Launch Event: The Primordial Dance

On Tuesday November 20, the launch of Dr Paul Downes’ new book, The Primordial Dance: Diametric and Concentric Spaces in the Unconscious World took place in St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University. With over 100 people in attendance, the event was chaired by Professor Mark Morgan, Cregan Professor of Education and Psychology in the College and Acting Co-Director of Growing Up in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin. The launch address was made by Professor Graham Parkes, Head of the Department of Philosophy at University College Cork.

Professor Parkes observed that “this wonderful book…deals with many…profound things…the whole book is very cleverly designed based on the tension between these two forms of spatial interaction that he says are going on right now…in the psyche of each of us today…a fascinating read”, “his model can really make sense of [psychosis] in a brilliant way”. Professor Parkes further stated that: “…in chapter 10 he goes back to Heidegger’s Being and Time which was informing the early chapters and does a very, very interesting analysis of spatiality, of our being in space according to Heidegger and shows how one can go far beyond that, one can do a lot more with it than Heidegger did, I’m a great fan of Heidegger’s but I was persuaded by that chapter, I think that is a very, very important chapter”, “…[concerning] prelinguistic discourse, he uses Edvard Munch and Gustav Klimt as examples to demonstrate how this idea of diametric and concentric structures translates itself into a medium that is before language, namely, painting, and I think he does that brilliantly”. At the end of his launch address, Professor Parkes referred to The Primordial Dance as “such a complex dance, such an ingenious book”.

Dr Downes stated that the book is “trying to argue that the level of being is not just a mere metaphor, that when we talk about a being level that this actually corresponds to deep spatial structures in our experience…concrete structures, they influence at the being level also our thoughts, emotions and behaviour…this deeper level has rested largely undiscovered within Western thought”. He seeks “an attunement to layers of silence…a harmonious silence we’ve been displaced from in Western culture…attunement to the spaces in immediate experience”.

For Professor Parkes’ full address at the launch see:


(from left) Professor Graham Parkes of University College Cork with the author, Dr Paul Downes.

(from left) Professor Graham Parkes of University College Cork with the author, Dr Paul Downes.


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