The Adventure of Being Human: Beyond the Myth of Biological Salvation

with Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD

This episode is the opening lecture of a weekend given by Polly Young-Eisendrath. It contains a 1-hour lecture followed by an hour of Q&A. From the seminar description:

We all sense a connection with the source that underlies our existence, whether or not we recognize it as such and we all wish to identify with something larger than ourselves. Some feel this as a spiritual yearning, while others wish for fame or celebrity or the knowledge of a larger truth. The spiritual isolation and materialism (both economic and philosophical) of our times make it difficult to find trustworthy methods from institutional religions, non-traditional approaches, psychology, or philosophy for seeking knowledge of this source. However, our desire to help others (and ourselves) and our willingness to love deeply and authentically can offer the common ground through which we can find this knowledge, but it requires a dedicated understanding of our own suffering and its transformation.

Instead of seeking such insight into our subjective lives, we Americans embrace popular myths of biological salvation and pharmaceutical soothing. It?s not just that we seek instant solutions to complex problems, rather we have lost our taste for the adventure of human life, replacing it with ideals of economic and biological ?security? and hopes for absolute control of our diet and health.

This program offers a critique of this contemporary myth of biological salvation and presents accounts from psychoanalysis (Jungian and otherwise) and Buddhism of how embracing our limitations can open the path to transformation and lasting contentment.

The weekend continues with Part 2 – Living and Loving in the Human Realm

Building on the presentation The Adventure of Being Human, this workshop investigates the challenges of human life through an exploration of our difficulties with perfectionism, the three types of suffering we encounter, and the ways in which love challenges us to develop a true discipline of our hearts. Among other things, this program explores mythologies, the Human Realm (from Buddhism), the inner critic of perfectionism, the value of the human sciences, and the differences between the two major sciences of subjectivity: psychoanalysis and Buddhism.

It was recorded in October 2001, so there is some discussion of the 9/11 attacks and related issues.

Note: In the Q&A portion, questioners were not microphoned and so the volume was very low. We’ve increased the volume, but they are still somewhat difficult to understand against the background noise, and back-and-forth is somewhat disorienting because of the frequent changes in amplification.

Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD is Clinical Associate Professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont Medical College. She is a psychologist and Jungian analyst practicing in the mountains of central Vermont, where she lives and writes. She has published thirteen books, many chapters and articles that have been translated into fourteen languages. Her books include The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-ImportanceThe Resilient Spirit: Transforming Suffering Into Insight And RenewalThe Gifts Of Suffering: A Guide To Resilience And RenewalWomen and Desire: Beyond Wanting to Be Wantedand You’re Not What I Expected: Learning to Love the Opposite Sex.

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Links
Polly Young-Eisendrath’s Website
Polly Young-Eisendrath on Jungianthology
Polly Young-Eisendrath at the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago

Books
The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance
The Resilient Spirit: Transforming Suffering Into Insight And Renewal
The Gifts Of Suffering: A Guide To Resilience And Renewal
Women and Desire: Beyond Wanting to Be Wanted
You’re Not What I Expected: Learning to Love the Opposite Sex


© 2001 Polly Young-Eisendrath. This podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may share it, but please do not change it, sell it, or transcribe it.
Executive Producer: Ben Law
Host: Patricia Martin
Contributors: Judith Cooper & Daniel Ross
Music: Michael Chapman


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