Satanic Error and the Curse of Single Vision – A Talk by Carol Leader
The poet and artist William Blake was profoundly affected by a mechanical, accusatory state of mind that he named ‘Satan’ that had an external counterpart in the ‘Satanic Mills’ of the Industrial Revolution. Blake’s prolonged wrestle with his Satan dominated a long period of his creative life and proved to be a significant source of challenge and inspiration. The mythology that arose from these struggles is complicated and sometimes obscure, although Blake’s startling images convey far more than words can achieve. They find their most explicit expression in his last completed work, Illustrations of the Book of Job, where the human fate of falling into ‘single vision’ and ‘error’ is charted through a unique retelling of the Old Testament story of Job.
Blake’s explorations inhabit the same territory as, but pre-date, Freud, Jung, Bion, and other psychoanalytic writers. More recently, McGilchrist (2009) in The Master and his Emissary brought together a wealth of modern research relating to a dangerous over-valuation of left-brain narrow-focussed processing in the western world, coupled with contempt towards the profound relational and integrative qualities that right-brain functions promote.
This fully illustrated, stand-alone talk is a development of the above themes that were originally explored in Carol’s paper Evil, Imagination and the Unrepressed Unconscious: the Value of William Blake’s Satanic ‘Error’ for Clinical Practice. This paper won the 2014 British Journal of Psychotherapy’s Rozsika Parker Prize.
Carol Leader is a supervising Jungian analyst and senior psychoanalytic psychotherapist with the British Psychotherapy Foundation. She worked extensively in theatre, TV and radio before re-training as a therapist nearly thirty years ago. In full-time private clinical practice, Carol also consults in business and for projects in the arts, and lectures and leads seminars for organisations and professional trainings.