Posts Tagged ‘jung’

Janus in Zürich:

Dr. Steve Buser and I have been treated to an extraordinary five days in Zürich, Switzerland. The collage above was created from two photos captured while on a long bicycle ride around parts of Lake Zürich.  It is a piece of public sculpture we could easily have missed. I felt a sort of undulation through as the statue and I encountered each other that is difficult to describe. In this scene of participation mystique other characters began to appear. Recall that Jung explains this idea of participation mystique as follows:

Participation mystique “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.” (Jung 1921: para 781).

Janus, the Roman god representing beginnings, transitions, passageways, and endings was awakened by this sculpture.  Such two-faced images call forth the complementarity revealed throughout nature.  Whether we consider the night and the day, the unconscious and the unconscious, the feminine and masculine, we encounter repeated reminders that life frequently arrives as a pair of apparent opposites.  Quite often when it seems otherwise, when one polarity has overtaken the other, we ill eventually be required to acknowledge the hidden other.  Such requirements may be seen in the interior landscape in such phenomena as the inferior function that Jung, von Franz and others describe.  In the outer life, the symbol of the yin-yang reminds us that at any moment whatever has overtaken its opposite may reverse since within each extreme manifestation exists the seed of its opposite. Transformation is the theme of Chiron Publications’s most recent release Paths to Transformation by Zürich trained analyst Kate Burns. Our encounter with the public statue quietly tucked away between Seestrasse and the shoreline of Lake Zürich also called forth Michaelangelo’s unfinished sculpture.  As if the stone awaited the arrival of a human being guided by Techne, the goddess ruling over such artisans skills.  In those encounters between a stone, perhaps the very embodiment of lifelessness, through the skillful hands of the sculptor, emerges something that seems very alive.  The figure depicted in public statue struck me as ambivalent, unsure whether to fully emerge into the solar consciousness or perhaps better to retreat into the lunar realms.  It was indeed lucky that the encounter with this statue occurred in the afternoon when the sun was beginning its descent into the western sky so that the front of the statue was brightly illuminated whereas the back of the statue was in the shadows.   I wish to issue an invitation that may be better characterized as a challenge.  We are living in times of great crisis as we witness the heating of the planet from the exaggerated, almost urgent use of fossil fuels.  One of the most fundamental resources we share, water, is being despoiled, harnessed for hydroelectric power, and simply squandered.  One of the tragic consequences of these crises is the biodiversity of our planet is rapidly declining such that a gestalt favoring monoculture over biodiversity asserts itself in our individual and collective psyches.  For instance, our expectations have shaped to desire a uniform appearing tomato at our grocer’s shelves.  But do we pause to consider that the desire for a uniform appearing tomato is a manufactured expectation whose downstream effect is profoundly unstable.   Any gardner knows that a tomato plant produces different sizes and shapes of tomato. Of course, a tomato’s genome can be manipulated to improve its yield of uniformly shaped tomatoes.  But we may ask ourselves what has actually been improved and at what cost?  As a variety of tomato that yields uniform appearing fruit succeeds in the market (note the intentional double entendre), we are apt to find more growers shifting to this variety.  This shift will happen at the expense of a varied, diverse cultivation of tomatoes that produce different sizes, shapes and colors.  One might imagine an individual act of rebellion playing out in day-to-day decisions when we arrive at the grocer’s stand.  Imagine thoughtfully and mindfully choosing the irregular, misshapen fruit.  I have often wondered why the god Hephaestus, creator of so many beautiful things must himself be deformed or misshapen.  For me it serves as a reminder that perhaps choosing the ugly tomato or the oddly shaped zucchini is a first step in participating in the creation of something quite beautiful, a biodiverse ecosystem.   The Challenge  Consider any of the big themes or cries of our time like energy, water resources, the loss of biodiversity.  Listen and seek out the deep symbols that lie beneath the surface.  Beware of seizing hold of the first symbol you identify since it may be a deeper symbol awaits the persistent inquirer.  Two valuable resources that can serve as references are Jungian Symbolic Psychology (Byington), Chiron Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology,  and The Herder Dictionary of Symbols. Once you find the symbol(s) see how you might communicate that deep symbol to others.  Finally suppose you succeed in communicating something about the symbol you have excavated.   The challenge becomes how to let this work inform your day-to-day decisions.  Here I mean to encourage choosing the ugly tomato, the walk to the store that leaves the automobile behind, the decision to reclaim rainwater, reduce waste, reuse materials, and the countless other small decisions we make every day.  When our psychological work is then made flesh and dwells among us through the small and large choices we make concerning how we live not only may we find ourselves in a drama of participation mystique with the objects of our world, but we will have brought the fire of inspiration imparted to us by the gods into the manifest world.  Like the statue that Steve and I encountered that seemed to maintain an encampment in the hidden unconscious realm simultaneously with the evident, conscious realm, when we accept the challenge we may find it difficult to distinguish inner and outer, manifest and latent, implicate and explicate order.   ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I wish to acknowledge that the source of most of the ideas contained in this blog is Frau Brigitte Egger, who has done very original work in psychecology.  Notice the ordering of the root words psyche and ecology.  Brigitte confirmed for me that this is an intentional ordering of the words that connotes that it is first the work of inner transformation that equips us to go into the world as agents of change.  I urge anyone interested in these subjects to visit her website at www.psychecology.ch .  Frau Egger has agreed to present a webinar for the Asheville Jung Center on Water in early 2015.

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COALESCING OF AN ENANTIODROMIA

Collective Values In the Cadillac-Ford Ad War

Len Cruz

  Recent advertisements by Cadillac and Ford caught my attention partly because when advertisers begin waging ad wars like these, there are reasons to conclude that tow distinct polarities have coalesced in our collective unconscious.[i]  Apple exploiting dystopian view alluding to Orwell’s work reminded me of the iconic 1984 advertisement.  The collective roots of that phenomenally successful commercial suggest that there has been a coalescence of collective worldview.  The iconic Apple advertisement only aired twice involved the tension between conformity and Apple’s effort to save humanity from such a droll, lifeless existence that would enslave us to Microsoft, IBM and the PC the evidence suggests that there’s been a collective coalescence.[ii]   The tension highlighted in the Cadillac and Ford advertisements points to a newly appearing enantiodromia  in our collective experience of why we work.  What has coalesced in these vignettes are two very different collections of values that are in tension.  Here are a few examples of things that may contribute to the formation of such a dichotomy.
  • Conflicting reports about the catastrophic effect of global warming and reports that global warming is a myth.
  • Environmentalist groups sounding the alarm about Colony Collapse Disorder[iii] and while others seek to debunk such claims as junk science.[iv]
  • Environmental despair[v] [vi] is a real phenomenon.
  • In a chapter titled “Extreme Economics “ in Rebecca D. Costa’s The Watchmen’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse[vii]  some of the underpinnings of the vignette portrayed by the actor in the Cadillac commercial are examined.
  • Both advertisements use drastically different approaches to highlight differences.  Below are a few examples that jumped out at me.
    • Cadillac
      • Acoustic guitar plays in the background.
      • Lighting and opening scene is colorful and bright.
      • Protagonist is a white, confident, almost Aryan appearing male.
      • Actor is dismissive about countries that place value on leisure.
      • Listen to the overt claims of American Exceptionalism.
      • The Moral: you work hard, create your own luck, believe anything is possible (anything refers to what the individual can achieve for himself).
      • The commercial ends with the actor wearing a very crisp grey suit getting into a grey electric Cadillac, the symbol of this worldview.  Does the grey suggest we should be comfortable with the grey scale blurring of issues wherein the Art of Selfishness can be mitigated by an electric luxury vehicle?
  • Ford
    • Music has a slightly mechanical, industrial sound.
    • Opening scene is brown, black and white. (Stark.)
    • The protagonist is a tall, African-American, upbeat woman with a big afro that evoked some mixture of Angela Davis and Erykah Badu.
    • Real Activist[viii] points toward countries who stroll to their maket to buy locally grown food.
    • Listen to the openness to learning from other countries who value sustainable practices; there is a distinct absence of American Exceptionalism.
    • The Motto: work hard, anything is possible, you try to make the world a better place, you try!
    • The commercial ends with a white vehicle with the protagonist now dressed more colorfully but not in a way that distinguishes her from the masses.  Does the choice of a white vehicle seek to make the issue that clean and simple?
  Charles Caleb Colton wrote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  Ford flattered the creators of the Cadillac commercial by copying it so carefully.  But before we are ensnared by the cleverness and the appeal of Ford’s message we should consider that both advertisements exploit a coalescing set of values that have been newly minted in our collective unconscious.   BEWARE if you watch both advertisements and find yourself aligning more with the Cadillac or the Ford advertisement.  From a Jungian perspective, the it is useful to remember what is meant by enantiodromia.  

Enantiodromia: the tendency of one pole of an experience to change into its opposite (term coined by Greek philosopher Heraclitus). See compensation. For Jung, all life and energy are a play of opposites. To avoid falling into enantiodromia one must value both opposites (see transcendent function).[ix]

Keep in mind that both advertisements share the same objective, to entice the viewer to buy their vehicle.  Both advertisements are tapping a collective realm, a Weltanschuuang where the implications may be almost beyond our capacity to fathom.  The advertisements succeed because they capture some essential features of a coalescing enatiodromia.  The Cadillac commercial epitomizes the values that have been glorified lately by politicians and pundits claiming to be believers in Ayn Rand’s philosophy.  In contrast, the Ford commercial epitomizes a perspective implied in popular books like 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth.[x]   Here are two questions I want to pose to readers in hopes of fostering discussion.
    1. Are there actually two coalescing Weltanschuuang revealed in these two commercials?
    2. If there is an enantiodromia being exploited in these advertisements, how might the transcendent function guide us in cultivating a conjunction oppositorum. 
  If you’ve read this blog then at the very least, watch the two advertisements. Visit http://www.businessinsider.sg/ford-destroys-cadillacs-rich-guy-ad-2014-3/#.UzV4_K69LCS


[i] Taube, Aaron. “Advertising.” Business Insider. N.p., 29 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.sg/ford-destroys-cadillacs-rich-guy-ad-2014-3/#.UzgUthYTHzL>.
[ii] “1984 (advertisement).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_%28advertisement%29>.
[iii] “Vanishing Bees.” Colony Collapse Disorder. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/animals/bees.asp>.
[iv] “Colony Collapse Disorder: Cause – All Natural!” JunkSciencecom. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://junkscience.com/2012/01/10/colony-collapse-disorder-cause-all-natural/>.
[v] Worthy, Kenneth. “The Green Mind.” Despair, Courage, & Hope in an Age of Environmental Turmoil. N.p., 9 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-green-mind/201311/despair-courage-hope-in-age-environmental-turmoil>.
[vi] Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes, Allen D. Kanner, Lester R. Brown, and James Hillman. “Working Through Environmental Despair.” Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1995. 240-62. Print.
[vii] Costa, Rebecca D., and Edward O. Wilson. The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse. New York, NY: Vanguard, 2010. 137-68. Print.
[viii] Pasho Murray is the founder of Detroit Dirt that seeks to convert waste into compost that is sold to people building urban gardens.  See http://craftedincarhartt.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/detroit-dirt/
[ix] Chalquist, Craig, “A Glossary of Jungian Terms”. Web 3.30.2104 <”http://www.terrapsych.com/jungdefs.html>.
[x] John, Javna, Javna Sophie, and Javna Jesse. 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. Berkeley, CA: Earthworks, 1989. Print.

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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

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WTC

9/11 and Building Bridges

It’s been 11 years since 9-11 and in that period of time it seems there has been little progress made toward bridging the enormous divides that existed and possibly contributed to the iconic images the world recorded on that fateful Tuesday.  If some of those responsible for flying airplanes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center imagined they were redressing a wrong committed when infidels occupied holy lands to Muslims in the first Gulf War, their dramatic action led to an even larger presence of Westerners throughout the Middle East.   Westerners watched the carnage of 9-11 and the United States briefly received the heartfelt empathy from people around the world but within months our military might was acting with a sort of collective bravado that made President Bush’s  premature declaration of victory not only wrong but absurd. Coming September 20, 2012 “Bridging West and East: C. G. Jung and richard Wilhelm, a Fateful Relationship” Within 7 years of 9-11 the world witnessed the United States of America elect its first Black President, surely a sign of hope that differences were being overcome.  However, bridging the divide between Islam and the West, between the poor and the rich, or even between blacks and whites in America has proven difficult.  Eleven years after the world witnessed nearly 3000 people consumed in a blaze fueled by hatred as much as unspent jet fuel, the lessons that might have been learned go unrecognized. Jung and analytical psychology have had answers to some of these most vexing problems.  That the psyche may dichotomize the world of its impressions, that enantiodromia is as fundamental a feature of psychological function as the wave/particle duality is a fundamental feature of an electron, and that there are paths that allow a person to transcend such dichotomies are well established after nearly a century of Analytical Psychology.  In fact, those avenues explored by Jung to contend with the divides of our psychological life have much earlier roots.  When Richard Wilhelm set out as a Christian Missionary to China he left behind the conventional practice of Western Missionaries that begins and ends in the goal of conversion.  Instead, he entered his mission field with deep respect and reverence for a culture and its people with thousands of  years of collective history.  While he served he also listened and opened himself to the wisdom that was before him.  Because of that attitude, he was able to notice the jewel of the The Secret of the Golden Flower when he came upon it.  He applied himself to translating it into German and thereby broadened that avenue by which Westerners might seek to reconcile apparent opposites.   Eleven years has been accompanied by dramatic changes.  Here are some examples of things the world witnessed since the collapse of two towering and iconic images of Western capitalism.
  • Countless lives lost through war, terror, starvation, treatable diseases, senseless gun violence, and downstream health effects of environmental degradation.
  • Countless efforts by poor, disenfranchised people around the world to secure basic human rights including the Arab spring, Chinese dissidents, striking South African mine workers, self-immolation by Tibetan Buddhist monks, an indigenous leader delivers a petition with 600,000 signatures to the Brazilian government demanding that construction of a $10 billion dam be halted (Ireo Kayapo), Occupy WalL Street protesters seeking to diminish economic inequalities, women seeking inclusion and seeking basic safety and protection, and much more.
  • Repeated instances of threatened economic uncertainty related to a hyperfocus upon principles that are becoming enshrined despite conflicting evidence.  When taken to extremes, these ideas contribute to uncertainty and dramatic reversals.  They include: the invisible hand made famous by Adam Smith’s infrequent invocation, free trade, globalization, deregulation, high frequency trading (H.F.T.), procurement of natural resources (like rare earth elements), ECB and debtor nations like Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal),  and more.
  •  Developing shifts in power from West to East, from North to south, from mature industrialized to emerging , industrializing nations.
  • Countless threats of tipping points being reached in terms of environmental degradation like: the accumulation of toxins in the Pacific garbage patch, global warming accelerating the melting of Arctic ice, Colony Collapse Disorder that is threatening bee populations, food and water supply shortages, debris from the Japanese tsunami washing ashore in the US introducing potentially invasive species, and loss of biodiversity.
  • Introduction of potentially disruptive technology like: introduction of genetically modified foods, genomic research (including gene therapy), adoption of WiFi, adoption of Bluetooth standards, the public offering of Google (2004), Facebook is launched (2004), adoption of LED lighting, the opening of GPS (approx. 2004), Twitter is launched (2006)the first release of the iPhone (2007), introduction of the Kindle e-ink reader (2007), the release of the first iPad (2010), wider use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), expansion of deep water oil drilling,
Bridges to connect the vast differences between Islam and the West or the East and the West.  There is a tinderbox full of volatile issues that can easily be ignited.  On September 20, 2012 The Asheville Jung Center, in conjunction with ISAPZurich,  will be presenting “Bridging West and East: C. G. Jung and Richard Wilhelm, a Fateful Relationship”.    Dr. Murray Stein, along with Bettina Wilhelm (Richard Wilhelm’s granddaughter, and Shiuya Sara Liuh , a Training Candidate at ISAPZurich, will present the conference.   Richard Wilhelm translated the I Ching and The Secret of the Golden Flower , two books that had profound effect upon C. G. Jung.   The polarization between nation states, between cultures, and even between factions with different cultures has become more exaggerated since the collapse of the Twin Towers 11 years ago.  Richard Wilhelm devoted himself to bridging the chasm between the cultures of the East and West.  Perhaps one way we can honor  the 11th anniversary of 9-11 is to rededicate ourselves to building bridges that transcend the polarizations that continue to reassert themselves.  Let us allow the streams from many different  traditions to merge into a mighty river whose force can wash away any residue of fear and animosity arising from the illusions about our human condition.  Many readers of the AJC are People of the Book.  The following words are offered as a sort of meditation, you are invited to approach it as a sort of lectio divina. “You must be free from the pairs of opposites.  Poise your mind in tranquility.” (Bhagavad Gita) “And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way, so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind,” (Qur’an al-Baqarah2:143) “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper as the lower, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male is not male and the female not female, and when you make eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then shall you enter [the kingdom]. The Gospel of Thomas (Nag Hammadi Coptic Text) ““Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end.” (C. G. Jung)   “When yang has reached its greatest strength, the dark power of yin is born within its depths. For night begins at midday when yang breaks up and begins to change to yin.” (Commentary by C. G. Jung in the Secret of the Golden Flower)   “Thus one can no longer maintain the division between the observer and the observed. (in quantum theory) Rather, observer and observed are merging and interpenetrating aspects of one whole reality… (Wholeness and the Implicate Order 1981, p.9 )   “There were two brothers, the Black Knight and the White Knight, and they set off on a quest, each on his own, one going north and the other one south.  After many years they met in a dark wood, and did not know each other. They immediately assumed that they were enemies until, when both were lying bleeding to death on the grass, they undid their helmets and recognized that they were brothers.” (Journey Inward, Journey Outward 1968, p.2)   Len Cruz

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Pic 1

SELF SIMILARITY, SELF ORGANIZATION, AND THE NEUROSCIENCE OF SELF

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.
  • 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.
  One of today’s presenters, Dr. David Kahn who is speaking at the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Sonoma, CA, holds a PhD from Yale and has looked at self-organizing systems.   There is an eerie beauty to the images and ideas mentioned above.  I find myself contemplating the ageless ideas proposed by Hermes Trismegistus, ideas like “As above, so below”.  That is for me the linguistic representation of self similarity.  What does it mean to propose that God made man in His own image?  What do we find so intriguing in movies like “Sliding Doors” or “Crash” in which we recognize the power of certain initial conditions.   “Jung and Neuroscience” is an exploration of the interface between the burgeoning field of neuroscience and the field of Jungian psychology.  It is too easy to approach these as though they are divergent paths but we are likely to be better served to make our approach like the particle physicists have done when contending with light’s dual, complementary nature as both a wave and a particle.   The mathematics that undergirds the fields of dynamical systems, fractal geometry, and chaotic theory emerged from the work of Henri Poincaré, a  late 19th century mathematician.  With the advent of modern computing capacity that permitted “iterative” functions to be calculated ( and plotted) after hundreds or thousands of cycles.  (an iterative function takes the output or solutions of a system of equations and uses them as the inputs for the next cycle of computation.)   The beauty and elegance of the images appearing above can be produced because of the insights Poincaré introduced and the ability to use today’s computational capacity to graphically display the results of thousands of iterative calculations.   Poincaré’s Recurrence Theorem is one of the many intriguing things he posited.  He stated that certain systems (nonlinear dynamical systems) will, after a sufficiently long time, return to a state very close to its initial conditions.  The notion that a system of equations can “forget” for very long times yet somehow return to its initial conditions, is a profoundly attractive idea.  This evokes reminiscences of a sphinx like journey of exodus and return.   Dr. Murray Stein quoted from CW 10 para 318 in his effort to characterize the lunar mind “It is not our ego-consciousness reflecting on itself, rather it turns its attention to the objective actuality of the dream as a communication or message from the unconscious, unitary soul of humanity.  It reflects not on the ego but on the self, it recollects that that self, alien to the ego which was ours from the beginning, the trunk from which the go grew.”  The lunar mind knows things that the solar mind does not know or does not yet know, or that have not been taken into consideration.  Our solar mind can be fast but in its speed it may miss certain vital dimensions.  The solar mind and the lunar mind conceived as strange attractors of the dynamical system that comprises our psyche.  Consider the idea of personal and collective unconscious as strange attractors of the dynamical system we know as unus mundus.     Dr. Margaret Wilkinson explores the rich metaphoric realm of the dream.  Dream analysis is a co-constructive process.  As implicit speaks to implicit in the analysis, dreams are a shared, emergent process.  Emergent phenomenon, the appearance of patterns that arise from relatively simple interactions, cannot be predicted from the simple rules of interactions.  Just as analysis, a process that at some level involves simple rules (appointments, rituals like engaging dreams, active imagination, etc) produces unpredictable results.   In part, the dream may function in part to assemble dissociated self states that are disconnected.  The voice of these self states can be discerned in the dream and its images.  Through metaphor, unconscious states of the mind are exposed to conscious.  Dr. Wilkinson’s comments about the dream images being organized around affective patterns, these patterns that are born of our personal experience provide the elements from which we assemble and organize our selves.   There is  no destination to these musings.  Instead, I hope this blog serves as an invitation to the reader to further exploration.  I intentionally posted this blog during the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Jung and Neuroscience”.  There was an aspect of this post that was experimental, testing if my hypothesis about how the small amount of information I have about Dr. Kahn might have presaged some of his contributions.  If these ideas do not emerge during the conference, so be it.   There is something about posting these reflections and the possibility that they might resonate with or evoke in another some useful effect that redeems anew the countless hours I offered to the project of learning fractal geometry.  The cycles of life, the iterations involved in remembering my fractal geometry class, the sharing of these thoughts as a blog resemble an iterative function.  First I enrolled and completed a class in fractal geometry as a way of answering a deep call within.  Anticipating the “Jung and Neuroscience” conference, I take the results of that class from seven years ago and plug it back in like entering results of an iterative equation back into the original equation again and again.  The posting of this blog like the plotting of solutions to an iterative function, is a display of the working and reworking of psychic material.  My sense about such processes and the emergent results is that given enough time, the process of my psychic unfolding might eventually prove consistent with Poincaré’s Recurrence Theorem so that I may find myself returning to something very close to my original state.   By Len Cruz, MD   “The psychic is a phenomenal world which can be reduced neither to the brain or metaphysics.”      Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 667

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Bias, Trayvon Martin, and Undercurrents in American Society

Bias, Trayvon Martin, and Undercurrents in American Society

Len Cruz, MD

“Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone but only his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.”  Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

 

The daughter of a friend of mine sent this photo from her mobile phone. It was a bumper sticker seen on an SUV in Raleigh, NC. My friend’s daughter, an African-American woman, is a graduate of a very prestigious North Carolina university and her younger sister is completing her sophomore year at Columbia University with plans to study abroad at the London School of Economics next year. Here is evidence of the deep undercurrents of of racial tension that persist in the United States of America.  These are undercurrents that can immediately redefine the conversation and put aside the many accomplishments of our sitting President and reduce the discourse to a racial slur.

A tinderbox seems on the verge of igniting with the shooting of an African-American teenager by a man engaged in some sort of neighborhood watch.  When the President said “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon” it stirred even more fervent discourse with some accusing him of a making a divisive remark.  But in other parts of the world, the remark was a moment of humanity http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-25/us/31236101_1_obama-first-president-obama-civil-rights .

A Florida law initially provided a cover for George Zimmerman, the man who pulled the trigger. The law that is referred to as “Stand Your Ground” is allegedly the basis upon which the Sanford Police did not arrest Zimmerman who claimed he shot in self-defense.

According to Mother Jones, the provision of the Florida law that “…allows Florida residents to use deadly force against a threat without attempting to back down from the situation. (More stringent self-defense laws state that gun owners have “a duty to retreat” before resorting to killing.)” (http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained)

Here is where things become murky. I recommend you take a few minutes and visit a site available on the WEB where you can complete the “Implicit Bias Test” (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/Study?tid=-1) The Project Implicit site offers the following definition of an implicit stereotype, “An implicit stereotype is a stereotype that is powerful enough to operate without conscious control.” This provides a useful framework for exploring Trayvon Martin’s tragic death.

It would be helpful if all interested stakeholders would suspend judgment about the events of February 26, 2012. Meanwhile, there are lessons we can contemplate about unacknowledged stereotypes and the perils of crafting a statutory defense based on perceived threat. Most of us are likely to discover we have implicit bias in various areas. Jung’s use of word association tests were pioneering and continue to provide insights into bias.

As the drama in Sanford, Florida, unfolds, there are resonances of unconscious bias and aspects of shadow that are both individually and collectively provoked. I have gone back to watch the DVD from the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Symbols and Individuation in Global Politics: The Case of Barack Obama” (null) The second DVD AJC #14 with Dr. Tom Singer provided a timely exploration of some of themes evoked by Trayvon Martin’s death and the reactions to it.

Dostoyevsky’s quote calls us all to the high call of pushing past our unacknowledged secrets that reside in the personal and collective unconscious and that populate the archetype of our shadow.

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Jung and Spielrein

A Woman Shall Lead Them: The Feminine in “A Dangerous Method”

And a Woman Shall Lead Them

The Feminine in A Dangerous Method

By Len Cruz, MD

A Dangerous Method is one of the best psychological film portrayals of the feminine I have seen in a very long time.  Knowing many of the historical elements that director David Cronenberg smoothly wove together in a 95 minute film helped me look past the two Titans of 20th century psychology and delight in the figure who was for me the main character, Sabina Spielrein. I am looking forward to the conference (webinar) led by Dan Ross that is scheduled for February 8th.  For registration information visit http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/february-discovering-psychotherapy-dangerous-method/register/   The arc that transports Sabina Spielrein from wounded virgin delivered forcibly to the Burghölzli by uniformed Russian guards to the pregnant Hectate (in all her chthonic, celestial, and maritime glory) sitting on a bench by the fragile Jung, fresh from his break with Freud, depicts so many facets of the feminine that a list may do them justice.   Ravaged Virgin   When Sabina arrives at the Burghölzli we discover that the harsh, brutal corporal punishment her father administered had awakened something.  The early studies on hysteria posited that sexual abuse and unacknowledged sexual desire was akin to Lethe, the subterranean river that flowed around the cave of Hypnos from which all who drank experienced complete forgetfulness.  Sabina’s character is extraordinary in her capacity to first remember, the first achievement of the talking cure and then press on to a healthy integration of the sexual pleasure she first experienced at her father’s hand.  Sabina starts out as a ravaged virgin and this image is re-presented in the scene of Jung’s first sexual intercourse with her.  But even as she lifts the bloodied sheet and the camera draws back we do not observe a young woman ravaged by her father figure.  Instead we are witness to a woman who has taken another step in claiming her full, individuated capacities.  It evoked a sense of baptism and Jung the man was an instrument of this baptism into womanhood.   Waif    Sabina is also portrayed as a vulnerable waif who cautiously places her trust in Jung.  Jung is looking for someone on whom to try his hand at this new talking cure.  Rather quickly, Sabina displays her perspicacity in a scene in which Jung is conducting his word association experiment with a pregnant woman whose ambivalence is evident.  When she asks if the woman was Jung’s wife (she is), we observe the native gifts and talents that will mature into an analyst whose influence has never been properly acclaimed. Divine Daughter/Vestal Virgin   Spielrein matures fairly quickly during the film.  She is well into her medical career and displaying uncanny abilities in the infant field of psychiatry.  Like the Vestal Virgins of Rome, she has respected a chastity that has allowed her to learn the rituals of the psychoanalytic state.  And like the Vestal Virgins, she keeps the sacred fires of eros burning in Jung.   There is scene in which Sabina initiates a kiss.  Sabina and Jung are discussing her ideas concerning creative destruction and the inherent clash of opposites from which arises something new and creative.  Jung admonishes her for being the aggressor.   Jung “It’s generally thought to be the man who should take the initiative.”   Sabina “Don’t you think there is something male in every woman and something female in every man, or should be?.”   What is so striking in this scene is the intimation of many foundational ideas of analytical psychology: transcendent function, conjuctio mysterium, anima, and animus.  The scene also suggest the possibility that one woman, shuttered away and later shot by the Nazis, might have been a fount for Jung and later Freud whose concepts of Thanatos may owe a tremendous debt to Sabina according to Cronenberg’s portrayal.   A Completing Woman   Sabina reaches the completion of her training, she presents a paper titled “Destruction as the Cause of Coming Into Being.”  Astoundingly original ideas were contained in this article made me wonder if another unnamed giant from Vienna may have been inspired by Sabina.  Joseph Schumpeter, the famous mathematical economist credited with popularizing the idea of creative destruction introduced ideas that sound like spin-offs of Spielrein’s ideas.  This concept of creative destruction still enjoys considerable cache as evidenced in its frequent appearance in the Republican Presidential Debates in America concerning Mitt Romney’s time at the venture capital firm, Bain Capital.  When others have accused him of shuttering American companies in which Bain Capital invested, he defends himself with Schumpeter’s (or should I now say Spielrein’s) ideas of creative destruction.  that has recently found its way into the United States’s political discourse concerning Mitt Romney’s venture capital dealings that shuttered certain companies.   Wrathful Feminine (The Furies, Hera, Athena, Kali)   There is a tense period in the film when it appears that Spielrein intends to cause Jung’s destruction.  It turns out that Jung has unleashed more than one fury when he discovers that the anonymous letters Freud received about his indiscretions with Spielrein were not authored by his mistress but by his wife Emma who apparently write to Spielrein’s mother and perhaps others in Vienna.  Spielrein does strike out and cut Jung’s face, but her temperance dignifies her even more and begins to establish the strength of this character in the film.  I cite the Erinyes (Furies), because Spielrein appears to threaten to unleash a severe vengence upon Jung and the whole psychoanalytic movement.  Recall that the infernal goddesses were chthonic deities whose vengence was unleashed upon those who swear a false oath.  How fitting that this figure of the feminine should menace the great pioneers of depth psychology.  I call upon Hera for the wrath she displayed whenever she discovers Zeus’ infidelities.  How like Hera Spielrein desires to be and Emma appears to be.  I invoke the image of Athena because of her fiery warrior eruption from the head of Zeus.  Spielrein, like Athena, comes to life within the container of Jung’s intellectual interests but must emerge fully formed by breaking out that same container.  Is there a woman who strives in the patriarchal realms who cannot identify with the goddess of just warfare?  Athena had no consorts and is also called Athena Parthenos.  Towards the end of the film, when pregnant Spielrein reappears with barely the mention of a husband, Athena Parthenos, somehow comes through as having had no consort.   This woman’s fertility has transcended the need for the man’s sperm.   Madonna   There is gentleness in Spielrein’s attentions to Jung.  At the various stages depicted in her own evolution, she demands almost nothing, apart from a similar degree of care and regard.  She tells Jung when he insists they end their sexual relationship because she asked too much, “I never asked for more…”  The movie’s portrayal of Spielrein’s demand that Jung disclose the truth to Freud so that she may undergo analysis with him, is at once forgiving, firm, and self-assured.  For a brief instant, Freud is depicted as redeeming Jung’s mistakes until he reminds Spielrein that they are both Jews and will always be Jews.  Spielrein understands the powerful and nuanced destructive forces being acted out between Jung and Freud better than either of them do.  Yet she seems capable of holding them both with the gentle forgiving qualities that the feminine sometimes exudes that can heal the deepest wounds in a man’s soul.  It is in these scenes that Spielrein’s dignity and force of character was most apparent to me.   The Miller’s Daughter (The Rumpelstilskin Story)   Something about the development of Spielrein’s character left a deep impression of what the individuated woman is like.   A Dangerous Method’s portrayal of is a woman who has secured, through hard fought struggle, a formula for making inner gold from the base metals of her life experience.  This film’s Sabina Spielrein is a stark contrast to the miller’s daughter from the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale.  That miller’s daughter had to reply on the impish Rumpelstiltskin to spin gold for her.  Rumpelstilskin we recall deliver’s the miller’s daughter from her plight on condition that he can take possession of the girl’s first born child.  In the final scenes of the movie, Jung shares a great deal in common with Rumpelstiltskin.  He is seen sitting on a bench, overtaken by deep melancholy when he declares that Spierlein’s baby should have been his; she agrees.  Like Rumpelstiltskin, Jung comes across as an incomplete, broken, maybe deformed man who covets the fecundity he sees before him.  But Speirlein, unlike the miller’s daughter, has a connection to her animus.  She has learned to spin gold without relying on a covetous or undeveloped man.  (See Robert Johnson’s Inner Gold for a concise rendering of alchemical gold).  When she confirms that Jung has moved on to another mistress, Toni Wolff, the viewer is left with the impression that Jung has progressed very little yet.  He has hardly remembered, he has repeated, and he has yet to work through his struggle with monogamy and sexual license.   Sophia   There is one more facet of the feminine that comes to full fruition in the final scenes at Lake Zürich. Emma and Sabina seem to understand one another now and they both have a wisdom about Jung.  It seems that in the course of a man’s development, in those early years when he severs the connection to his interior feminine, he also loses the connection he might have had to Sophia.  If such a man is fortunate to encounter a woman possessed of sufficient Sophia and she elects to share herself with him, the ability to rekindle the relationship with his anima is likely to quickened.  Jung may have had the blessing of at least three women who imparted to him Sophia.  In the case of Emma, she also gave him his beloved home at 228 Seestrasse in Künsnacht.   Perhaps, Spielrein, in addition to Sophia, gave Jung a container in which he burst onto the scene of psychoanalysis and also delivered him beyond it to the place he was destined to go.  And Toni Wolff, apart from Sophia, may have furnished a vessel for his completion.   A Woman Shall Lead Them; The rest is silence.

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In Memoriam: James Hillman

James Hillman died on Wednesday, October 27, 2011.  He was more than an interpreter of C. G. Jung’s work, he was a pioneer and explorer who extended Jung’s work in highly original, approachable ways.  His contributions were so extensive they could have filled the vessel of several lives.  He was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and Trinity College in Dublin.  Following graduation from the C.G. Jung Institute, he served as Director of Studies for a decade and then became editor of Spring Publication.  But the acorn within James Hillman would burst forth and the oak took root in a larger, plebeian realm.  He became a bestselling author. Hillman was such a gifted writer that he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Re-visioning Psychology (1975).  The Soul’s Code (1997) established a firm foundation for archetypal psychology within the human potential movement.  If modern psychology overemphasized a scientific, rational, egoistic approach, then Hillman can be credited with revitalizing the psyche or soul.  Myth, metaphor, and poetry figured prominently in Hillman’s works and therapy becames artistic creation.  For Hillman the dream was revelation, “…dreams tell us where we are, not what to do.” Hillman’s influence will reverberate for a very long time.  He invited us to grow down while we endeavor to grow up. It was given to James Hillman to bring us back to the ancient notion of the daimon. Across the world there are people who were touched by James Hillman who will mourn his death.  His courageous, sustained willingness to pursue his daimons provides us a precious example.  He struck out anew many times.   It seems fitting to offer a few lines from Tennyson’s Ulysses as an homage. Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. When people like Steve Jobs, Princess Diana, or Mother Teresa pass, there is an enormous outpouring of emotion.  James Hillman’s passing will evoke an outpouring of emotion and perhaps it will also provoke an enormous inpouring too.  One way we might pay our respects to James Hillman is to redouble our efforts to grow down as we honor the unique journey of awakening and individuation that belongs to each of us to reveal.  May his family and loved ones, his students, and his friends find comfort and inspiration in this time of loss. Len Cruz, MD, ME The New York Times article on James Hillman.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/health/james-hillman-therapist-in-mens-movement-dies-at-85.html?scp=1&sq=James%20Hillman&st=cse

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“Stone” – A Film Analysis

The movie “Stone” directed by John Curran, dropped like one from the theater marquees before you anyone knew it and so when I ask anyone of they have seen the film, the answer is “Oh yea! What happened to that one? I saw the trailer and that was it.”  So “Stone” will be remembered for its trailer which is misleading anyway.   In fact, “Stone” sneaks up on you and catches you off guard.  If you expect something plot driven with action and a high speed chase forget it. Instead, it is a film about transformation of character based on archetypal elements. Edward Norton plays a convict, as he has done before, but this time he portrays a man seemingly struggling with his dual nature, the sacred and profane, or is he?.  He is intent on manipulating Jack into freeing him on parole or contributing to his release. But in the process of struggling to understand his nature, the part of him that could allow his grandparents to be brutally murdered and then burn down their home, begins struggling to reach consciousness and Stone discovers an obscure religious teaching that teaches him about moving through stages in life.  Stone’s wife is played by Milla Jovovich.  Jack Mabry is played by Robert DiNero and Stone is played by Edward Norton.  Jack Mabry is a man tightly wrapped in a life hanging from a thread. Stone begins to work on Jack by asking him questions about whether he has the right to judge anyone, has he never done anything wrong? His life is being honed by Stone and by these questions that begin working on Jack and begin to wear him down.  He is wearing his ego down, weakening his fixed stance against the world.  Jack does not know his particular view of the world has died and is decaying and makes him vulnerable to someone like Stone who provides him a different pedagogy to his Episcopalian upbringing.  Stone knows Jack’s life is meaningless.  Stone’s accomplice is is his wife.  Stone and Lucetta (which means light) remind us of Elijah and Salome for Jung.  Lucetta seduces Jack sexually and Stone seduces him intellectually by making him doubt his life.  Jack was long overdue for such a change in life.  There is much in his life he needs to come to terms with including his marriage to his wife, played by Francis Conroy, the mother in the HBO series written by Alan Ball called Six Feet Under.  This is a Faustian tale and Jack, just like Faust, thought he had everything figured out.  But also like Faust Jack Mabry is dead from the neck down.  There is no passion in him and early in his marriage his wife tries to leave him because he keeps her “…soul in a dungeon” but Jack threatens to kill their child if she ever left him. Their marriage is coerced and the only two things that sustain it are alcohol and religion, both of which they consume on a daily basis.  In fact, the only intimacy between them is in reciting prayers and sharing drinks with each other. There is a scene in  Goethe’s Faust, before Faust is given the gift of youth as part of his agreement with Mephistopheles, when his companion shares with him a natural way to youth that doesn’t require witch’s brew and potions. Mephistopheles suggests he work the “yonder fields” with the ox, as an ox and spread manure and reap the benefits of the earth.  Faust would have none of this for he is a learned man, not a common worker.   The part of Faust that is unlived is his instinctual nature, connected to the earth.  His passionate side remains in shadow deadening Faust’s outlook on life now in middle age.  He never married, never was with a woman, never had children.  Jung once said between Faust and Mephistopheles he thought the latter much more interesting than the dead cerebral Faust. In fact, Mephistopheles is Faust’s shadow and as his life is destroyed in taking his guidance, he also finds salvation. If Stone is Jack’s shadow figure then Lucetta is Jack’s anima figure.  Lucetta connects him to his own instinctual nature again over which he now seems to have no control. This is his nature he denied his wife their whole marriage.  But by sleeping with Lucetta he has broken every law to which he clinged his whole life and career.  In a way Stone and Jack were shadow to each other. Each honed their character off the stone of the other.  Jack unforgiving, inflexible approach to his life required a conflagration and Stone’s chaotic drug-bathed unreasonable and unreasoned life required the discipline and Logos to bring order out of disorder.  As Jack descended into chaos after meeting Stone, Stone arose from it. When Jack begins his descent he goes to his church minister for advice who tells him to remember what is in the Holy Scriptures, “Be still and know that I am God”.  The minister suggests that Jack needs to listen and that God works in mysterious ways.  This stillness is what Stone is searching for himself.  There is the incessant chaotic noise in prison that is parallel to the incessant noise Jack experiences with the radio talk shows discussing religion and God and righteous pathways and the sinfulness of human nature.  Jack has been listening to these voices for years just as Stone has been listening to his prison soundtrack for years and both now are becoming unbearable for each. Even the sensual and sensate Lucetta struggles with these changes Stone is going through and at one point feels left out of the lives of both men as they come to terms with each other. There is some symbolism to the sounds in the film that cut through the chaos as one sustained sound of consciousness which we choose we listen to or not.  It is the sound of the insect that is extinguished when Jack threatens to kill his daughter.  It is the sound Jack hears perhaps for the first time at the end of the film before he turns his gaze above.  It is the sound that Stone tried to discern from the chaos in the prison.  It is also the sound that Jack cannot hear over the din of the religious rhetoric on the radio. I began this review on the anniversary of September 11th and felt it was fitting that a film that is about self-reflection, self-transformation through coming to terms with our own shadow and reminding us of the work we have to do.  If we only mourn the loss of life on this 10 year anniversary we would have short-circuited the process of self-examination which would serve better those who died on that day and since.   Faust did not do the hard work needed to expand his life and consciousness; he did not take his shadow’s advice and work the fields.  He chose the short cut and that was his downfall.  That is our downfall.  And as for the film, we are not sure at the end who or how the characters are transformed but as Stone suggests “Let it burn, let the whole thing burn” and Jack’s life does burn up.  In alchemy fire is represented as the calcinatio which is a purification process by firing elements down to their purest form. It results from prolonged frustration of desires unfulfilled.  Jack blames Stone for his own house burning down at the end of the film but there is reason to suspect his wife who felt she was acting out the will of God. Perhaps the reviews were right, what starts out as a film noir complete with anti-heroes and sexy dame is unraveled by the end in ambiguity and paradox.  “The paradox is that what they try to subvert in “Stone” — namely, your viewing habits — are intrinsic to your enjoyment of the movie.” (New York Times)   So amidst the din of high-budgeted, high-tech sound and fury films waiting to assault us this Oscar season, “Stone” requires we ponder a little bit about ourselves and how we may be transformed by the simplest, quietest, easily dismissible sound or image.   It requires us to listen very closely.  At the very end of the film Jack has gathered his belongings at work and is preparing to leave for retirement, his life now in shambles, the only role he knew was as a parole officer, as a judge of other men’s lives, to begin a journey in which, we suspect, he begins to rebuild his own life , a more complete and conscious man.  So as the film “Stone” falls fast and hard from our collective memory it hits the sidewalk not with a bang, but a whimper. – Daniel Ross

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Putting Aside Childish Things: Enantiodromia From Ancient Israel to the 2012 Presidential Election

Some of Barak Obama’s original supporters have grown disenchanted. The depth of disappointment moved inversely with the collective appetite to make him a king and savior savior during the 2008 election cycle. The combined effects of the economic maelstrom that began in 2008 and collective, infantile hopes are now apparent in the rabid disappointment.  The impulse to select a scapegoat is understandable. What, if any, insights does archetypalal psychology offer during the upcoming United States election cycle? Obama burst on the national scene out of nowhere galvanizing the US electorate and people in other countries.  He was vested him with symbolic, transformative qualities that few leaders achieve.  Dr Tom Singer proposed suggests Obama carried the “transcendent function” for our collective psyche.   Obama’s own mixed heritage of  Caucasian and African American, Christian with a Muslim background, Ivy league educated but upwardly mobile with humble roots made him a suitable figure to bear the transcendent function.  Candidate Barack Hussein Obama was a lightning rod whose power arced through the electorate and through people across the planet in almost palpable ways. A security guard looks out over the crowd gathered to hear the address by US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama in front of the Victory Column in Berlin Howver,President Barack Obama inherited an economy mired in debt, slow growth, and unforeseen consequences that resulted from complex investment schemes that went awry.  The confluence of these forces and our collective hopes for deliverance are now exposing the enantiodromia present in the prersent-day political fervor.  The pall upon the age of American expansionism (some prefer imperialism) is made worse by the naive hopes we projected upon the man who would be king.  Something shifted and the choruses of “yes we can”, reminiscent of Reagan’s  “it’s morning in America”, began to sound like a vengeful mob. The Old Testament prophet warned of the perils of turning away from Yahweh in favor of a king (1 Samuel 8).  The nation of Israel wanted a leader, they wanted to be like other nations. Samuel issued one final warning (1 Samuel 12:14) “If God’s people will remain faithful to God’s Commandments” and if they would preserve Yaweh as their ruler, God would do great things.  Samuel proclaimed that God’s people must not abdicate their responsibility simply because a king had been appointed. Modern history offers another example in the rise and fall of the Third Reich.  The collective despair of a defeated Germanic people, burdened with impossible war reparations, was transformed by a charismatic leader who restored hope and purpose. The degree to which the German people invested exaggerated hopes in their Fürher (leader) correlated with their subsequent disappointment and shame. Let me be clear, I am not asserting a link between Obama and Hitler, but others have.  I am proposing that collectively charismatic figures activate complex tendencies to project the wish for deliverance and the fear of evil rulership. Time and again we witness how unbridled hope precedes a fall.  When emotional investment in being “saved” crests, like it did in 2008, we should prepare to be overtaken by a trough of disappointment.  From Heraclitus to Jung this principle of enantiodromia reappears again and again.  The pendulum swings swings back, again and again.  Here, archetypal psychology offers guidance through the recognition that collective influences are at play and through the possibilities provided by the transcendent function. Obama became an icon, one who delivers.  Yeshua, a name used by Messianic Jews and certain Christian sects in place of Jesus, means “one who delivers“.  Strains of this run throughout Judeo-Christian culture and the Western tradition.  While the the duties of the President of the United States allowed Obama to place his hands on some of the levers of this world, his election did not imbue him with Yahweh’s power.  It barely equipped him to play a convincing Oz.  The last 2 1/2 years of proven that he neither governs the world nor can he  (or anyone) sustain the illusion of such a reign. Perhaps some of the malaise and disappointment being expressed can be accounted to Obama but such disappointment can also become an invitation to recover the extreme projections we placed on him.   Perhaps we can admit our role in the outcome.  Instead of placing the sin of naive, exaggerated hopes upon a scapegoat (President Obama) let advance a more transcendent, individuated perspective.  Let’s admit the part we play in this and similar political dramas. Regardless of one’s political leanings, the tendency to project hopes on a “führer” leader contributes to the subsequent clamor and complaint.   We’ve yet to learn this lesson.  Our individual work can help us pull the reins when exaggerated hopes of deliverance surge.  And when our exaggerated anger and disappointment surges we can remember that we paved the way.  Archetypal psychology frames these dramas at the personal and collective levels.  Here we a Jungian perspective has something timely and universal to offer. I invite you to watch the conference on President Obama that was placed on sale this weekend in light of the current election cycle.  Look for examples in the present race to select a Republican candidate of the impulse to project exaggerated hopes on successive individual candidates first Palin, then Bachman, and most recently Perry.  Consider that with each overstated hope emerges the seed of later disappointment.  Then consider how these outer narratives can in-“form” a more integrated, mature engagement with the world and politics. Don’t miss the sale (http://ashevillejungcenter.org/dvd-store/40-off-dvd-sales/) To candidate Obama I hope he can maintain sobriety. May he be mindful of Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer ” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”. Those who cherish archetypal psychology might become purveyors of a new “golden mean” stirred by the cause of integration and individuation.  Share your thoughts with others (in this blog) and elsewhere in the months ahead. – Len Cruz, MD

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