Containing Multitudes: Holding and Transforming Cultural Disruption in the Poetry of Walt Whitmanwith William Furber Sudays,
Containing Multitudes: Holding and Transforming Cultural Disruption in the Poetry of Walt Whitman
with William Furber
Sudays, December 5th, 12 & 19th
2 to 4 pm
Held Online via Zoom
Members $45, Non-Members $60
This course will address the way that holding and containing irreconcilable cultural complexity within an individual psyche can produce creative interaction with the Self that promotes transformation for both the individual and the collective. Walt Whitman became deeply engaged in this kind of process at a tumultuous time in history not unlike our own. The country was torn apart by irreconcilable forces that would cause civil war within a few years. Whitman’s psyche became a crucible in which this turmoil and complexity could be held and carried. In this container of poetic imagination, conflicting aspects of the American whole were stretched, juxtaposed, and re-configured as they acted on his psyche and his psyche acted upon them. The all embracing “I”, containing multitudes, lived and breathed this cauldron of cacophony until its energy sparked the voltage needed for generativity and transformation.
Art is sometimes invoked by a living relationship between an artist’s need to create and the collective’s need for what is created. Through the auspices of the Self, the collective psyche seeks footing in the artistic imagination of an individual drawn to the task. The artist feels the faint stirring of new potential before it is manifest and finds creative expression to make it palpable. For the poet, the right word and the right phrase become a sacred text that penetrates the veil that separates us from the unknown trying to be known. At this level, poetry does more than describe emerging potential. It participates in it and gives it form. The word and the phrase become infused with luminescent imagination that draws us into an experience of communion. In this way an aspect of the sacred enters our psyche as the thing itself. This is what underlies the concept of transubstantiation. It is as if the actual flesh and blood of the holy is reconstituted and enters our psyche.
Using Whitman’s life and work as an example of this transformative process, this course will consider what it means to individuate through creativity within the context of an historical time and place that pulls an individual to serve the wider purposes of that time and place. The Self has always invoked its poets, artists and most sensitive psyches to serve in this way at times of great peril and potential.
Will Furber is a Jungian analyst. He helped found the Maine Jung Center and is a faculty member at the Boston Jung Institute, where he co-leads a recurring seminar on the collective process.
5 (Sunday) 2:00 pm - 19 (Sunday) 4:00 pm EST