Richard Childs, MD
KC Friends of Jung President Emeritus
The 2014 Barbara Cook Memorial Lecture
The Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility was officially proclaimed in 1870 at the Church’s ecumenical council Vatican I. The doctrine was intensely controversial at the time, and it continues to provoke controversy today. This presentation will examine the history of Vatican I and show how it relates to the wider problem of competing religious claims. In recent decades conflict among incompatible religious views has become a threat to civilization itself.
When a person feels absolutely certain about something as grand as the existential uncertainties of life, it makes that person feel good. This good feeling is associated with observable changes in the brain. These changes are very similar to those observed when a person is under the influence of harmful habit-forming drugs or other substances. One can thus get “high” on religious certainty as well as “high” on drugs. The consequences of either of these mental states may be harmful to the individual and to society.
With brief video clips, this presentation will show examples of persons who are under the influence of different religious persuasions.
Americans are justly proud of the “freedom of religion” guaranteed by our constitution. But this freedom can be misconstrued to mean that religion is to be protected from any challenge or critical examination. Religious faith, often regarded as a virtue, is too often a threat to peace and well-being.
How can we protect ourselves from these dangers?
Sandra Schumm, PhD
What if the goddess Athena, who sprang fully-grown from Zeus’s head and denied she had a mother, became aware of the compelling existence of her other parent? What if she discovered that her mother, Metis, first wife of Zeus and wiser than all gods and mortal men, according to Hesiod, was swallowed by her father and continued to impart her wisdom to him from inside his belly? Both Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell stress how stories connect us with the archetypal. Through stories, fairytales, and myths we connect with the unconscious and become more whole. My study of Spanish novels by women has confirmed that the feminine in Spanish culture and in ours is undervalued and ignored. Without valorization of the maternal in our patriarchal society, we deny and swallow the universal feminine in all of us—both males and females. Loneliness, addictions, depression, and other emotional problems reflect that we are fragmented, but narratives and writing can alter our society and transform our personal lives. We will explore ways to modify our stories and re-cultivate the feminine facets of our nature to restore unity to ourselves.