Lecture 14. Radical Hope: Knowing Shielded from Unshielded Ground


Jim Gustafson

Published on Jul 27, 2012

Jim Gustafson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, giving his Fourteenth Lecture in a series of Thirty-Six Lectures on Maps in Psychiatry, as every Friday (but for an occasional vacation week), posted mid-afternoon on YouTube, earliest on the Jim Gustafson Channel, four items down the Jim Gustafson List, or on his web site at http: //psychiatry.wisc.edu/gustafson. Also, the new book from which these lectures are drawn into ten-minute form, is available with one click also on his web site electronically. These YouTube Lectures are for doctors and psychotherapists and patients and everyone interested in maps of the whole situation that will save us, distinguished from maps captured by only a part of the situation that can snare us.

The Fourteenth Lecture begins from Jonathan Lear’s book, Radical Hope, Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (2006), to summarize how Lear explains the remarkable capacity of Plenty Coups, the last chief of the Crow tribe who died in 1932, to depend upon his dream as a nine-year boy of the disappearance of the buffalo down a hole in the ground. In other words, the boy could face up in the dream to the near total cultural devastation of his people. Then he could also depend upon his dream to point to the way to undergo this disaster, by becoming as a a chickadee, whose lodge was the only lodge to withstand the storm of the white man in the boy’s dream.

The lecture goes on to my nightmare a week ago out at our cabin on the great prairie, analogous to that of Plenty Coups, in which I dream my own body into the cultural devastation we are looking at now in our people. I continue with an excerpt from Dostoevsky concerning degradation and loss of nobility in Russia in the 19th century. I conclude with a remarkable dream of one of my patients that helps her to sort out what is shielded ground from what is unshielded ground.

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