Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Echoism. Donna Christina Savery conducts Inner Circle Seminar 255 (19 January 2020)

Echoism
The Silenced Response to Narcissism
Practice and Theory

Donna Christina Savery
conducts
Inner Circle Seminar No. 255
introduced by
Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 19 January 2020
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Donna Christina Savery

In this seminar Donna Christina Savery introduces her research into echoism. Following seven years work with patients who have experienced narcissistic parenting or who find themselves in repeated relationships with narcissistic partners, she offers a new insight into narcissistic and co-dependent relationships.

Returning to the myth of Echo and Narcissus in Ovid, from which the vast array of psychoanalytic literature on narcissism originates, she asks how and why Echo’s voice and story have become marginalised to the extent that she is simply called a co-dependent (reinforcing the very notion of dependency upon a narcissist). She explains how she has drawn upon psychoanalytic literature, existential philosophy and a daseinsanalytic approach to practice as a way of understanding this largely forgotten group of individuals. She has worked with individuals, couples and groups and presents in her book Echoism, published in 2018, the first complete theory of echoism.


Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
                  Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling. 3. Jon Lippitt & Anthony Stadlen conduct Inner Circle Seminar 252 (6 October 2019)

Søren Kierkegaard
Fear and Trembling
Dialectical Lyric by Johannes de silentio (1843)
3. Tribute to Abraham
and 
Preliminary Outpouring from the Heart

John Lippitt   Anthony Stadlen

conduct
Inner Circle Seminar No. 252
6 October 2019
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
                
Søren Kierkegaard   
Abraham and Isaac
Rembrandt























Professor John Lippitt is Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hertfordshire and Honorary Professor in the European Philosophy and History of Ideas research group at Deakin University in Melbourne. He is one of the world’s authorities on Kierkegaard, and especially on Fear and Trembling. He is the author of many books and papers on Kierkegaard, including the pellucid and comprehensive Routledge Guide to Fear and Trembling (second edition, 2016). Today he guides us through the sections ‘Tribute to Abraham’ and ‘Preliminary outpouring from the heart’. You are invited to join the dialogue and form your own judgement.

This is the third of a subseries of seven all-day seminars devoted to this one short book, which is much cited and quoted, as well as misquoted, by existential and other therapists, but sometimes with little understanding of, or even relation to, the text, let alone the Biblical text it discusses. For example, the notion of a ‘knight of faith’, taken from this book, is often solemnly applied to a client in psychotherapy, without recognition of the comic resonances of Don Quixote in this description of Abraham, who set out on a donkey to sacrifice his son; and without awareness that in the Hebrew of the Biblical story there is no mention of ‘faith’ or ‘obedience’, but only of ‘trust’ and ‘listening’. Again, it is very rare for those who appeal to, or try to apply, the argument of the book to take account of the fact that its author insisted that its pseudonymous narrator should not be taken as representing his own position. These seven seminars are an attempt to remedy this situation.

Fear and Trembling: A Dialectical Lyric, by a certain ‘Johannes de silentio’, was published in Copenhagen on 16 October 1843. Our seven seminars, the first of which was on 14 October 2018, thus celebrate the book’s hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary.

The actual author was, of course, Søren Kierkegaard (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855), as he acknowledged in A First and Last Declaration’, the further postscript that he, in his own name, added to Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs (1846), itself purportedly written by his pseudonym Johannes Climacus. But Kierkegaard insisted:

... if it should occur to anyone to want to quote a particular passage from the books, it is my wish, my prayer, that he will do me the kindness of citing the respective pseudonymous author’s name, not mine.’

Johannes de silentio, Johannes Climacus, and the other pseudonyms are like characters in a drama written by Kierkegaard. He called it ‘indirect communication’, a dialectic of different possible perspectives through which the reader is invited to work out his or her own point of view. Much commentary on Fear and Trembling and the other pseudonymous works is therefore naive and misleading, because it ignores Kierkegaard’s urgent request that their pseudonymous nature should be respected.

Kierkegaard was the thinker who introduced, sometimes through this or that pseudonym (as he said, with the left hand’), and sometimes in his own name (with the right hand’), the word existential’ to convey the project of thinking with the whole of one’s being, as an ‘existing’ thinker, rather than constructing a ‘theory’ or ‘system’, which yet another pseudonym, Anti-Climacus’, said in The Sickness Unto Death (1849) was like building a fine house in which one does not live.

Ludwig Feuerbach also sometimes used ‘existence’ in this sense, but his project was to secularise religious thinking, whereas Kierkegaard’s primary aim was to affirm authentic religion as irreducible to social ethics.

But Kierkegaard’s idea of authentic religion differed from everybody else’s. He had utter contempt for the Danish Church and for ‘Christendom’, as he called it. For him, religion meant something radically individual. But his vision of the individual was the very antithesis of an encapsulated, isolated, unsocial, worldless, reified ‘self’. Rather, as Anti-Climacus put it in The Sickness Unto Death, the ‘self’ of a true individual was a ‘relation’ which ‘relates itself to its own self’; it was ‘that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self’, while ‘resting in the [divine] power that established it’ and, as Kierkegaard insisted in his own name in Works of Love (1847), loving friends, family, spouse, children, neighbours.

Fear and Trembling is itself a foundational document for existential thinking.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Ludwig Binswanger, Karl Jaspers, Franz Kafka, Paul Tillich, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hannah Arendt, Abraham Joshua Heschel, W. H. Auden, R. S. Thomas, Thomas Szasz, R. D. Laing, Jacques Derrida, John Updike, David Lodge, and many others acknowledged their indebtedness to Kierkegaard. Others, such as Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, and Albert Camus, grappled with him but could not avoid him. The meaning of Kierkegaard’s pseudonym’s interplay of interpretations in Fear and Trembling, and the interplay of this interplay with the positions of his other pseudonyms, has also been the subject of a continuing comprehensive conversation by generations of theological, philosophical, and psychological scholars for one hundred and seventy-five years.

Wittgenstein, himself generally regarded as one of the most profound thinkers of the 20th century, held that Kierkegaard was ‘by far the most profound thinker’ of the 19th century’; he said: ‘Kierkegaard is too deep for me’. But Ernesto Spinelli, widely regarded as a leading existential therapist, has recently denounced Kierkegaard’s ‘dangerous folly’ in apparently admiring Abraham’s ‘self-evident lunacy’ in Fear and Trembling. This is in line with traditional clinical-psychiatric thinking, for example the psychiatrist Abraham Myerson’s 1945 diagnosis that Kierkegaard was ‘a psychiatric case’, whose writing was ‘a schizoid and certainly utterly incomprehensible presentation by a mind which is quite deviate’.

Are these important demystifying insights into a pretentious and over-rated writer? Or is the existential tradition here degenerating into abject capitulation to uncomprehending psychiatric reductionism? Fear and Trembling is a ‘dialectical lyric’ on the Akedah, the Biblical account of Abraham’s ‘binding’ of his beloved son Isaac (Genesis, 22:1-19), fundamental for all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The meaning of the Akedah has been debated and disputed for thousands of years by Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and (more recently) atheist thinkers. (The Qur’an does not name the son, and there has been debate in Islam as to whether it was Ishmael or Isaac, though today it is generally held to have been Ishmael.) Today, the Akedah is chanted from the Torah scroll in synagogues at the Jewish New Year, with great precision, though it is open to anyone to propose an interpretation of its meaning; in Christianity it is held to prefigure the crucifixion of Jesus; and in Islam animals are sacrificed round the world on Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) to commemorate Abrahams sacrifice of a ram instead of his son. The Akedah has been the basis of many great works of art, music, drama, and poetry.

Kierkegaard emphasised that the sole purpose of his entire vast authorship, both direct and pseudonymous, was religious, though he fiercely denounced institutionalised religion (such as Danish 19th-century ‘Christendom’) as a corruption and perversion of living existential religion. But ‘existential’ therapists in particular routinely ‘secularise’ his writings, as Binswanger did in his discussion of The Sickness Unto Death in ‘The Case of Ellen West’. Is this a betrayal, purporting to reduce the religious to the secular-social-ethical in precisely the way that Johannes de silentio is criticising in Fear and Trembling? Or is it a clearing away of the religious rubble to reveal the human truth of these masterpieces?

One of Heidegger’s most important early courses of lectures was on The Phenomenology of Religious Life (1920-21). But existential therapists often disparage the religious experience of their clients and are not open to its phenomenology. We shall try to show that Kierkegaard’s work is, among many other things, a fundamental investigation of the existential phenomenology of individual, non-institutionalised, religious experience, indispensable for an unprejudiced understanding of both our religious’ and our non-religious’ clients.

In seven seminars over three years, of which you may attend any or all, we read closely the complex argument of Johannes de silentio. You are invited to explore in depth the rich variety of interpretations of the Akedah and Fear and Trembling, and their relevance for psychotherapy; and perhaps to arrive at your own interpretation(s).

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857   +44 (0) 7809 433250
E-mail: stadlen@aol.com   stadlenanthony@gmail.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Seeing Ourselves. 1. Rescuing the Self from Science. Raymond Tallis conducts Inner Circle Seminar 250 (2 June 2019)

Seeing Ourselves
1. Rescuing the Self from Science 

Raymond Tallis
conducts Inner Circle Seminar No. 250
introduced by Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 2 June 2019
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Raymond Tallis 
Raymond Tallis is one of our best-loved invited speakers. Today he conducts his sixth Inner Circle Seminar (his first was on 2 December 2012). It is the first seminar of a pair with the joint title Seeing Ourselves. Todays seminar has the subtitle Rescuing the Self from Science, and the second one will be on 6 September 2020, with the subtitle Flourishing Without God.

Tallis has shown in five profound Inner Circle Seminars that he is one of the world’s leading demystifiers of what he calls the ‘neuroscience delusion’ (‘neuromania’) and the ‘intellectual plague of biologism’ (‘animalism’). His ruthless, good-humoured exposure of reductive natural-scientism continues the tradition of Heidegger and Szasz, for example, but is utterly his own. Psychotherapists are free to choose to go on pretending to be ‘validated’ by ‘neuroscience’; but their work, such as it is, sometimes radically transforming and helpful, sometimes best passed over in silence, speaks for or against itself as the case may be, and no pseudo-scientific ‘validation’ can disguise this.

Raymond Tallis is one of the select few who affirms and advocates the devoted use of devotedly human language to depict and describe the human world and human relationships.

In his book Logos Professor Tallis exposes the absurdity of the argument that evolutionary biology or neuroscience show that our thinking is merely a function of our bodies-as-objects-for-science and therefore can have no truth-value of its own unless it is in some way itself derived from evolutionary biology or neuroscience, which are taken to be ‘objectively true. But those sciences are themselves human creations, and therefore, by this argument, not ‘objectively true. Professor Tallis remarks that those who use this argument are worthy successors of the Cretan of old who said all Cretans were liars.

In todays seminar he focusses on the so-called problem of the self . 

Raymond Tallis writes about todays seminar:

‘Many, perhaps most, contemporary philosophers and psychologists are suspicious of the idea of the self, dismissing it as either a hangover from the soul discussed by theologians or from discredited Cartesian thought. The seminar will address these concerns. It will then develop a notion of the self and of personal identity. While this will encompass memory particularly autonoetic memory and enduring psychological faculties and traits, the role of self-affirmation will be emphasized. The account of the self will also emphasize the irreducibly interpersonal dimension of the self: how selves and worlds are mutually constructed. The conclusion may be summarised in a sentence: The self is not a thing, but it is not nothing, either.

For an account of how Raymond Tallis writes his extraordinary books, see his article ‘My writing day: In my favourite pub, the staff turn down the speaker in my writing corner’, in The Guardian Review of 29 April 2017:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/29/my-writing-day-raymond-tallis

Raymond Tallis was a Professor of Geriatric Medicine and consultant physician in Health Care of the Elderly. He has published two hundred research articles in the neurology of old age and neurological rehabilitation, as well as a novel, short stories, three volumes of poetry, and thirty books on philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, literary theory, the nature of art, and cultural criticism. He has received many awards and honorary degrees. In 2009, the Economist listed him as one of the world’s twenty leading polymaths.

Nicholas Fearn wrote in The Independent:

When Kirsty Young was asked to name her favourite guest on Desert Island Discs, the rock star Paul Weller was beaten into second place, for her own luxury item would be the writer Raymond Tallis.

Raymond Tallis, whose sixth Inner Circle Seminar this will be, kindly confirms that our seminar structure, in which dialogue is of the essence, enables him to communicate and reflect on his ideas. He wrote, after his first Inner Circle Seminar, The Intellectual Plague of Biologism, on 2 December 2012:

The seminar was for me an incredible experience. I have never previously had the opportunity to discuss the topics we covered in such depth with a group of people who came at it from such different angles but in a way that I found illuminating. I learned a lot. It was a tremendous privilege.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/


The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Laing & Esterson. 12. What have we learned? Hilary Mantel and Anthony Stadlen conduct Inner Circle Seminar 249 (19 May 2019)

Laing and Esterson
Sanity, Madness and the Family
50 Years On
12. Concluding seminar
What have we learned from the eleven families?
Does schizophrenia exist? 

Dame Hilary Mantel   Anthony Stadlen
conduct
Inner Circle Seminar No. 249
Sunday 19 May 2019
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Aaron Esterson
R. D. Laing



Hilary Mantel

This utterly straightforward book is still not understood today, especially by ‘professionals’.

But Hilary Mantel, who gained courage to become a novelist through reading it when she was nearly twenty-one, understood it. She urged readers: ‘Just read the simple words the people speak.’ In eleven seminars we have had a unique opportunity actually to hear and discuss with Hilary Mantel herself ‘the simple words the people speak’, from Estersons tape-recordings of his conversations with the families in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and from Anthony Stadlen’s reports and recordings of his 21st-century conversations with surviving members of the family.

In her first Reith lecture Hilary Mantel discusses the relation between the historical novelist and the historian.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jun/03/hilary-mantel-why-i-became-a-historical-novelist

She brings to our seminars the unique genius of an historical novelist who sees far more profoundly than the rest of us the implications of the known historical facts but does not present invention as history. Each seminar has begun with her wonderful reflections on what is given in the text of the book. She has no privileged access to the cases. She learns what Stadlen has discovered as an historian only as do the other seminar participants, when he reports or play recordings of his interviews with surviving members of the family half a century later and explore Estersons original library of tape-recordings on which the book is based.

Today, she will reflect on what we have learned form the eleven families.

Nine of the original eleven women diagnosed schizophrenic are now dead; but Mantel recalls Auden:

... the crack in the teacup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

She could have also have quoted Eliot:

And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.

I spoke to five of the supposedly schizophrenic women and many of their surviving relatives in the twenty-first century.

Why is this nowadays rarely read or even referenced book of 1964 so important? It is, after all, absent from almost all discussions either of the family or of schizophreniaThe extremely rare discussions of it patronise it, as if they had long passed beyond it; but without having begun to understand it, let alone catch up with it.

And yet it is so simple.

It is true that R. D. Laing and Aaron Estersons research, reported in this masterpiece of 1964 and continued by Esterson in his profound The Leaves of Spring: A Study in the Dialectics of Madness (1970), was a concrete embodiment of the complex theoretical work of their most advanced and radical contemporaries of the 1960s: Jean-Paul SartreCritique of Dialectical Reason and The Question of MethodThomas SzaszThe Myth of Mental Illness; and Martin Heidegger and Medard BossZollikon Seminars.

Sartre highly esteemed Laing and Esterson’s work on families. Szasz had enormous respect for Esterson; he thought this book was on a higher level than Laing’s other books; he also thought Stadlens research following up the eleven families important. Heidegger would surely have loved the book, though it is unlikely he knew it; it embodies that straightforward openness and humanity he tried to convey in his Zollikon seminars, though he might well have asked: Why drag in Sartre? Professor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann of FreiburgHeidegger’s personal assistant whom he entrusted with editing posthumously his 102-volume Collected Works, and his wife Frau Dr. Veronika von Herrmann, particularly admire Laing and Esterson’s work. But almost all Daseinsanalysts, existential therapists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists  and of course psychiatrists – ignore it.

But the book is essentially simple. What did Laing and Esterson say that was so simple: too simple for ‘professionals’ to understand?

We believe that the shift of point of view that these descriptions both embody and demand has an historical significance no less radical than the shift from a demonological to a clinical viewpoint three hundred years ago.

Thus they introduced their great phenomenological descriptions of eleven families of ‘schizophrenics’. But, more than fifty years on, the ‘clinical viewpoint’ still reigns supreme. ‘Existential’, ‘Lacanian’, ‘Laingian’, ‘humanist’, ‘person-centred’ therapists and a galaxy of similarly impressively titled psychoanalysts and psychotherapists love to call themselves ‘clinicians’.

The great and the good, including younger members of our royal family, seek ‘parity’ for ‘physical’ and ‘mental health’. This is well-intentioned but confusing. Indeed ‘it is good to talk’ – but not in this mystifying, pseudo-scientific language.

Have Laing and Esterson been proved wrong? They wrote:

Nobody can deny us the right to disbelieve in schizophrenia.’

Why, then, do most psychiatrists and psychotherapists claim Laing and Esterson said ‘families cause schizophrenia’? They can not have understood, if they have ever remembered, if they have ever read, the first sentences of the second edition (1970) of the book:

There have been many studies of mental illness and the family. This book is not of them, at least in our opinion.’

Hilary Mantel wrote that ‘the simple words the people speak’ in Laing and Esterson’s book gave her, when twenty years old, the courage to write her own books, which have been internationally acclaimed. Her introductions to the seminars in this series have enthralled participants with their sensitive understanding of, and deeply perceptive insight into, each family in turn.

As she has written:

Some of us need a little push, before we recognise we have the right to pick up a pen. In my case it came from a book by the psychiatrists R. D. Laing and Aaron EstersonSanity, Madness and the Family... The people in it seemed close enough to touch... Each interview is a novel or play in miniature. So many of these family conversations seemed familiar to me: their swerves and evasions, their doubleness... For most of my life I had been told that I didn't know how the world worked. That afternoon I decided I did know, after all. In the course of my twenty-one years I'd noticed quite a lot. If I wanted to be a writer, I didn't have to worry about inventing material, I'd already got it. The next stage was just to find some words.

Hilary Mantelat least, had no difficulty understanding what Laing and Esterson were talking about:

All the patients profiled in the book are young women. I know their names are pseudonyms, but over the years I've wondered desperately what happened to them, and if there's anyone alive who knows, and whether any of them ever cut free from the choking knotweed of miscommunication and flourished on ground of their own: Ruth, who was thought odd because she wore coloured stockings; Jean, who wanted a baby though her whole family told her she didn't; and Sarah, whose breakdown, according to her family, was caused by too much thinking.

(http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/sep/06/1)

Anthony Stadlen, through his historical research, is able to answer some of Hilary Mantels questions.

Laing and Esterson wrote:

Surely, if we are wrong, it would be easy to show that we are, by studying a few families and revealing that schizophrenics really are talking a lot of nonsense after all.

Stadlen accepted this challenge. He studied the very same families they studied. Today he will consider each family briefly in turn, focussing on two points: first, whether there is evidence for the view of the families and the diagnosing psychiatrists that the daughters were ill, even though many of the daughters dispute this; and secondly, whether the daughters really were talking a lot of nonsense after all’.

We shall also see the 1972 80-minute BBC TV film The Space Between Words: Family, directed by Roger Graef, showing Esterson working with one family.

In this second series of seminars about the families (the first was ten years ago, to mark the 40th anniversary of the books publication) we have succeeded in understanding them at a deeper level.

Your contribution to the dialogue will be warmly welcomed.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, mineral water, Durrants rock included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857  +44 (0) 7809 433 250
E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Heidegger’s First Lectures (Freiburg, 1919). Zollikon Seminars. 12. Final Seminar (18 and 21 March 1969). Anthony Stadlen conducts Inner Circle Seminar 248 (24 March 2019)

Heidegger’s First Lectures (Freiburg, 1919)
A 100th-anniversary revaluation
‘So my seeing and that of a Senegal Negro are fundamentally different.’

Heidegger’s Seminars (Zollikon, 1959-1969)
A 50th-anniversary revaluation
12. Final seminar on 18 and 21 March 1969
The book lies here next to the glass. But how are two human beings, standing together, together?

Anthony Stadlen
conducts
Inner Circle Seminar No. 248
Sunday 24 March 2019
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Martin Heidegger   Medard Boss
Feldweg, Messkirch, 1963
Martin Heidegger with his son Jörg

                
                            
      
























Jörg Heidegger, son of Martin and Elfridepictured above with his father, celebrated his hundredth birthday on 21 January this year, having been born four days before the first of his fatherfirst Freiburg lectures on 25 January 1919. He has now died. 

In this seminar we continue to explore Martin Heideggers thinking, from near the beginning to near the end of half a century (1919-1969) of tireless teaching. Our seminar will mark a hundred years since Heidegger gave his first course of lectures at the University of Freiburg in the War Emergency Semester early in 1919 in his thirtieth year; it also recapitulates, fifty years almost to the day, the last of his Zollikon Seminars, on 18 and 21 March 1969 in his eightieth year.


The Inner Circle Seminars are devoted to a search for truth in psychotherapy. Heideggers Zollikon Seminars (in the home of the Daseinsanalyst Medard Boss) were explicitly guided by the same aspiration, but we shall also discover the relevance even of his very first lectures at Freiburg to our work as therapists.


It is astonishing that in these early lectures Heidegger is already overflowing with many of the extraordinarily original themes that he developed in Being and Time through his later writings to the Zollikon seminars. Hannah Arendt wrote, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday in 1969, that at the time of his lectures fifty years earlier Heideggers


... name travelled all over Germany like the rumour of a hidden king... The rumour that attracted them to Freiburg and to the Privatdozent who taught there ... had it that there was someone who was actually attaining the things that Husserl had proclaimed... The rumour about Heidegger put it quite simply: Thinking has come alive again... There exists a teacher; one can perhaps learn to think.


The thinking that Heidegger strove to awaken in his listeners goes to the very heart of what existential psychotherapists and Daseinsanalysts, and indeed one hopes therapists of all schools, are trying to do: to relate in the most profoundly humanly appropriate way to the person who has approached them, uncluttered and uncorrupted by unrecognised reifying and alienating presuppositions as to what human beings, and human relationships, are.


We see this in the 1919 lectures, where of course Heidegger is not explicitly discussing psychotherapy, just as in the 1969 seminar, where even his most ‘philosophical’ remarks are all directed to purifying the practice of psychotherapy.


Thus in the 1919 lectures he tries to get beyond what he calls de-vivifying and interpreting-away natural-scientific objectificationAlready (100 years ago!) he is ridiculing the tired concept of lived experience’ (Erlebnis’), which our therapists today cant seem to have enough of. But he already speaks of ‘event of appropriation’ (Ereignis’), though not in the developed way of his later thinking. He already condemns the problem of the reality of the external world as nonsensical. He goes straight to experience itself. He speaks, for example, of the different ways in which he, the lecturer, the students,  a farmer from deep in the Black Forest, and ‘a Negro from Senegal suddenly transplanted here from his hut’ might experience his lectern. He first shows that one might conclude that my seeing and that of a Senegal Negro are fundamentally different’, simply because, as he supposes, the African man wouldnt know what the lectern was - what it was forBut he goes on to affirm his common humanity with the African by trying to show that ‘the meaningful character’ 
– of instrumental strangeness (for the man from Senegal) and of  the lectern (for Heidegger– are in their essence absolutely identical.

In the 1969 seminar he is still teaching, and pondering as he teaches, the same sort of questions. How, he asks the seminar participants, do human beings relate? ‘The book lies here next to the glass. But how are two human beings, standing together, together?’ The protocol of the seminar shows that Heidegger discussed openness, clearing, consciousness, Da-sein, space, place, AristotlePhysicsHusserls phenomenology, and intentionality as understood by Husserl and Brentano. But we now have the new, much larger, Gesamtausgabe edition of the book Zollikoner Seminare, which includes Heideggers original, highly illuminating notes for the seminars discovered by Professor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann. These include eleven pages of notes which Heidegger made for this last seminar. They include a remarkable constellation of names, topics, and books: apart from Heideggers own writings, he mentions those of KantLichtenbergHegelDescartes; a recent book by the psychiatrist Manfred Bleuler and two colleagues on acute psychical experiences accompanying bodily illnesses’; and two key avant-garde texts 
– One-Dimensional Man  and Repressive Tolerance  by Heideggers own one-time student, the Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who had failed to persuade Heidegger to make a public statement or apology on the Shoah, and was now the inspiration of the revolutionary students of 1968, less than a year earlier. How much of this Heidegger discussed in the actual seminar is uncertain.

What unites the 1919 lectures and the 1969 lecture is Heideggers single-minded devotion to the central question of his life, provoked by the gift to him, when he was still a teenager, of Brentanos book on the four meanings of being in Aristotle‘What is the fundamental meaning of Being, of which the others are varieties? This is not the only question that can inspire us as psychotherapists in struggling for truth in our practice – the Inner Circle Seminars since 1996 have explored many other questions and many other questioners. Heideggers question took him, or he took it, up many Holzwege (forest paths leading nowhere, or even to too definite places that he may have come to regret). But, as George Steiner wrote of Heideggers question of, or to, Being: There are meaner metaphors to live by.


[In November 2019 we start a new ten-year series, from 2019-29, to recall in depth and detail, this time at sixty years distance, the whole series of Heideggers Zollikon seminars from 1959-69. This time we shall be able to take advantage of the new, greatly enlarged, edition of the book of the seminars from the beginning.] 



Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
                 Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.