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Human Virtuality and Digital Life

January 11th, 18th, 25th, 2023

3 Live Classes | Offered Live via Zoom

Program Description

What you will receive:

  • 3 Live Webinar Sessions with Q & A
  • 3 Links to the Recordings
  • A Learning Resource Guide with additional material

The astounding omnipresence of the virtual in contemporary consciousness is radically restructuring our psychology, changing our societies and culture, and having profound effects on who we are, how we behave with one another, and on the kind of world we are inhabiting. The speed and instantaneousness of digital communication radically unsettles both time and space. “Real time” and “virtual space” are new categories in our existence that introduce dramatic transformations in our form of life. Changing our very understanding of knowledge and ignorance, of subjectivity and objectivity, digital technology is reforming our needs and interests, affecting all areas of human experience.

These transformations have been so rapid that we are only now beginning to notice and slowly assimilate their psychic effect. So much of it still remains unconscious, that it becomes important not only to attend to what seem to be the digital’s very clear perils, but also to try to discern what may be its still unknown or unseen potential. Indeed, we might be witnessing an enhancement and extension of our existence beyond anything we are as yet, able to imagine.

In this course, we will examine how the digital is changing many of the structures through which we understand our world, how we conceive of ourselves, how we interact with each other, even the very nature of society and culture. We approach these issues from both depth psychological and philosophical perspectives and attempt to find a way of thinking about technology that does not polarize but rather tries to hold in creative and generative tension both the perils and potentials of the digital revolution.  We use myth, popular culture, film, and television to illustrate our themes.  We provide an overview of the history of the media to contextualize the digital revolution, as well as the challenges that this new realm of virtual reality brings to depth psychological theorizing and its implications for psychotherapeutic practice.

This course is ideal if

  • you want to find a reflective space to openly explore the question of the digital as it manifests in your personal and professional life, from the psychic effects of the social media, the ubiquity of the Smartphone and Selfie, to what it means to live in a post-truth political climate.
  • you are interested in exploring the cultural changes that we are experiencing and their depth psychological and philosophical significance.
  • you want to form a deeper understanding of the challenges that the digital poses in our relationship to the other, its effects on child and adolescent development, as well as its impact on our dreaming and fantasy life.
  • you are concerned about the ethical dimensions of technological phenomena.
  • you are a psychotherapist and want to explore the impact of the digital on your practice, as telehealth becomes increasingly dominant in our field,  e.g. how to  reconceive the frame, the boundaries between client and therapist, and the similarities and differences between face-to-face and virtual contact.

Course Overview

Week 1: History and nature of the media: the nature of technology, pharmacological considerations. Evolution of the media: speech, writing, photography, film, digital image. Digital simulation and the question of the ‘aura’ and the psyche.

Week 2: The nature of the relationship between the virtual and the real. Psychological dimensions of the virtual: how does virtual reality differ from dream reality? How to understand the “virtual within” as different from virtual reality. What effect does the digital have on potential space? How does it impact our relationship to the other and otherness in general? Narcissism and digital addiction.

Week 3: Philosophical dimensions of digital life: “ontological centaurs”; the “Pygmalionic impulse”; the “mimetic faculty”. The question of the post-human: transhumanism, post-truth and beyond.  The tragedy of the virtual: mourning and melancholia in the digital age.

By the End of This Course You Will Be Able To

  • Recognize and understand the thinking of some of the major philosophers who early on anticipated the digital revolution, such as Walter Benjamin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Giles Deleuze, Bernard Stiegler and Jacques Derrida.
  • Identify the major psychological and philosophical issues raised by the digital.
  • Be familiarized with the current debates around pros and cons of technology.
  • Attain a balanced perspective on how the digital is at the same time both enhancing us and poisoning us.
  • Understand the role that unconscious processes play in relationship to our everyday use of technology.

CEC Learning Objectives

  • Identify the pharmacological effects of technology on identity formation and healthy ego development.
  • Differentiate an existential, psychological virtuality from the virtuality that arises from digital technology.
  • Analyze the dynamics that contribute to narcissism and digital addiction
  • Assess the role of unconscious processes such as projection and transference, in digital consumption and analyze their impact with regards to an inner locus of control

What People Are Saying

‘Secluded during the COVID pandemic, I sank into this extraordinary and utterly timely work. Human Virtuality and Digital Life pursues the deeper ambiguities and opportunities of our suddenly, radically digitalized existences. Ranging effortlessly from bison painted on caves to the semiotics of photography to our new “0-1” worlds, from Plato and Walter Benjamin to D.W Winnicott and Guy Debord, the authors consider the way seeing, thinking, and being will change, the way truth, time, and space will bend, the way our most private possession, our own psyches, will be both impoverished and enriched by what is no longer a dream but is our waking present.  A brilliant work.’

George Makari, director, DeWitt Wallace Institute of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine; author of Soul Machine: The Making of the Modern Mind and Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis

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Program Details

Dates

January 11th, 18th, 25th, 2023
5:00 – 6:30 PM PDT

Registration

  • $235 General Rate
  • $185 Pacifica Alumni, Full Time Students, & Senior Rate
  • $135 Pacifica Student Rate
  • $30.00 CECs (4 CEC hours)*

Program link will be sent out prior to the event. For those unable to attend live, the presentation will be recorded and the link shared after the event.

*Live attendance at all Zoom sessions is required for verification of CEC hours (no partial CEC Certificates are offered). Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs

About the Teachers

Victor J. Krebs, Ph.D., is professor of philosophy in the Department of Humanities at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and philosophical curator at VJK curaduria filosófica. He has written on philosophy of language, technology, psychoanalysis, aesthetics, cinema, and popular culture.  From his most recent research he has published (with Richard Frankel) Human Virtuality and Digital Life: Philosophical and Psychoanalytic Investigations (Routledge 2022). He is also the author of The Pornographic Imagination. Against Skepticism in Culture (Lápix, 2014), The Recovery of Meaning. Wittgenstein, Philosophy and the Transcendent (Equinox, 2008) and Of the Soul and Art. Reflections on Image, Culture and Memory (Editorial Arte, 1998). He is currently writing Manual for the Poor Hedonist.

Richard Frankel, Ph.D., is a faculty member and supervisor at The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis.  He is a teaching associate and supervisor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of The Adolescent Psyche: Jungian and Winnicottian Perspectives, soon to be re-published as part of the Routledge Classic Series, and (with Victor J. Krebs) of Human Virtuality and Digital Life: Philosophical and Psychoanalytic Investigations.  He has also authored “Digital Melancholy” and “Fantasy and Imagination in Winnicott’s Work” amongst other papers. He lectures widely and teaches seminars on comparative psychoanalysis, Winnicott, Bion, dreams, and the interface of continental philosophy and psychoanalytic thought.  He is currently working, with Victor Krebs, on a second volume exploring the effects of digital technology on psychic life tentatively entitled: Dreaming (in) Digital Life.

General Information

Location

Hosted Online

Cancellations

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.

Continuing Education Credit

This program meets qualifications for 3 hours of continuing education credit for Psychologists through the California Psychological Association (PAC014) Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.

This course meets the qualifications for 3 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

For Registered Nurses through the California Board of Registered Nurses this conference meets qualifications of 3 hours of continuing education credit are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177).  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for each program and its content.  Full day attendance is required to receive a certificate.

Continuing Education Goal.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is committed to offering continuing education courses to train LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs to treat any client in an ethically and clinically sound manner based upon current accepted standards of practice.  Course completion certificates will be awarded at the conclusion of the training and upon participant’s submission of his or her completed evaluation.

CECs and Online Program Attendance: Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

Registration Details

January 11th, 18th, 25th, 2023

  • Number of Classes: 3 Classes
  • Class Length: 90 min.
  • Dates: January 11th, 18th, 25th
  • Class Time: 5:00 – 6:30 PM PDT
  • Total Duration: 4.5 Hours
  • CECs: 3

Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.