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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

The Myth that Binds

In one sense, a prologue is entirely superfluous because the each author provides a rich and compelling context of understanding for their presentation. Yet the idea of a prologue also makes sense. Although each presentation stands on its own, there are connecting themes that underlay, and give added meaning to, these chapters which make up the scenes and acts of the upcoming play. One theme is calamity. Stories of disaster and disruption provide the ground of understanding. They are clustered into three groups - the acts of this play: war and conflict; the financial meltdown; and finally issues of leadership and the illusion of containment. What sets the stage for them is the persistent and dominating myth of rationality which functions as the blind eye, opening the way for the destructive enactments and catastrophes explored herein. This myth, which persists in spite of overwhelming evidence, is itself rooted in the Enlightenment project that has held sway over Western thought since the 17th century. Armed with ultimate faith in reason and science, Enlightenment thinkers took aim at dogma. Through the application of reason to orthodoxies, tradition and unquestioned convention, the Enlightenment aspired to emancipate people from barriers to free thought.