2012  Maya prophecy

A Look at Eternity through the Maya concept of Time and Reality

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? 

 By: Nancy Swift Furlotti

 Do we really believe the end of the world is upon us at the end of this year? It is true that our world feels full of chaos, wars, terror attacks, economic collapses, and environmental disasters. But is this really new? If we look back in history we discover that the world has been a dangerous and unpredictable place from the beginning. So, would you really prefer to live in another time with dinosaurs crashing around you, bubonic plague wiping out your community, or the inquisition stripping you of your religious choice and life? I wouldn’t. Each era offers challenges to our human race, and now is no exception. But why do we jump to the conclusion that the end of the world is coming? Perhaps it is our linear thinking that focuses on only one of two possibilities. Many believe the universe began with one Big Bang and will end in a Black Hole. Others are convinced the world began with Genesis and will end with Revelation. There are actually other ways of imagining our existence. 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?

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WTC

9/11 and Building Bridges

It’s been 11 years since 9-11 and in that period of time it seems there has been little progress made toward bridging the enormous divides that existed and possibly contributed to the iconic images the world recorded on that fateful Tuesday.  If some of those responsible for flying airplanes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center imagined they were redressing a wrong committed when infidels occupied holy lands to Muslims in the first Gulf War, their dramatic action led to an even larger presence of Westerners throughout the Middle East.   Westerners watched the carnage of 9-11 and the United States briefly received the heartfelt empathy from people around the world but within months our military might was acting with a sort of collective bravado that made President Bush’s  premature declaration of victory not only wrong but absurd. Coming September 20, 2012 “Bridging West and East: C. G. Jung and richard Wilhelm, a Fateful Relationship” Within 7 years of 9-11 the world witnessed the United States of America elect its first Black President, surely a sign of hope that differences were being overcome.  However, bridging the divide between Islam and the West, between the poor and the rich, or even between blacks and whites in America has proven difficult.  Eleven years after the world witnessed nearly 3000 people consumed in a blaze fueled by hatred as much as unspent jet fuel, the lessons that might have been learned go unrecognized. Jung and analytical psychology have had answers to some of these most vexing problems.  That the psyche may dichotomize the world of its impressions, that enantiodromia is as fundamental a feature of psychological function as the wave/particle duality is a fundamental feature of an electron, and that there are paths that allow a person to transcend such dichotomies are well established after nearly a century of Analytical Psychology.  In fact, those avenues explored by Jung to contend with the divides of our psychological life have much earlier roots.  When Richard Wilhelm set out as a Christian Missionary to China he left behind the conventional practice of Western Missionaries that begins and ends in the goal of conversion.  Instead, he entered his mission field with deep respect and reverence for a culture and its people with thousands of  years of collective history.  While he served he also listened and opened himself to the wisdom that was before him.  Because of that attitude, he was able to notice the jewel of the The Secret of the Golden Flower when he came upon it.  He applied himself to translating it into German and thereby broadened that avenue by which Westerners might seek to reconcile apparent opposites.   Eleven years has been accompanied by dramatic changes.  Here are some examples of things the world witnessed since the collapse of two towering and iconic images of Western capitalism.
  • 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,
Bridges to connect the vast differences between Islam and the West or the East and the West.  There is a tinderbox full of volatile issues that can easily be ignited.  On September 20, 2012 The Asheville Jung Center, in conjunction with ISAPZurich,  will be presenting “Bridging West and East: C. G. Jung and Richard Wilhelm, a Fateful Relationship”.    Dr. Murray Stein, along with Bettina Wilhelm (Richard Wilhelm’s granddaughter, and Shiuya Sara Liuh , a Training Candidate at ISAPZurich, will present the conference.   Richard Wilhelm translated the I Ching and The Secret of the Golden Flower , two books that had profound effect upon C. G. Jung.   The polarization between nation states, between cultures, and even between factions with different cultures has become more exaggerated since the collapse of the Twin Towers 11 years ago.  Richard Wilhelm devoted himself to bridging the chasm between the cultures of the East and West.  Perhaps one way we can honor  the 11th anniversary of 9-11 is to rededicate ourselves to building bridges that transcend the polarizations that continue to reassert themselves.  Let us allow the streams from many different  traditions to merge into a mighty river whose force can wash away any residue of fear and animosity arising from the illusions about our human condition.  Many readers of the AJC are People of the Book.  The following words are offered as a sort of meditation, you are invited to approach it as a sort of lectio divina. “You must be free from the pairs of opposites.  Poise your mind in tranquility.” (Bhagavad Gita) “And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way, so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind,” (Qur’an al-Baqarah2:143) “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper as the lower, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male is not male and the female not female, and when you make eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then shall you enter [the kingdom]. The Gospel of Thomas (Nag Hammadi Coptic Text) ““Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end.” (C. G. Jung)   “When yang has reached its greatest strength, the dark power of yin is born within its depths. For night begins at midday when yang breaks up and begins to change to yin.” (Commentary by C. G. Jung in the Secret of the Golden Flower)   “Thus one can no longer maintain the division between the observer and the observed. (in quantum theory) Rather, observer and observed are merging and interpenetrating aspects of one whole reality… (Wholeness and the Implicate Order 1981, p.9 )   “There were two brothers, the Black Knight and the White Knight, and they set off on a quest, each on his own, one going north and the other one south.  After many years they met in a dark wood, and did not know each other. They immediately assumed that they were enemies until, when both were lying bleeding to death on the grass, they undid their helmets and recognized that they were brothers.” (Journey Inward, Journey Outward 1968, p.2)   Len Cruz

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We Need to Talk About Kevin

Touching the Unspeakable Nightmare – A Must See Film.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I just finished viewing the film We Have to Talk About Kevin.  I watched the film primarily out of obligation as we are about to host a seminar on it.  I knew nothing about it, other than Dan Ross was moved by it and wanted to lead a seminar about “the Predator.”  I was absolutely blown away by the film and sit here in a stunned state. I don’t write many blog’s for the Asheville Jung Center.  In fact I haven’t written any prior to this; but I sit here so stunned that I feel I have no choice. I’m a psychiatrist and have been practicing some 20 years now. I’ve seen many wonderful patients over the years and been delighted by their dreams and stories.  I’ve also, however, had a handful of patients that make my hair stand on end and keep me up at night.  I’ve run into patients that seem to have no conscious at all; that have no remorse for any act.  I’ve had rageful patients, incredibly abusive spouses and even one that shot his wife and his two children execution style.  I’ve been haunted by these encounters and never truly known what to do with them.  This film brought these feelings and memories into Technicolor and left me stranded on a desolate reef. What is a sociopath?  How are they formed?  Is it nature, nurture, or a cruel act of fate?  How can anyone sink to the level of random murder? Anyone who has been horrified by Columbine or any mass killing or even the sociopathic car salesman talking you into the wrong vehicle must see this film.  Be prepared to lose your grounding of what you thought was typical humanity and be left in a disturbing paralysis. Regardless of whether you can make our seminar next week or not, do see this movie.  It hits the absolute bowels of our society, but you will not regret it. Steven Buser, MD Founder, Asheville Jung Center

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Blue Beard

Preparation for “Stalking the Predator”

The predator emerges often in unlikely places.  Sometimes it emerges in people we least suspected and we may ask ourselves why we didn’t catch that or ask, “How could I have missed that?”  We always seem shocked and we try to put the blame on someone or something, our mental health care system or, dare we say it, the mother.  Taking a stance that the fault, dear reader, lies in ourselves is a very Jungian stance and one we will use in our exploration of this very shadowy, very dangerous yet necessary journey into the wilderness.  We, of course, must make this journey alone.  Writing about the patient but about us all, Jung wrote,

“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***

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Pic 1

SELF SIMILARITY, SELF ORGANIZATION, AND THE NEUROSCIENCE OF SELF

Neuroscience, Complexity, Chaos, Fractal Geometry, Self-Organization, Emergence, and Jung are explored in the Asheville Jung Center conference “Jung and Neuroscience”. Seven years ago, I enrolled in a college math class at UNC Asheville. I had been unable to crack the code and learn Fractal Geometry on my own (click on this link for a fascinating page on Fractals).  Twice each week for an entire semester I scheduled myself out of my office and trekked to the campus of my in order to immerse myself in the study of this quirky field of mathematics.   A short list of some of the topics the course covered (and some images that illustrate the topic) provide a good segue to at least one of the presenters for the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Jung and Neuroscience”.   Attractor (a set towards which a variable evolves in a dynamical system)   Fractal Dimension (a measure of detail in a pattern [strictly speaking, a fractal pattern] that changes with the scale at which it is measured Self-similar sets (sets that look the same up close and from far away) Stable Attractors (points of equilibrium into which systems settle until disrupted) Strange Attractors (points in a system where the graphic display of equations bifurcate)   Chaotic Attractors (in chaos theory an attractor that displays marked sensitivity to initial conditions)   Julia Sets  (consists of values such that an arbitrarily small perturbation can cause drastic changes in the sequence of iterated function values and thereby the graph) Self Organizing System (denotes a system of synergistically cooperative elements whose patterns of global behavior are distributed (i.e., no single element coordinates the activity) and self-limiting in nature) DNA self replicates and self assembles (electron microscope on the right)   Birds Flocking   Social self orgainizing in international drug routes     Consider several broad phenomena we all engage in our work as therapists.
  • 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.
  One of today’s presenters, Dr. David Kahn who is speaking at the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Sonoma, CA, holds a PhD from Yale and has looked at self-organizing systems.   There is an eerie beauty to the images and ideas mentioned above.  I find myself contemplating the ageless ideas proposed by Hermes Trismegistus, ideas like “As above, so below”.  That is for me the linguistic representation of self similarity.  What does it mean to propose that God made man in His own image?  What do we find so intriguing in movies like “Sliding Doors” or “Crash” in which we recognize the power of certain initial conditions.   “Jung and Neuroscience” is an exploration of the interface between the burgeoning field of neuroscience and the field of Jungian psychology.  It is too easy to approach these as though they are divergent paths but we are likely to be better served to make our approach like the particle physicists have done when contending with light’s dual, complementary nature as both a wave and a particle.   The mathematics that undergirds the fields of dynamical systems, fractal geometry, and chaotic theory emerged from the work of Henri Poincaré, a  late 19th century mathematician.  With the advent of modern computing capacity that permitted “iterative” functions to be calculated ( and plotted) after hundreds or thousands of cycles.  (an iterative function takes the output or solutions of a system of equations and uses them as the inputs for the next cycle of computation.)   The beauty and elegance of the images appearing above can be produced because of the insights Poincaré introduced and the ability to use today’s computational capacity to graphically display the results of thousands of iterative calculations.   Poincaré’s Recurrence Theorem is one of the many intriguing things he posited.  He stated that certain systems (nonlinear dynamical systems) will, after a sufficiently long time, return to a state very close to its initial conditions.  The notion that a system of equations can “forget” for very long times yet somehow return to its initial conditions, is a profoundly attractive idea.  This evokes reminiscences of a sphinx like journey of exodus and return.   Dr. Murray Stein quoted from CW 10 para 318 in his effort to characterize the lunar mind “It is not our ego-consciousness reflecting on itself, rather it turns its attention to the objective actuality of the dream as a communication or message from the unconscious, unitary soul of humanity.  It reflects not on the ego but on the self, it recollects that that self, alien to the ego which was ours from the beginning, the trunk from which the go grew.”  The lunar mind knows things that the solar mind does not know or does not yet know, or that have not been taken into consideration.  Our solar mind can be fast but in its speed it may miss certain vital dimensions.  The solar mind and the lunar mind conceived as strange attractors of the dynamical system that comprises our psyche.  Consider the idea of personal and collective unconscious as strange attractors of the dynamical system we know as unus mundus.     Dr. Margaret Wilkinson explores the rich metaphoric realm of the dream.  Dream analysis is a co-constructive process.  As implicit speaks to implicit in the analysis, dreams are a shared, emergent process.  Emergent phenomenon, the appearance of patterns that arise from relatively simple interactions, cannot be predicted from the simple rules of interactions.  Just as analysis, a process that at some level involves simple rules (appointments, rituals like engaging dreams, active imagination, etc) produces unpredictable results.   In part, the dream may function in part to assemble dissociated self states that are disconnected.  The voice of these self states can be discerned in the dream and its images.  Through metaphor, unconscious states of the mind are exposed to conscious.  Dr. Wilkinson’s comments about the dream images being organized around affective patterns, these patterns that are born of our personal experience provide the elements from which we assemble and organize our selves.   There is  no destination to these musings.  Instead, I hope this blog serves as an invitation to the reader to further exploration.  I intentionally posted this blog during the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Jung and Neuroscience”.  There was an aspect of this post that was experimental, testing if my hypothesis about how the small amount of information I have about Dr. Kahn might have presaged some of his contributions.  If these ideas do not emerge during the conference, so be it.   There is something about posting these reflections and the possibility that they might resonate with or evoke in another some useful effect that redeems anew the countless hours I offered to the project of learning fractal geometry.  The cycles of life, the iterations involved in remembering my fractal geometry class, the sharing of these thoughts as a blog resemble an iterative function.  First I enrolled and completed a class in fractal geometry as a way of answering a deep call within.  Anticipating the “Jung and Neuroscience” conference, I take the results of that class from seven years ago and plug it back in like entering results of an iterative equation back into the original equation again and again.  The posting of this blog like the plotting of solutions to an iterative function, is a display of the working and reworking of psychic material.  My sense about such processes and the emergent results is that given enough time, the process of my psychic unfolding might eventually prove consistent with Poincaré’s Recurrence Theorem so that I may find myself returning to something very close to my original state.   By Len Cruz, MD   “The psychic is a phenomenal world which can be reduced neither to the brain or metaphysics.”      Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 667

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Art and Psyche in the City

New York, New York JULY 19-22, 2012 An International Conference Organized by the Art and Psyche Working Group Sponsored by the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association, the International Association for Analytical Psychology and the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism Cosponsored and Hosted by New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development: Department of Applied Psychology and Department of Art and Art Professions   The Art and Psyche Working Group is pleased to announce a conference on the creative collaboration between depth psychology and the arts in the context of a city. Traditional plenaries, workshops and breakouts will feature presentations by painters, musicians, poets, actors, photographers, psychotherapists, analysts and expressive arts therapists. Ten minute sparks of images and ideas will flash throughout the conference. The Arts Paths offer designed tours of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Asia Society Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its Watson Library, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. There will be walking tours of the Masonic temple and the High Line, viewings of subway station murals in The Arts For Transit program, and selected art and psyche videos at NYU. Maps of galleries and subway art will be provided. The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) and the Kristine Mann Library (KML) will offer open houses for those interested in the arts, symbolism and psychology. The Thursday night public program with the award-winning poet Mark Doty on Walt Whitman, and Donald Sosin on his score for the film Manhatta, will include a panel with composer Jorge Martin and photographer Deborah O’Grady. A Saturday night Dream-Over, an overnight spent at the Rubin Museum, will be offered. Program, registration and hotel information can be found at http://www.cvent.com/d/3cqkt6 or contact us at artandpsyche@nyu.edu.

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Layers of Relationship: The Jung-Kirsch Letters

There are many reasons to read The Jung-Kirsch Letters : The Correspondence of C.G. Jung and James Kirsch edited by Dr. Ann Lammers and to attend the conference from the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco on April 28 2012.  The book is a trove of historical documents that evoke a sense of how Dr. Carl Jung founder of an entirely new approach to psychology and psychotherapy, fulfilled his role.  The body of letters spans more than thirty-two years and ranges from banal to  psychologically penetrating and dissect certain aspects of James Kirsch’s psyche as cleanly as if Jung were wielding a scalpel.  The Jung-Kirsch Letters documents some of the history of Analytical Psychology on the West Coast. Above all, they testify to a close relationship between the two men.   The book chronicles James Kirsch’s journey from pre-war Germany to Tel Aviv to London and finally to Los Angeles where he and Hilde Kirsch arrived with their young son, Thomas, to blaze a trail for Analytical Psychology in America.  The Kirsch family would leave an indelible stamp upon Jungian psychology.   There are certain intimate details revealed in the letters that evoke a sense of voyeurism.   The fact that Dr. Thomas Kirsch was so instrumental in the publication of these letters assuages any discomfort.  Dr. Thomas Kirsch will present a conference through the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco on Saturday, April 28, 2012 (the Asheville Jung Center has the privilege of broadcasting this seminar and registration is still open).   These letters deal with a vast array of topics.  There are exchanges between Jung and Kirsch that demonstrate Jung’s genuine interest Judiasm and Kirsch’s unique appreciation for a “Jewish consciousnessIn the midst of Nazi Germany’s rise, Kirsch must have been one of countless Jewish pioneers who had a relationship with Jung, and his first letter from Los Angeles dated 19 November 1940 resonates with the portents of the many Jews who would not survive the Holocaust.   In a 1945 exchange of letters that began with Kirsch on 25 November 1944 and is followed eight months later 3 August 1945 with Jung’s reply, we can appreciate how tenuous mail delivery must have been during the last months of WW II (Victory in Europe Day was 8 May 1945).  Kirsch mentions a woman who reports she underwent a Freudian psychoanalysis with Jung in 1916 and Jung confirms that she must have been correct.  It indicates that in 1916 Jung was still practicing Freudian psychoanalysis though he had penned the famous closing lines from Hamlet in a letter to Freud, “The rest is silence” in 1913.  Though the war impeded the spread of Jung’s ideas, those two letters serve as a reminder that following Jung’s break with Freud the movement that coalesced as Analytical Psychology evolved slowly at first.   A letter dated 18 November 1945 roundly disputes the allegations being made about Jung that he was a Nazi.  Kirsch and others defended Jung from these charges that even appeared in the  The American Journal of Psychiatry, the official organ of the American Psychiatric Association.  Toward the end of the 1940s Kirsch was calling upon Jung to assist him in addressing an issue involving someone who was touting himself as a Jungian analyst (and a training analyst) who did not appear to merit the distinction. This exchange coincides with the formation of the C. G. Jung-Institut Zürich in 1949.   The book is organized thematically with each theme also being demarcated by a range of years. The appendix adds several letters between Hilde Kirsch and Jung along with selected writings of James Kirsch and a brief history of the AAGP/IAAGP.   I have failed to mention one of the richest parts of this book, the footnotes.  If the letters provide a sort of melodic structure to the book, the footnotes are like ornamentations the intricate trills and slides one might hear in a beautiful Baroque piece of music.  In the footnotes are details and amplifications that anchor the letters as something more than a personal exchange between two men.  The footnotes are an apéritif and a cordial.  On Saturday, April 28, 2012 Dr. Thomas Kirsch will present a conference through the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco titled “Layers of Relationship: the C.G.Jung/James Kirsch Correspondence“.   Here is the unedited text from the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco‘s website describing the conference.   In this workshop, Dr. Thomas Kirsch will discuss the nature and course of his fathers correspondence with C.G. Jung. The Jung-Kirsch Letters: The Correspondence of C.G. Jung and James Kirsch, edited by Ann Conrad Lammers was published in 2011. James Kirsch was one of the first generation analysts who had his primary analysis with Jung. As a young man in his 20s he began a psychoanalysis which did not satisfy him and so he entered a Jungian analysis in Berlin. In 1928 he wrote to Jung asking if he could begin analysis, and in 1929 James Kirsch spent two months in Zürich in analysis with both Jung and Toni Wolff. This began a multilevel relationship which spanned four decades and great distances. The contents of the letters cover important subjects such as the relationship between Jews and Christians, Nazi-ism, anti-Semitism, clinical issues in psychotherapy, synchronicity, organizational issues in building up Jungian organizations, difficult personalities, and the nature of clinical work. This workshop will address the clinical, cultural so societal themes throughout the Jung/Kirsch correspondenceboth in Jungs time and in ours.   The Asheville Jung Center is honored to serve as the Internet host for this conference and to be able to preserve this vital link in the history that extends through an analytical and biological generations.  If you are near the San Francisco area, you will want to attend in person (  https://jungkirsch.eventbrite.com/?nomo=1 ), and if distance precludes your attending in person, you can still participate over the Internet.  Register online (for those outside the San Francisco area)  at     http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/layers-of-relationship/layers-of-relationship-registration/ .   Len Cruz, MD

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Bias, Trayvon Martin, and Undercurrents in American Society

Bias, Trayvon Martin, and Undercurrents in American Society

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.

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Placing Psyche: The Future of Psychology

 The White Man’s Burden

Rudyard Kipling

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!

Placing Psyche

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

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First Webinar on the Film “A Dangerous Method” Wednesday (2/8/12) by Daniel Ross

I am looking forward to our seminar and discussion tomorrow night.  The blog has served, for the last several weeks, as an extraordinary guide through this amazing story of Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein and Sigmund Freud which the film depicts.  I will be pulling from the blog ideas, insights, approaches and hopefully some of the passion that lies therein.  If you have contributed to the blog and are particpating in the seminar you will have an opportunity to delve deeper into the material through discussion.  Your ideas are likely to be reflected throughout the seminar as I believe the blog represents some very honest and knowledgeable points of view.  Whether you are scholar or an avid fan of Jung and his story, you are likely to connect with the material and your unique point of view is welcome. Whether you liked the film or not, there is a rich history behind the story with many archetypal themes.  As Lance Owens reminds us, this story, these relationships between Jung and Freud and Spielrein during the period of 1904-1910 were crucial for Jung’s transformative experiences reflected in the Red Book.  And it was Sabina who “…helped him find his soul” (Owens).  Brian Skea who is also well versed in this history has published on the subject of Sabina and her role in the history.  There has been clarification on the historical inaccuracies of the film by David Thompson and others as well as the inroduction of new material such as the film , “The Soul Keeper” that I had not heard about until it was introduced by Thompson.  An exploration of the feminine represented in the film was amplified by Len Cruz as well as other contributors to the blog such as Nina Patterson, Gail Gray and Cliff Bostock who all provide a unique perspective from his or her own clinical background. The archetypal themes amplified by such myths as Persephone/Kore/Hades as well as Chiron and Aesclepius, the wounded healers,  as well Siegfried and the heroic stance will be discussed.  We will explore the origins, from this primal story, of  some of Jung’s concepts of the nature of the psyche and the role of the collective unconscious including anima/animus and shadow.  Cronenberg’s stance toward Freud and Jung, as reflected in our blog,  paints a picture of Freud being more based in the body and instinct and Jung moving toward the spiritual.  From Cronenberg’s other films we learn that he is interested in what lies instinctually in our nature (The Fly, History of Violence) so it makes sense he would be more interested in Freud. From a clinical standpoint what is the perception of the public toward this film and what does this film mean for our clinical work, if anything?  Does this enlighten the public or mislead them?   We welcome you to the blog and to our seminar tomorrow.  We look forward to the discussion.

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