Bonnie Bright and the Depth Psychology Alliance have blessed us again. Bonnie’s interview with Barry Spector is extraordinary, timely, and should not be missed. It can be downloaded or listened to at this LINK.
Spector’s mythopoetic voice and message was a sort of chimera blending a trumpet rallying me to battle and a didgeridoo calling me to a deeper, interior exploration.
Visit his blog at http://madnessatthegates.posterous.com/ for more.
Citing an Inca greeting Inlakesh (uncertain of the spelling) “You are the other me” the listener is invited to imagine culture in which this greeting would have been exchanged. In such a culture the other is not perceived as a threat but as someone who could bring something to our lives.
Spector quotes the Nigerian poet, Ben Okri, “To be born in this world, in this modern world, is to be entering the world with an inextinguishable sense of exile.”
It reminded me of another Okri quote, “Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”
The interview was also a wonderful segue to remind readers of the upcoming Webinar originating from The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco on Saturday, October 27, 2012 titled “The Citizen’s Dilemma in Divisive Times: Four Voices”
Barry and Maya Spector have arranged for the 15th annual Day of the Dead Ritual on November 3, 2012 in El Cerrito, CA.
During the interview, Bonnie and Barry explore the means by which we can bring the notion of mythological thinking into the world? Spector observes that our modern leaders have been unable to give us a perspective with which to examine the madness of our times. He speaks of the importance of recovering the ability to think in mythological terms, in terms of metaphor and nuance. Their conversation reminds us of the pervasive experience of alienation in modern times.
Spector cites Joseph Campbell who defined four essential functions of the myth:
1st are Cosmic functions that connects everyone to the cosmic mysteries
2nd are those that connects from the mystic to to the cosmological, it connects everyone to the great cycles, the initiation mysteries
3rd are the functions at the pedagogical level myths teach everyone to live a moral life within the definitions of a culture
4th for us moderns, we have a sociological function that helps align us with power functions of the state.
According to Spector, Campbell pointed out that in modern life we don’t have myths that connect us to those cosmological levels. Maybe especially America, the function of myth that we observe is the sociological function that connects us to the intentions of the state. That means “nationalism” in Spector’s view. The sociological functions of myth tend to keep us from connecting to our history and our own emotional lives that are just below the surface.
Spector also points to what he describes as the Myth of American Innocence, a 400 year series of narrative that he suggests “ justify American capitalism, racism, imperialism” “by blaming its victims”. In the course of this, it removes “… all guilt and responsibility from its perpetrators and beneficiaries” and thereby “manufactures consent”. This myth proposes that “the individual is a blank slate who is free to become anything he or she wants to be”. He explains how this contributes how this notion undergirds the collective sense that “America has a divine purpose to bring freedom to the rest of the world”.
We are indebted to Bonnie Bright for offering this interview and to Barry Spector for sharing his expertise and unique perspective. Before we tune in to watch the last Presidential Debate tomorrow night and certainly as the remaining days leading up to November 6th unfold, I hope readers will consider listening to this interview.
Enrollment is open for the Webinar from The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 1:00-7:00 PM EST.
“The Citizen’s Dilemma in Divisive Times: Four Voices” brings together four voices as the explore the undercurrents shaping this historical moment. Continuing Education Credit (up to 5 hours) is available and the Asheville Jung Center is pleased to host this conference sponsored by innerQuest Psychiatry & Counseling.
Leonard Cruz, MD