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The associative unconscious, abductive logic and social dreaming

The associative unconscious, abductive logic and social dreaming

This talk will introduce the concept of the associative unconscious and its connection with Social Dreaming. The work of philosopher Charles Pierce will be used to explain the processes used in the development of working hypotheses and their function in psychoanalytic and socioanalytic work, with particular emphasis on the methodology of social dreaming.

Tavistock Institute

September 18, 2017
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  1. The Associative
    Unconscious, Abductive
    Logic and Social Dreaming
    Talk for the Tavistock Lunchtime Series
    2017
    Professor Susan Long
    Director of Research and Scholarship at the National Institute for Organisation Dynamics Australia

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  2. Beginnings
    u “Most people turn away from what is
    concealed in themselves just as they turn
    away from the depths of the great life
    and shy away from the glance into the
    abysses of that past which are still in one
    just as much as the present.”
    u Fredrick Schelling (1815)

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  3. Freud
    Repression: avoiding anxiety
    The return of the repressed: Tricks of the
    Unconscious in forming dreams; jokes; slips
    of the tongue and neurotic symptoms
    Free Association to reveal unconscious
    processes.

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  4. THE UNCONSCIOUS IN
    ORGANISATIONS
    THE SOCIAL UNCONSCIOUS
    Each society determines which thoughts and
    feelings shall be permitted to arrive at the
    level of awareness and which have to
    remain unconscious
    Eric Fromm (1962)

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  5. The Social Unconscious
    u The concept of the social unconscious refers to the
    existence and constraints of social, cultural and
    communicational arrangements of which people are
    unaware:
    u 1.unaware insofar as these arrangements are not
    perceived (not known)
    u 2.and if perceived are not acknowledged (denied)
    u 3.and if acknowledged are not taken as problematic
    (given)
    u 4. and if taken as problematic are not considered with
    an optimum degree of detachment and objectivity
    (Hopper 2003 p. 127.)

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  6. • All human thought and meaning is
    implicate (Bohm) in the human capacity for
    symbolisation.
    • All past, present and future thought exists
    in potentiality within the capacity to use
    and interpret signs and symbols.
    • Some thought cannot be realised by
    thinkers for several reasons.
    Background to Associative
    Unconscious

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  7. Thought that cannot be
    realised
    u Repressive or psychotic processes in the individual
    u Repressive or psychotic processes in the group
    u Cultural restrictions from family, group, society,
    gender etc.
    u Technological and practical restrictions: the right
    containers for the thoughts are not available
    u Historical development of ideas – some ideas are
    not ready to be thought

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  8. Associative Unconscious
    u A mental network of signs, symbols, signifiers able to give rise to
    thoughts, feelings and impulses in members of an interacting community.
    u The network is between people, yet within them.

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  9. Associative Unconscious
    u The associative unconscious is the potential field of
    thought (shared representations) by a community;
    u The infinite of human thought, remembering that
    thought is transformed emotional experience (Bion);
    u This can be accessed through free association, dreams,
    art, poetry shared in a social context;
    u It may be unavailable due to repressions, social and
    historical constraints etc.

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  10. Peircian Logic
    Deduction
    u Provides certainty
    u Nothing new is discovered

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  11. Abduction
    u A surprising fact C is observed
    u But if H were true, C would be a
    matter of course
    u So, hypothetically H is true.
    u Kepler’s observation of anomalities in
    the path of Mars so it must be an
    elliptical path;
    u Darwin’s observation of diversity and
    similarity in species led to theory of
    evolution through mutation and
    adaptation to ecological niche.

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  12. Peircian Logic
    Abduction
    u Presents possibilities
    u The conjectural method (Ginzberg) using clues – Freud,
    Holmes and Morelli
    u A flash of insight
    u A surprising fact (breaking a habit of expectation)
    u Associations from experience

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  13. Abduction
    u Abduction occurs through learning from experience
    u Abduction occurs through associative thinking

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  14. Working socioanalytically
    u Noticing the surprising
    u Finding patterns
    u New ways of seeing
    u Hunches

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  15. Socioanalytic Methods
    u These methods generate meaning
    through understanding the clues –
    finding patterns in seeming chaos or
    unconnected occurrences
    u They work with dreams, drawings,
    photo’s films, music, associations,
    metaphors and patterns (right brain)
    to come to “the surprising fact”
    u Their aim is to generate “working
    hypotheses” -the first step in scientific
    enquiry

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  16. Socioanalytic Methods
    u Access to associative unconscious: the infinite of
    thought
    u Access through abductive logic
    u Access through methods that generate associations
    u Finding interconnections using chaotic seemingly
    unconnected ‘bits and pieces’ of human phenomena as
    clues

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  17. dreams
    u Unconsciously processing emotions
    (evidence from Neuroscience)
    u Creating narratives (Grotstein 2000)
    u Social Dreaming to access social
    narratives and themes in dreams.
    u Associative Unconscious: ‘a network of
    ideas, symbols, signs and images’ (Long
    and Harney 2013)

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  18. Social Dreaming, Associative
    Unconscious and Creativity
    The context of the Social Dreaming Matrix has as its
    emphasis:
    u democratic process,
    u free association;
    u non-judgement;
    u focus on the dreams not the personalities; and,
    u spirit of curiosity and enquiry
    It is a significant vehicle for access to the associative
    unconscious which in turn is the crucible of creativity.

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