Posts Tagged ‘depth psychology’

Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair

Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair Len Cruz, MD, ME “The more I am spent, ill, a broken pitcher, by so much more am I an artist.”      – Vincent van Gogh On Saturday July 27, 2013 from 12:00-2:00 PM the Asheville Jung Center will be presenting a conference titled, Art and Psyche: A  Jungian Exploration  with Murray Stein, Linda Carter, and Lucienne Marguerat.  The conference originates from Zürich, New England, and Asheville.   Registration is still open. One subject that will be explored is the art of Adolf Wölfli In preparation for Saturday’s conference I read two books on art, and one coffee table book compiled from artwork done by persons suffering mental illness.   They are briefly reviewed below. Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts by Penny Lewis is an exceptional book.  Published by Chiron Publications, it is not strictly Jungian.  Ms. Lewis is a dance and drama therapist with Jungian training from the C G Jung Institute of New York.  Written in the 1993, its material remains timeless. Reading Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is like taking a short course in psychoanalytic theory, Analytical Psychology, and Gestalt and the application of these ideas with patients.  Ms. Lewis maintains that “the dance between conscious and unconscious is choreographed in the transitional space of the imaginal realm.” She relies heavily on Mahler, Winnicott, by personal field between patients and therapist.” Section 2 of the book looks at the use of the arts from a perspective of developmental psychology. She leans heavily upon Margaret Mahler, D. W. Winnicott, James Masterson, and Nathan Salant-Schwartz. The rich use of black and white plates combined with a very expansive index, make this book an invaluable resource. With patients who suffered trauma in early childhood, at a time that was preverbal or prior to the appearance of well-developed abstract thinking, the use of arts media can be a powerful tool for the healer.  Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is not a How To book, though the author provides ample illustrations of how she uses art in therapy. It is a clinical treatise, from someone well-versed in several psychotherapy approaches, in which the writer just happens to use the expressive arts media in addition to words. The Creative Soul : Art and the Quest for Wholeness by Lawrence Staples , published by Fisher King Press, is a tightly composed, personal reflection by a seasoned sage and Zürich trained Jungian analyst.  It is precise, yet comprehensive in its treatment of the creative process.  According to Staples, “Psychic tension is at its highest just at the moment preceding creation, just as we experience at the moment of orgasm.” (P.25)  The receptivity to the feminine is vitally important to the creative experience.  Through extremely concise clinical vignettes, poems, short stories, and other examples of artistic creations, Staples explores an impressive expanse of the territory of the creative process.  I have only one critique of this book; it was not long enough.  About one third of the way through the book, Staples introduces a case of a man named Bert, whose story weaves through the remaining pages in an effective, cohesive way.  In just over two pages titled Creativity As An Inner Parent, Staples uses Bert to explain how a good parent can be fashioned through creative expression for individuals whose actual parenting was deficient.  In a section titled Therapy As Art, Staples acknowledges that “Therapists often envy the creative gifts of the people with whom they work.”  He goes on to point out that the work of therapy is itself a creative expression; it is art. Sunshine From Darkness: The Other Side of Outsider Art by Nancy Glidden Smith is simply put a coffee table book.  However, the artists featured in this beautiful volume all suffer mental illness.  The introduction to the book is written by Kay Redfield Jamison, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.  Her pioneering research along, with her testimonial about her own struggles with mental illness, have brought attention to the issue of stigmatization of the mentally ill.  She opens the book with the van Gough  helpful in reducing stigmas.  The featured artists are all Americans.  It appears the book is currently out of print but copies are available on Amazon. by Len Cruz, MD, ME

Continue Reading 3 Comments

Individuation of God

The Individuation of God: Book Review By Leonard Cruz

The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion Peter B Todd

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 Chardin

Click Here for Peter Todd’s interview with Dr. Rachael Kohn

Quantum 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[6] 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.[7]In Quantum entanglement, part of the transfer happens instantaneously. [8] 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,[1] 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

Continue Reading 14 Comments

Ecopsychology: Revisioning Ourselves and the World

Ecopsychology

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. ([1921] 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.
[xxii] Ricoeur, Paul.  Lectures on Ideology and Utopia.  Ed. George H. Taylor. New York: Columbia UP, 1986. Additional Recommended Readings: Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine, 1972. Buber, Martin, and Ronald Gregor. Smith. I and Thou. New York, NY: Scribner, 2000. Capra, Fritjof. The Hidden Connections. London: Flamingo, 2003. Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life: a New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York: Anchor, 1996. Chivian, Eric, and Aaron Bernstein. Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Matthiessen, Peter. Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. McKibben, Bill. Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. New York: Times, 2003. Singer, Thomas. Psyche & the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis. New Orleans: Spring Journal, 2010. Suzuki, David, and Amanada McConnell. The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature. Vancouver, BC: Greystone, 2007. Walljasper, Jay. All That We Share: How to save the Economy, the Environment, the Internet, Democracy, Our Communities, and Everything Else That Belongs to All of Us. New York: New, 2010. Wilson, Edward O. Consilience: the Unity of Knowledge. New York: Knopf, 1998.

Continue Reading 23 Comments

The Alchemy of the Black Swan: Nina’s Magnum Opus

Len’s posting last week about the film the Black Swan addresses not only an aspect of the protagonist’s nature, the pursuit of perfection, but it also reflect’s our society’s addiction to perfection. We not only want perfection, we want a shortcut to get there. Over the last few months postings on this blog regarding the Black Swan reveal many different aspects of the film that have touched many people.  Here are a few of the comments: Cynthia commented “Throughout the whole movie we are never sure what is “real”, there is a constant weaving of images from Nina’s internal and external worlds. Nina was under the spell of her mother’s unlived life and needed to breakaway and begin her own life process.”   Constance Myslek-McFadden commented: “To me, the movie was one of the most brilliant, beautiful, psychologically and emotionally accurate and evocative movies I’ve ever seen. I loved it!”   David Pressault commented: I found that the years of training in an aesthetic that is so far removed from the natural tendencies of the body often results in one loosing some basic connection to certain instincts. In a sense, the connection to our body as the animal part of us, so often is lost in ballet training. We will be discussing the Black Swan from many perspectives on Friday. I welcome your thoughts and ideas about what you would like to discuss as there is so much archetypal material from which to draw.  I will be incorporating more of the fascinating and intelligent comments posted on our two blog postings on this film.  The commenters provided varied backgrounds in therapy as well as dance and brought a  richness to the discussion that was brilliant and provocative.  I look forward to that same liveliness and level of participation at Friday’s seminar. If nothing else the Black Swan got us to discuss how a film like this can move us.  The reactions of many to this film were often extreme. Some really loved it and some were repulsed by it, but I did not hear anyone say it was boring or average. We are also fortunate to have a second presenter, Michael DeMeritt, join us.  Michael has been a producer, writer & director on numerous film and television projects over the last 20 years. He is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and has served as assistant director on such well known series as LA Law, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. He has won numerous awards including an Emmy recognition certificate for special effects and currently resides in Los Angeles.  Michael will be adding another dimension to the film analysis, namely an inside perspective on film making. Why has there been so much written about this film?  Why does it provoke such polar and polarizing reactions?  Why do some of us love this film and why do so many of us hate it?  Let’s find out.  Let’s dive into the archetypal themes of the dark feminine, twinship, the shadow and anima/animus. Let’s look into the film from an alchemical perspective to understand the nature of transformation and finally let’s compare this film to Jung’s real life confrontation with the unconscious as described in the Red Book. I look forward to Friday and I hope you can join us. – Dan Ross (Seminar Presenter) [Click here for Registration Page on Upcoming Seminar]

Continue Reading 10 Comments

Fall Conference in New Mexico: “Civilization in Transition”

“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**

Continue Reading No Comments

Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung

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
Enhanced by Zemanta

Continue Reading 3 Comments

Eating “The Book of Symbols”

The Asheville Jung Center would like to thank Thomas Singer, M.D. for allowing us to republish his captivating review of The Book of Symbols in our blog.
(Thomas Singer, M.D. is a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst with particular interests in contemporary political and social movements. He has written and/or edited several books including the newly published Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis (editor) which has been published by Spring Book Publications, The Cultural Complex (co-edited with Sam Kimbles), The Vision Thing, Who’s the Patient Here? (with Stu Copans, M.D.) and A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Fever: The Official Medical Reference (with Stu Copans, M.D.).
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”: 2010-12-13-snaketimeline.jpg 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. 2010-12-13-image1copy.jpg “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. 2010-12-13-image2copy.jpg “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 2010-12-13-image3copy.jpg “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 2010-12-13-image4copy.jpg “Stop the flow of your words, open the window of your heart and let the spirit speak.” Rumi 5. Spirit World: Rock Painting by San Bushmen, South Africa 2010-12-13-image5copy.jpg “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.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Continue Reading No Comments

The Original Graphic Novel: The Sungod’s Journey Through the Netherworld

Don’t miss the chance to register for the Asheville Jung Center’s conference, “Symbols of Individuation in Religion and Mythology: The Case of Egypt.” The presenter, Andreas Schweizer, astounded the attendees at the last conference with his sweeping, concise survey of world civilization.  I fully expect him to expand our understanding of the rich material of the Ancient Egyptian story depicted in the Amduat. Schweizer authored a book, “The Sungod’s Journey Through the Netherworld: Reading the Ancient Egyptian Amduat”. It is an expansive book that escorts the reader through the twelve hours of darkness depicting Re’s descent into the netherworld and his return.  Deeply woven into our biology and psychology is the drama of the nightly descent of the sun.  Our own solar consciousness departs each night.  This most ordinary matter of the sun setting and rising again is the backdrop of a drama the Egyptians told as the original graphic novel.  The reader begins the journey with Re’s descent into the netherworld where he is greeted by terrifying gods.  It culminates in his joyous ascent and re–emergence into the upper world.   If a picture is worth a thousand words, the reverse could be said of Schweizer’s book.  Here his words enfold thousands of pictures. Scholarly writing can be stultifying. The effort to be authoritative can limit the reader but that is not the case with “The Sungod’s Journey”.  The ancients used images to tell a story.  Twenty five hundred years later, Schweizer uses words to enrich that story. The resonance between the sun’s diurnal movements and our own waxing and waning interior process also proves compelling.  For those who attended the first lecture in the series of Symbols of Individuation the idea of dry riverbeds in our collective unconscious assumes new meaning as you explore the Amduat. So basic is the Sungod’s journey that we call ourselves diurnal creatures.  A guide like Andreas Schweizer is hard to find. Initially I wondered if more color plates would have made it easier for me immerse myself in the images of the Amduat. But half way through the book I searched Google with the terms “Amduat images” and there were ample color photos, plenty enough to satisfy my appetite. (http://www.google.com/images?q=amduat%20images&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi) One selection from “The Sungod’s Journey”  deserves special acknowledgment.  There is a point in the Sungod’s journey (at the start of the fourth hour) when he is lost.  The jubilation has ceased and in the utter darkness he must rely on other deities to guide him.  Schweizer likens this to the dark night of the soul.  Even in this dark and deadened state we are reminded that the netherworld provides.  I was reminded of a quote from Camus, In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer. (Individuation is likely to have some wintery moments.) This a point in the Amduat in which Re must be towed, he is no longer under his own power.  In a man, Schweizer compares this to the anima, that pulls a man along both in it’s negative dimension of moodiness, whininess, and sentimentality and it’s positive dimension in which empathy and healthy Eros is stirred. The last chapter is the most helpful.  Schweizer presents a model of Five Stages of Renewal.  Here are the descriptions of the five stages: First Stage (Vision of Paradise) Second Stage: The Healing Quality of the Dark Third Stage: The Reconciliation of the Opposites Fourth Stage: The Realization of the New Fifth Stage: Sadness and Joy at the REbirth of the Sundgod I anticipate Friday’s conference (November 4, 2010) will be fertile like Nile River Basin after the floods.  If you search antiquity for signs to direct you in the archetypal realms, the Amduat should be considered a primary source and Andreas Schweizer is an expert guide! Len
Enhanced by Zemanta

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Projections & Introjections in Global Politics: Obama, da Silva, Merkel, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Mandela

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” 1 Samuel 8:19-20 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6

(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
Enhanced by Zemanta

Continue Reading 5 Comments

What’s in Your “Red Book”?

Carl Jung’s Red Book provides a window into his interior life and since its publication there has been intense interest and study of the it’s contents.  We live in an extraordinary time in which information is so accessible that if you are near a wi-fi network and have any one of dozens of devices in hand, you can secure an answer to a question almost instantly.  I am typing this on an iPad.  I was tempted to pause and look up some shocking comparisons between the typical number of pages read by a modern person compared to someone from Jung’s era.  But that would lead me astray.  It seems we are flooded with more information but take less time to contemplate or reflect on that information.   Like humus that enriches the soil, data and information must be allowed to compost, to decompose, to dissolve in order to be reconstituted as psychological substance. Is there an inverse function between the quantity of information we encounter and the depth to which it penetrates us?  The Red Book was one man’s effort to plumb his own depths.  Jung must have had substantial faith to devote himself for so long and with such committed self-examination.  The Red Book is a testament to Jung’s willingness to descend into his inner universe with faith that there would be riches waiting to be discovered. I doubt that I am the only therapist who spends his/her days honoring client’s processes while neglecting his own.  I feel disheartened when clients disregard or neglect their rich interior life.  Yet, I have no right to cast the first stone; too often, I do not practice what I preach. This is an invitation.  If you feel so moved, share an excerpt from your personal Red Book. Many of us have been enriched by Jung’s Red Book.  Words, drawings, photos, verse, or whatever speaks to (and from) your depths would be welcome.  Many more may be enriched by some examples of the sort of entries being made in a current Red Book. Maybe those excerpts from your personal Red Book will inspire others to give their interior explorations their proper due.

Continue Reading 22 Comments

Register your E-mail for
New Jungian Seminars and Exclusive Offers

Email: