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White swans, a photo taken when I was at Nottingham in England at a week-long workshop with Luce Irigaray, contemporary feminist philosopher

Dr Kaye Gersch PhD 

psychoanalytic psychotherapist | clinical supervisor | couples therapist  


"I can't Breathe". Jung Zoom Study Group Tuesday 23rd June 2020

"I can't breathe" is a profound topic, applicable literally and metaphorically in many ways. The points below provide a few sign-posts.

Please think about this deeply and ponder what you can bring to our discussion.

I look forward to seeing you and witnessing the depths of your heartfelt consideration.

1. "I can't breathe" has been a catch-cry since George Floyd’s death in the US and has extended around the world, especially in Australia where aboriginals in custody “cannot breathe”.


2. It is a curious synchronicity that sufferers of Covid-19 also cannot breathe.


3. Many religious traditions focus on the cultivation of the breath to develop embodied spirituality where freedom of body and soul/spirit are celebrated.


4. Luce Irigaray, the renowned feminist philosopher, advocates the “cultivation of the breath” for women towards achieving female subjectivity. To be able to breath freely applies to EVERYONE"S subjectivity.


5. “Holding one’s breath”, meaning holding back one’s own subjectivity or personhood in order to fit in or defer to or pay attention to another, can only be done very temporarily because it leads to a “suspension of one’s own becoming”. (Irigaray)


6. “If such a task (paying attention to the other) were to be the only one to which one devotes oneself, one would soon stop being”, Luce Irigaray. Irigaray continues by arguing that all people, men and women and all racial groups need to “separate off from the world that is imposed on them.” We suffocate if we only breathe the air that another has allowed us.


7. Air-pollution and climate change is depriving many living things of their ability to live and breathe.


8. Language - "it takes my breath away". Language, literature and speech can either bring us into being or cancel us out. Are minority and disadvantaged groups included in dialogue and discourse?

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