Depth Psychology Alliance Interview with Barry Spector

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  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

5 Responses to Depth Psychology Alliance Interview with Barry Spector
  1. Bonnie Bright
    October 22, 2012 | 7:26 pm

    Len: Thanks so much for your excellent summary of the interview. The way we are embedded in our culture and the need from mythological thinking in order to extract ourselves to be more conscious is such a critical topic–particularly at this time in our history, and perhaps more than ever. It was an honor for me to the interview with Barry Spector, a brilliant thinker, and I am doubly honored by your reflective commentary.

  2. Barry Spector
    October 23, 2012 | 4:16 pm

    Thank you from me also. One small correction: the “En-lakesh” story is said to come from the Maya people of Central America. Thanks again, Barry

  3. Linda Thompson
    October 23, 2012 | 8:56 pm

    Good afternoon Bonnie – I enjoyed listening to both of you, didalogue about what really matters. I appreciate Barry sharing Josepth’s 4 essential functions of myth for it is good for me to reflect upon where one has been, which is what I am revisitng these days – my past 60+ years, I have been nutured and sustained by 1 & 2, concerning 3 – a struggle for me to note all the amoral/immoral behaviors/acts inherent in our shared North American continent (we are each other’s us)and 4 – I have been far removed from the power functions of the state (my partner follows that one).

    Interesting, I did watch the 3 debates for the first time for one reason only – your leader whom and in my opinion, our neighbors gift to be lead by a man, family man of color – commander-in-chief. Never thought I would live to see this. I was raised to respect one’s elders and even though I do not know the man, I listen/hear and see/feel his voice/choice of words and witness his non-verbal communications and my heart is warmed by the strength of his spirit and calling to do what he did this past 4 years.

    A great healing opportunity for us North Americans and now, all we Canadians need to do is follow your lead (we are younger) and appoint an aboriginal leader.

    Irregardless of whom is elected, I pray the people in your land – keep him or let him go – with the dignity, regard and respect, he/she + the children, so deserve for they served your country well in a time when your ancestors (slaves)have been vindicated.

    Concerning ancient readings on gates of the city, ancient verses being born into modern times with a sense of exile; for me that’s dependent upon one’s vision guest, communion with gods/God; wilderness or city dwelling, station of living or both – maddness demands we stay connected (man, myth, magic) for wisdom tells us (and she is good), that there is apparently ‘nothing new under the sun’ (our egos don’t like this fact), but our collective unconscious knows better.

    I have not read your book Barry as I am endeavoring to get through the text for the December Book Club (no time to do them all). I wish you well and can only day dream about on how the DPA encounter at the gates will evolve for ‘you all’ in November.

    Concerning 4, ‘sociological function that helps align us with power functions of the state’ is not my fortey, calling or an alignment I can get into.
    I remain a primitive, sentient being who has first hand experience with powers to be who are greater than us.

    Thanks again Bonnie, much enjoyment. Regards Linda

    • jp
      April 25, 2013 | 6:58 pm

      Linda, if your ‘ heart is warmed by the strength of his spirit and calling to do what he did this past 4 years’ you have not been paying attention to teh carnage wrought around the world under his direct supervision and approval

  4. Barry Spector
    October 24, 2012 | 12:17 am

    Linda – I’m glad that our talk provoked you into some deep thinking. Tune into the Depth Psychology Alliance in November and participate in our conversation, even if you haven’t read the book. BTW, there are free sample chapters on my website:


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