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Robert Romanyshyn

Teacher, Writer and Psychotherapist - Jungian Psychology and Phenomenology

Inner Journeys in the Outer World

Please preview my DVD It will help awaken the ancient bonds between us and the living soul of the world.

You can purchase it here.
 

Excerpt of a lecture based on the DVD

In this Jung Platform lecture excerpt, Robert explores the intertwining of psyche and nature in the context of the ecological crisis of the melting polar ice.

Robert is an Emeritus Professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Author of seven books including his most recent Leaning toward the Poet: Eavesdropping on the Poetry of Everyday Life, numerous book chapters and journal articles, he has given keynote addresses at conferences around the world and is available to speak and lead workshops on various subjects.

Soul on Edge

September 6, 2016

In the Places of Thinking and Writing, Conversations in the Gap between Mind and Soul, Eavesdropping on the Edge, Writing in the Margins, Lingering at the Lip of the Abyss, all possible titles-containers for experiments in writing down the language of soul, experiments in the gap between psychology as a natural science and a distinct and specialized profession, and psychology as a vocation and an art and a practice that colors and shades and qualifies all of our actions.

To be a psychologist is not like being an economist or a physicist. Being either an economist or a physicist is what one does; being a psychologist is who one is even when one is doing economics or physics. Psychology as an art and a practice is not even a distinct profession, nor should it be. As a distinct discipline psychology might very well be dangerous to the vitality of psychological life.

Let’s get rid of the noun psychology for the sake of the adjective psychological?

Recently this danger became national news as the APA was discovered to sanction torture. That should not surprise us. One of the key themes of phenomenology is the chiasm between perception and language in which the gestural body is the hinge where perception and word pivot round each other. Sanctioning torture is made possible in psychology’s image of the human being described in terms of its addiction to its language of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. That is ok and it fits if we are robots stuffed with bits of data.

Might poets be closer to the logos of soul?

Might it be better to be a failed poet than a successful psychologist?

Too much of a dichotomy in that statement! Too much either/or thinking that turns too quickly into an ideology!

Perhaps the locus of a psychological science is the threshold between thinking and dreaming, the permeable boundary between a daylight mind and a night time soul, a cyclical movement between the natural rhythms of sun light and moon light, a science practiced in twilight and dawn, transitional moments between waking and sleeping, a seasonal psychology practiced in the fall and spring times between the full light of summer, the season most favorable perhaps to the clear and distinct ideas of the reasonable mind of a STEM Psychology, and the dark nights of winter, the season most favored by the dreams of depth psychology.

But on the threshold we still have to let go of noun conscious, of the dream, to embrace dreaming, if we are to avoid making STEM psychology or Depth psychology into monumental sciences. Speaking of Orpheus, the eponymous poet, Rilke, the modern incarnation of Orpheus, warns us not to erect any stones to Orpheus, but to let it be the rose whose presence is enough even as it might overstay its blooming for a moment.

From dreams to dreaming! From identifying with a psychology made in sunlight or moonlight, a psychological way of knowing and being made in the passage way between waking and sleeping! A psychological science that bridges the two moments, a bridge psychology whose languaging of the epiphanies of psychological life alludes to what shows itself as elusive, a way of playing in these half moments of reverie, of making meaning that does not fix meaning but holds onto it by letting go of it, an e-ducation, of being drawn, into psychological life by way of seduction.

For forty years or more this issue of the logos of soul has been a vocation. It has called me into becoming a psychologist and un-becoming one, into an ambivalent love affair with the discipline, seduced at times by the philosopher at one end of the bridge and then by the poet at the other end, so that this work is and has been always beginning, a work that in one moment has shaped my thoughts and ideas and at the next moment has undone all that with dreams.

One is helped in this work by having good companions like Jung, Hillman and other depth psychologists, and phenomenologists like Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard, van den Berg to name but a few

And, one has to be in the mood for this kind of work, but that is for another blog post

For some of the experiments conducted along the way check the PDF articles on my website (RobertRomanyshyn.com):

On Becoming and Un-Becoming a Psychologist

Anyway, Why Did it Have to be the Death of the Poet?: The Orphic Roots of Jungian Psychology

Conversations in the Gap Between Mind and Soul

Phenomenology as a Poetic Realism

Sitting on a Bench with James Hillman: Conversations with the Dead

Terminal Identity: A Reflection on My First Webinar Experience, January, 2016

September 4, 2016

There is a Gap between the digital space of technology and the erotic field of fleshy engagement between self and other, a fleshy entanglement with all its ambiguities and mess, with all its spoken and unspoken gestured desires and appeals, where all the follies and absurdities of trying to say what one means and to mean what one says is nakedly there impregnating the other, where the lies of a hidden mind betray themselves on the face? What are words spoken at the terminal when they are no longer inscribed within the gestures of the flesh?

Where is the sky in the digital world? Where is the earth, the flesh of nature? Where is the depth of this space? Its vertically has been usurped by the horizontality of an infinite expanse that eclipses or nearly so the human scale of time and space. And where is the other, the community of others when we meet at and through the terminal, where each and all of us now have a terminal identity, an image presence on a screen that has no haptic sense, a space then where we are quite specifically out of touch with each other, a disembodied image, which not weighted with flesh can float free and be anywhere in the digital world, a spectacle of a disembodied self? There are no kisses in this terminal world.

 (While you and i have lips and voices which

                           are for kissing and to sing with

                           who cares if some oneeyed son of a bitch

                           invents an instrument to measure Spring with?

                                    (ee.cummings)

There are no kisses in this terminal world!

(Continue to the full article)

Resurrecting the Dead: A Reflection on Technology

September 2, 2016

For many years now I have been intrigued with Mary Shelley’s story, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus. In many ways her story is a prophecy of themes that characterize our technological world-view. In the book that I am now writing, The Frankenstein Prophecies: The Untold Story, I explore seven of those prophecies. The triumph over death, which is the dream of Victor Frankenstein, is the central theme. 

That theme lingers today in films that are our collective dreams. Jurassic Park is a good example. In that film and its sequels dead creatures are recreated from their genetic codes. But they are destructive monsters. So too is the creature that is made by Victor Frankenstein.

Is Mary Shelley’s story a warning about becoming a God who would create life?

Does Jurassic Park and it sequels allude to the same warning?

Are the resurrected monsters that were meant to be the attraction in a theme park, a kind of Disneyland run amok, the modern form of Frankenstein’s monster?

In Mary Shelley’s story Victor Frankenstein abandons his creature and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. 

Abandoned, cursed as demon and devil, the monster is marginalized.

Her story lives on as told only from Victor’s point of view

What might be learned if drawing near to the margins we listen to his side of the story?

Might we be faced with the unsettling question; Who is the Monster?