As the national election moves into its final days, it is both saddening and frightening to witness the strident competition for the White House as well as the narrow corridor of arguments that currently rages with frenzied repetition. Among important ideas absent from the debates between candidates and in the larger political conversation are many values that would serve as counterweights to the prevailing discussions. They include:

Recognizing and Engaging Negative Projections: Identifying and understanding the tendency to scapegoat and stereotype those with opposing views would modulate and balance the current political exchange. Language that offends and demeans the other rather than encourages dialogue with different or opposing beliefs eviscerates any opportunities for self-reflection on the part of leadership or the citizenry to recognize common human affiliations. One prominent value of the psychological perspective is its recognition of the intrinsic advantage of balancing the tension between opposing points of view in order to recognize valid perspectives contained in each. Ultimately, this capacity resides in a sober acknowledgment of “the enemy within.”

Facilitating the Rebirth of Values: A fuller and more authentic political forum would include an honest reconsideration of the values that animate the nation as a whole rather than benefiting only the few. A people’s spirit is most alive and engaged when each citizen feels part of the common good and when the integrity of their perspective is recognized regardless of political affiliation. Such recognition would serve to engender compassion in each for all citizens.

Reclamation of a Fuller, More Diverse Imagination: What we need above all is an authentic, unsentimental and rigorous conversation that would make visible the creative healing potential of the cultural imagination. Only then can we move toward a more appreciative understanding of who we are as a people that honors both our conscious and unconscious hopes and fears.

Inclusivity and Turning Toward the Margins: For the nation to be a whole body, one with integrity and compassion, we value bringing into the center of our politics the experiences of the poor, as well as all those marginalized by generations of exploitation in its multiple forms.


We as the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Pacifica Graduate Institute believe that only by a more courageous broadening and deepening of the political conversation can we as a nation hope to become more in touch with the national vibrancy, as well as the more generous and expansive cultural resourcefulness which seeds and nourishes the ground of our citizens.

Pacifica Graduate Institute is an accredited graduate school offering masters and doctoral degree programs framed in the traditions in depth psychology. Visit click here.


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