Pre Meso & Post whatevers probably will populate this conference in a poignant blend

In a few minutes the opening art exhibition with reception meal will open the Climates of Change depth psychological-ecological long weekend. It is also a celebration of 40 year anniversary of Pacifica Graduate Institute's public programs.

If I weren't on my iPad I would post some photos of the gorgeous mountains to the east and the ocean overlook in the distance to the west.

Though only 25 miles from my home, I feel an anticipatory excitement that feels a bit like anxiety, but with more erotic stoke. The setting sets the tone, along with all the rest.

I will may say more about this weekend, with photos, and may make an art & creativity piece out of tonight's exhibition.

In the schedule found within the below link, you may find something of interest.

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At the end of the first evening I feel a bit diffuse, a bit high, a bit cup-full, a bit anxious. I didn't and again now don't feel quite solidly grounded, and I'm coming to think that that might be a dynamically shifting state-condition that is appropriate for the nature of living within what-would-be-'ground'ing-in-this incomprehensibly thrumming kosmos.

The food for tonight's reception was catered and delicious - I think plenty gourmet.

I wasn't a social butterfly, but maybe I flitted between my more substantial-for-the-situation connections with people.

I was glad that I introduced myself, asked a few questions and sort of chatted briefly with the three artists who were clustered together with Joseph Cambray for quite a while. Margo McLean, and her two collaborating associates, Mermer Blakeslee, and Nor Hall for the exhibition are quite amazing artists, I'll say. I am glad that I didn't know that they were in this and some art contexts, one could say, important people. I'm glad I didn't know and didn't have time to check first who Joseph Cambray was (his bioblurb is in the linked brochure.) I may have been stopped in more self-consciousness, overthinking, and general dorkitude.

I attach a jpeg of a mounted page within this large and beautifully arranged exhibition that explains some of the connections with James Hillman and related artistic themes. Margo was married to James until he died a few years ago.

I got to say hi to Steve Aizenstat, Chancellor and founding president of Pacifica Graduate, who I had done some "dream tending" study groups with over 15 years ago. I had been slow on the uptake of a lot of his philosophy and method and told him so. He used to surf and just get into the ocean, many mornings, and I was pleased to tell him that I had since taken up surfing. It seemed to me that we shared a nice and small moment and contact point then, and he said he had just gotten out of the ocean before coming to this event.

So, yes, my lower case cup is lower case sort of full. Hmm.

I fear that my grounding over the weekend won't improve, maybe thank god, and I hope I don't embarrass myself with excessive betwizzlement and other suchnesses. I am rather stoked to get up early and drive back over for breakfast and then the morning talks by Steve, Michael Meade, and a couple of other fine thinkers (if curious, see the schedule.)

The artists:

To the East - coastal mountains obvious:

To the west - ocean in the distance:

Thanks for posting on this and keeping us updated.

Sure, t, thx.

Before the night session starts in a few minutes, and before I forget the feel of the last session, I want superbriefly to comment on it for you all. Several today have been good and in spots and on tangents addressing themes that we in Integral and IPMS engage with. However David Miller's was crazy good - hardly an unnecessary word, yet highly creative. He looked a lot at meanings and derivations of words from the various root languages. An especially good riff on "economies" that was way deeper and broader than how we think of the word. If I had time, much more could be said. You all would have dug it. Next up, Chris Hedges.

Friday, April 22, 4:30-6:00 PM
Changing Climates of Education: The Economies of Sitting, Standing, and Leaning
David Miller
The world of the therapy of ideas may be today as much at apocalyptic risk as the world of nature. The soul of contemporary teaching and learning suffers the impact of perspectives of global consumerism in which the student is imagined to be a consumer and the teacher is expected to be a salesperson with a product to deliver. Dr. Miller will address the ramifications of what may be experienced as a radical climate change in education that is akin to the devastating climate change in the contemporary ecosphere. He will offer the mythology of the teacher of teachers, Silenos, as an archetypal alternative to the changing educational trend.

David Miller, Ph.D.David L. Miller, Ph.D., is a retired distinguished professor from Syracuse University and he was for many years a faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute in both the clinical psychology and mythological studies programs. Dr. Miller was made an honorary member of the International Association of Analytical Psychology in 2004 and he was a member of the Eranos Circle in Switzerland from 1975 until 1988. He is the author of six books and more than one hundred articles from 1963 to the present. For more information, visit

theurj said:

Thanks for posting on this and keeping us updated.

From the artfully woven tapestry of ideas and word-meaning-contemplation there were two points that stay with me from yesterday afternoon's presentation by David L Miller.

He laid out the basis for a distinction that he thought was important between teaching and preaching. He pointed to an ancient-historical tradition that often demarked, coincided with one or the other. He cited various verses in the gospels where Jesus explicitly "sat" down to teach. David carried this persuasion quite far and well.

An intention of pointing this out was that so much in education, politics, general discourse is preaching, sometimes disguised as teaching. He says there is a place for both, but teaching, sitting down into a topic, is greatly lacking and lost in our contemporary world.

He spoke about the economics, reductive efficiencies, and often almost the antithesis of teaching that have gotten their grip around the system, the classrooms, the students and "teachers."

He noticed this by looking in detail at the history of the word economy, in Greek primarily, that until the modern era had to do with home, habitation, and inhabiting.

His pace, rhythm, and relatively seamless slides from detail to big picture conflowed with the content to yield for me a great sense of inner amusement, beauty, and other aha's.
About 15 years ago I met Richard Tarnas at a weekend with Stan Grof and him in San Francisco. Though not enthralled with astrology I thought I might try to hear what would be said on a chart for me. Richard wasn't doing many charts then and referred me to a fellow who was doing them for him.

Yesterday in talking, we decided it was probably Mathew Stelzner who did my chart - finessing in whatever ways are used when you don't know the actual time of birth.

Richard gave his usual fine free-flowing riff on a number of themes related to his topic:

Saturday, April 23, 11:15 AM-12:45 PM
A Kairos Moment in an Archetypal Cosmos
Richard Tarnas

We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos—the right moment—for a 'metamorphosis of the gods,' of the fundamental principles and symbols.
—C.G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self

Our psyche is set up in accord with the structure of the universe,
and what happens in the macrocosm likewise happens in the infinitesimal and most subjective reaches of the psyche.
—C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

In their distinct and brilliant ways, both C.G. Jung and James Hillman broke free of limiting modern assumptions and recognized that psyche was not confined to the human, that it permeated all of nature, the cosmos itself. Both also recognized the extraordinary value of astrology in shining an unexpected light on the archetypal dynamics of human life in synchronistic correlation with planetary movements. Our moment in history clearly represents a threshold of some kind, and the current planetary alignments can provide us with valuable insights about the deeper impulses at work in the drama now facing the Earth community.

Richard Tarnas, Ph.D., is a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he founded the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He also frequently lectures on archetypal studies and depth psychology at Pacifica, and served for many years on the Board of Governors of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. He is the author of The Passion of the Western Mind, a history of the Western world view widely used as a text in universities, and Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, which is the basis for an upcoming documentary film, Changing of the Gods, directed by Louis Schwartzberg and hosted by John Cleese.

Most moving for me yesterday was last night's complex, multi-media'd multi-modal art presentation whose subject and object was the dying of Margo's husband, archetypal depth psychologist, fervent thinker, and writer, James Hillman. In a fresh and varied auditory, musical, visual, and silence-punctuated piece, dying was folded within the living that accompanied, before, during and after the death:

An Unfinished Collaboration with James Hillman
Margot McLean and Mermer Blakeslee
Hidden within our fast-paced culture of success, disease and death reside in a parallel universe, on the narrow streets of emergency rooms, and along the underground boulevards of hospitals and rehab centers. A thorough engagement in dying is a subversive act, as well as a form of art—quirky, ultimate, and collaborative. In this piece, with images, words, and sounds, we grapple with the material of dying—the smells, the special meals, the jokes, the sips of wine, the refuse. The more this material is worked, the more permeable the veil between life and death becomes, inviting insights, illuminations, curiosities. Visual artist, Margot McLean, and writer, Mermer Blakeslee, will take you through an intimate narrative, told by necessity through the diverse and precise languages of art.

Margot McLeanMargot McLean, MFA, is a visual artist whose work includes painting, sculpture, and installations. She collaborated with her husband, James Hillman, on the book Dream Animals and Permeability: The Degree to Which a Solid Allows the Passage of Fluid Through It. She holds a BFA: Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA: Syracuse University. She lives and works in rural Connecticut and New York City.

Mermer BlakesleeMermer Blakeslee is the author of three novels and one non-fiction book. In Dark Water was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great New Writers series. Blakeslee was awarded three fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and an excerpt from her latest novel, When You Live by a River, won the Narrative Prize. Her roots are in poetry and a series of her poems will be published in The Paterson Review this summer. For more information, visit

There was a very nicely and simple delivery of how to think about economics in new ways. DM and others certainly would have appreciated this Norwegian fellow's train of thought and study:

Re-Imagining Economics: A Therapy of Foundational Economic Metaphors
Per Espen Stoknes
Our earth is shaped by money and globalization. The economic system is by far the strongest driving force on the planet. Its basic ideas have spread globally throughout human consciousness—and particularly during the last decades—with an immense intensity. The meaning of money needs to be examined within and without the therapy room. Its 'memes' seem to override even our genes: In our era, money is the one thing we all want. Civilization is held together by ideas such as price, product, property, profits, by invisible hands in free markets. The ideas of economics have been fully internalized and now rule the soul of modern humans. At other times and places, ideas such as pyramids, palaces, potlatches, cattle, brides, horses, religion, armies or honor have dominated the cultural imagination. Now, what causes clashes are the conflicts over cash and capital. But it also unites us, since it gives everyone the same mindset and the same goal. It is tempting to quote Tolkien: 'one ring to bind them all'. Can we imagine a way to unbind?

Per Espen StoknesPer Espen Stoknes, Ph.D., is a psychologist with a degree in economics. He is the Director of Center for Green Growth at the Norwegian Business School. A serial entrepreneur, including co-founding clean-tech company GasPlas, he has also written several books, among them Money & Soul and What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming.

As an aside, Patrica Blakeslee was also presenting this weekend and she was an earlier wife of James Hillman. I liked a phrase in her title, "aesthetics of emptiness."

It happens that this thread coursed through a number of presentations this weekend - "no thing", "nothing", emptiness, space, and so on. I like the resonance with so much that has been considered on IPMS.

Thought the title of the conference did not state it, there seems to be and have been an honoring and memorialize ng of James Hillman, one of the main intellectual forces at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Each individual presenter was introduced following a video snippet of James in a particular poignant moment of explication. James has been an embroidered band woven meanderingly through this conference's tapestry.

Speaking of astrology, one of my favorites is Goddard's Transpersonal Theory and the Astrological Mandala: An Evolutionary .... I've commented extensively on it in a few forum threads. You can search for Goddard in the forum search box, upper right of the page, to find those references.

[small edit correction - "Patricia Berry", James Hillman's earlier wife, was not "Patricia Blakeslee"]
If I had commented just after Sunday's presentations I probably would have had more to say about Mary Watson's extraordinarily tight and comprehensive presentation and Vandana Shiva's awesome and seamless seeming rendering of some of the gnarliest, root issues for man (woman)-kind's well-being that is in huge jeopardy.

Vandana has such an intimate grasp of big pictures down to details concerning these threats. As you may know (I didn't,) she wrote Soil, Not Oil, and she has been active in many Indian national and International causes, movements, governmental boards, and in ngo leadership towards restoring health to planet earth and its inhabitants, present and future.

Out of a lack of time and energy, I will not itemize her thoughts about some of the pivotal issues of tending our soil, patent law dangers, and the enclosure, displacement, economic slaveries, and the intrinsic corporate disregard for people of the world. She free-formed densely and comfortably for about an hour and a half - so much information, knowledge, apparent wisdom, and a relative personal equanimity.

A couple of things particularly touched my ear in a pleasing-disturbing way. Something like:

"The corporations have already won."

"The earth is very resilient and life can come back. We wouldn't still be around, but the earth (biosphere?) has powerful life force."

"Psychosocial and Earth Accompaniment and The Creation of The Commons," was Mary Watson's, a superbly bright and beloved Department Head and mentor at PGI, topic which she delivered with easy crispness, coherence, and much comprehensivity. Most of the details and the scope of the problem was new-ish for me, someone who has tended to avoid knowing much of difficult world-shadow reality. She spoke before Vandana Shiva and Vadana reinforced, elaborated, and expanded on several issues that Mary presented. Various permutations of enclosure, closing in and closing out, in material, legal, psychic, symbolic and other ways are rampant, largely due to international comporations actions, that are largely rooted in the feature that corporations are not dealt with as individuals and thereby avoid accountabilities.

Most of you know plenty of this already.

These two were very well received by the group, with standing ovations.

As part of the proceedings, Vandana Shiva suggested the possibility, and Steve Aizenstat and the group enthusiastically concurred that there would be some sort of partnership between Vandana's working and Pacifica Graduate Institute's.

And, the buffet-delivered food was quite good and without enough activity I was probably not the only one who gained about 5 pounds.
Dear 40th Participant,
Here is a follow-up e-letter to the conference. There is a link to some commentary about the conference, and more.

Thank-you for being part of our Celebration/Acknowledgement of Pacifica's 40 years. Your presence and participation contribute to the soul body that is Pacifica Graduate Institute. Our time together nourishes the imagining that dreams Pacifica forward. Please know that you have an invitation to visit our campuses or join us on-line (Facebook and/or website) now and for years to come. The Pacifica Post (found on Pacifica's website)offers an opportunity to engage in on-going conversations with distinguished multi-disciplinary scholars, faculty, alums, students, conference participants and others . . . all continuing the work on the Therapy of Ideas. Pacifica's Alumni Association also has a beautiful website ( and Facebook ( , filled with pictures of "memorable moments" from our weekend together. Each of our Alums carry their unique work into wide varieties of community settings, landscapes, and organizations world wide. You will find many of their stories on their website, including a wonderful presentation on Alchemy Inc. an organization you got a glimpse of in the opening presentation.
I promised that I would offer the Newsletter of the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecological Psychology program. Before it comes off the press, please feel free to explore the many field work projects as presented in this on-line link (
Most important, I want to take one more opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude for you presence at our 40th Anniversary Celebration. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.
Chancellor & Founding President
Pacifica Graduate Institute
249 Lambert Road, Carpinteria, CA 93013
Tele: 805.879.7302


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