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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Centering of the Sphinx for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations

There is no greater mystery in the known universe, except the universe itself, than the human mind...The mind is the interface between what we are wont to call the world of matter and space and the world of the spirit. The mind is our window to truth, beauty, charity and love, to existential mystery, the awareness of death, the poignancy of the human condition. (de Duve, 1995, p. 245)As the twentieth century draws to its close, a widespread sense of urgency is tangible on many levels, as if the end of an aeon is indeed approaching. It is a time of intense expectation, of striving, of hope and uncertainty. Many sense that the great determining force of our reality is the mysterious process of history itself, which in our century has appeared to be hurtling towards a massive disintegration of all structures and foundations, a triumph of the Heraclitean flux. (Tarnas, 1996 edn., p. 411) The subject of the psychoanalytic study of organisations I address from the role perspective of an organisational consultant. My method is to offer a number of working hypotheses for examination. These have come out of my experiences with role-holders in organisations as diverse as mail-order companies and religious institutions. The hypotheses attempt to illumine the nature of the reality of being in organisations at this point in history. If the evidence does not support them new working hypotheses can be substituted that better approximate what the truth of organisational realities might be.