Memory as Anamnesis: The Time of Memory and the Memory of Time
In The Republic Orpheus is the type of poet whom Plato allows back into the polis. Unlike the mimetic poets, whom he bans from the polis because they keep their audience in a state of imitative identification with the themes and characters in their tales, Orpheus is a poet of anamnesis who awakens humankind to their lost and forgotten ties, the ‘gods’ and the values of Beauty, Truth, Justice and Destiny.
The difference between identification and anamnesis is a seed planted 2500 years ago for a new style of education. My paper explores the following three issues:
First, I propose that anamnesis is a way of re-imagining memory as unforgetting, as a work of awakening collective consciousness from its condition of amnesia and its continuous repetition of the values of the inherited conglomerate.
Second, I describe how anamnesis recovers memory as a transformative task of re-membering, which requires a dis-membering of one’s consciousness that opens imagination to other possibilities.
Third, I emphasize that this work of unforgetting makes arts education not only therapeutic but also essentially disturbing and dangerous to the powers that be.
To illustrate these themes, I will use examples from my therapeutic practice that show how the use of art, drama, film, photos, novels, dreams and movement re-mind individuals to take up again forgotten impossible dreams of who they might be and what the world as it is might be.
I conclude my paper with a plea to recover a type of education that values the arts as a collective therapeutic anamnesis.
Robert D. Romanyshyn is an Affiliate Member of The Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, a Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, and an Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute
He has published eight books including Victor Frankenstein, the Monster and the Shadows of Technology: The Frankenstein Prophecies, Leaning Toward the Poet: Eavesdropping on the Poetry of Everyday Life, The Wounded Researcher, Ways of the Heart, The Soul in Grief: Love, Death, and Transformation, and Technology as Symptom & Dream. He has also published poems, numerous articles in psychology, philosophy, education and literary journals, written a one act play about Frankenstein, and in 2009 he created a multi-media DVD entitled Antarctica: Inner journeys in the Outer World.
2019: Keynote address, ‘Educating the Quixotic Imagination’, European Consortium of Arts-Therapy Education Conference, Madrid, Spain.