Why all the fuss about the end of the world on December 21, 2012? And what do the Maya and Jung have to say about it?The Maya, for example, thought about it extensively and developed a very sophisticated conception and application of time and reality that far exceeded the rest of the world, and perhaps still does. Their surprisingly accurate calculations of dates go back millions of years and forward well into the future. So what about December 21, 2012, the so-called end of the Maya fourth world? What does that mean to them, not just what it means to us? It is their calendar and their date; we can learn something from them if we listen. A Western thinker who wrestled with the concept of time and reality was C. G. Jung, who wrote about cyclical periods of world chaos within the aeons of time. Interestingly, both the Maya and Jung proposed the idea of circular or non-linear time. Another Western thinker, Mircea Eliade, called it sacred time. Perhaps this is what we are missing in our world today, and is a clue to why we think the world will end. On November 29th we will hold a global seminar from Washington DC and Zurich looking at the question of will the world end on December 21st and what is the meaning behind this. We will explore the significance of time and reality, the procession of the worlds for the Maya, and how it was a fundamental part of their religion. We will discuss its significance in relation to the most important Maya document to survive the Spanish Conquest, the Popol Vuh. This sacred book of the Quiche Maya, called the Dawn of Life, contains their myth of creation and destruction that lays out the template for how humans participate with the Gods in the ever repeating cycle of life, death, and rebirth. We shall observe how this myth may apply to our world today and what we can learn from it. With all the chaos in our current world, it seems we have a lot to learn! -Nancy Swift Furlotti http://ashevillejungcenter.org/video-seminars/end-of-world/ Mayan Calendar End of the World December 21, 2012?
- Countless lives lost through war, terror, starvation, treatable diseases, senseless gun violence, and downstream health effects of environmental degradation.
- Countless efforts by poor, disenfranchised people around the world to secure basic human rights including the Arab spring, Chinese dissidents, striking South African mine workers, self-immolation by Tibetan Buddhist monks, an indigenous leader delivers a petition with 600,000 signatures to the Brazilian government demanding that construction of a $10 billion dam be halted (Ireo Kayapo), Occupy WalL Street protesters seeking to diminish economic inequalities, women seeking inclusion and seeking basic safety and protection, and much more.
- Repeated instances of threatened economic uncertainty related to a hyperfocus upon principles that are becoming enshrined despite conflicting evidence. When taken to extremes, these ideas contribute to uncertainty and dramatic reversals. They include: the invisible hand made famous by Adam Smith’s infrequent invocation, free trade, globalization, deregulation, high frequency trading (H.F.T.), procurement of natural resources (like rare earth elements), ECB and debtor nations like Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal), and more.
- Developing shifts in power from West to East, from North to south, from mature industrialized to emerging , industrializing nations.
- Countless threats of tipping points being reached in terms of environmental degradation like: the accumulation of toxins in the Pacific garbage patch, global warming accelerating the melting of Arctic ice, Colony Collapse Disorder that is threatening bee populations, food and water supply shortages, debris from the Japanese tsunami washing ashore in the US introducing potentially invasive species, and loss of biodiversity.
- Introduction of potentially disruptive technology like: introduction of genetically modified foods, genomic research (including gene therapy), adoption of WiFi, adoption of Bluetooth standards, the public offering of Google (2004), Facebook is launched (2004), adoption of LED lighting, the opening of GPS (approx. 2004), Twitter is launched (2006)the first release of the iPhone (2007), introduction of the Kindle e-ink reader (2007), the release of the first iPad (2010), wider use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), expansion of deep water oil drilling,
“The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation.” (Jung from Psychology and Alchemy)Two films that we will discuss in the seminar,” Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” seem more than coincidental that they were released the same year. At first glance they are about very different subjects. The former is about the psychological impact a cult has on the fragile psyche of a young woman after her escape. The latter is based on a cathartic novel by Lionel Shriver —– about a mother, played by Tilda Swinton, who could not bond with her psychopathic son and whose fateful and prophetic mass murder would become the initiation for Eva to cleanse herself of this intrapsychic predator turned flesh and blood. It represents the cultural complex that every child’s health is the result of the success of failure of maternal bonding. The predator in film has been morphed into characters like Jason, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger and the intergalactic Alien and Predator. They are always vanquished even if we know they will return. In our two films there is no convenient vanquishing, no resolution. We are left wondering the fate of Martha and her sister as the predator stalks them. Even as Eva in the film “Kevin” comes to terms with her psychopathic son, the psychic stain remains and the question lingers, “How can this happen?” The intrapsychic predator has intruded itself into my life by way of my clients in psychotherapy and coming face to face with it in a dark forest one quickly realizes we know it all too well as it seems to intrude our lives at key moments. We will explore how and when the predator emerges. We will explore Kalsched’s Jungian approach to the world of inner trauma by climbing Rapunzel’s tower and greeting the enchantress face to face, Kalsched’s symbol of the Protector/Persecutor that emerges in times of trauma to save us from irreparable psychosis and even death. We will we accompany Clarissa Pinkola Estѐs into Blackbeard’s castle and unlock the door to the forbidden room. We will confront this predator and some of his/her many iterations to discover why the two films we will discuss leave us disturbed, shaken and our world turned upside down, if only for a moment. The predator emerges in the dreams of patients often when approaching an important transition in their lives or when they reach a point when their stance with the world no longer serves them and it is at this time our psyche demands a drastic change. Confronting the predator and putting it in a place where it can be contained is necessary according to Estѐs to become fully human. In her work, Women Who Run with the Wolves Pinkola Estѐs provides wise guidance for women (or men) seeking to discover her wild nature and in the process realize that one’s senses have been honed and the predator no longer has power center. In the seminar we will explore this archetypal predator from three different perspectives. We discuss it from the perspective of Donald Kalsched and the self-care system that results from trauma in order to protect the psyche from annihilation and from the perspective of Clarissa Pinkola Estes in which the individuation process requires a successful journey to and from the realm of the predator, to learn his secrets. For the predator lurks inside and outside. The news is filled with the search for, capture of and trials of these predators. It stalks the innocent and naïve of any age and somehow we don’t have an eye for it, don’t recognize it for what it is. It is as if as a culture we are naïve. We are shocked when a child walks into a school and cuts down his peers and mentors with an assault rifle. A well respected philanthropist is discovered have been a sexual predator of children for decades. We look to blame people,” Someone must have known”, we say. Without recognizing the predator within ourselves we are less likely to see it in others despite all the evidence to support it. The final perspective will draw on the field of neuropsychoanalysis and the work of Allan Schore. We will discuss the tyrannical role of the amygdala which remembers trauma and is activated when we begin the process of mending the damaged self. We will discuss how consciousness is left brain to right brain movement and this movement into the right brain is a journey through the emotional memories we thought we left behind but must be reactivated and reworked in the process of individuation. It is in that wilderness, that bombed out building, the deep dark forest we will likely find the predator. In “Martha Marcy May Marlene” we are left at the end of the film with the disturbing thought the predator is still out there waiting to pounce on us, somehow more comfortable in his predator hide than we are, being able to smell our weakness, sense the shiver that ripples over our muscles and knowing he has us. In this case it is a cult with a cult leader, Patrick, played by John Hawkes who starts out as charming and charismatic and whose menacing nature comes out slowly and Martha does not want to believe it and neither do we but by then it is too late, we are caught in the web and escape is dangerous. For preparation you should view the two films we will discuss and at least read the Grimm’s fairytales Bluebeard and Fitcher’s Bird. Hope you can join us for the seminar. ***Click Here for Registration Information***
- There are motifs that seem to recur in some people’s lives whose particular manifestations evolve depending in the phase of the person’s life.
- Consciousness arises as a complex, emergent phenomenon out of the prima materia of an organ weighing about 3 lbs, the physical body that sustains it, and the soical/interpersonal milieu in which these dynamical systems are nurtured.
- When we sleep, self-organizing phenomenon emerge using the stuff of our daily lives. The intricacy of such phenomena seem to demonstrate exquisite sensitivity to the set of initial conditions (think about Chaos Theory).
- Therapy and analysis involves two complex systems interacting. The language of transference and countertransference could be overlaid upon certain ideas related to dynamical systems.
- The nodes of electronic communication that permit a conference like “Jung and Neuroscience” to weave together a half dozen presenters and hundreds of attendees from dozens of countries.
Len Cruz, MD
“Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone but only his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky ￼
The daughter of a friend of mine sent this photo from her mobile phone. It was a bumper sticker seen on an SUV in Raleigh, NC. My friend’s daughter, an African-American woman, is a graduate of a very prestigious North Carolina university and her younger sister is completing her sophomore year at Columbia University with plans to study abroad at the London School of Economics next year. Here is evidence of the deep undercurrents of of racial tension that persist in the United States of America. These are undercurrents that can immediately redefine the conversation and put aside the many accomplishments of our sitting President and reduce the discourse to a racial slur.
A tinderbox seems on the verge of igniting with the shooting of an African-American teenager by a man engaged in some sort of neighborhood watch. When the President said “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon” it stirred even more fervent discourse with some accusing him of a making a divisive remark. But in other parts of the world, the remark was a moment of humanity http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-25/us/31236101_1_obama-first-president-obama-civil-rights .
A Florida law initially provided a cover for George Zimmerman, the man who pulled the trigger. The law that is referred to as “Stand Your Ground” is allegedly the basis upon which the Sanford Police did not arrest Zimmerman who claimed he shot in self-defense.
According to Mother Jones, the provision of the Florida law that “…allows Florida residents to use deadly force against a threat without attempting to back down from the situation. (More stringent self-defense laws state that gun owners have “a duty to retreat” before resorting to killing.)” (http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained)
Here is where things become murky. I recommend you take a few minutes and visit a site available on the WEB where you can complete the “Implicit Bias Test” (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/Study?tid=-1) The Project Implicit site offers the following definition of an implicit stereotype, “An implicit stereotype is a stereotype that is powerful enough to operate without conscious control.” This provides a useful framework for exploring Trayvon Martin’s tragic death.
It would be helpful if all interested stakeholders would suspend judgment about the events of February 26, 2012. Meanwhile, there are lessons we can contemplate about unacknowledged stereotypes and the perils of crafting a statutory defense based on perceived threat. Most of us are likely to discover we have implicit bias in various areas. Jung’s use of word association tests were pioneering and continue to provide insights into bias.
As the drama in Sanford, Florida, unfolds, there are resonances of unconscious bias and aspects of shadow that are both individually and collectively provoked. I have gone back to watch the DVD from the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Symbols and Individuation in Global Politics: The Case of Barack Obama” (null) The second DVD AJC #14 with Dr. Tom Singer provided a timely exploration of some of themes evoked by Trayvon Martin’s death and the reactions to it.
Dostoyevsky’s quote calls us all to the high call of pushing past our unacknowledged secrets that reside in the personal and collective unconscious and that populate the archetype of our shadow.
The White Man’s Burden
Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.
Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man’s burden–
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper–
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”
Take up the White Man’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the White Man’s burden–
Have done with childish days–
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
The Future of Analytical Psychology and the World
During the last decade of the twentieth century there arose a chorus praising free trade and almost deifying globalization. During the first decade of the twentieth first century, while the West waged war on two fronts, a different chorus emerged to praise the democratizing effect the West was having on other nations and cultures. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Why the World Needs America” rejects the notion of a “post-American” era. It exposes widely accepted assumptions that sound eerily like Rudyard Kipling’s published in 1899. (see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577213262856669448.html ) One of these assumptions that is easily overlooked by North Americans is that “America” denotes the region encompassing North America, Central America, and South America (unless you are an English-speaking inhabitant of the “United States of America”). On Saturday, February 25, from 12:30 to 4:30 PM (EST) we are privileged to host a Webinar titled “The Future of Analytical Psychology and the World” with two extraordinary presenter, Tom Singer, MD and Craig San Roque, Ph.D. Singer is the editor of a recently released book, “Placing Psyche: Exploring Cultural Complexes in Australia” and San Roque contributes to the Introduction and two chapters. This is the first in a series of books that Spring Journal, Inc plans to publish as explorations of the notion of cultural complexes. It manages to strike a balance between the unique and particular aspects of Australia and the universal, archetypal patterns associated with place. Singer defines a cultural complex as “an autonomous, largely unconscious, emotionally charged aggregate of memories, affects, ideas, and behaviors that tend to cluster around an archetypal core and are shared by individuals in a group.” The authors focus upon the regions “in-between” where tension emerges. This is one feature of their examination of cultural complexes. The in-between space can refer to in-between ethnic, racial, religious, gender, and linguistic groups. Consider the hotly debated issues of immigration across the southern border of the United States of America or immigration and fee passage across borders within the European Union, tow issues that highlight the tension that exists at the in-between spaces of national borders. Even among groups some might perceive as uniform we observe in-between spaces fraught with tension. To the Judeo-Christian Western individual, Islam may seem uniform but the space in-between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is overflowing with tension and unconscious cultural complex. What is so compelling about this exploration of cultural complexes is that a dialogue about such complexes might free us from over-identifying with them or acting them out. The individual complexes that a person fails to engage tend to usurp power and produce a constant interfering (neurotic) background for the psyche. Conscious contact with a complex releases us from bondage, a bondage we scarcely recognize exists. A fish may be unable to consider itself as a fish in water but a human being can endeavor to examine herself in the watery milieu of her cultural complexes. (Take note if the change of pronoun to the feminine gender had any effect.) Jung suggests that unconscious complexes produce a sort of automatism whereas when they become conscious “… they can be corrected.” (The Nature of the Psyche) A parallel is easily drawn for the cultural complex. While it remains unconscious, it is capable of exerting a sort of automatic influence over the individual member of a group. As it comes into consciousness, it can be corrected. What we mean by “corrected” in this context is a fertile area of exploration as well. An individual is less likely to identify with consciously engaged cultural. Consciously engaged complexes are not as readily acted. We are capable of being possessed by unconscious complexes and likewise, unconscious cultural complexes are capable of “possessing” large numbers of individual members of a group. While I do not think a whole group is possessed, when sufficient numbers of individual members become possessed by a cultural complex it appears the group itself is possessed. During the twentieth century, analytical psychology provided almost inexhaustible tools for the individuation process. Individuation, that process of psychological integration that flowers in the fullness of an individual personality (psyche), can be extended to include the integration of our individual self with the group, humanity, and the natural world. A psyche disconnected from the ecological, interconnected biosphere has further to go. A psyche that is incapable of enduring the tension of the many in-between spaces it encounters will tend adopt a default position identified with one polarity or another; this is an inherently less integrated state. “Placing Psyche” and tomorrow’s conference is an invitation to the next stage in the individuation process, one that transcends individual psychology through a new lens of cultural complexes.. Singer and San Roque have chosen a fitting title for their conference, The Future of Analytical Psychology and the World, It is being presented at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. Anyone fortunate enough to be within commuting distance to the institute may want to consider registering at http://thefutureofanalyticalpsychology.eventbrite.com/ The Asheville Jung Center is honored to be able to participate in this conference as a Webinar and registration for the Webinar is available at http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/sanfransisc/registration/ limited seating is still available for this conference that can be heard over the internet, by telephone, and through subsequent download. Continuing education credits are also available for this conference. by Len Cruz, MD