It does not express a preference, a choice of ours. It is produced by external forces over which we hardly have any control. Although, of course, we might adjust to their trend. The next generation of Jungians, having by then grown up in a milieu dominated by a clinical debate, might even not be aware that external, non- analytical factors have pushed in that direction.(See also the interview released by Fred Plaut at this Congress).
Allow me once more to make reference to something I have written about. Another couple of opposites, which has been creatively parenting analytical psychology, is the couple "unity versus pluralism". Unlike the Freudian school, which has often suffered from a need to produce a unitarian thinking, and has been at times called monotheistic, Jungian thought has been referred to as polytheistic – and not by chance it loves to use pagan classical divinities for its amplifications. Actually, the flexibility of Jungian thought possesses an innate predisposition to allow almost unrestrained pluralism, and yet to keep its unity. Even overly independent personalities, and founders of almost autonomous schools of thought, like Fordham and Hillman, didn’t show an interest in starting organizations of their own. They remained faithful to IAAP.
But with time, and within the IAAP – thanks to the traditional individualistic tendencies of us Jungians and to the growing competition we have referred to – societies of analytical psychology kept multiplying. Not only in big countries, like the States, but in small ones, like Belgium. Not only in the same country, but in the same city. Here too, the pair of opposites seem not to hold together any more. The polarities have been split and unrestrained pluralism seems to have won. When I wrote a similar consideration for the Newsletter, I didn’t yet know that the agenda for this Delegates Meeting would list 14 new applications from societies: that is, approximately 40% of those already existing. If such a geometric growth were to continue during every 3 years term, within IAAP the number of societies would soon rise above the number of existing analysts!
To flesh out our reflections, it is interesting to consider the result of the debate between IRS and CASJA (T. Kirsch, The Jungians, chapter 7). CASJA – that is the majority of the American Societies – wanted to put certain limits to the establishment of new training groups within the States. Yet, the opposite point of view prevailed, because those limits would clash with the freedom of trade ensured by the American legislation. Once again, it is worth noticing that we are speaking of a freedom of trade: not a freedom of the psyche. Like in the case of the victory of the clinical competition, we are watching a gradual domination of market realities over our psychological reality. We are not watching the victory of a certain school of psychological thought, but that of the Chicago boys: the victory of a school of economic thought, fostering a radical freedom of trade.
I have recently moved to a new country, the United States. There, I have watched a phenomenon, totally new to me, which some New York colleagues call "shopping for analysis". A potential client rings you for an appointment. When he/she shows up, you will find that the potential client has a list of many, many potential analysts: Freudians, Jungians; male, female; located downtown or uptown, and so on. He/she will get in touch with all of them, enquiring about fees and repayments from health insurances. Correctly, from his/her point of view. But not so incorrectly, some other colleagues argue that precisely such a careful potential client usually ends up choosing the wrong analyst: because he sets the objectively measurable criteria of efficiency and economicity above personal feelings. Above personal identity. He hasn’t yet started analysis, but he has already started working against individuation. (Let me reject a possible European objection: "it is an American excess". It is an excess of respect for efficiency and economy typical of the post-modern era, or of the XXI century. It doen’s matter how we want to call it: what matters is that you will soon find it all over the world). Shopping is an economic attitude, which has been legitimately expanded onto other fields, including ours: as it is well demonstrated by my country, Italy, where the richest of all citizens has recently decided to go shopping for the political power and, while keeping to the rules of the game, has acquired it.
Of course, excesses have their shadow, and such a shadow might take its revenge. Elsewhere, I have written about the most impressive and fast creation of a "new country". Europe. Never before such an imperial power had been pulled together in such a short time. And by streams of money, not by streams of blood. But precisely here lies the problem. Europe is, substantially, the economy of Europe. Not much more. Where is the myth of Europe and where is the European collective unconscious harbouring it? Of course, a mythic Europe exists, but she hasn’t much in common with the present one. Even the European anthem celebates Freude, (joy), not Europe. Jung reiterated that myths and the collective unconscious are no less real than material facts. But the Eurocrates are interested only in efficiency and economy. The paradox is that precisely that onesidedness in favour of the material dimension, is responsible for many malfunctions of European institutions; and, finally, for the weakness of its currency, the Euro. Economic values are values which non-economic fields have been more and more compelled to incorporate: but in the end they can damage economy itself, because the individuals – who will exist and decide – tend to mistrust the one-sided overevalutation of economy and the absence of a soul in it. (in other words: I consider the "revolt" against Europe the rejection of Europe, as the big test in preparation for the revolt against globalization).
Let’s come back to our field. Efficiency is an extra-psychological value, which psychology has been compelled to incorporate also in the form of research on the healing effectiveness of the various form of therapy. Jung would have loved to express one of his paradoxical statements about this: for instance, he often considered psychic symptoms a blessing, therefore their elimination not necessarily welcome; or, the purpose of analysis might be a search for meaning more than a search for healing; and so on. We, now, cannot easily afford similar statements. In our mouth they would sound like the fox speaking about the grapes. Like paradoxes, which are cynical more than provocative and creative. Like refusals of our "here and now". We have to accept that our field isn’t any more – and will never be again – a purely psychological field. The dinamics taking place in it will be unpure: forever melted with pragmatic, materialistic ones.
We don’t know, of course, what will be the fate of analysis, and of Jungian psychology, in the XXI century. Yet, we can anticipate that its pioneering and revolutionary age is over. Its century of grace is over. Analysis has ceased to be a major factor among cultural trends. It is, on the contrary, on the defensive, visibly undergoing the influence of radically different trends. In other words: in the culture of the XX century, analysis was one of the shaping factors. In the XXI, it must accept other dominating, opposed influences: for instance – besides of course the all pervading influence of economy – the biologistic ideology in psychiatry, the new psychopharmacology and so on. We cannot go back to a golden age. Like a river, the stream of history knows only one direction. We have to live with the excesses of competition and the excesses of attempts to measure our efficiency. This does not necessarily imply a tragic loss. It might, on the contrary, help us to lose a possible omnipotence. If we were to speak always of the meaning and never of the efficiency of analysis, we could risk inflation. Efficiency is not a psychological quality in itself, but it is objectively measurable; and this deflates us and washes away a certain temptation of "supermanism" – latent in analytical psychology probably through the deep influence Nietzsche had on its beginning. Jungian psychology has given so much to the culture of the XX century precisely because of its capacity of criss-crossing in depth history and society. Of dwelling deeply in them and analysing their sufferings. It would be a denial of this historical role to set us apart from history. Let’s therefore consciously contaminate our hands with efficiency and other "new trends".
Analytical psychology should have, in the new century, a less visible but not necessarily less important role than in the old one. We cannot go back to the predominance of symbols and archetypes of our bemoaned origins. But we also cannot accept the total dominance of the clinical approach bound to efficiency in results, which could imply a loss of our specificity, and possibly turn psychotherapy into a passive object in the grasp of economy. We have no choice but to restore the couple, leading to the undivided dynamic duality of clinical and symbolic.
Also the one-sided predominance of plurality over unity should not be accepted uncritically. Of course, there are usually plenty of good and constructive reasons for the creation of a new society. Yet, the fact that we create new groups much more easily than, for instance, the Freudians, leaves some questions open. First, we should ask ourselves if we value unity less, and why. Secondly, we should ask ourselves if there isn’t an unconfessed, even unconscious tendency to setting up a new group with the fantasy that it will represent the "really Jungian thought" or the "really Jungian Legacy", or something similar. After all, this might be the shadow side of the great Jungian tolerance and acceptance of pluralism. An unconscious arrogance, a drive not towards power, but towards pseudo-aristocratic isolation. What could be also unconscious in this tendency, is that this refuge is a hoped-for "purity" corresponds pretty much to a typical, more general trend of our "new age". A sudden reaction to the insecurity provoked by the accelerated globalization. This has been already foreseen by authors as different as O. Paz or S. Hungtindon. The too quick modernization we are watching, causes the reappearance of fundamentalism. A new closure into old sects. In spite of its appearance of return to religion, Jung wouldn’t have liked it. However, it is a tendency the new generation will probably have to live with.
Many thinkers are trying to characterize the new era we are entering. Same say that the most typical feature of the dawn of our new century is a tendency to union: what quickly unites us, like the internet. I find that this is not so new and, unfortunately, not so irreversible. Global communication and global trade had in many ways already been started by the Spanish fleet more than 4 centuries ago. But it was then broken down by conflicts among European nations. It was again in full steam one century ago: you could for instance travel the whole of Europe without passport. Yet, European nationalisms and wars destroyed again that tendency to union.
In a way, I find that a remarkable, and surprising, trait of the new age is, unfortunately, rather a new tendency to divisions and intolerance. To what divides us, more than to what unites us.
Two gigantic statues of Buddha had lived for thousands of years in what is nowadays Afganistan. They lived untouched through different dominations, different religions, and so on. It was only at the dawn of the XXI century that the Talebans destroyed them in a few minutes with their machine-guns.
Jungian psychology is the main instrument we have acquired for the understanding of the tragic human tendency to division. It should not be allowed to become a factor of division in itself.
Copyright Luigi Zoja 2001
IAAP Congress - Cambridge - August 2001