Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Changing Landscapes: Structure, Methodology, and Creative Transformation in the Realm of the Underworld
by Grousbeck, Peter Walker, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2019, 104; 27999353
Abstract (Summary)

The problem of an egocentric underworld or unconscious engagement is presented in both mythology and psychology through examples of imbalance that leads to destructive outcomes. This dissertation ventures into the realm of the underworld and the unconscious by following solar-cycle mythologies and discovers correlating psychological and artistic framework and methodology vital for fostering a creative outcome from the underworld journey. When looking to the unknown for discovery, it becomes apparent that underworld engagement requires something akin to what psychologist James Hillman calls “dream language” in order to depart from one’s rational mode of thought and attempt to understand both one’s place in the unknown and the unknown that resides in each human being. Through examinations of various mythologies as well as depth psychological dream work, experimental music, and ecopsychology, this dissertation suggests a mode of underworld thinking, or underworld methodology, in order to foster creative transformation in the realm of the unconscious. This approach also provides a framework for fluidity, a structure with roots in the unknown, that has the ability to hold the irrational as well as to provide space for underworld language.

Depth psychological dream work, particularly Carl G. Jung’s process of active imagination, along with examples of modern experimental music engaging the natural world are presented as cases of underworld or unconscious engagement that support the proposed mythological framework and methodology. Finally, this dissertation proposes the natural world as viewed through an ecopsychological lens to be the most immediate and essential realm for both personal and collective unconscious engagement to which all humans instinctively have access. The production component of this dissertation serves as a sampling of what can be called mythic art—creative engagement using underworld methodology within a corresponding mythological framework—and provides an admittedly biased, insider’s look into one artistic process that embodies the theoretical proposals contained herein.

Keywords: philosophy, underworld, ecopsychology, dream work, Amduat, experimental music, art

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zolbrod, Paul
Commitee: White, Dana, Pfaff, William
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Environmental philosophy, Psychology
Keywords: Depth psychology, Dream work, Ecopsychology, Experimental music, Mythology, Underworld
Publication Number: 27999353
ISBN: 9798617005549
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