Posts Tagged ‘depth psychology’
A book review
By Leonard Cruz, M.D. , M.E.
Erit in omnibus in Omnia Deus (God may become all in and through all)
The Phenomenon of Man
Pierre Telihard de ChardinQuantum mechanics, depth psychology, and mysticism are blended in Peter Todd’s scholarship as he searches for a Third-Millennium Theology. Todd effectively strikes a blow to the The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins’s enormously popular 2006 book by highlighting that the God Dawkins seeks to dismantle, a God infused with classical Newtonian and neo-Darwinian ideas, has already been silenced and annihilated. Todd correctly points out that Dawkins completely ignores revolutionary ideas emerging from quantum mechanics high priests such as David Bohm (The Undivided Universe), Erwin Schrödinger (What is Life?), and evolutionary biologists like McFadden, Al-Khalilili (A Quantum Mechanical Model of Adaptive Mutation) who propose a quantum mechanical model of evolution. One consequence of Todd’s frequent reference to Dawkins is that it may unintentionally promote The God Delusion. During the twentieth century, under the banner of process theology, various explorations of God’s attribute of being mutable were undertaken. The Individuation of God is at once a psychologically well-informed work and another contribution to process theology. Readers who are familiar with certain bedrock ideas from quantum mechanics will undoubtedly appreciate Todd’s grasp more than those for whom ideas like quantum entanglement, or emergent phenomenon are entirely new concepts. It may be helpful to explain some concepts and Wikipedia provides some succinct explanations with suitable references (retrieved 2/3/2013 ) Quantum entanglement is a form of quantum superposition. When a measurement is made and it causes one member of such a pair to take on a definite value (e.g., clockwise spin), the other member of this entangled pair will at any subsequent time be found to have taken the appropriately correlated value (e.g., counterclockwise spin). Thus, there is a correlation between the results of measurements performed on entangled pairs, and this correlation is observed even though the entangled pair may have been separated by arbitrarily large distances.In Quantum entanglement, part of the transfer happens instantaneously.  Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems. The negentropy, also negative entropy, of a living system is the entropy that it exports to keep its own entropy low; it lies at the intersection of entropy and life. (It is a measure of a systems tendency to move toward or sustain complexity and order.) Todd suggests that God and man are in an entangled state such that both God’s and man’s individuation are inextricably bound and reliant on one another for completion. This will strike many Christians as antithetical and heretical, but it may provide process theologians a solid scientific basis for their claims. The book’s first chapter, “The Case against God” summarizes the case Dawkins prosecutes against God in which he contends that belief in a personal god constitutes a delusion. In “Religious Fundamentalism as a Shadow”, Todd notes that fundamentalism and the literalism it espouses is “One major challenge to the survival of humanity…” . (p 21) The third chapter, “Mind and Directed Evolution” introduces the most revolutionary claims. Insofar as the quality of mind is revealed even at the quantum level, Todd explains that biosystems may be viewed as quantum computers. As such, they are capable of evaluating infinite probability states, and through natural selection, efficiently choosing evolutionary changes that are useful for survival. If for example, the mutation of the HIV retrovirus involves something other than random events, then humankind’s collective conscious response may be understood as a “metaphorical quantum entanglement between the developed and developing worlds…that transcends the confines of nationalism and economic self-interest…” (p48). In the chapter titled “Consciousness as an Organizing Principle” the author decries spiritual materialism, secularism, and the religion of the state for their ability to support a “God of insects” (p82), wherein spirit and numinosity is repressed and no individuality exists like with beehives or ant colonies. This conception of God has menacing effects upon the planet and its resources. In the totalitarian states especially, “…no individuality exists … the individuation process is repressed so that personal self-identity is subsumed to a mindless devotion to the state …”. Depth psychology, theology, and the numinous qualities of archetypal symbols illuminate how man’s conception of God can evolve beyond a transitional object. The last two chapters, “Myth, Symbol, and Transformation” and “A Third-Millennium Theology” challenge conventional understanding of time’s arrow and reintroduce the numinous in an effort to propose a theology for our current millennium. Todd is not suggesting a third-millennium theology as some completed endpoint. However, he seems to be mindful of the simultaneous threats of thermonuclear warfare, chemical & biological weapons, natural resource depletion, and global warming. These are more dangerous if humanity remains fixed in the mindset of religious fundamentalism, classical Newtonian mechanics, or neo-Darwinian orthodoxy. The Individuation of God inquires about time and the illusion of time’s arrow. Todd invokes Schrödinger’s reference to the “tyranny of Chronos” in considering the indestructibility of the mind. The Greek New Testament uses two words for time, Chronos (Χρόνος) and Kairos (καιρός). Kairos is the indeterminate time, often discovered in the liminal realm, when something special happens. It can be thought of as the emergent moment, the eternal now, or the realm where the illusion of time’s arrow is transcended. In the end, The Individuation of God is a valiant and well-informed effort to integrate modern science, psychology, and theology. The Individuation of God successfully interweaves an expansive list of sources. In the last chapter His Holiness the Dalai Lama is quoted, “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” (p141). And from Einstein’s essay, “The World as I See It” he quotes, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.” We arrive at some intriguing conclusions that “Without psyche there would be no theory to explain the outlines and patterns discovered by science.” (p150) In the course of God becoming fully human through the incarnation, arises a corollary and possibility, that humanity is becoming divine. This is in perfect alliance with Jung’s notion of Christ as a symbol of the coniunctio, for Christ reconciles opposites. The evolution of God and the evolution of man cannot be separated. There is a trajectory of humanity’s conception of God that began with a mythopoetic, animistic experience of the divine. This trajectory later traverses the epochs in which omnipotent, often patriarchal Olympian or Old Testament deities reigned with ferocity and aloofness. And this arrives at a “…three-hundred-year-old schism between science and religion” (p160) that yielded a demythologized, annihilated god. Peter Todd’s third millennium theology, may provide a path of return to the Garden of Eden. This third millennium theology is characterized by a deep appreciation for the entangled state of our inner and outer life, of I and Thou, and of the physical and the numinous. This theology brings man’s evolving notion of God full circle where it is once more infused with myths and symbols. In this regard, depth psychology and Jung’s seemingly unfathomable explorations continue to enrich us. At times it may appear at times that Todd too often refers to ideas previously mentioned, but this is necessary since many topics are likely to be unfamiliar. The frequent invocation of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, makes The Individuation of God, appear to be a disputation of Dawkins. This is a small shortcoming, of this book but The Individuation of God deserves to stand alone with Dawkins relegated to a footnote and bibliographic reference. – Len Cruz, MD CLICK HERE TO ORDER A COPY OF THIS BOOK
Revisioning Ourselves and the World
By Len Cruz, MD, ME
Seminar Registration http://ashevillejungcenter.org/upcoming-events/ecopsychology/
“…our present ego-feeling is only a shrunken residue of a much more inclusive, indeed, an all-embracing, feeling which corresponded to a more intimate bond between the ego and the world about it.” (Sigmund Freud)Ecopsychology is more than the conflation of two words, ecology and psychology. This nascent field expands the horizon of the deep self beyond the frontiers of the individual. James Hillman said, “The deepest self cannot be confined to “in here” because we can’t be sure it is not also or even entirely “out there”![i] The exaggerated emphasis on the personal, interior, individual psychology has contributed to a denial of the world “out there”. Several trajectories can be subsumed under the broad canopy of ecopsychology and the field is distinguishable from other related subjects[ii]. There is an arc that begins with the personal unconscious, traverses the collective unconscious, and leads to a planetary unconscious. The near apotheosis of mankind that installed our species with a belief in our dominion over flora and fauna may be coming of age. The Navi race depicted in the movie AVATAR is a pop culture reflection of an emerging archetype or at least a cultural complex. As Thomas Singer points out, “Failure to consider cultural complexes as part of the work of individuation puts a tremendous burden on both the personal and archetypal realms of the psyche.”[iii] Depth psychological influences have shaped out language appearing with phrases like Biophilia (Erich Fromm[iv], E.O. Wilson[v]), Ecosophy & Deep Ecology (Arne Naess)[vi], Terrapsychology (Chalquist)[vii] or Ecotherapy (Clineman)[viii]. There is an ecological imperative forcing itself on our consciousness through images environmental catastrophes, species and habitat destruction, and threats of irreversible climate change. Lifton’s concept of psychic numbing regarding the threat of nuclear disaster applies to the ecological crisis upon us. But this festering wound can no longer be located solely within nor strictly outside of ourselves.[ix] Ecopsychology attempts to restore the intimate connection between the ego and the world. And with the added the richness of the archetypal strata a more inclusive psychology is emerging.[x] If a planetary consciousness is developing and we should expect that there will be a planetary unconscious developing alongside. In the pioneering days of psychoanalysis, Janet, Freud, and others were cartographers of a vast inner landscape. A centrifugal force developed in the generations following Freud. Ego psychology pressed beyond the id, social psychiatry and later self psychology expanded into the interpersonal and social milieu, and Jung expanded the personal notion of the unconscious into vast territory of the collective unconscious. However, all these trends established human beings at the axis of the psychological world. Ecopsychology revisions this singular focus upon man. It is a restorative psychology, where place matters and the distinction between inhabitants of the earth is removed, hierarchical disappears. Ecopsychology grounds our existence and psychology in a broader context of the ecosphere. Let us agree that human activity is causing rapid and profound changes to the climate, to the water cycle, to the soil, and to species extinction. Billions of people watched oil gush into the Gulf of Mexico for months. On a daily basis human beings grew more alarmed by the risks of massive radiation leakage from the Fukushima nuclear reactor.And though the ecological underpinnings of mass migration and starvation in sub-Saharan Africa are poorly understood, the images of starving human beings nevertheless etches itself into our psyches. Such events remind us that there is an imperative imposing itself with ever-increasing urgency. But the complexity of these issues exceed our capacities. Robert Jay Lifton, coined the term psychic numbing to describe “a form of desensitization … an incapacity to feel or confront certain kinds of experience, due to the blocking or absence of inner forms or imagery that can connect with such experience”.[xi] The intricate webs comprising our world are complex. Ever increasing computing capacity permits us to model extremely complex systems and to detect elegant patterns. Nonlinear systems (see also complexity, chaos, Madelbrot sets)possess some unique characteristics including inflection points (see also attractors, repellors, bifurcations) where sudden, large changes in behavior result from small changes in conditions of a a stable system. Catastrophe theory, a branch of bifurcation mathematics, demonstrates that bifurcations are in fact part of a large well defined geometric structure. Carl Freidrich Guass laid the foundation for these discoveries but the ability to model such complex systems had to wait for the invention of supercomputers. Our ability to recognize patterns, create accurate models, and decipher complexity on our own has limits.[xii]Rebecca Costa suggests there are five common supermemes that we should understand because of their limiting effects upon our capacity to reason. These include: irrational opposition, counterfeit correlation, personalization of blame, silo thinking, and extreme economics.[xiii] Time magazine recently suggested that people like Rebecca Costa might be able to solve the world’s biggest problems (http://tinyurl.com/6fz6uuu). The rest of us may need to acknowledge that the sheer complexity of the ecological crisis combined with our own psychological complexity often exceeds our capacity to understand. There a practical ecopsychology developing that might equip us to navigate through the treacherous times with greater understanding. Ultimately it may also preserve us. First, we will need to acknowledge that the planet and many of its inhabitants are being placed at risk by the impact our species has upon the environment. There is an ecopsychological unconscious, and like all unconscious material, it resists exposure and yields its fruits reluctantly. Those of us who live in the technologically advanced first world must make sure that we keep contact with the wilderness. An earlier blog (May 31, 2010) addressed the diminishing wilderness of childhood and readers may want to read an excerpt from Chabon’s Manhood for Amateurs.[xiv] A practical ecopsychology will provide tools for working through the despair and psychic numbing that so easily overwhelms us. Out of the fertile fields of ecopsychology will emerge ecotherapeutic techniques and understanding that can be expected to equip us to participate in the healing that we all need.[xv] In 1973, Our Bodies, Ourselves[xvi] became a feminist canon through its empowering, educational message. The time has come for Our Planet, Ourselves that might collect the expanse of ideas that intersect with ecopsychology. The confluence of many shaping influences unite many archetypal energies forming a bedrock for further psychological explorations. A river’s delta provides a good metaphor for region where complexes, archetypes, and outer come together. In the delta fresh water and salt water meet and mix. In the ecopsychological delta, conscious and unconscious, interior and exterior, introject and projection combine and create a limen realm where the participation mystique more easily is detected. Jung wrote, “PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE is a term derived from Lévy-Bruhl. It denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity.”[xvii] It is tempting to oscillate between extreme impressions of the world. Between Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road[xviii] and Fox’s recent Fall series Terra Nova with a tagline of “There is no paradise without sacrifice” we encounter repeated apocalyptic scenarios alongside utopian ones.[xix] [xx] [xxi]. KIA Motors produced a Superbowl commercial last year that exploited apocalyptic images of the Mayan Prophecy. The appearance of such impressions in popular culture points toward the chthonic psychic regions, the places where archetypes reside. Paul Ricouer observed that utopias function to develop “new, alternative perspectives”.[xxii] And some of our most compelling utopian literature actually present dystopias (Brave New World, Nineteen eighty-four, Fahrenheit 451). These days anyone can turn on a computer and create their own utopia (SimCity). IMDb, the movie database, has compiled a list of the top 50 Post-Apocalyptic movies (http://www.imdb.com/list/2WCgJcXeSEQ/). The images and impressions of a global consciousness, of an ecopsychological dimension are everywhere. A recent favorite of mine is AVATAR. James Cameron’s creation of the Navi, a large, lithe, colorful, and powerful race of humanoid creatures with tails. These tails, symbolizes the Navi’s sustained connection to their world and hints of a noble savage. From the opening minutes of the film the there are rumbles and rhythms of mechanization that contrasts with a perky newscaster announcing the comeback of the nearly extinct Bengal tiger we are presented with competing impressions of soulless exploitation of the planet’s resources by an interplanetary corporation and the soulful natives and their planetary conscious ways. By the end of the movie our sympathies are powerfully attached to the Navi. Apart from the symbolism of the Navi’s tail, it is the physical means by which they experience a deep empathic connection to their world, it is the vehicle for their participation mystiqeu. As if these images alone were not enough, Cameron chose for his protagonist a physically disabled man injured in battle. He seems to be telling us of our woundedness, our disability, and our hope for restoration. In the final scene of AVATAR, the viewer is left believing that the protagonist has made a final and complete transformation from man to Navi. The movie’s ability to arouse archetypal energies of both apocalypse and utopia is gripping. But the promise that WE might experience such a deep connection to the biosphere as the protagonist is even more compelling. Ecopsychology is unlikely to deliver some well wrapped experiences of connectedness like we get in the movies but perhaps it can provide a guide for the journey. This is journey that began in an idyllic garden to which it one day hopes to return. INVITATION Take a moment to reflect on the impressions that reside in your own psyche of this world, your place in it, and the planetary images and impressions that you have encountered. Perhaps it is a dream, a piece of art, a moment of communion with nature. As we share our stories, we may help one another to awaken to something deep within that also is suffused outside. If we hope to develop a consciousness spacious enough for the biosphere it must include one another. Share your stories here. Len Cruz
[i] Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner. Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1995 (page xix).[ii] Scull, John. “Ecopsychology: Where Does It Fit in Psychology in 2009?.” The Trumpeter Fall 2008: 68-85. The Trumpeter. Web. 8 Oct. 2011. [iii] Singer, Thomas. “The Cultural Complex and Archetypal Defenses of the Collective Spirit | Psyche-and-culture | Articles.” IAAP. IAAP, 19 June 2005. Web. 08 Oct. 2011. <http://iaap.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69:the-cultural-complex-and-archetypal-defenses-of-the-collective-spirit&catid=66:psyche-and-culture&Itemid=380>. [iv] Fromm, Erich (1964). The Heart of Man. Harper & Row., [v] Wilson, Edward O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-07442-4. [vi] Næss, Arne (1973) ‘The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement.’ Inquiry 16: 95-100 [vii] Chalquist, Craig (2007) Terrapsychology, New Orleans, Spring Journal Books. ISBN-10: 1882670655 [viii] Clinebell, H. 1996. Ecotherapy: Healing ourselves, healing the earth. New York: Haworth Press. [ix] Chalquist, Craig. “The Environmental Crisis is a Crisis of Consciousness.” Terrapsych.com – serving the animate presence of place. Terrapsych.com, n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. <http://www.terrapsych.com/cris (also Chalquist, Craig, and Mary E. Gomes. Terrapsychology: Re-engaging the Soul of Place. New Orleans: Spring Journal, 2007.) [x] Watkins, Mary . “On Returning to the Soul of the World: Archetypal Psychology and Cultural/Ecological Work.” Terrapsych.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. <www.terrapsych.com/Watkins. [xi] Lifton, Robert Jay (March 1968). “America in Vietnam—The circle of deception”. Society 5 (4). [xii] Costa, Rebecca D. The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way out of Extinction. New York: Vanguard, 2010. [xiii] Costa, Rebecca D. The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction. New York: Vanguard Press, 2010. [xiv] Chabon, Michael. “Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood by Michael Chabon | The New York Review of Books.” New York Times Review of Books. New York Times, 16 July 2009. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. <http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/16/manhood-for-amateurs-the-wilderness-of-childhood/> [xv] Buzzell, Linda, and Craig Chalquist. Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 2009. [xvi] Our Bodies, Ourselves. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. [xvii] Jung, C.G. ( 1971) Paragraph 781. Psychological Types, Collected Works, Volume 6, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. [xviii] McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. [xix] Geus, Marius De. Ecological Utopias: Envisioning the Sustainable Society. Utrecht, the Netherlands: International, 1999. [xx] Thiele, L. P. 2000. Book Review: de Geus, M. 1999. Ecological Utopias: Envisioning the sustainable society. International Books, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Conservation Ecology 4(1): 18. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol4/iss1/art18/ [xxi] Gues, Marius de. Ectopia, sustainability, and vision. Organization & Environment. Vol: 15:2, 187-201Jun 2002. Web. October 7, 2011.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs
Civilization in Transition:
Jungian Presence in Creative World Change.Carl Jung foresaw a change in world order that he believed was a “spiritual transformation” in civilization. Aware of both its dangers and positive potential, he spoke of it in Civilization in Transition, part of which is paraphrased as follows: Humankind’s process of spiritual transformation cannot be hurried by rational process; but it is within our reach to change those who influence others. Those with insight into their own actions and access to the unconscious involuntarily influence their environment, not by persuading or teaching, but through an effect that pre-industrial peoples call “mana,” an influence on the unconscious of others… (CW X, para 583) The Foundation for International Training will meet in November for penetrating dialog about changes we face in the 21st century. We invite you to join us as we explore what these changes mean and the influence the Jungian community might have in promoting growth rather than destruction, hope rather than despair. In our world divided, there is a fractious split between old religious concepts and newer, more individual spiritual understandings. Brash greed of giant corporations is juxtaposed against a movement toward greater respect for earth’s people and resources. East and West battle for dominance. Distrust of leaders causes confusion, rage. Vitriolic rhetoric spills over into violent action. What major forms of individual and collective identity will solidify if human beings continue to split the world with rigid assignments of good and evil, insist on finding the enemy in otherness, and demand simple answers to complex problems? If it is who we are, not what we say, that effects lasting change, we must consider deeply who we are, who we are becoming, and what our role is in the collective. Dr. Jung’s insistence on the need for introspective awareness does not mean living entirely in isolated contemplation. He himself wrote, lectured, composed long, thoughtful letters, and risked his reputation as a scholar and scientist in exploring unpopular topics and challenging collective assumptions. Our conference will explore what is asked of us as we move into an unprecedented era of rapid travel and instant communication of information and misinformation. Ahead are opportunities for greater accord and understanding, and also dark emotions of fear, despair, suspicion and discord. The Foundation for International Training is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the support of concentrated studies in Analytical Psychology. Directors: John Desteian, Murray Stein, Stefan Boethius, Nancy Qualls-Corbett, Wynette Barton, Judith Harris, Paul Brutsche, John Hill, Penelope Yungblut and Dariane Pictet. **CLICK HERE FOR A BROCHURE AND REGISTRATION DETAILS** THE PROGRAM: A blessing by a member of the Santa Clara Pueblo will be followed by speakers, short videos, panel discussions, break-out discussions, and a few surprises. Nancy Qualls-Corbett, Jungian Analyst from Birmingham, Alabama, author of The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine, will speak on the healing role of feminine consciousness. Jacqueline Hairston will share rare insights about the sustaining, healing qualities of America’s Black musical tradition. Combining classical Julliard training with her knowledge of Negro spirituals and gospel music, Jacqui has composed and arranged music for Kathleen Battle, Robert Sims, William Warfield, and Sweet Honey and the Rock. Her new CD is Spiritual Roots + Classical Fruits: A Healing Harvest. David Barton will address “Titanism” (the tendency to dominate/ destroy the natural world) that comes from literalism rather than symbolic thinking and clashes with care of the soul. David is former publisher of The Salt Journal and guest editor for Spring Journal. Zurich Analyst Bernard Sartorius, long-time student of Marie-Louise von Franz, will discuss his recent travels in working with the polarities of Islam and the Western world. Conference moderator is Wynette Barton, Jungian Analyst from Austin. We await final confirmation (depending on schedule) from Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Congressman, U.N. Ambassador, New Mexico Governor, and world peacemaker; and other knowledgeable contributors. DATE: Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, beginning 4:00 PM. through Wednesday, Nov. 9, ending 1:00 PM. LOCATION: Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, known for centuries to American Indians for its healing mineral waters, is a two-hour scenic drive from Albuquerque. (Travel details will be sent to registrants.) WEATHER: Early November is usually sunny and brisk. Sweaters needed. CONTINUING EDUCATION: 8 hours credit for mental health workers. RESERVATIONS: Reservations should arrive by March 10, 2011. Later registrations accepted if space is available. (Special room rate is available for those wishing to stay after the conference.) See photos of Ojo Caliente at http://www.ojospa.com **CLICK HERE FOR A BROCHURE AND REGISTRATION DETAILS**
“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.
Projections & Introjections in Global Politics: Obama, da Silva, Merkel, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Mandela
(See other Bible verse translations at end of BOLG.)The constellation of forces that are activated between members of society and their leaders is among the topics being explored in “Symbols and Individuation in Global Politics: The Case of Barack Obama” on September 10, 2010. This blog entry explores one portion of that realm involving projection and introjection. It suggests some ideas for how any citizen might engage his/her leaders as part of their individuation process. I offer a simple definition of terms. Introjection is a maneuver characterized by the unexamined incorporation of traits of another. Individuals with weak ego boundaries are more prone to use introjection as a defense mechanism. (Winnicott, DW. Home is Where We Start From: Essays by a Psychoanalyst.New York, London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1986. 50.) Projection is somewhat antithetical to introjection in that one’s own unconscious content is projected outward upon the other. What is projected is then encountered as if it actually belonged to the otherperson to begin with. Projection is a fundamental mechanism by which we remain uniformed about ourselves. (A word of caution is in order.) The recent discovery of mirror neurons in primates (including humans) should give us pause to cast all projection and introjection into some pathologic basket. These neurons are present in the motor cortex and are activated when we observe someone executing an act. It is as if our own motor strip is carrying out the act we observe; it may be a form of rehearsal. So, neurobiology may one day help us to better understand projection and introjection. Political figures who are charismatic and able to resonate with individual & cultural complexes are likely to activate processes of projection and introjection in the individual. These forces may illuminate unconscious material and facilitate its integration into the personality. But it is also possible for political figures to become targets of our projections and also possible for us to introject aspects of these figures into our personalities without having authentic encounters with the Self. President Obama’s ability to galvanize the electorate and to generate widespread participation was unprecedented. There remains some doubt about the claims that the vast majority of Obama’s contributors made small donations (under $200) but the breadth of participation that he either engendered or “appeared” to engender is notable. Individuals were lifted up during the campaign and a sense of unity among people of different backgrounds and even across national borders was kindled. Such broadly appealing (or irritating) leaders provide fertile ground for projection and introjection to take root. Ask yourself what sort of relationship you developed with Obama during the period leading up to his election. Consider what sort of relationship you have with other leaders. How did the rise of President Lula da Silva, a union leader with limited formal education engage your projected hopes and/or fears? What role did introjection have in celebrating the indomitable and noble qualities displayed by President Mandela? How does President Sarkozy’s noble Hungarian family roots or his marriage to Carla Bruni contribute to his wide appeal? (He might a target for projections of royalty with a common touch.) Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi affords another powerful example of how leaders may receive our projections and introjections. Does Berlusconi’s alleged ties to organized crime and his triumphs in several prosecutions tap our own desire to be outside the law? And then there is the fascinating example provided by Chancellor Angela Merkel, a scientist whose family enjoyed unusual freedom of travel between East and West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. How has her own personal capacity to unify opposites within herself captivated the German people who were struggling to unify East and West? When Chancellor Merkel resisted EU pressure during the sovereign debt crisis what feelings toward the German people were provoked in your psyche? In asking those questions I am inviting each of us to explore how leaders become lightning rods for our own psychological process. I was a youngster when President Kennedy was stuck down by an assassin’s bullet and watched in horror the reports of Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder. Within two months I endured the defeat of seeing Senator Robert Kennedy gunned down. President Obama was the first political figure to heal those wounds and I engaged more than I had ever engaged. I allowed myself to hope and in the course of those months I remembered the painful wounds I’d suffered at a tender age. Loss of several idealized objects produced a sort of exquisite corpse to which President Obama added the most recent touch. I have remained deeply afraid for President Obama but I have also been delivered from what had been a forty year political slumber. Not long ago my sister expressed her outrage at what she perceived as President Obama’s betrayal of campaign promises. He had cozied up to Wall Street’s powerful elites, I offered a more sober perspective. I suggest that President Obama’s presence in office alone might have more lasting and transformative effects than many (perhaps all) the policies he pursues. It will be difficult to look upon the Office of the President in the same way now that an African American has occupied that hallowed spot. Though I know very little about President Lincoln’s tenure in office, the impression of a self-educated man capable of writing beautiful and lyric words (the Gettysburg Address) is etched into my political character. I am dimly aware that President Obama helped illumine the inner landscape of my childhood losses. If projection and introjection were at play, the result was helpful. But there is an unconscious domain to my relationship with this man I call President. I am a Cuban-American born on US soil. I have lived on that hyphen with a measure of uncertainty about where I fit in to the fabric of American society. I suspect that President Obama receives my projections about the immigrant experience. Early in his candidacy, conversations about whether or not he was black enough combined with the vehement attacks upon him for attending Rev. Jeremiah Wrights church struck deep chords in me about what it means to succeed in White-Anglo culture and the price I’ve paid for blending in. But I have also marveled at the President’s capacity to reject the white majorities definition of him. His example empowers me to be less concerned with what others might think about a passionate, expressive, festive Cuban spirit that has always been an irrepressible part of me. Whatever negative aspects of projection and introjection that have been aroused by my relationship with President Obama remain unconscious. I suspect my desire to have a deliverer, a king in the mold of the ancient Israelites is one complex that has been aroused but there are likely many more. I am hopeful that projection and introjection may recede with time and that in its place will emerge a mature political self. That political self may be better equipped to take full advantage of the psychological impact that leaders exert while avoiding the dangers that anyone who attempts to escape from freedom. Take a moment to examine your own psychological relationship with Obama or any other political figure. We are interested in hearing from you about the psychological dance you’ve had with political leaders. Len Cruz, MD ___________________________________________________ Mas o povo recusou dar seguimento aos avisos de Samuel. Mesmo assim, sempre queremos um rei, responderam; queremos ser iguais às outras nações, à nossa volta. Será ele quem nos há-de governar e conduzir nas batalhas. 1 Samuel 8:19-20 Porque nesses dias Israel não tinha rei, de tal forma que cada qual fazia o que melhor parecia aos seus olhos. Juízes 17:6 Ciò nonostante il popolo rifiutò di dare ascolto alle parole di Samuele e disse: «No, avremo un re sopra di noi. Così saremo anche noi come tutte le nazioni: il nostro re ci governerà, uscirà alla nostra testa e combatterà le nostre battaglie. 1Samuele 8:19-20 In quel tempo non c’era re in Israele; ognuno faceva ciò che sembrava giusto ai suoi occhi. Giudici 17:6 Le peuple refusa d’écouter la voix de Samuel. Non! dirent-ils, mais il y aura un roi sur nous, et nous aussi nous serons comme toutes les nations; notre roi nous jurera il marchera à notre tête et conduira nos guerres. 1 Samuel 8:19-20 En ce temps-là, il n’y avait point de roi en Israël. Chacun faisait ce qui lui semblait bon. Juges 17:6 Aber das Volk weigerte sich, zu gehorchen der Stimme Samuels, und sprachen: Mitnichten, sondern es soll ein König über uns sein, daß wir auch seien wie alle Heiden, daß uns unser König richte und vor uns her ausziehe und unsere Kriege führe. 1 Samuel 8:19-20 Zu der Zeit war kein König in Israel, und ein jeglicher tat, was ihn recht deuchte. Richter 17:6