Société Française de Psychologie Analytique
It is a pleasure and an honour for me to welcome you to the Sixteenth International Congress of Analytical Psychology. And my pleasure is heightened all the more because today we have come together in Barcelona. I love Barcelona, and I am sure you will too. This town has memory. This evening, thanks to our colleagues at the Sociedad Española de Psicologia Analitica, and notably to Pere Segura, we will be together at Santa Maria del Mar. I am sure you will be taken aback, like myself, by the strong and immediate presence of the past, of history, in this church which makes us live today as we were in the twelfth century. And no doubt later we will walk around the old, medieval quarter of Barcelona, which also, in its own quite labyrinthine way, is living before our eyes at each step. In this town the past is present. And alive.
But Barcelona is an emerging town as well. A most audacious and inventive modernity permeates everywhere. You will see this while walking in the new highly active districts that are developing between where we are and the historical centre. This town is inventing its social, political, and cultural future. Indeed I believe that one of the marked characteristics of our modern and democratic societies is that they are being called now to consider their past and invent their future, notably through the establishment of the most creative relationships possible amongst themselves and between themselves and the world.
Barcelona is creating its future. Surprised by what is happening to it, what it is becoming. Without ever losing sight of Montserrat, Gaudi, Picasso, Miro, or contemporary design, which already has a history here.
This town, Barcelona, is a fitting place to consider memory and emergence, the theme of this congress. But do not assume that I am inviting you to wander around town rather than attend and participate in the work of our conference!
On the theme of memory and emergence, our Program Committee, under the active and expert authority of Beverley Zabriskie, is offering us matter that will nourish and give joy to us, and that we will confront so as to work energetically and efficiently, I hope, in order to evaluate our heritages, to recognise the most promising springs of our thought and our clinical experience today, and to prepare the way for our future research and practice.
What, then, are the principal questions that preoccupy us today, and the principal perspectives that are open to us for tomorrow? What are the principal challenges that we must meet when we consider what concerns us most directly as Jungian analysts?
For my part, I shall briefly evoke three such challenges that it seems to me are particularly urgent and crucial to acknowledge, from among all those we are confronted with daily. You will no doubt find others from your own experience, in your own thought, and in the program of this congress. Perhaps we will come back to them at the end of the five days we are to spend here meeting and working together.
I am often taken aback by our diversity, by the very different ways we have of being Jungians. Today – and this has been the case since the beginning of our movement – a Jungian analyst can read journals, attend conferences, use bibliographies that another colleague, quite as Jungian as the first, does not use, because he attends to other things, has other references, and even sometimes another vocabulary, and another way of talking.
And yet they are both Jungian analysts – it is difficult to confuse either of them with a Freudian analyst, a Lacanian analyst, or a Kleinian.
What do we have radically in common then, over and above our manifest differences? Can we content ourselves in saying that what we have in common is evidently our reference to Jung and to the history of our movement? I think not, even though, undeniably, one of the functions of our conferences is to attend to the transmission and deepening of our relationship to the initial and founding work of Jung, and our own history from its origins to the present day, which is why we will dedicate time over the next few days to the rediscovery and revisiting of the encounters of Eranos.
But referring to Jung and the continuity of our history is not enough, is no longer enough, to characterise our Jungian specificity, any more than referring to Freud would be sufficient to define what Freudian analysis is today.
In fact, the question of knowing what it is that we have in common brings us, I think, to the essential point. That is to say the necessity for us to express and explain as clearly as possible the ways in which one or another of us, despite the diversity of our respective references and orientations in the framework of the Jungian movement, conceive of and practice the relationship to the unconscious.
This work of expression and explanation is underway. During this congress we will see, I think, how and in what way our manner of approaching the unconscious, with the conditions of our clinical practice, our ways of interpreting, and even our ways of theorising, is a live and lively force, animated by our taste for symbolic life, and oriented by our sense of long-term processes that tend fundamentally towards individuation.
And I am sure that we will see increasingly clearly how ethics, an ethical attitude, is at the heart of our approach – and this is true, let me emphasise again, for all of the diverse orientations within our Jungian movement.
This attention given to our differences has all sorts of practical consequences: when we are conceiving and organising the training of our future analysts, for example. Or when we have to work at the development and renewal of our institutions, that, in their great wisdom, have always held the characteristic of being federal, which is a fairly good way of coming together and organising ourselves within our diversity.
The first challenge to meet is then, for me, the expression of our identity and the organisation of our unity. It is an internal challenge.
The second challenge concerns, in my opinion, our relationships with our closest colleagues and neighbours. So during this congress a panel will be devoted to our current debates with our Freudian cousins. Several other panels will of course be dedicated to our relationships and interactions with the neurosciences, and also with sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines and fields of research. And you certainly know that our exchanges with our many colleagues who teach and do research at universities but are not necessarily analysts now have a new framework outside our trienniel conferences: the International Association for Jungian Studies, which will hold its second conference next June in Texas. In addition, we have progressively put also in place collaborations with other allied organisations.
In this spirit of exchange, collaboration and action with our closest cousins and neighbours, we will also have the occasion to meet certain psychotherapists from different schools, because we will need to study and discuss with them diverse social, legal and regulatory contexts for our profession today.
The third challenge leads us to look further, both in time and space, towards the countries of Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia in particular, and towards our medium and long term future.
What will the theory and practice of analysis be twenty or thirty years from now? And what will they be in regions of the world that have neither the same history, nor the same culture, nor the same living conditions as ours today?
Our thought and practice were born in the heart of old Europe, and so far have been developed in the West. Will it be sufficient to globalise our achievements, our rules and criteria? Or can we not expect that our colleagues and trainees in other regions of the world will be able to teach us their ways of thinking, talking and working?
Here we are truly at the edge of our experience, as the theme of our conference would have it. I am talking about our Developing Groups throughout the world – we now have sixteen – and also our Individual Members, and indeed the perspective of future new Societies in the regions of the world where we were not present just a little while ago.
This, I believe, is one of the current strengths of our international Association. We will have many occasions to talk about it during this congress. And we will see, I think, that to think, feel and communicate in Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, certainly introduces another most creative diversity into our profession as analysts. To sum up, the occasion of these three challenges we face has led me to speak of our unity and our diversity, of differences and exchanges. I hope that this conference will be as polyglot as possible, and polyphonic, and that because of this we will have all the more pleasure in listening to each other.
And since we are in Barcelona, I will try to say it in Catalan: “Siguem poliglotes. I siguem-ho ben junts.” (“Let us be polyglot. And polyglot together.”)