“Fertile void – where surprise is possible again” – Paul Goodman



The ability to stay in a state of not knowing, and to trust in the flow of life is fundamental to gestalt theory and practice, as is the belief that the creative energy flows from experiencing the emptiness of being, and that new understanding manifests continuously. The fertile void is the undifferentiated field from which everything emerges. Emergent figures take shape and begin to evolve through a dance between the polarities. When balanced, feelings of separation become illusory, and it becomes possible to gain deeper insight into the process of the organism, and for new, previously invisible opportunities to become manifest.

During the conference we would like to give space to explore the fertile void and creative indifference from these perspectives:

  • Scientific and methodological
  • Social and political
  • Existential.


In 1918, writer and philosopher, Salomo Friedlaender, wrote about the state of creative indifference in consciousness, thereby stimulating the Perls’ thinking. According to Friedlaender, creative indifference is the manifestation of consciousness, which does not position itself emotionally or conceptually at either polarity, but holds a balanced zero point, which enables the release of clear forces and energies in the field. There is an opportunity in creative indifference to direct our attention to a more holistic perspective, which exists far beyond the polarity of figure and ground.

The Gestalt therapist’s attitude of creative indifference supports the emergence of a fertile void in the therapeutic situation, thereby releasing creative energies, so that new meanings and self-supporting consciousness can emerge.


In current times polar forces appear to be in the ascendance. Societies are becoming more polarized, with extreme positions intensifying, and the imponderable nature of events becoming more prolific. There are no obvious answers. Dualities define our world and opposing poles urge us to make stark choices. What has worked in the past is no longer effective. We do not know what is happening, or what to do. We need courage, faith, deep knowledge and consciousness in order to be able to hold a state of not knowing and sensitisation. Not reacting and not moving does not equate with powerlessness and separation. Not knowing does not indicate a state of cluelessness. Rather, it is a unique opportunity to respond innovatively, by living in today’s chaotic energies with creative indifference. Staying in the fertile void with creative indifference allows us to see the polarities, and at the same time liberates us from making habitual or forced choices.


Sooner or later we all arrive at a period in our private life when there are no clear answers and when the only thing we are aware of is the certainty of our not knowing. This place is the fertile void, which can lead to our greatest personal development. This is a unique opportunity, to reconnect to the deeper meaning of being ourselves without polarising, opposing forces. Here, we may connect with our own core, which can take in all that is, and from which place the creative self without form can emerge.