DATE: Monday, February 25, 2013
TIME: 12:00 p.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Wilhelm Frederik Oosthuizen
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Death: An Archetypal Education of the Ego"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-G; 2006
CHAIR: Dr. Patrick Mahaffey
READER: Dr. Elizabeth Terzian
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Betty Kovacs
Oosthuizen, W. (2013). Death: An Archetypal Education of the Ego (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
While it is true that scientific knowledge is indispensable in what it provides—and in some cases, eliminates—the physical suffering of the dying, it cannot replace the wisdom of the soul. Moreover, with the medicalization of dying, death is perceived as a disease, as the enemy of life, hence, something to be conquered. However, despite a growing popular belief that science is omnipotent, that it can achieve anything, the deep fear, the loss of love, and the loss of meaning that many of the dying experience, suggests that materialistic science fails the ego in the face of dying and death. Furthermore, when the expectations that derive from the hubristic creed of science that denies the autonomous existence of the soul are left unexamined, then the natural process of dying is often cruelly prolonged by futile artificial means.
When a sense of the sacred and the soul is lacking, then dying is reduced to a mundane medical event where enduring communication and meaning from the abandoned soul is ignored and lost. Therefore, to assist the dying and their loved ones to find meaning and love in their experience of dying, a way to return to the inner sanctum of the soul must be found.
Hence, this dissertation shows that a most immediate path to the soul is the way of archetypes, dreams, and myths, the way of the image and story that is the way of the authentic imagination. Moreover, this dissertation argues that the archetype of death educates the ego predominantly through the archetypal mystic and artist who reveal what is essential. Whereas the mystic speaks to the direct experience of the numinous in dying and death, such as near-death experiences, the artist may give expression to the mystic’s experience of the numinous through symbols and images. Furthermore, when dying is viewed as something sacred, then those who are close to the dying person perform meaningful work that can become a privileged labor of sacred love.
The second part of this dissertation comprises a curriculum for the hospice nurse on depth psychological and mythological perspectives on the dying patient.Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.