- There are motifs that seem to recur in some people’s lives whose particular manifestations evolve depending in the phase of the person’s life.
- Consciousness arises as a complex, emergent phenomenon out of the prima materia of an organ weighing about 3 lbs, the physical body that sustains it, and the soical/interpersonal milieu in which these dynamical systems are nurtured.
- When we sleep, self-organizing phenomenon emerge using the stuff of our daily lives. The intricacy of such phenomena seem to demonstrate exquisite sensitivity to the set of initial conditions (think about Chaos Theory).
- Therapy and analysis involves two complex systems interacting. The language of transference and countertransference could be overlaid upon certain ideas related to dynamical systems.
- The nodes of electronic communication that permit a conference like “Jung and Neuroscience” to weave together a half dozen presenters and hundreds of attendees from dozens of countries.
Posts Tagged ‘dreams’
Neuroscience, Complexity, Chaos, Fractal Geometry, Self-Organization, Emergence, and Jung are explored in the Asheville Jung Center conference “Jung and Neuroscience”. Seven years ago, I enrolled in a college math class at UNC Asheville. I had been unable to crack the code and learn Fractal Geometry on my own (click on this link for a fascinating page on Fractals). Twice each week for an entire semester I scheduled myself out of my office and trekked to the campus of my in order to immerse myself in the study of this quirky field of mathematics. A short list of some of the topics the course covered (and some images that illustrate the topic) provide a good segue to at least one of the presenters for the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Jung and Neuroscience”. Attractor (a set towards which a variable evolves in a dynamical system) Fractal Dimension (a measure of detail in a pattern [strictly speaking, a fractal pattern] that changes with the scale at which it is measured Self-similar sets (sets that look the same up close and from far away) Stable Attractors (points of equilibrium into which systems settle until disrupted) Strange Attractors (points in a system where the graphic display of equations bifurcate) Chaotic Attractors (in chaos theory an attractor that displays marked sensitivity to initial conditions) Julia Sets (consists of values such that an arbitrarily small perturbation can cause drastic changes in the sequence of iterated function values and thereby the graph) Self Organizing System (denotes a system of synergistically cooperative elements whose patterns of global behavior are distributed (i.e., no single element coordinates the activity) and self-limiting in nature) DNA self replicates and self assembles (electron microscope on the right) Birds Flocking Social self orgainizing in international drug routes Consider several broad phenomena we all engage in our work as therapists.
WILDERNESS OF CHILDHOOD: Adventure and Creativity I tore an essay by Michael Chabon out of the July 31, 2009 issue of The Week magazine nearly a year ago and retrieved it from a stack of magazines early this morning. The essay first appeared in the New York Review of Books<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/16/manhood-for-amateurs-the-wilderness-of-childhood/> under the title “Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood”. Chabon begins by describing the joy and wonder of explorations in the Wilderness of Childhood. For some of us it was a real wilderness of varying degrees of tameness. For me, it sometimes consisted of nothing more than riding my bicycle eight to ten miles to South Miami where my brother and I fished for gar along the banks of canals and hooked each other as often as the stolid fish. In the Wilderness of my youth, development hadn’t pushed large tracts of strawberries or sugar cane deeper into the Everglades. The Wilderness of a child is devoid of adults. Children’s writers understand this. There is a realm of childhood wherein adults have been expelled. Children’s writers like C.S. Lewis, Charles Schultz, and Paul Pullman understand. Apart from the watchful and too often stultifying view of adults a child encounters the Wilderness in which she engages the adventure of her life. Contemporary urban or suburban, American children may miss the joy of Wilderness. They are victims of our collective fears of abductions, preventable injuries, drug abuse, and more. Parents are more determined than ever to provide children every available opportunity to thrive, learn, and excel. Given such vigilant attention, there is little room left for Wilderness. The Wilderness of childhood hasn’t been civilized as much as it’s been strained of nearly all traces of danger and unpredictability. According to Chabon, our children have become “…cult objects to us, to precious to be risked. At the same time, they have become fetishes, the objects of an unhealthy and diseased fixation. And once something is fetishized, capitalism steps in and finds a way to sell it.” Chabon wonders about the impact of closing down the Wilderness upon children’s imagination. Perhaps the answer is glimpsed when we see children dining with their parents at the Rain Forest Cafe or visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Those of us who never let our children out of our site, who schedule our children’s activities, who strive to enrich them, may unwittingly be extinguishing the sparks of adventure that can later ignite into flames of creative inspiration. From Wilderness beginnings where dangers lurked in the shadows behind tree trunks and sticks became rifles come novels, films, inventions, and new business ventures. Jung’s Red Book created a stir among Jungians. His inner explorations and his artistry are a torrent of illumination. Below are two paragraphs from Frank McLynn’s book Carl Gustav Jung (St. Martin’s Press). “At around the age of four Jung developed a morbid fascination with death and corpses: he was fascinated by the dead body of a four-year-old boy found near the Rhine Falls and, clearly — Jungians would say — at the unconscious level, wished he was that boy. Accident proneness was much in evidence. Firstly he fell downstairs, then he fell against the leg of a stove, scarring himself so badly that the wound was still visible in his senior year at Gymnasium. It is a familiar idea that accident-prone children tend to have problems with their mother and ‘self-destruct’ because of rage against the nurturer who has failed them. The preoccupation with the corpses also fits the scenario of rage against the mother. “More serious than the falls was an accident on the Rhine bridge at Neuhausen when the child Carl Gustav had one leg under the railing and was about to slip through when the maid caught him. Jung himself attributed these untoward events to an unconscious suicidal urge or a kind of fatal resistance to life in this world. But while still alive and an international figure he explained his `corpse preoccupation’ as simply a means of trying to accommodate to the idea of death.” This is not a childhood without a measure of Wilderness. And here are two more paragraphs from the first chapter of McLynn’s book. “It was just before he went to school that he had one of the most significant dreams of his life; although Jung claimed this occurred when he was aged three or four, clinical evidence points to five or six as the more likely time. “In the dream Jung was in a meadow near Laufen castle and discovered an underground passageway. He descended and in a subterranean chamber found a kind of altar or king’s throne on which stood what he thought at first was a tree trunk, some twelve to fifteen feet high and about two feet thick. The object was made of skin and naked flesh, with a rounded head and a single eye on the very top of the head. Later he would recognize the object as a ritual phallus. He was awoken by his mother’s voice, as it were from outside, crying out, `That is the maneater!’” Jung is not accompanied by adults on his subterranean adventure, and, perhaps this prepared him for the solitary explorations he would undertake in later years. His mothers voice, an adult voice, retrieves him from the adventure. Let yourself recall the Wilderness realms of your own childhood, and if you can bring yourself to do so, release a child to have an encounter with their wilderness. We can scarcely predict where this leads. Chabon closes his essay this way: “Art is form of exploration, of sailing off into the unknown alone, heading for those unmarked places on the map. If children are not permitted–not taught–to be adventurers and explorers as children, what will become of the world of adventure, of stories, of literature itself?” Len Cruz