Toward Social Sanity
This website is dedicated to the work of Trigant Burrow and his followers, who were members of The Lifwynn Foundation.
The foundation was established in 1927 by Burrow and was the setting for an on-going experimental community of inquiry into the nature of what Burrow called the "Social Neurosis. To Burrow, our problems are not individual but collective. We are an organism that has fallen ill.
Burrow was an early American psychoanalyst who introduced group analysis in the nineteen-twenties Group analysis was forerunner of group therapy and other group approaches. It is also called Social Self-Inquiry (see link above). It was also a scientific investigation of the causes of human conflict and alienation in which the feelings and motivations of the investigators provided the material to be investigated. Burrow and his co-workers recognized that the societal pathology they were examining was embodied in themselves as individuals and as a group. They developed the ability to observe the disorder within their owninterrelational processes, and find a healing response within the observation itself.
In 1926 Burrow founded the Lifwynn Foundation for Laboratory Research in Analytic and Social Psychiatry and published his first major work, The Social Basis of Consciousness. Until his death Burrow acted as the research director for the foundation and devoted particular attention to the physiological substructures of harmonious and rivaling participants within groups and societies, but also between states. His methods for measuring the electrical activity of the brain in connection with specific eye movements has led some to call him the father of neuropsychotherapy and trauma therapy.
Recently, The Lifwynn Foundation was terminated. Over the last decade, the TLF Board of Directors became a small, dispersed global network, occasionally organizing collaborative conferences informed by the research tradition developed by Trigant Burrow. A model for this sort of research was a 1990 four-day experiential inquiry into addiction as a socio-cultural phenomenon. Many other research topics have been explored over the years.
Our Board met regularly through conference calls and email correspondence to continue the process Burrow called “Social Self Inquiry.” For us, this work increasingly involved studying the impact of cybernetic consciousness upon our own organization. We have become one world through technological revolution, and this has been a factor in the fragmentation of social reality into warring fundamentalisms. Projections of the “other” dominate an aggressive and divisive global consciousness. We considered ourselves to be part of this process.
Over the last several years it became clear to us that maintaining the traditional structure and Bylaws of TLF in the digital age was no longer viable. Though we attempted to reform our Bylaws, we concluded that under the circumstances we were no longer able to conduct the sort of research Burrow practiced which depended on regular experience of face-to-face community. And so we have disbanded TLF.
This website will continue, however, as an historical record of TLF activities, its members’ writings, and other efforts to carry forward Burrow’s profound contributions to our understanding of human neurosis, and how to achieve social sanity.