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Thank you for taking part in our End of World Poll
Please stay tuned as we will analyze the results.
Click Here for our End of the World Seminar Information
Please use the comment section below to add to your response.
When John Hill performed the role of Father Victor White in The Jung-White Letters, he seemed possessed by the spirit of the man. In John Hill’s recent publication, At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging, leaves me wondering if he has now been possessed by an entire cloud of witnesses comprised of Irish poets spanning centuries. There is a lyrical quality that pervades the book and the publisher, Spring Journal Books, has done a marvelous job with the layout, cover design, the references, and every detail of the book. Perhaps John Hill pulled his inspiration from a Fairy fort but the result is magical.
As the February 4th conference Architecture of the Soul: The Inner & Outer Structures of C G Jung, (with Murray Stein & Andreas Jung) approaches, this is a timely read. Hill’s scholarship is systematic and rigorous, but the book is replete with powerful and evocative language. Hill gently weaves into the text many others who have shaped and influenced him like Paul Ricouer, Ernst Cassirer, along with one of my favorite fiction writers, Jhumpa Lahiri. The thesis of his book may appear self-evident but I could not have imagined the depth and breadth of material I found in this book.
John Hill has been practicing Jungian Psychoanalysis for forty years and it shows. He has been devoted to matters of the spirit even longer. The reader will enjoy the subtle, perceptive way Hill incorporates clinical material from client’s dreams and narratives. It is refreshing to encounter a writer who also lays himself bare to the reader without crossing the line into self-indulgence that can easily become a spectacle. This is an analyst who comprehends that self-disclosure, even within the pages of a book, can be a powerful tool. And I suspect he also understands that self-disclosure can also be unwieldy. Therapists do well to stay alert for moments when self-disclosure serves their own unmet needs for mirroring and affirmation since they may easy remained it is for their client’s benefit.
Modernity has ushered in unprecedented opportunities for homeowners to furnish their dwellings in cohesive, well designed styles that may sold as an entire package. Some furniture retailers make it easy to avoid making mistake by standardizing entire groupings of furnishings. IKEA is not unique in its ability to commoditize home furnishings and to impart a sense to its customers that a unique look can be achieved on a budget. The sheer volume and global reach of an IKEA testifies to the inclination to make a home unique through elements that are in fact standardized. Such a home, according to Hill may be at risk of being left “…. without a soul.”
In contrast, we will have the opportunity on February 4th to participate in a conference whose outer, visible subject is
The Home of C. G. Jung. After reading Hill’s, At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging, I suspect the upcoming conference presented through Asheville Jung Center will end up being about our own magnum opus, our home. We each approach this differently, just as we each approach the magnum opus of our individuation differently. For some, the reliance on a standard assortment of furnishings provides a personal space that avoid too much personal disclosure but also impedes personal discovery. For others, the home provides a platform of self-expression. There are homes I have entered where I could sense the disconnection between the soul of its inhabitants and the structure itself. There are limitless permutations for combining the inner dimensions of our being and the outer structure of our home. And according to John Hill, “When a home becomes a mere product, dissociated from one’s own personal and collective history, it is probably in danger of losing its soul.” (pg11)
Some individuals delight in assembling elements into a home. They strive for that ineluctable symmetry between the inner call of the soul and the outer manifestation of their home. When we speak of homemaking as a function of managing the household we miss the much deeper connection between the demands of keeping things going in a family and the making of a home. Hill notes, “We live in a world that offers us two different ways of seeing it — one functional and the other symbolic.” (pg47) It seems there as many different modus operandi for fashioning a home as there are styles of composition, materials and technique for the artist.
Good teachers like John Hill convey complex subjects in clearly understandable ways. The five or six pages on transference provide a good illustration and despite their conciseness Hill does not sacrifice the rich, evocative quality of his prose.
Images alone do not necessarily address key psychological issues or cross the great divide between Thou and I … (pg112)
Often in the deep constellations of transference and countertransference, the client finds the opportunities to relive much of the past. … The analyst must realize that he cannot indulge in the fantasy of providing a home for all those who need one. (pg113)
I live on the hyphen as a Cuban-American. My soul has one foot firmly planted in the United States of America where I was born while the other foot, the one possessed of dreams of return to an island I have never known, has nowhere to step. Countless others share my experience of life on the hyphen. The nations that bookend their hyphen do not separate us nearly as much as the hyphen unites us. We who are hyphenated are a diaspora in our own right. We are caught between two homes the one we left and the one where we dwell. But we are all likely to find ourselves somewhere along the continuum of a home we have known, a home we know now, and a home that awaits us.
Salmon Rushdie writes that, “Exile is a dream of a glorious return.” Like Odysseus, we may find ourselves in a seemingly endless pursuit of a return home. John Hill reveals to us some of the personal details of his own life away from his native Ireland without being mawkish. At Home in the World would be wonderful preparation for the upcoming conference Architecture of the Soul: The Inner & Outer Structures of CG Jung, (with Murray Stein & Andreas Jung). It will also be a great resource for anyone interested in the psychological implications and underpinnings of home from a Jungian perspective.
John Hill gave a gifted performance of Father Victor White in The Jung White Letters that moved me to examine the chords that resonated through Jung’s relationship with Sigmund Freud and later Father White. It also deeply moved me to consider what chords resonate through my relationships with men in my life. Now At Home in the World has moved me to examine from a fresh perspective my relationship to place. It has stirred a renewed interest in exploring the spaces and structures, past, present, and future that are called home in my life. Hill’s last paragraph reads like a closing hymn in prose and here he reveals a dream that arrived as he brought the book to completion.
… All at once the dream flashed across my mind, and I “knew” what it was trying to say.
…The house was my book on home. The brickwork symbolized the thoughts and ideas of others who had influenced me, and contributed to its making. The rough-hewn stones indicated that the work was connected with my identity.
… I have built the house from the materials of the earth. It is a house that contains, but it is also open to the world and to the spirit. Hopefully it can be an object of delight and contemplation, not just for me, but also for all who have crossed its threshold, so that you, dear reader, may appreciate your own home in new and creative ways.
Take a moment to consider the word “home”. Let your imagination run free and let yourself be transported to homes you have occupied, homes you have wished to occupy, homes you have left, homes you have awaiting you in the future. Consider what home means in your interior life and notice where the interior experience or awareness of home is in sync with the structure you call home and where the two seem out of sync. Please consider posting a comment about “home” so that we might open the doors and let one another peak in.
Len Cruz, MD
On February 4, 2011, Dr. Murray Stein will present a conference together with Andreas Jung, in collaboration with the Asheville Jung Center titled “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. Andreas Jung is an architect whose father and great uncle were also architects. He is a graduate of Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) and currently lives in the home on Seestrasse.
C. G. Jung was intimately involved in the design of this home and attended to such things as the cladding upon the walls that provided deeply niched windows and lovely inset glass cabinets in the dining room. Andreas Jung authors two very personal chapters and serves as the co-editor of the book.
Arthur Rüegg, a professor of architecture at ETHZ, opens one of the chapter titled “Living in a Museum?” with the following rendering:
The house of Carl Gustav Jung is without a doubt the physical expression of a great mind.
In 1906, while still “an impecunious assistant medical director at the Burghölzi mental home in Zürich”, Jung wrote to his cousin, architect Ernst Fietcher, of his plans “… to build a house someday, in the country near Zürich, on the lake”. It was the untimely death of Emma Jung’s father that allowed the couple to build the home. The Jungs worked closely with the architect and landscape architects on the design. Three generations of Jung’s have lived in this home that is now owned by a foundation (Stiftung C. G. Jung Küsnacht). Two of those generations of inhabitants were “…families who could read these traces and respectfully carry on the tradition.” (p 90). The history of the house and it’s renovations is crisply and artfully presented.
What emerges from the pages of The House of C. G. Jung is a portrait of an intentional man who demonstrated an uncanny ability to move between the worlds of the mythopoetic interior life and the tangible, concrete realms. It should be no surprise that the man who constructed the Tower at Bollingen would have built a home worthy of memorializing. Jung gave attention to details such as wall hangings, tile selection and placement of the rooms where he conducted analysis so as not to displace Emma from the library and interfere with her work.
The chapter “Living in a museum?” reads like a patient’s anamnesis as it reviews the homes history and developmental influences. The reader is reminded that homes, like organic things, change and adapt to their circumstances and their inhabitants. Despite several major renovations through the last century, the respect and regard for the original home was preserved. The home is a testament to what concentrated self-examination and openness to the individuation process can produce. It is the biography of a house that is no less impressive for what it reveals or the man who built it.
Architecture and psychology are first cousins. Consider a few quotes assembled from several renown architects.
“Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.” Le Corbusier
“The home should be the treasure chest of living.” Le Corbusier
“Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.” Frank Lloyd Wright
“Form follow function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” Frank Lloyd Wright
“Freedom is from within.” Frank Lloyd Wright
“The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.” Frank Lloyd Wright
“Architecture is the will of the epoch translated into structure.” Ludwig Miles van der Rohe
Invitation: The house that “you” built
Take a moment to consider the space you inhabit, whether it is a home, office, apartment, or just a room. Examine it for details that reflect aspects of your interior life. Where do you see function pronouncing itself and where does aesthetic seem to announce itself? Examine the space for signs and signifiers of your individuated self and for signs of where your individuation is ensnared in its effort to emerge.
Compose a work of your own that reflects the house you have built. If you feel so moved, please share those reflections with others in our community by posting a comment on this blog. If you are planning to attend the seminar on February 4, “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. then this exercise might be a useful preparation, like tilling the soil before the planting.
Len Cruz, MD
The publication of The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images is the child of an unlikely marriage between ARAS, a hidden gem of an archive, with Taschen, the daring and brilliant world wide publisher of fine art books. The union of ARAS and Taschen is not so strange when one realizes that both organizations are passionate about depth and beauty. Each is willing to spend the time, money, and human energy to bring a unique vision into the world. The result is a gorgeous bargain of a book which follows in the ground breaking tradition of C.G. Jung’s Man and His Symbols.
For most of its seventy five year history, branches of what is now known as ARAS (The Archives for Research in Archetypal Symbolism) have pursued its mission in relative obscurity, hidden away in the filing cabinets of a handful of Jungian Institutes. A few years ago, ARAS created ARAS Online by digitizing its collection of 17,000 images and 90,000 pages of cultural and psychological commentary. ARAS Online and its free quarterly ARAS Connections offer stunning public access to the archive. The Book of Symbols is the newest and richest offering of ARAS which is now sharing its treasures and wisdom with the world. The publication of the book represents the culmination of a fourteen year effort by a large team of collaborators who were led by Ami Ronnberg and Kathleen Martin.
The emergence of ARAS into more public arenas has caught the eye of both the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal. In August, 2010 Arianna Huffington turned to ARAS Online to help understand the symbolic power of Sarah Palin’s identification with the mother bear. And just a few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported with some fascination on the ARAS approach to the archetypal world of images! This is astonishing because ARAS has about as much to do with financial markets as the great German mystic, Meister Eckhart, does with the derivative bond market.
According to C. G. Jung “psyche is image” and The Book of Symbols is all about the evocative power of images to move us in profound and mysterious ways. Most books of symbols manage to kill the symbol by reducing it to simplistic equations. The Book of Symbols moves in just the opposite direction by allowing the living symbol to shine through poetic evocations of beautifully chosen images. It follows the lead of Eckhart who taught us that “When the soul wants to experience something she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it.”
The mission of ARAS is to collect and research examples of archetypal symbolism from every culture and every age. For example, if you go to ARAS Online and select “snake”, you will get the following “cultural time line” which displays by culture and age every image in the collection related to “snake”:
The Book of Symbols follows this principle of using images from around the world and every era to explore a symbol.
Here is a small sampling of images and shortened, accompanying text offered in The Book of Symbols:
1. Creation and Cosmos:
Passing through the Fire of Purgatory, manuscript illustration from Dante’s Divine Comedy 15th century C.E.
“In myth and in reality, fire sometimes merely destroys, but often destroys so that from the purified residue or ashy essences a new world may come into being.”
2. Plant World:
Pine Trees, detail, by Hasegawa Tohaku, screen. 16th Century C.E.
“With a few brushstrokes, a Japanese painter conveys the strong, standing presence of pines amid the grey mists of winter. Associated with Confucias and the Taoist immortals, the pine is a favorite subject of Chinese and Japanese painters and poets. Because of its hardiness and the fact that it retains its green leaves even through the winter, the pine has become a symbol of long life, immortality, constancy, courage, strength in adversity, and steadfastness unaffected by the blows of nature.”
3. Animal World:
The Ba or soul bird from the Book of the Dead of Tehenena, 18th dynasty (ca. 1550-1295 B.C.E.) Egypt
“In our desire for boundless freedom, we identify ourselves with the flight of birds. In our imagination, we transcend the ordinary world by leaving the earth and the weight of the body. Wings lift us.”
4. Human World:
The Bleeding Heart (Lamb of God) anonymous, oil on tin, 19th century, Mexico
“Stop the flow of your words,
open the window of your heart and
let the spirit speak.”
5. Spirit World:
Rock Painting by San Bushmen, South Africa
“In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if
he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animal
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words
were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious power.
Nobody could explain this:
That’s the way it was.”
Translated from Innuit by Edward Field
In the early stages of creating The Book of Symbols, one of the contributors dreamt of the emerging book in the following way:
“I am in a library, looking in a reference book. The first page is ‘A’ which has a listing for ‘apricots’ — except the apricots are real and I can take them off the page, put them on a plate and eat them. A man next to me is looking at the entry for ‘beans’ under B and he can do the same thing with the beans.”
Many readers of The Book of Symbols are finding this prophetic dream to be true as they partake of the book as an unexpected and magical feast of living symbols that they can ingest. About the phenomena of the edible book, one can only follow the lead of the Inuit poet and say:Nobody can explain this:
That’s the way it is.
This week’s blog is the conclusion of Murray Stein’s lecture on Betrayal, given at Jungian Odyssey 2010. In it he looks at the intense friendship and later dramatic breakup of Carl Jung and Father Victor White.
If you watch the performance of The Jung-White Letters (now available on DVD), featuring Paul Brutsche in the role of C.G. Jung and John Hill as Victor White, O.P., you will witness the trajectory of a relationship begun in the summer of 1945 just after the end of WWII with high hopes and enthusiasm for collaboration between the psychologist on the one side and the Roman Catholic theologian on the other. The arc of their collaboration and friendship rises with rapid acceleration to a zenith (around 1948), then begins to flounder when they enter into a more earnest exchange of views on the nature of God and on the Roman Catholic doctrine of evil as privatio boni (1949-1955), and finally lose its basis and falls into severe disarray and finally into a rupture around what Victor White perceived as a betrayal and Jung then responded to as an unwawarrented attack from White on his integrity. The causal agent of White’s sense of betrayal was Jung’s publication of Answer to Job. “I wonder what induced you to publish it; when you gave me the manuscript to read you were so emphatic that you would not!” (Lammers, p. 259), White writes bitterly after the book was published and translated into English. Earlier he had found the work fascinating, but when he had to answer pointed questions about its contents from his priestly colleagues and his Catholic followers and analysands, he became extremely uncomfortable and felt that Jung had cut the ground out from under him with the publication of this heterodox work.
Certainly from a Roman Catholic theological perspective rooted in the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, which White knew backwards and forewards and had taught to seminarians for many years, Jung’s views were completely indefensible and out of bounds. How could he, a priest, work with Catholic students and analysands, when the founder of the psychology he was using and had been advocating was putting forward a view of God and the Bible and what must be done by modern men and women that so utterly contradicted what the Church would ever condone? White found himself strangely in the position of Job when betrayed by God – the very basis of his livelihood and professional existence was pulled out from under his feet. Unlike Job, however, he vented his rage with the transference object, C.G. Jung, and separated himself from him, going his own way: “It seems that I am destined to be a wanderer & as homeless physically as I am spiritually.” (ibid.) Ironically, Jung repeated almost exactly with his Answer to Job the very thing he had been dealing with so passionately in the book itself – betrayal.
Perhaps it was inadvertant. From White’s side, it must have seemed like the betrayal of a faithful and pious man (i.e., himself) at the hands of a mistakenly idealized transference object (i.e., Jung). Jung retorted to White’s letter of accusation saying that he had never promised such a thing: “Should I set the light of such an insight ‘under a bushel’?” he cries out. (Lammers, p. 261) He was burdened with a message for humanity, which he felt was urgently needed in the time when the world was on the verge of catastrophic splitting and destruction. He was advocating for consciousness, for individual responsibility, for maturity. Only under such advances in humanity would the world survive, he felt. And White was trying to protect an illusion that robbed people of their initiative, diminished their consciousness of individual responsibility, and had been helpless to prevent the European nations from entering into two horrific wars in the 20th Century.
As Jung looked at the world, the Christian religion, as it had been presented and lived to this point in Europe, was not adequate to contain the powerful splitting tendencies at work in history. It simply hid people’s heads in the sand and foolishly let them believe that everything would come out alright in the end since a good God is in control of history. For Jung, the example of Jesus Christ taught the opposite – the image of the wholly good God is shattered by betrayal, on the cross and ends in tragedy. People have to grow up and take responsibility for history and for the planet and not wait passively for a good God to put things right. One must take a less naïve view of God. This is the message of Answer to Job.
I do believe that Victor White achieved wisdom and did not fall into cynicism as a result of his betrayal at the hands of Jung. In the end he was able to see Jung’s person more clearly, for better and for worse, without casting him utterly aside. The transference object was broken and a new consciousness had space to dawn in him. In a final exchange of letters shortly before White’s death from inoperable cancer in 1960, both men showed gratitude for what they had learned from the other. They had separated but not become antagonists or enemies. Splitting was overcome in favor of holding together the opposites and achieving object wholeness. This is the psychological basis of wisdom.
-Lammers, A. (ed.) 2005. The Jung-White Letters. London: Routledge.
I used to teach psychotherapy to therapists in training. I drew some conclusions that coalesced into a sort of Special Relativity of Psychotherapy. The recent excerpt from Dr. Stein’s “Individuation” concerning first visits from a Jungian perspective got me thinking about Einstein’s theory and the work of therapy.
In 1905, Einstein “On the Electro dynamics of Moving Bodies” described that the frame of reference of an observer determines what is observed. For example, an observer moving at a speed close to the speed of light will encounter drastic effects upon their perception of objects in different inertial frames. Your inertial frame governs what you observe. This is strikingly like psychotherapy. To the Freudian and Neo-Freudian analyst, the analysis of resistance and will help expose libidinal impulses that have been obstructed by conflicts with a strict super-ego resulting in neurotic structures employed by the ego. A Self-psychologist may seek to illuminate the connection between early relationships (and their representation as internal structures of introjects, object representations, self-object representations, etc). The Cognitive-Behaviorally oriented therapist will apply herself to identifying negative, unproductive cognitive schemas that contribute to symptoms. It begins to appear that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I could go on with other examples. One thing I concluded about schools of psychotherapy is that like Einstein’s inertial frames of reference, they determine what a therapist will observe. (No problem provided we understand that is the nature of our discursive thinking is always constrained by our frame of reference).
Another thing I concluded when teaching psychotherapy was that any model of therapy helps the therapist feel secured and anchored. The result is often that the therapist can provide a non-anxious presence to the client. In so far as the relationship is the critical element of healing in therapy, a non-anxious therapist allows the client to explore their interior life with less contamination. In this regard, almost any philosophic stance will do. Acknowledging this generic feature of therapy can help therapist in training (and all of us are truly therapist in training) to embrace the value of being well schooled in at least one frame of reference about how therapy ought to be conducted.
Not all schools of psychotherapy are created equal. In addition, the therapeutic approach that proves well-suited to one person may be ill-suited to another. Psychotherapy is not an exact science; it is nothing like testing for antibiotic sensitivity or resistance with acute infections. Instead, a therapist is guided by some amalgam of evidenced based science and deep intuition. An excessive reliance on either often proves detrimental to a client. There is something about the numinous quality of the therapeutic experience that does not lend itself to being reduced to simple, predictable formulas.
There is a natural inclination toward being purist in public while being far less dogmatic in our consulting room. This is reminiscent of the difference between those poets who can write metered or rhyming verse who choose to compose free verse and those who cloak themselves in the mantel of vers libre simply because they have neither the gifts or discipline to cultivate metered or rhymed verse. We suspect one another of being less dogmatic behind closed doors. And why shouldn’t we; we know what we do?
While we are striving to maintain a suitable stance with clients it is our duty to notice when we deviate. We strive to remain alert to those deviations, to be alert for those moments when our process adversely influences the work of the client (and vice versa). But we are never impeccable. Instead, we endlessly seek to remove ourselves in service of the other.
In the process of monitoring our process and its potential impact upon the other we honor Einstein’s discoveries in our own way. We begin by reconciling ourselves to the fact that we cannot extricate ourselves from some frame of reference. We can acknowledge that any system of ideas supports the illusion of certainty and this, it turns our, fosters in us a non-anxious presence. We end up focusing less on defending dogma and more on present moment, mutual discernment. We admit that in the midst of our striving toward a relatively pure theoretical stance we encounter detours; we allow others to know that the mystery of therapy can never be circumscribed by a theory, no matter how sound that theory appears.
Ask yourself the following three questions.
I have found the following to be true about the last question. Sometimes, my deviations from a coherent stance occurs because I am slothful, I do not always maintain highest degree of vigilance when conducting therapy. Mostly, these tend to be minor deviations, worthy of note but hardly exploitive or destructive. Sometimes, I am visited by my own complexes that insert themselves in the process. This is fertile ground for me and especially fertile ground for my client when I attend to it. Sometimes, the client’s process is so intense that it warps the fabric of our relationship like a massive object warps the space-time continuum. I may deviate because there seems to be no recourse for the moment but these are the most fertile realms of exploration.
As I seek to balance all these forces I am reminded of the closing lines of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses”
…Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.