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Democracy Under Siege: Authoritarianism and Psyche

Democracy Under Siege: Authoritarianism and Psyche

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Democracy | Hosted Online

Program Description

Democracy Under Siege: Authoritarianism and Psyche

“Rational argument can be conducted with some prospect of success only so long as the emotionality of a given situation does not exceed a certain critical degree. If the affective temperature rises above this level, the possibility of reason’s having any effect ceases and its place is taken by slogans and chimerical wish-fantasies, That is to say, a sort of collective possession results which rapidly develops into a psychic epidemic.”

– Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self

With the anniversary of the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, news headlines around the country seemed to be sounding an alarm not heard since the advent of the Civil War.  Former President, Barack Obama, released a statement saying that: “…our democracy is at a greater risk today than it was back then,”  In an op-ed for the NYT, former President Jimmy Carter wrote:  “I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally — the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power — has become dangerously fragile at home.”

According to a recent article in the New York Times, Perry Bacon Jr., a Washington Post columnist, wrote that American democracy is facing “an existential crisis.” Election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, Rick Hasen, commented: “This is a house-on-fire moment, and the priority should be trying to find bipartisan paths toward compromise.”

Is the US witnessing the dying gasps of the great American experiment? Are we on the verge of a second Civil War? Or are we struggling through the political manifestations of a much deeper changing of the gods? If we look at current US politics through a psychoanalytic lens, can we understand the rising groundswell of authoritarianism that is being played out in regional governments and small town politics as well as on a global scale, as a regressive pull to maintain or re-instate the status quo of a by-gone era and if so, is there an antidote to this psychic epidemic?

Program Details


Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

9:00 – 11:00 AM PT/ Noon – 2:00 PM EDT / 5:00 – 7:00 PM/London

Format: Live Panel Discussion followed by Q & A with Participants


  • $35 General Rate
  • $25 Pacifica Student, Full-time Student, and Pacifica Alumni Rate


Program link will be sent out prior to the event.
For those unable to attend live, only the panel presentation will be recorded (the live Q & A will not be recorded for privacy).The recorded link will be shared after the event.

Featured Presenters

Betty Sue Flowers

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.


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).



Andrew Samuels 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.


Thomas Singer Thomas Singer, MD, is a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst who trained at Yale Medical School, Dartmouth Medical School, and the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. He is the author of many books and articles that include a series of books on cultural complexes that have focused on Australia, Latin America, Europe, the United States, and Far East Asian countries, in addition to another series of books featuring Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche. He serves on the board of ARAS (Archive for Research into Archetypal Symbolism) and has served as coeditor of ARAS Connections for many years.


General Information


Hosted Online


Cancellations 14 days or more prior to the program start date receive a 100% refund of program registrations. After 14 days, up to 7 days prior to the program start date, a 50% refund is available. For cancellations made less than 7 days of program start date, no refund is available.

For additional information, including travel, cancellation policy, and disability services please visit our general information section.

Registration Details

Sunday, April 3, 2022

This is a previous event listing

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