Two psychoanalytic concepts provide critical cornerstones to the thinking of CASSE work and inform the method and approach, namely radical doubt and radical hope. I think these two notions can underpin the achievement of mutual recognition in Australia. Anne Kantor and myself attended the Kenneth Myer Lecture where Professor Mick Dodson spoke on constitutional recognition. He gave an unflinching presentation and spoke about unfinished business in Australia. I will leave you with these thoughts over the festive season.
I use Bion’s notion of caesura (Bion, 1989), defined as an event, which simultaneously unites and separates, as the mode of transformation; the caesura becomes a split when it is not tolerated (Citaverese, 2008). Bergstein (2013) writes that Bion’s concept of caesura is therefore a model for the gap, that raging river between two banks where catastrophic change can occur, but where lies the danger of catastrophe as well. This, Bergstein states, is the almost impossible place Bion asks us to be in – the emotional turbulence – without gripping onto any banks of certainty to halt movement, and to loosen the grip on familiar anchors until the next storm.
Doubt, radical doubt, serves for the attainment of truth through emotional experiencing, which provides a sense of belonging (Citaverese, 2008). It is a type of thought that overcomes the antithesis between the past and present, providing a temporal third, if you like. Bion “asks us to be in the eye of the storm” (Bergstein, 2013).
Radical hope is the concept coined by Jonathan Lear (2007) that anticipates a good for those who have the hope but as yet lack the appropriate concepts with which to understand it, and, I would add, a future yet to be articulated.
There is a nexus with the Aboriginal world, for, like psychoanalysis, it also privileges the following – sacred, separateness within togetherness, reciprocity, myth, song and dreaming, fundamental relatedness, shifting spatially, ancestors, temporality, settling down country, the concept of place and the process of place-making, kadaitcha of the mind, healing ngangaries, being found and growing up on country, immediacy, resilience, imagination and intimacy.
Many thanks to the CASSE team and contractors for all their hard work. Farewell and special thanks to Louise Dixon for her tremendous efforts over the past four years as CASSE's Administration Manager - we wish her all the best in her future endeavours. We are delighted to welcome Heidi Johnson onto our team as the new Administration Manager.
May you all have a festive season and a good break.
CASSE Aboriginal Australian Relations Program