The name of the Aeolian Center was inspired by the name of the ancient Greek god Aeolus, who was called “the keeper of the winds". The adjective "Aeolian” [ee-oh-lee-uh n] therefore refers to the wind. As a metaphor, the name recalls the Aeolian harp, the Aeolian mode in music and the Aeolian process in geology.
Professionals are all over the place on the pronunciation of "ae. It is pronounced "eye", "ee" or "ay". In most cases, "ae" will result in a long or short "e" sound. These spellings originated in Greek and found their way into English. Musicians often pronounce Aeolian, "ay-oh-lee-an”, but from the perspective of Classical Greek "Ae” should be pronounced like "e” (Crosby & Schaeffer, Intro. to Greek, sect. 66.). We live it up to you, which pronunciation is more comfortable for you.
According to the writings of Homer, Aeolus was the son of Hippotes, a god and the father of the winds.
Aeolus was ruler of the island of Aeolia and was visited by Odysseus and his crew during their epic voyage described in “The Odyssey.” May the gentle winds of Aeolus move us forward.
In music theory, the Aeolian mode is the purest form of the minor scale, which exists “underneath” the major scale and complements it, adding an evocative sense of depth and complexity. The Aeolian harp, invented by the Greeks, is a musical instrument played by the winds, which sets the strings vibrating in such a way that their harmonics are heard, rather than their fundamental note, giving a chordal impression. This metaphor refers to the importance of “minor scales” in personality, without which we could be lacking the depth and complexity that is needed to be fully self.
In geology Aeolian process refers to the action of the wind and its gradual influence on the shape of rocks and landforms. Aeolian processes include the erosion, transport, and deposition of material by wind. Projecting this metaphor into psychology, the Aeolian process can be seen as the force that can shape our psyche by creating the landform of the self... creating individual personality.
The Aeolian Center’s logo is a Fibonacci spiral with overlaid golden triangles, representing several geometric metaphors important to the concept of sacred geometry. In the Aeolian Center logo, golden triangles form a logarithmic spiral. Bisecting the base angles of each triangle results in a new point which itself forms another golden triangle. This bisection process can be continued infinitely, creating an infinite number of golden triangles and an infinitely expanding spiral.
Our logo can be seen a navigational instrument that helps us to determine the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates on the map of human psyche. We see the logo as a navigational instrument describing “geometric” relationships inherent in the human psyche, as described by Matthew Bennett’s Integrated Analytical Model of psychology.
The tradition of sacred geometry reflects an ancient assumption about fundamental underlying structure of reality itself, in which certain numerical relationships have a sacred significance as well as emotional importance.
The Aeolian Center is dedicated to the proposition that human consciousness is a form of artistic expression and to exploring maps of human psyche and soul through art and conversation.
The mission of the Aeolian Center is to create an interdisciplinary, community based academy providing public and professional education, art, psychotherapy and psychotherapy training. Our interests lie at the intersection of all these domains. Our values are humanitarian, phenomenological, and integrative. We are committed to the idea that human life is an art form, requiring navigation of qualities of consciousness that are naturally part of the human experience. We intend to address the challenge articulated by Swiss psychiatrist G. Jung: that human psychology can and must be enriched through inclusion of a spiritual principle.
The Aeolian center is constituted by three interconnected elements:
Public lectures that are intended to the general public and for professionals and do not require extensive knowledge in psychology or art.
Live and online professional continuing education seminars (CE). The Aeolian Center is approved to provide continuing education seminars for for MFTs (Marriage and Family Therapists), LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Workers), LPCCs (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors) and LEPS (Licensed Educational Psychologists) under CPA (California Psychological Association) approval (provider # AEO001). We invite speakers from various backgrounds, cultures and beliefs to share their knowledge, perspectives and skills.
Professional consultation and Supervision. Dr. Matthew Bennett provides individual and group professional consultation to clinicians who want to learn or strengthen their skills in psychodynamically oriented therapy or conceptualize cases. He also provides supervision of doctoral students in clinical psychology and to MFT interns (limited slots available).
The inspiration to create the Aeolian Center as a crossroads of ideas came from Classical antiquity.
The Classical Age or the “Golden Age” that gave us Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and many other philosophers, began around the eighth century BC and lasted for little more than a century; however, this brief span of rapid human development laid the foundations of western civilization. In Greece, widespread literacy fostered the development of a sensibility of logic, rational thought, skepticism and for growth of the individual. Ancient Greeks saw communication as a fundamental force for personal and societal development and change.
An ancient Greek approach to pursuing knowledge and art (defined very differently that we understand it today), was popularized by the teachings of Socrates and his students. Psyche, in the Greek language, means soul. Socrates was one of the first to use the word "psyche" as we do today, as the seat of intelligence and character. As did Freud 2000 years later, Socrates tried to describe the human soul as consisting of three parts: the impulsive or appetitive element, the element of thought or reason, and between these two, an element that can curb impulses and cravings and take orders from thought or reason. We can see in this vision the prototype for Freud's id, ego, and superego.
Socrates encouraged his pupils to question received wisdom on the ground that the chief human duty was "the improvement of the soul." Instead of focusing on the outer cosmos, he focused primarily on human beings and their cosmos within, utilizing his method to open up new realms of self-knowledge while at the same time exposing a great deal of error, superstition, and dogmatic nonsense.
Socrates was a wandering philosopher. His university was the streets, the public squares, the workshops, the gymnasiums and anywhere else he might find someone interesting with whom to speak. Socrates’ student Plato began a sort of salon in Athens which became the Platonic Academy, the and first university in the Western World.
Writing in "The Gay Science", Nietzsche named Socrates a "genius of the heart. . . whose voice knows how to descend into the depths of every soul . . . who teaches one to listen, who smoothes rough souls and lets them taste a new yearning . . . who divines the hidden and forgotten treasure, the drop of goodness . . . from whose touch everyone goes away richer, not having found grace nor amazed, not as blessed and oppressed by the good of another, but richer in himself, opened . . . less sure perhaps... but full of hopes that as yet have no name." Durant (1939) relates that it was often joked that Socrates merely continued plying the same trade as did his mother…a midwife. The purposes of the original Academy included helping others deliver their ideas
The enormous contribution of ancient Greeks to the progress of philosophy, natural sciences and arts cannot be contested. In those ancient days, "philosophy" included many areas of knowledge that are separated into different disciplines these days. Both the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans had enormous respect for human beings, and what they could accomplish with their minds and bodies. They were humanists, and this perspective was later lost to the world for a time, to be reborn in the Renaissance. The Renaissance saw a rediscovery the cultural and intellectual pursuit of knowledge and self-development, taking up classical learning methods: the study of classical texts, textual criticism and classical techniques. The Renaissance model of mind, however, was not just a return to earlier conditions: it was a new integration set in a different time and place, bringing new energy to debates over humankind’s place in the universe, the immortality of the soul, and the ability of human beings to improve themselves through virtue.
Though the togas and sandals have largely been left in the past and many of the Greek philosophical perspectives evolved and changed over the years and cannot be taken literally, we all remain affected by their discoveries their pursuit of both the inner and outer world. The key to this “spiritual longevity” lies in myths. The myth “reveals something that has already been completely manifested, and this manifestation is at the same time creative and exemplary, because it is the support for a structure of the real as well as a human behavior” (Eliade, 1998).
It was Jung’s hope that in contemporary times, psychology might serve as a container for what he described as “the autonomous spiritual principle.” Jung hoped that psychology might prove to be the best hope of the current age of civilization to represent the psyche, although he noted that the spirit of the age ascendant during the 20th century was not sympathetic to a spiritual principle and an autonomous psyche. Modern psychology, which remains the handmaiden of the assumptions encouraged by the current spirit of the age, remains narrowly focused on surface realities and tends to ignore humanistic questions beyond the scope of empirical technique, defined very narrowly.
We can perhaps summon up the courage to consider the possibility of a “psychology with the psyche” — that is, of a field of study based on the assumption of an autonomous psyche. We need not be alarmed at the unpopularity of such an undertaking, for to postulate mind is no more fantastic than to postulate matter. Since we have literally no idea of the way in which what is psychic can arise from physical elements, and yet cannot deny the reality of psychic events, we are free to frame our assumptions the other way about for once, and to hold that the psyche arises from a spiritual principle which is as inaccessible to our understanding as matter. To be sure, this will not be a modern psychology, for to be modern is to deny such a possibility. For better or worse, therefore, we must turn back to the teachings of our forefathers, for they it was who made such assumptions.”(Carl Gustav Jung (Modern Man in Search of a Soul)
The Aeolian Center is dedicated to developing and enriching the human psyche in ways that are inclusive of its mythic and archetypal origins, which can be seen as energetic conditions which are the phenomenological foundations of human experience. The vicissitdes of everyday life prompts us to “choose” patterns of thinking and feeling which are consistent with our adopted worldview. This sort of adaptation is necessary to embodiment in time and space, to establish a footprint in the world. However, like all metaphors, our emotional metaphors are ultimately imperfect containers for the creative matrix of reality and its demands. Successful psychological adaptation requires flexible grounding in reality, ability to tolerate strong emotional experiences, and an energetic emphasis on self-hood which psychologists call “ego strength.” The Aeolian Center is dedicated to the proposition that psychologically mature self-hood is the sacred goal of human development, and that this mature sense of self requires navigating archetypal qualities of consciousness, what Leigh McCloskey calls “the etiquette of energy.” Consciousness is creation. Aeolian Center encourages integrative conversation about human psychology as relational energetic capacity.