It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Dr. Bernie Neville on the 18th of February. There had been news of his being gravely ill two months ago and his facebook page had been inundated with heart warming words of goodbye from all over the world.
I remember Bernie as a warm, congruent presence in two encounter groups I attended with him and I will never forget the pleasure of sharing lunch with him during the WAPCEPC Conference in Vienna. I remember him telling a wide range of hilarious anecdotes from his time in catholic school to adventures in his long career as an academic. He was one of those people that are easy to be around and not easy to forget.
Beyond that he was a great scholar who had a wide range of knowledge. He had found a wonderful way to weave his knowledge about process philosophy, education, Jungian archetypes, Rogers ideas about the actualising and formative tendency, Whitehead, Gebser, and many others into a coherent framework. He applied this to the many different areas he was active in, education, person-centred and transpersonal counselling, ecotherapy, and even business consulting, and showed how they all worked together because they are all evolving processes of the greater continuum of life. His books on ‘Educating Psyche’, ‘Olympus Inc’, ‘The life of Things - therapy and the soul of the world’, and finally ‘The Gods in Time of Corona’ show how the patterns of wisdom that can be found and so often captured with the stories about archetypal entities like the Greek gods allow us to make sense of individual struggles, company cultures and the evolving of the universe alike.
They are testimony to this wealth of knowledge, the quality of this process philosophical vision of the universe, and his ability to share both in a way that is inspiring the reader wanting to learn rather than to just to be impressed with presented facts or wise words. This specific educational quality of his work was of course entirely non-accidental, betraying a lifelong engagement in the furthering of education and teaching in his roles at La Trobe University and the Phoenix Institute in Melbourne.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones and the many people around the world who will miss him sorely.
“The Gods in time of Corona” is available for free online. https://carlavanlaar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Gods-in-a-time-of-Corona-BN.pdf
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