Fluid Subjectivities, Extended Minds and Unseen Worlds: Mystical Psychologies of Frederic W.H. Myers and William James
Legacies of the Occult - Psychoanalysis, Religion, and Unconscious Communication - Marsha Aileen Hewitt
Marsha Aileen Hewitt [+]
University of Toronto
A detailed analysis contrasting Sigmund Freud’s concept of the unconscious with the subconscious/subliminal regions of consciousness formulated by Myers and James illustrates their radically different notions of the unconscious mind. The psychological theories of Myers and James cannot be fully understood without a detailed analysis of psychical research carried out by the Society for Psychical Research in the late nineteenth century. While Freud accepted the limits of psychoanalysis in fully explaining telepathy, Myers and James formulated theories of telepathy in concert with psychic research. Their goal was to integrate their mystical intuitions within a naturalistic, scientific psychology of consciousness that continues to shape American psychoanalysis. Although rarely explicitly acknowledged, the spiritual psychology of Myers and James continues to exert a powerful influence on contemporary American psychoanalysis.