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Dreaming impossible dreams in end times

Dreaming impossible dreams in end times

By Robert D. Romanyshyn

Reflections on the psychological dimensions of technology in our individual and collective lives.

Join the poetic speaker and depth psychologist Robert Romanyshyn and Machiel Klerk, founder of Jung Platform, for a free webinar on 17 April 2019. During this webinar they will go into conversation about Robert’s fascinating new book, explore some of the prophecy-like truths held within Mary Shelley’s original story, and delve into the shadows of technology. In this blog post, Robert shares some of the inspiration that led to his new book being birthed into the world.

In an earlier blog, I said my new book, Victor Frankenstein, the Monster and the Shadows of Technology: The Frankenstein Prophecies, is written for that wider audience that has been shaped and influenced by the advances in technology over that last 30 years. Woven around eight questions drawn from Mary Shelley’s novel the format of my book opens a place to pause between an unquestioned embrace of technology and a naïve rejection of it.

The art of the question is the work of psychotherapy. In the 40 years I have practiced this art as a Jungian and existential psychotherapist, it has become increasingly evident that the boundaries between the private domain of soul and the public domain of nature are two sides of the same coin. Not only are we webbed within a digital global network, we are webbed within the multiple crises we face whether they appear as the weakening of our political, economic and social institutions, or more tellingly as the ecological dangers that truly are global. At a very elemental level every single one of us is being addressed by the pollution to the air we breathe, the water we drink, the destruction of the rain forests, and the thinning of the ozone layer. Riffing on the English poet John Donne, let us not ask for whom the bell tolls, because it tolls for all of us.

How do we face multiple crises, including global ecological dangers?

In this context of shared and mutual concerns, it is appropriate and necessary to become aware that we are all patients whose personal suffering is mirrored in the sufferings of nature and in the systemic quality of injustice, poverty and discrimination. Indeed, there is, I believe, an overarching question that feeds this awareness. It is a question that percolates as an undercurrent of anxiety within a fear-based news cycle, which not only continuously bombards our waking hours, but also disturbs our sleep.

Are we living now in end times?

In a 24/7 wired world, we are webbed into a way of being where these global concerns are the very fabric of our day to day lives. In this context, the boundary between a general audience and a specialist one is porous. Victor Frankenstein, the Monster and the Shadows of Technology: The Frankenstein Prophecies is for anyone who feels these concerns and who senses the dangers of continuing to ignore our global state of imbalance with the natural world. It is for anyone who is troubled by the loss of any sense of the sacred and its rituals, by the erosion of the local place of communities and neighborhoods, by the increasing absence of civility in our encounters with each other, by the way in which a utilitarian ethic sanctions greed as a means to any end, by the increasing incapacity to appreciate the ordinary epiphanies of beauty that bind our embodied sensual ties to the miraculous display of the sensuous world, and by the fraying of the generational bonds that tie each of us to those who have come before us and those who are on the way.

How can we cultivate appreciation for the natural world? (Photo credit: Amanda Butler)

If we are indeed living in end times, then it is time to become an engaged citizen, time to protest in ways that utilize your gifts, to speak out, to resist, and perhaps most of all to become in our daily even simple acts memory keepers and guardians of homecoming for a human scaled world that is slipping away. We all have stories to share about these concerns. If we are living in end times the time is right to tell our tales. Indeed, if we are living in end times now the time is right to dream a new dream of us and the earth, of us and the gods, of us and all of creation.

The time is now to dream impossible dreams.

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Robert D. Romanyshyn is an Emeritus Professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute, an Affiliate Member of The Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and a Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Author of eight books including his forthcoming Victor Frankenstein, the Monster and the Shadows of Technology: The Frankenstein Prophecies, he has published articles in psychology, philosophy, education and literary journals, published a book of poems, written a one act play about Frankenstein, and created a multi-media DVD entitled Antarctica: Inner journeys in the Outer World, a psychological reflection on the melting polar ice. In addition to on line seminars and interviews, he has given lectures and workshops at universities and professional societies in the U.S., Europe, Australia, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand.

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