November 23, 2019 ~ The Tao of Chaos/The Tao of Creativity: Inviting the “Third Mind” through Creative Collaboration

Mary Antonia Wood, Ph.D.

Program Description*:

What do C.G. Jung, David Bowie and Beat-era novelist William Burroughs have in common? These diverse and highly creative individuals all encountered what has been called the enigmatic “Third,” a creative entity which manifests out of chaos in certain types of creative expression linked to surrender, chance, and trust. This “Hidden Third” has affinities to the Tao Te Ching, to Jung’s signature theories on symbol and the transcendent function, as well as to contemporary thought on transdisciplinarity and emergence.

In 1978 William Burroughs, along with painter and writer Brion Gysin published The Third Mind, which featured over twenty years of their collaborative work. This project gave instructions for Gysin’s “cut up” collage-making technique.  Also, in the 1970’s, iconic singer and songwriter David Bowie encountered Burroughs’ and Gysin’s work during a particularly fallow phase in his expansive career.

This workshop will inhabit a place between and across disciplines as it joins Burroughs’ and Gysin’s Third Mind with the Jungian “bridging” of consciousness and the unconscious, along with the Taoist principle of “action through non-action.” As arts-based research, this workshop seeks to observe and document the process and outcomes of the “cut-up” method for stimulating creativity.

Morning Session,
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
St. Agnes Room,  The Casa Franciscan Renewal Center

(10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Break)

The morning session will include multi-media lecture and some introductory “cut-up” activities. Participants will make their own word-collages, otherwise known as “cut-ups,” both individually and as collaborative pairs or trios. Supplies are surprisingly simple and will be provided to all participants.

(12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch $15.00)

Afternoon Session:
1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
St. Agnes Room,  The Casa Franciscan Renewal Center

The afternoon session will allow time to move more deeply into the collaborative aspects of this fascinating creative technique. Participants will continue with their art project.

(2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Break)

This presentation is designed to help you:

1) Discuss at least three affinities between Jungian psychology and Eastern spiritual traditions

2) Analyze how Jungian thought parallels contemporary exploration in the work of Beat poets and recording artist David Bowie

3) Recite techniques for hosting the unconscious as a creative collaborator

4)  Explain Burrough’s and Gysin’s Third Mind

5) Analyze the Jungian concept of bridging, or the synthetic relationship between conscious and unconscious processes of the psyche.


1)  Glaveanu, V.P. (2019), Measuring creativity across cultures: Epistemological and methodological considerations, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, Vol. 13 (2). Special Issue: Creativity Assessment: Pitfalls, Solutions, and Standards (227-232).

2) Wood, M.A. (2017), Only blood can change: The artist as activist and alchemist. Immanence: The Journal of Applied Myth, Story and Folktale. (Spring Issue).

3) Barbot, B. (2019), Measuring creativity change and development. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, Vol. 13(2), May, 2019. Special Issue: Creativity Assessment: Pitfalls, Solutions, and Standards (203-210).

Speaker’s Bio:

Mary Antonia Wood, PhD. is co-Chair of the Engaged Humanities and Creative Life program at Pacifica Graduate Institute as well as a visual artist, writer and artist’s mentor. She is currently at work on a book for Routledge entitled The Archetypal Artist: Reimagining the Call to Create due for publication in 2020. For more information, please visit her website:

* The Meadows is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Meadows maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Course meets criteria for 5.0 hours of continuing education credit hours for psychologists.

CEU recipients must be registered for the full day program in order to receive the 5.0 credits. Lunch at The Franciscan Renewal center is $15.00.