Friday, 1 January 2016

An Accused ‘Witch’ and her Inquisitors. Katharina Kepler (1546–1622). Ulinka Rublack conducts: Inner Circle Seminar 237 (30 April 2017)

An Accused ‘Witch’ and her Inquisitors
Katharina Kepler (1546–1622)
Johannes Kepler’s Defence of his Mother
in her ‘Witch’ Trial

The Disharmony of the World
Johannes Kepler (15711630)
Ulinka Rublack
conducts
Inner Circle Seminar No. 237
introduced by
Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 30 April 2017
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ulinka Rublack
Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) was the great astronomer whose Laws developed Copernicus’s thinking and were explained by Newton in his theory. When Kepler’s mother Katharina (1546–1622) was incarcerated and put on trial in Tübingen, accused of being a witch, he moved to live near her, and devoted himself to studying law so that he could defend her in court with the most convincing arguments he could muster. Against all odds, he won the case. Katharina was cleared of the charge of witchcraft. But she has continued to be misrepresented and maligned over the centuries. For instance, Paul Hindemith, in his own libretto for his 1957 opera about KeplerThe Harmony of the World, while ascribing to her a real clairvoyant gift, invents what seems an unhistorical split between mother and son in which she deplores his natural-scientific investigations as desecration and he rejects her alleged magical-mystical practices as superstition. (In fact, Kepler embodied a vision of the oneness of religion and nature, in which there was no such split.) Hindemith’s opera associates Katharina with the moon, and by implication with lunacy, even if at the end it assigns her supposed moonshine’ activities a legitimate place in the cosmos. And Arthur Koestler, in his book The Sleepwalkers: A history of mans changing vision of the Universe (1959), called Katharina an ‘old hag’, ‘a hideous little old woman, whose meddlesome and evil tongue, together with her suspect background, predestined her as a victim’.

The research of Ulinka Rublack, Professor of Early Modern European History at St Johns College in the University of Cambridge, has challenged this tradition of denigrating Katharina. Professor Rublack shows, in her book The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Keplers Fight for his Mother (2015), that Kepler brilliantly argued and demonstrated in the trial that his mothers behaviour needed no demonological explanation of the kind proposed by her inquisitors; on the contrary, her conduct was socially intelligible in ordinary human terms, as the understandable conduct of an older widowed woman in her social situation. In this way of seeing and presenting the phenomena, Kepler anticipated Laing and Esterson’s twentieth-century work with women diagnosed as schizophrenicreported in Sanity, Madness and the Family (1964), which we have been studying in the Inner Circle Seminars.

In todays seminar Ulinka Rublack will guide us through her research findings. She and the composer Tim Watts will also introduce us to extracts from both Hindemiths opera and Watts’s own new opera Keplers Trial (2016), written at her instigation and with her collaboration as a response to Hindemiths unhistorical treatment of Katharina in his opera.

Is this merely an historically fascinating episode? Or is the inquisitorial method of the witch’ trials four hundred years ago still alive, as Szasz, Laing and Esterson insisted, in the methods of diagnosis and treatment prevalent in our present-day clinical psychiatry? And is the continuing disparagement of Katharina Kepler a paradigm of that continuing hegemony of the calculative machination’ of natural-scientism that Heidegger documented and deplored? All the concerns of our other seminars are unified in todays enthralling subject. Your contribution to the discussion will be warmly welcomed.


Professor Ulinka Rublack was born and raised in Germany, but has taught at Cambridge for nearly twenty years. Her research interests focus on sixteenth and seventeenth century culture, its visual and material aspects, the European Reformation, gender and society as well as methodological concerns.

She is editor of the Oxford Concise Companion to History. Her previous monographs include Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Early Modern Europe, also published by Oxford University Press, which explores the relation between dress and identities in the period, won the Bainton Prize and was one of six books nominated for the Cundill Prize, the largest non-fiction history book prize in the world.

Ulinka Rublack is sole founder of the Cambridge History for Schools outreach programme; she is a co-founder of what became the Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies and has served on its working party for over ten years. She has been a full member of three European research networks and most recently served as a member of the steering committee of the AHRC-funded network on the history of luxury, led by Giorgio Riello. She has been visiting scholar at the Maison de l'Homme, Paris, and her books have been translated into German and Chinese. One of her aims is to explore and interpret the past in novel ways by collaborating with other scholars as well as with artists and makers. She has co-curated the Fitzwilliam exhibition Treasured Possessions and curated its exhibition A Young Man's Progress (March - September 2015), which resulted from her collaboration with an artist and fashion designer in response to Renaissance fashion images. Further information is available on her tumblr The First Book of Fashion.

Professor Rublack has recently been awarded grants to collaborate with composer Tim Watts and video artist Aura Satz to create art work which responds to the story of Johannes Kepler and his mother. She is also co-investigator of a Swiss National Foundation grant to explore the relationship of materiality, objects and emotional communities in the early modern world. She has recently been appointed as Gender Equality Champion for the University. She combines her busy career with raising two children.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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  +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.

Freud's First Case Study. Richard Skues conducts Inner Circle Seminar 236 (2 April 2017)

Sigmund Freud, 1891
Freud’s First Case Study
Who was Freuds ‘Heroine?

Richard Skues
conducts
Inner Circle Seminar No. 236
introduced by
Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 2 April 2017
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Richard Skues writes:

In 1892 Freud published his very first significant case history. It concerned a woman who was unable to breastfeed her newly born children, but whom Freud treated successfully by means of hypnosis. The patient is one of the very few of Freud’s extended cases whose identity has always remained obscure. This seminar will examine closely the details of the patient that Freud gives us and aim to solve the puzzle of her identity, looking at primary candidates and sifting the evidence for and against each one. In the course of this we shall consider not only the extent to which Freud was straightforward in his presentation of cases, but in more general terms whether it is possible to write an accurate case history without sacrificing detail that could be crucial for a full understanding of the patient and the therapeutic process.


Richard Skues has memorably conducted and contributed to a number of the Inner Circle Seminars over the years, drawing on his extensive researches into the early history of psychoanalysis and on his findings published in a number of papers. In particular, he has conducted a seminar based on his book Sigmund Freud and the History of Anna O.: Reopening a Closed Case (2006), so far the definitive book on another of the early case histories, Breuer’s patient Anna O.’.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ

Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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 433 250
E-mail: stadlen@aol.com

For further information on seminars, visit:


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.

Pain and Pleasure (1957): Szasz’s first book – 60 years on. Inner Circle Seminar 235 (12 March 2017)

Thomas Szasz
1970s
Anthony Stadlen    Thomas Szasz
at Szasz
s 90th-birthday seminar
Inner Circle Seminar No. 153
London, 13 June 2010  
Pain and Pleasure:
A Study of Bodily Feelings
(1957)
Szasz’s first book – 60 years on

Anthony Stadlen
conducts
Inner Circle Seminar No. 235
Sunday 12 March 2017
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

People have denounced Thomas Szasz ever since he published his second book, The Myth of Mental Illness, in 1961. Psychiatrists say he ‘walked away from’ suffering; psychoanalysts say he was unconscious of the ‘unconscious’; existential therapists say he was a ‘Cartesian dualist’; and all say he discounted the psychological problems of ‘schizophrenics’. But his very first book, Pain and Pleasure: A Study of Bodily Feelings (1957), proves all these accusations false. Far from denying suffering, he questions the distinction between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’ pain; he is adept at exploring ‘unconscious phantasy’; from the first sentence, he confronts so-called ‘Cartesian dualism’; and he has a whole chapter ‘Bodily Feelings in Schizophrenia’. This first book of Szasz’s shows conclusively that his thesis that ‘mental illness’ is a ‘myth’ reveals not a naive denial of psychological complexity but, rather, the arrival in the 1950s of a master existential psychoanalyst. Your contribution to the discussion will be warmly welcomed.
Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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 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.

Laing & Esterson. 7. The Golds. 50 years on. Hilary Mantel and Anthony Stadlen conduct Inner Circle Seminar 234 (12 February 2017)

Laing and Esterson
Sanity, Madness and the Family
50 Years On
Family 7: The Golds

Dame Hilary Mantel   Anthony Stadlen
conduct
Inner Circle Seminar No. 234
Sunday 12 February 2017
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hilary Mantel
Aaron Esterson

R. D. Laing

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, in Sanity, Madness and the Family: Families of Schizophrenics (1964), R. D. Laing and Aaron Esterson introduced their revolutionary descriptions of eleven families of ‘schizophrenics’. But fifty years on, the ‘clinical viewpoint’ still reigns supreme. 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’?

Hilary Mantel wrote that the simple words the people speak’ in Laing and Estersons book gave her, at 20, the courage to write her own astonishing books. Her introductions to the seminars in this series have enthralled participants.

Anthony Stadlen continues to interview the eleven families in the twenty-first century. Today, we explore Chapter 7, on ‘Ruth Gold’ and her family, in the light of his discussions with Ruth’s family. It is noteworthy that Ruths brother, knowing Laing and Estersons account, but exasperated with existential therapists who accuse them of bias against his and Ruths parents, pronounced it a whitewash’ that failed to show how monstrous his family was. Your contribution to the discussion will be welcomed.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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 433 250
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.

Locked Up: ‘Patients’ and their Gaolers 14. Deidre McCloskey (1942– ). Deidre McCloskey conducts Inner Circle Seminar 233 (5 February 2017)


Deidre McCloskey
Locked Up: ‘Patients’ and their Gaolers
14. Deidre McCloskey
(1942– )

Deidre McCloskey
conducts Inner Circle Seminar No. 233
Sunday 5 February 2017
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Deidre N. McCloskey (born 11 September 1942) is Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communicaion, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Classics, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her main research interests include the origins of the modern world, the misuse of statistical significance in economics and other sciences, and the study of capitalism. In her book Crossing, she tells how, as a renowned economist and historian, as well as a husband and father, Donald McCloskey at age fifty-two decided he had to become a woman. A colleague was momentarily stunned. Then: Thank God...I thought for a moment you were going to confess to converting to socialism!Deidre McCloskey’s family, with the exception of her mother, were less accepting. They arranged her psychiatric incarceration with a view to ‘treatment’, as she will recount today.


Venue:   Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost:    Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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   +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.

Locked Up: ‘Patients’ and their Gaolers. 13. Christopher Smart. Allan Ingram conducts Inner Circle Seminar 232 (22 January 2017)

Locked Up: ‘Patients’ and their Gaolers
13. Christopher Smart
(17221771)
Confined by the Infinite
Christopher Smart
Allan Ingram
Allan Ingram
conducts
Inner Circle Seminar
No. 232
introduced by
Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 22 January 2017
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
11
Christopher Smart (11 April 1722 – 21 May 1771) wrote in 1762, in a private mad-house in Bethnal Green, a poem beginning:
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffrey
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.

This great poet was locked up by mad-doctors for falling to his knees and praying in the street. But James Boswell quoted Dr Samuel Johnson as saying: 

... although, rationally speaking, it is greater madness not to pray at all, than to pray as Smart did, I am afraid there are so many who do not pray, that their understanding is not called in question.

Allan Ingram writes:


Christopher Smart
(1722 – 1771)
Confined by the Infinite

Born in Kent and educated at Durham School and at Pembroke College, Cambridge, Smart first became a Fellow at Pembroke and looked destined, like another mid-century poet, Thomas Gray, for a cloistered life as a don and occasional writer. However, he was already contributing to magazine publication as well as winning distinguished poetry competitions, and in 1749 he transferred to London, where he hoped to make a living as a professional writer. In particular he was, between 1751 and 1753, the leading contributor to the magazine The Midwife, which involved his adopting various pseudonyms, including ‘Mrs Mary Midnight’, or ‘Mother Midnight’, the midwife herself, and even for a while performing the role on stage in women’s clothing for a popular entertainment devised by himself. During this time, he married, had two daughters, and became increasingly debt-laden. Always an intense writer of religious verse, his mental problems became obvious with what seems to have been a breakdown in 1756: his Hymn to the Supreme Being on Recovery from a Dangerous Fit of Illness praises the Lord for saving him from his afflictions. However, a year later he was confined in the new St Luke’s Hospital under the radical physician William Battie, being discharged a year later as incurable, whereupon he was moved to Potter’s private madhouse in Bethnal Green, where he remained until January 1763. Smart lived for only eight years after his final discharge. Within that time he produced more works, some of them of extremely high quality, in his effort to remain solvent while also writing begging letters to friends, many of whom were regularly very generous. Estranged from his wife and family, he died in a debtor’s prison.

Very little is known about Smart’s time in St Luke’s or in Potter’s, but while there he seems to have written the bulk of his most remarkable poetry, in particular Jubilate Agno and, probably, A Song to David. We get almost no sense from these of the realities of his confinement. He clearly had materials for writing, and access to works of reference, which are plentifully drawn on in the first of these poems. It is an extraordinary celebration of universal harmony, stretching across different religions, historical periods, natural history, astronomy, letters and their sounds, and contemporary figures and acquaintances. It is unique, not only as an asylum poem, or as a religious poem, but within the entire century. It genuinely does give the impression that Smart regarded himself, as a religious being, as confined only by the infinite.

The seminar will deal with the background to Smart’s confinement, including types of diagnosis of insanity, and conditions within contemporary madhouses. It will also consider specimens of Smart’s writing, before going on to look at sections from his asylum writings, both in terms of the vision Smart is presenting and of what they might tell us about his state of mind under confinement.

Allan Ingram, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Northumbria, has published many books on 18th-century ‘madness’ and ‘melancholy’. He directed (2006-9) the research project ‘Before Depression, 1660-1800’. He memorably conducted our tenth Locked Up seminar, on Alexander (‘the Corrector’) Cruden, on 10 February 2013. He is ideally placed to help us explore Christopher Smart’s incarceration and his relationship with his gaolers.

Venue:   Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost:    Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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 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 Black Notebooks: The role of ‘World Jewry’. Inner Circle Seminar 231 (11 December 2016)

Martin Heidegger
Heidegger’s Black Notebooks:
The role of ‘World Jewry’ in the
‘uprooting of all being from Being’

Anthony Stadlen
conducts 
Inner Circle Seminar No. 231
Sunday 11 December 2016
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


In eight Inner Circle Seminars over the last two years we have immersed ourselves in the detailed reports of the seminars that the philosopher Martin Heidegger gave between 1959 and 1969 in the home of the Swiss psychiatrist and Daseinsanalyst Medard Boss at Zollikon near Zurich, retracing them after fifty years almost to the day. We have also started to explore the discussions between Heidegger and Boss which were the ground from which the seminars sprang.

In today’s seminar we step back even further and look at Heidegger’s Black Notebooks. It is here that, according to his brother Fritz, Martin Heidegger is most authentically himself and his real philosophy is to be found. Yet twenty-six short entries in these Notebooks have been the occasion of yet another Heidegger scandal.

It has long been known that Heidegger was a paid-up member of the Nazi party from 1933 to 1945; that he was Nazi Rector of Freiburg University and told students that The Führer alone is the present and future German reality and its law’; that in 1949 he said: Farming is now a motorised food-industry, in essence the same as the manufacture of corpses in gas chambers and extermination camps.’ Was he ‘philosophically’ trivialising Nazi mass murder? But did he not have warm relationships, and even at least one love affair, with Jewish students and colleagues? Granted, he complained about the Jewification’ of Germany, but perhaps he meant this metaphysically’? Heidegger was, it was said, if not exactly a good’ Nazi, at least a great thinker, and not a vulgar antisemite’ like his wife.

The Black Notebooks with their sprinkling of remarks about Jews have shaken this view. What are we to make of his assertion that his discussion of the role of ‘Weltjudentum (‘World Jewry’) is not to do with ‘race’, but is ‘a metaphysical questioning of the kind of humanity that can with downright abandon undertake the uprooting of all being from Being’? He denounces ‘antisemitism’ as ‘reprehensible’, and he attacks Nazi ‘racial’ doctrine as itself part of the same destructive ‘calculative’ ‘machination’ and ‘uprooting’ of which he accuses not only ‘World Jewry’ but also the Bolsheviks, the Americans, the English. But he sees his teacher Husserl, a convert to Christianity, as ultimately precluded from true insight by the inescapable fact that he is, still, a Jew. Is Heidegger, then, an ‘antisemite’ after all? If so, in what sense? What is this all about?

In this seminar we try to get beyond simplistic categories. How does Heidegger’s critique of ‘World Jewry’ differ from Nazi ‘racial’ ‘antisemitism’ or, for instance, the religious anti-Judaism of T. S. Eliot (who also denounced ‘antisemitism’ but also insisted it was a ‘sin’ in the eyes of the Church)? What is the reality of Christian and post-Christian anti-Judaism? How did it prepare the ground for Nazi ‘racism’ and for Heidegger’s opposition to both Nazi ‘racism’ and ‘World Jewry’?

And what, if any, are the implications of all this for the everyday practice of psychotherapy? Can Heidegger’s thinking help us improve our practice, as the Zollikon seminars make clear he hoped? It would seem so. But is he correct that psychoanalysis is in essence ‘calculative machination’, as many existential psychotherapists seem to think? In the Black Notebooks he writes of it in these terms, but in the Zollikon seminars he is more nuanced, presumably under Boss’s influence. But existential therapists generally seem closer to his Black Notebooks position. If ‘calculative machination’ is all they can see in psychoanalysis, are they not by that token guilty of it themselves? Indeed, is this not a hitherto unacknowledged anti-Judaic tendency of existential therapy in general?


The leading Daseinsanalyst Gion Condrau expressed irritation that people still mentioned what he called Heidegger’s ‘political error’. Condrau told me that Boss told his trainees they must not, in the Zollikon seminars, question Heidegger about his Nazism. But Heidegger’s so-called ‘political error’ was grounded in his philosophical thinking. How can we be sure that existential or daseinsanalytic therapy, also grounded in his philosophical thinking, is not a ‘therapeutic error’? And is ‘error’ the right word for a grave moral wrong? These questions become even more urgent in the light of the Black Notebooks. Your contribution to the discussion will be warmly welcomed.

Venue:  ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Cost:  Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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 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.

Laing & Esterson. 6. The Fields. 50 years on. Hilary Mantel and Anthony Stadlen conduct Inner Circle Seminar 230 (20 November 2016)

Laing and Esterson
Sanity, Madness and the Family
50 Years On
Family 6: The Fields

Dame Hilary Mantel   Anthony Stadlen
conduct
Inner Circle Seminar No. 230
Sunday 20 November 2016
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
R. D. Laing
Aaron Esterson
Hilary Mantel

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, in Sanity, Madness and the Family: Families of Schizophrenics (1964), R. D. Laing and Aaron Esterson introduced their revolutionary descriptions of eleven families of ‘schizophrenics’. But fifty years on, the ‘clinical viewpoint’ still reigns supreme. 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’?

Hilary Mantel wrote that the simple words the people speak’ in Laing and Estersons book gave her, at 20, the courage to write her own astonishing books. Her introductions to the seminars in this series have enthralled participants.

Anthony Stadlen continues to interview the eleven families in the twenty-first century. Today, we explore Chapter 6, on ‘June Field’ and her family, with the help of Esterson’s original tape recordings on which the book is based; of photographs; and of Stadlen’s reports and recordings of his discussions with June’s husband, sister, and friend. Your contribution will be warmly  welcomed.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, 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  +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.