Inner Experience: From James Hillman’s Archetypal Psychology Towards a Liberation Psychology


From Acid Horizon: “On this episode of Inner Experience, Craig, Adam, and Will are joined by [Mad in America Science News writer Micah Ingle], who is a grad student in the field of critical psychology. The focus of the discussion is the late American archetypal psychologist, James Hillman. Hillman’s work marks a deviation from his psychoanalytic predecessors in a way that has extended implications for anti-capitalist politics and other forms of activism. In the discussion, we cover various aspects and practice surrounding Hillman’s ideas, especially as they relate to social justice work and the concept of masculinity. Some figures covered in the discussion include Deleuze, Guattari, Hegel, Freud, Jung, Jordan Peterson, and Mary Watkins.”

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  1. Archetypal psychology may have its issues, but liberation psychology sounds somewhat Marxist. When I think of liberation psychology, like liberation theology, I see a picture of Fidel Castro in my mind. Perhaps, my understanding of this is incorrect or at least in considering psychology, there can be no such thing as liberation psychology, because it is nothing but an oxymoron. The only way to be liberated, to be free is to be liberated and free from psychology. I can say this because I was foolhardy enough to obtain a degree in psychology and then get swept up in the psych world of psych drugs and therapies and all that evil that goes with it. What seems to be happening as all this psych world goes mainstream is that we now celebrate mental health/mental illness as pinnacles of success, standards of character, etc. We have lost our way. We have lost who we are as a people, as individuals. And much of this is owed to the great big lie of psychology. You can not be liberated through psychology; you can only be enslaved and imprisoned. And, in the story of the prisoner in the jail, who saw the stars and the sun outside from his prison cell, while his prison roommate saw the dirt and stench on the floor , we become not the prisoner who saw the stars and the sun outside, but the dirt and stench on the floor. If you seem to have similar thoughts as the latter prisoner, well, thank psychology. Thank you.

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    • In my case, I am grateful about some of the work done in the field of psychology. This website is an excellent example, e.g., the work of Profs David Healy and Peter Gotzsche.

      I’ve enjoyed reading the works of Freud, Jung and Hillman. Whatever their flaws, I always felt that they were making a sincere effort to help people. Hillman, in particular, had a wonderfully subversive attitude, as did Jung. I recall Hillman talking about how you can spend so much money on therapy, and then saying, ‘[instead of this,] think of all the nice clothes you could have bought!’ Or, ‘if your psyche really doesn’t like you, you’ll end up being as boring as your therapist!’

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