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 )  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 

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  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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Comments (6)

  • Avatar

    Wes Stillwagon


    I say that the concepts, models, and language used to arrive at conclusions such as described here is faulty because it is out of the clinic or therapy environment setting. It is incomplete and if you’ll pardon, somewhat naive for that reason. I’ve been engaged in scholarly study of critical skills training and social ecology for a long time and long concluded that a different perspective and understanding is required for such considerations. I I’m presenting a round table discussion at the August, “Affect and Action: Psyche in a Time of Crisis 11th Annual Conference of Research in Jung and Analytical Psychology Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies” titled, “Jung Outside The Clinic, Applying Jung’s Ideas To Solve Challenges In Business, Industry, and The Military And How The Concepts Could Serve The Needs Of A World in Crises” in which I describe (overview) projects that used Jungian concepts quite aside from the idea of the complex, social or individual. I am hoping to inspire other Jungians to check out the practical ideas and to consider their value on many fronts. The ideas are much broader and have more workable handles than the concept of the complex, I can assure you.


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    Wes is correct that the ideas are much broader and I applaud his efforts to inspire other Jungians to check out practical ideas. In my estimation, the richness of individual exploration involved in Jungian work fails to reach full fruition if it is not made incarnate or has no outer expression.

    Our readers would probably be interested in further information from Wes about the different perspective and understanding that is required when considering critical skills training and social ecology.

    Wes’ cautionary remark about bringing ideas out of the therapy environment is a good reminder. While caution is warranted, there is ample reason and tradition to support that insights and discoveries obtained in the therapy environment can advance our understanding beyond that environment.


  • Avatar

    Thomas Singer


    It is a rare honor to be criticized for a workshop that has not yet happened and a book that has not been read.


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    David Thompson


    Concerning the future of Analytical Psychology, sometimes referred to as Depth Psychology, and, more archaically, Psychology of the Unconscious, I would quote another Kipling poem:

    Something hidden.
    Go and find it.
    Go and look behind the Ranges—
    Something lost behind the ranges.
    Lost and waiting for you.

    from, “The Explorer”
    Rudyard Kipling

    Don’t wait for Gunga Din to blow that warning bugle on the Thugee shadow waiting to ambush you…metaphorically speaking. We’ve all got a responsibility to the exploration of that alchemical “better man than I am…”.

    But I realize that working on that could get …well…”complex”…individually and/or culturally…

    Which seems to be at least one of the themes of today’s “Webinar” (is that a seminar given by Spiderman?). I just hope the “Jungo-Jumbo” jargon was kept to a minimum…


  • Avatar

    John Gosling


    I am absolutely intrigued by the possibility of exploring the relevance of analytical psychology to our current extremely complex and “complexed” world. Living and working on the southern tip of Africa in a multicultural, multilayered, diverse, and heterogenous society that bears a legacy of decades of oppressing and being oppressed – often brutally; of racism; of gross inequality; of patriarchal dominanace and disrespect of the feminine, we are confronted by many socio-cultural problems such as xenophobia on a regular basis. At times, those living in extreme poverty turn on “others” violently and brutally, dispossessing and even murdering them. How can we take our knowledge and awareness of psyche and apply it to some of these disturbing manifestations in society? I totally support and am aware of the benefit of the individual work in which we are engaged and which we facilitate in our clients. However, those most in need of what we have to offer will never cross the thresholds of our consulting rooms. Are there ways of making our work more relevant and if so how do we go about it?


  • Avatar

    David Thompson


    Reflections on “The White Man’s Burden”:

    The reason why that recent Wall Street Journal editorial, “Why The World Needs America”, sounds eerily like Kipling’s poem, “The White Man’s Burden”, may be because Kipling was writing about America in the poem. True, Kipling was a an outspoken imperialist, a believer in England’s territorial expansion, the British Empire, the white Anglo-Saxon’s superiority to the “lesser breeds”. Born in British India, educated in England, he worked as a editor on a Lahore-based English magazine, and experienced some actual fighting on India’s border with Afghanistan (no Pakistan back then), as the British Army fought, in Kipling’s words, the “wily Paythan”.

    But this poem is not about the British Empire’s colonial responsibilities to the peoples she had conquered and subjugated. The poem was originally published in “McClure’s Magazine” shortly after the peace treaty between the United States and Spain, concluded on December 10, 1898, ending the Spanish-American War. Kipling was writing about what he saw as the United States’ duty toward those brown and black “lesser breeds” of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. To say that the attitudes expressed in the poem are racist, would be a massive understatement!

    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 humor
    (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
    “Why brought ye us from bondage,
    Our loved Egyptian night?”

    The above is a reference to Exodus, 16:2-3:

    “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:

    And the children of Israel said unto them, would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we did eat bread to the full…”

    You’re leading them “toward the light”, but those “silent sullen peoples” are going to be unappreciative ingrates, who would rather be back in servitude to their old masters, getting their “three hots and a cot”, rather than thanking you for the freedom you’ve brought them…to be in servitude to you.

    With the Spanish-American War and the beginning of the 20th century, the United States began to exert itself as a global power. Theodore Roosevelt, the hero of the Spanish-American War, on becoming President, sent America’s Great White Fleet around the world, as a display of the USA’s naval power. After WW I, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the rise of Marxist Socialism, the USA began a series of military and foreign intelligence interventions in Central America, the Caribbean, and eventually throughout the world, to defeat any attempts to establish left wing governments and to protect American business investments. Mexico in 1914 and from 1916-17; Nicaragua from 1916-33 (the first US campaign against the Sandinistas), and, by proxy from 1984-90; Panama in 1914 and again from 1989-90; Guatemala in 1954; Haiti from 1915-34; Dominican Republic from 1914-24 and again in 1965; Cuba, by proxy, in 1961; Korea from 1950-53; Lebanon in the 1950’s; Grenada in 1983; Vietnam from 1959-1975, with “cooked” intelligence leading to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, by which Congress gave LBJ the green light to widen America’s military involvement in Vietnam; Iraq, from 1990-91, and again, using cooked intelligence to sucker Colin Powell and the UN, Congress and the American people, from 2003 to…?; and Afghanistan, from 2001 to…?. Plus all of the so-called covert wars, assisted and orchestrated by the CIA.

    Many of these were framed as military actions of liberation, and the bringing of democracy to the invaded country. That is, America acting out, on a collective level, its archetypal Messiah Complex. America as the “Redeemer Nation”. What has been called the “American Monomyth”:

    “A community is threatened by evil. Normal institutions fail to contend with this threat. A selfless superhero (or superpower) emerges to renounce temptations and carry out the redemptive task. His decisive victory restores the community”.

    The American Monomyth is a secularization, militarization and politicalization of the Judeo-Christian redeemer myth, where the “superpower” USA, and the US Military become the Christ substitutes. The American Monomyth has been expressed throughout American pop culture: movies, TV, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, video games, pop fiction, etc. and is very different from the Classical Monomyth, so well explored by Joseph Campbell, in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.


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