Hi everyone,

I would like to propose that our Board issue a public statement against the racism and intolerance we see so much of in the media and politics of today. Your critical feedback is appreciated. If we don't achieve a quorum on this I can issue it myself as President of the Alliance, but I'd prefer to have the Board behind me on such an important issue.

A few things about this:

Although I do NOT want the Alliance to support any particular political agenda, I do believe we should have a public voice in matters that transcend politics, and racism is one of them. A public statement can show our relevance, vision, and passion. My hope is to set a precedent for this. So if you see another cultural issue that needs some illumination, feel free to send Bonnie and me a paragraph or two on what it is, how it reflects our values, how it demonstrates our relevance, and how it speaks to our sense of community and to opening up possibilities for inner and outer wholeness and liberation.

Please let me know what you think by Dec. 14th. Thank you!

Public Statement by the Administrative Board of the Depth Psychology Alliance to call for action against racism and xenophobia in American politics, media, and law enforcement procedures

Although implied in the very name of “United States,” the ideal of appreciating diverse lifestyles and points of view comes under escalating attack, here and abroad, by the political and digital amplification of intolerant voices. Media intended for public expression and edification have been hijacked by well-funded political machines invested in scapegoating to further their dominance.

Targets of opportunity include immigrants from Syria and other lands destabilized by decades of Western interference, Muslim citizens who no longer feel safe at home or in mosques where they peacefully gather for prayer, and African Americans assassinated in the streets by the very agents of law enforcement who should be keeping them safe. All three of these groups are routinely branded “terrorists,” directly or through innuendo, by US news agencies, talk show hosts, and radio personalities who spread fear and hatred. Donald Trump’s demand that Muslims be specially tagged, with their private information stored in a security database, is merely a more flamboyant example of the tide of vilification.

The Depth Psychology Alliance was founded to promote psychological practices and ideas that seek to include what has been exiled from the margins of consciousness and culture. Because we take these values seriously, and because our work shows that inner and outer diversity are both inseparable and required for psychological and social well-being, our Administrative Board unequivocally rejects the above and all similar examples of racism and xenophobia.

We call upon everyone to avoid supporting any political candidate, media organization, or financial institution that conducts or abets what in a healthy country would be unthinkable acts of white supremacy, domestic terror, and hate speech. Such harmful behavior divides not only the wholeness of our country, but our interior wholeness as well and is therefore contradictory to the principles of personal and cultural fairness, balance, and unity.

Furthermore, we issue this call to encourage everyone to denounce such behavior in person and online and to engage in sustained self-reflection to heal the psychological legacy of racism that still lives inside us. Only by taking decisive action imbued with critical self-inquiry and animated by appreciation for difference can we hope to reach the truly just and inclusive forms of community we deserve and most truly desire.

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  • Thanks for writing this up and sharing for feedback Craig. I do have the growing sense that we are very close to a cross-roads where the eruptions of the unconscious if gone untended much longer, will result in irrevocable chaos and and destruction. I support your message and for now only have these few suggestions and reflections:

    -Maybe the name of a political candidate like Trump removed, would help allay the sense that we are going political.

    -I very much like the idea of offering a dissenting or modified view offered by anyone that has the sense that they cannot stand behind a consensus voice. This is great modeling of not marginalizing any voices.

    -Can something more be said in the statement about our support of personal inquiry on these ideas....perhaps..."We also encourage watchfulness for acts and feelings of supremacy, terror and hatred in our personal lives--towards self and other, ideas, people and groups."

    -I like the idea of language-ing for more positive statements also.



  • Great idea Craig, and a wonderfully crafted statement.

    My only two cents would be to begin your first paragraph with some clear, unambiguous summing up statement. Even something as simple as "Racism must not be tolerated." My experience is that many will not take the time to read a nuanced argument all the way through. The more clearly stated our position and purpose at the very beginning of the piece, the more impact our 'manifesto' might have.

    As far as Michael's position, I wonder if we could post Craig's statement as a group statement and then have a spot for individual board members to weigh in...allowing for something like the Supreme Court's 'dissenting opinion.' Also, in response to Michael's concerns, I could see more explicitly making this a 'call to consciousness,' and stating that point as a driving concern. I, too, do not want to get into politics in any way, but to encourage self-reflection and a general raising of consciousness.

    Other than that, I think it's great as is. I do see your main concern as being a call to become more conscious about morally reprehensible behavior, and as such, I'm all for it!

    All the best,

    • Thanks so much, James. I like these ideas and particularly appreciate your clarification of what the heart of the statement should be. Upon rereading it this morning I felt that the statement was a lot of "no" and not much "yes," a lot of against and not enough for.

  • Craig: I support the idea if taking a stand on behalf of those who are oppressed or marginalized 200%, and welcome everyone's input before we actually go live with the statement.

    Thanks, Michael, for weighing in. I have to say, I don't personally get the impression that the statement Craig suggests above supports an political agenda and would also be against it if I did.

    However, I realize we can't say it's coming from Depth Psychology Alliance if even one of us actively disagrees support the notion that it provides more value for us to speak up at all rather than remaining silent. Michael--perhaps none of us knows you well enough to be able to create language and perspectives you condone, so I look forward to more of your own contributions to exactly such initiatives. On that note, maybe you can suggest an addendum or specific changes to Craig's original document here that would me more acceptable in your view--and perhaps to that of others. This is the right time for all of us to weigh in, for we do, indeed represent a microcosm of the larger Alliance constituency, so what happens here in this group might also be very telling about our larger membership.

    I have no doubt we'll be able to finesse something relevant and meaningful to the Board, which is at least somewhat representative of our membership and I look forward to seeing it shape up so we can broadcast it when it's ready. I also agree that it's virtually impossible for us as humans in general to separate ourselves from mythic assumptions as they are embedded in us from the moment we are born. Perhaps if we can bracket them more explicitly, we will all benefit--and I hope Michael and everyone will be increasingly present in the live community conversations such as the one James hosted last Saturday on the topic so we can bring exactly these kinds of debates into the general larger community forum.

    More broadly, not only am I in favor of such an initiative (especially if it can be broadly finessed and supported by the board, I would suggest that the Alliance should make short public statements on an ongoing basis in support of the oppressed or for emotional support etc. anytime there is a major event that takes place. Even one public Alliance-sanctioned paragraph acknowledging terror attacks, natural disasters, or global events (like Paris Climate talks) that is posted in the Forum and on social media—and maybe inviting people to visit the Ritual group in order to offer a note, a wish, a poem or image, etc.— would help make us more relevant and connected to contemporary events, as well as invite interaction (where there is little or none taking place in our Forum or Facebook group today).

    What if one or more of us wrote a sentence (or a few) each time something that seems important happens and we agree on it and post it in solidarity, coming from us as an organization? How might we make a difference in the world then? Just asking the question....

    • Thanks, Bonnie. I prefer this kind of feedback to the sort that leaves me feeling like I'm being accused of something, although I can hear and work with both. I appreciate and agree with your statement here. Cheers--

  • Greetings fellow archetypal enthusiasts…

    I cannot support this statement as it is worded here. The "facts" and archetypal patterns, as I see them, are much more complex and nuanced. I will not supply details as there are so many separate issues commingled in the declaration; to make a concise coherent response is impossible. A living ongoing conversation would be more a propos.

    I perceive the above declaration as a socio-politically driven agenda that turns archetypal psychology into a system affirming certain doctrines that may not be questioned. I am very familiar with such approaches. Twenty years ago I left the evangelical Christian movement because they required me to sign a doctrinal statement, supported by incontrovertible "facts" and truths that froze their socio-political (and theological) conservative system. I left and became a "liberal" by default. I certainly knew I was done with the “fundies”. After twenty years as a "liberal", however, I have come to see that humans in general (left and right) are compelled to establish their socio-political views upon basic mythical/ archetypal assumptions, and derive their socio-political expressions from said mythic assumptions. Every person and group has an assumed, “In the beginning (fill in the blank)…”. The above declaration is based on particular mythic assumptions—not incorrect as much as one-sided, but assumptions that can and need be challenged. But once stated and signed, there is virtually no room for questioning those assumptions, and there are several in my mind. So here I am again, suddenly feeling like a heretic for disagreeing with a potential doctrinal statement. The cold chill of censorship ran through me: “If you dissent, you will be labeled a racist, Islamophobic and lacking compassion,” none of which is remotely true.

    I entered into Depth Psychology because I saw the potential for creating a research and dialogical space among kindred souls who could disagree mightily, yet come together to challenge the mythical assumptions and political conclusions that give rise to our radically divergent socio-political passions. I had hoped our examinations would be honest, heated and as thrilling as all of the great mythic epics found on every continent. But I fear this declaration tells me what I must agree to in order to be a part of this board. The point is that I have many questions about certain mythical as well as historical assumptions written into the statement. I am tempted to give specifics, but the questions and disagreements I find with the above statement are too complex to put in a few sentences.

    I would have no problem signing onto a statement that called for an examination of racism and xenophobia as part of the human condition, with a view to having separate conversations about Black issues, Islamic issues, Imperialist politics, human xenophobia, etc. as they intersect with mythemes and our joint human endeavor of soul-making. But mixing these controversial issues together with such broad accusations and sweeping conclusions is not what I see as the job of a Depth Psychological Alliance; at least not for those of us who believe there are other archetypal, historical and philosophical ways of seeing the same issues. There is more truth to be mined from these issues than the partial truths expressed in the statement.

    I talked with Bonnie a few months ago and said I would happily move off of the board as I felt I was standing in the way of a political agenda rather than being a participant in an archetypal exploration of all sides of such issues. She assured me that I was wrong, however, the above statement seems to confirm my hunch. If the DPA wants to become a socio-political party, I am thrilled to see you go in that direction. But it is not something I can be a part of or support or promote as an alliance of depth psychologists.

    K…nuf from me. I hate to poop on the party, but James Hillman has helped me to remember the sign he had on his desk with a saying from Jose Ortega y Gasset: “Why write, if this too easy activity of pushing pen across paper is not given a certain bull-fighting risk and we do not approach dangerous, agile and two horned topics.”

    Blessings to all,

    Michael Bogar

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for taking the time for this response.

      I understand not wanting to ride the cart of doctrinaire statements, and perhaps my statement could be worded differently (which is why I asked for feedback). But I don't feel the censorship part belongs to either me or to the statement. I have no impulse to label anyone anything who disagrees with it. I have no intention of being in a "socio-political party." I also don't see that anyone has to agree to anything to remain part of the Board.

      I agree about the complexity of the issues. I also remember the psychologists who were silent when the APA decided to create secret torture regimens for the Bush Administration, and the Nazi engineers who were silent about the ovens. No doubt there are many ways to see these events, just as there are many ways to see what the police have been doing to black people for two centuries now. For myself I must take a stand on these because to me they are atrocities. I don't expect others to agree. So, as I mentioned, I'm OK with making this my statement rather than the Board's.

  • ps My partner (who is a woman of color by the way) suggests replacing "we call upon" with something more like a recommendation to consider the ramifications of supporting etc. Less directive.

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