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“…a heroism is needed that cannot be seen from the outside. It does not glitter, is not belauded, and it always seeks concealment in everyday attire.”  


                                            Carl Jung, Collected Works, 7, ¶72

A Psyche, Culture and Politics
Panel Discussion on
Heroism in the 21st Century
Saturday, October 23rd
Noon - 1:30 PM EST

Andreas: “Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.”


Galileo: “Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.”


Bertolt Brecht, The Life of Galileo




     The idea that the hero is dead and buried is not new at all. But doesn’t history clearly illustrate that systemic oppression cannot be overturned without heroes? Pictures in our daily newsfeeds of soldiers lifting babies and children over barbed wire fences, of deeply etched faces of nurses and doctors putting in superhuman hours battling a still-raging global pandemic, reinforce an untenable paradox: We live in a historic moment that has toppled the collective ideal of a single country or leader as the romanticized hero while at the same time, presented us with life-threatening challenges that call for the heroic, in some form or other, more than ever.


        In his book, A New Therapy for Politics?, Andrew Samuels writes:


“We need to imagine a better politics because it is almost impossible to imagine a worse. On that journey, we will have to own infatuation with heroic leaders, and try to end the abusive relationship we have with them by making it possible for good-enough leaders to come on stream.” (p. 28).


This panel discussion will use this insight as a springboard into a nuanced conversation that explores contemporary ideas of heroism from political, depth psychological and cultural perspectives. Some of the themes the panelists will be speaking to include:


-      The Changing Face of Heroism – Is There More to the Story?

-      The Hero as Pacifist, The Hero as Warrior – which is it?

-       Is the Ego to Blame for Heroic Excess?

-      Heroic Virtues – Heroic Actions - Battling Existential Overwhelm




    In this series of four Sophia Center panel discussions, Andrew Samuels, internationally recognized as one of the foremost political commentators and theorists from the perspectives of psychotherapy and depth psychology, will join with specially invited guests with relevant expertise for fast-moving and thought provoking conversations on psycho/political themes that are currently making headlines. You are invited to join us to not only listen in to what are sure to be energetic conversations exploring nuanced facets of each theme from cultural, psychological and political perspectives, but also to join in the dialogue. Each 90 minute session will open with a 60 minute panel conversation that is followed by 30 minutes of open discussion with attendees.


        The Sophia Center will be offering these panel discussions quarterly. Because we are committed to focusing on headline making themes that are currently cultural/political hot topics, we will not be announcing the specific topics or subject matter guests until just prior to each panel discussion. 


The dates for the panel discussions are: October 23rd, January 15th, March 12th, and May 15th. Each session will run from Noon – 1:30 PM EST.

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Andrew Samuels is a Jungian analyst, university professor, author, activist and political consultant. He is well known for his work at the interface of psychotherapy and politics. His work on sexuality, relationships, spirituality, men and fathers has been widely appreciated. He is a former Chair of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, co-founder of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility and of the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy. His many books have been translated into 19 languages.

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Betty Sue Flowers is the former director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and an Emerita Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of a number of texts, particularly relating to Christina Rossetti. She also edited the book and acted as a consultant to the 1988 documentary, The Power of Myth, a series of interviews between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. She also coauthored the influential book Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future (2004) together with Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer and Joseph Jaworski.

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Dr. Vorris L. Nunley is a rhetorician-philosopher in the English Department at the University of California, Riverside. He is interested in rhetoric and language and how they influence politics, culture, and what passes for knowledge and common sense. He is the author of Keepin' It Hushed: The Barbershop and African American Hush Harbor Rhetoric (Wayne State University Press, 2011).

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