Discussions & Dreams
"The psychic depths are nature, and nature is creative life. It is true that nature tears down what she has herself built up - yet she builds it up again. Whatever values in the visible world are destroyed by modern relativism, the psyche will produce their equivalents." ~C. G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul
"Why go to the Brahmans? Youve got it in yourself. Turn in. All those gods that you are invited to worship through public sacrifice are projections of the fire of your own energy. Theres that wonderful passage in the Chandogya, "Worship this god, worship that god, one god after another; those who follow this law do not know. The source of the god is in your own heart. Follow the footsteps to that center and know you are that of which gods are born."
~Joseph Campbell, Transformation of Myth Through Time
I recently shared with another Circle member a very affirming dream I had about Jung when Id just started my doctoral program several years and was trying to figure out if I had made the right choice. She then told me her dream about Jung, and suggested that this might be a safe place to share these and hear about others. A bit of a side path, perhaps, but it seems right, especially since we just marked Jungs birthday (7/26).
I am attending an evening workshop at which Jung is present. It is in a large old, pleasingly ornate building. There are about two dozen people there. I very much want to ask Jung a question, but he never seems to notice me, and the program ends. I leave feeling disappointed. As I am walking down the outside steps, I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around, and see that it is Jung. He says very softly, "You are on the right path," and places something small into my hand before walking away. As it is dark, I cant immediately see what it is, but then I step under a light, and see that he has given me a beautiful, delicate ruby ring.
I prefer an acausal, symbiotic, ouroboros view of spirit and matter: spirit needs matter for incarnation and matter needs spirit for animation. Life binds the two together, keeps spirit from flying off into the heavens, and lifts matter up from its inertia.
Yes, I agree with Kurt here; Jung, of course, regards both materialism and spiritualism (in the causal sense) as metaphysical prejudices. Which comes first, in other words, the chicken or the egg? If we make spirit the chook, matter becomes a mere epiphenomenon, or secondary appendage/exudate; the reverse and we end up with reductionism - the notion that (e.g.) psychological symptoms, such as depression, are caused by physiological factors. Yes, I know Ive used it before but I like the following analogy; the reductionist argument is tantamount to suggesting that the pictures on a TV are generated by its circuitry. In the holographic/holistic model (matter synchronistically mirroring psyche), neither matter nor psyche are caused by the other; they are twin facets of a holistic substrate that transcends and contains both poles, and which (perhaps) the brain can tune into, as does the TV receiver.
Dear Deborah: Thank you for your insightful observations; personal experiences have the greatest impact. It seems to me that dreams, although generally ascribed to the emotional level of mind, actually encompass three different levels and their subsequent sub-levels. The "Emotional Plane" has also been called the "Desire Plane" and desire is the child of will, as need is the grandchild; the need to know, the need to feel, the need to act. When accessing the mind (by whatever means) I sometimes come across something that I cannot relate by any known words, something interstitial that I can only express through metaphor or poetry; the poet is caught up in the intangible, as reflected by the tangible.
Moments of clarity, bits and pieces of the Puzzle, is all any of us know.
Kurt expands on Shadowcatchers Buckyballs: Buckyballs are unique in their ability to capture an ion in the center of the ball, a property required of new materials for energy storage. The ability to store large amounts of energy in a small space is a desirable attribute...
You know, I conceived my first child the first night I slept in a Geodesic dome. Sort of macro-Buckyballs? I lived there during my Walden year - no electricity, running water, the whole Walden thing. It was the most comforting place in the world, off in the middle of the Maine woods, the candles casting golden shadows on the matri-archal curve of ceiling, Esher-like in its repeating matrix... A sacred place.
It wasn’t all roses. The young man who'd built the structure had left it a short time before--a broken heart. I would walk into its remnants from time to time, an empathy that forecasted my own dark time. Seems his wife became so energized when living there that she thought it was a good idea to bring another boyfriend into their happy circle. Oh, this beast jealousy. Was the husband just not big hearted enough? I suppose the union wasn’t balanced with three--unless a forth is implied? :) A-Musing myself. But there is magic in the geodesic structure.
Thanks Marsha, for the focus on Edinger and his distillations on Jungs syncretism. These are the healing intuitions, the self-work one takes to heart from Jung. Again a broad focus that is a way of seeing. In this light, individuation is the life-long world process, awakening in each of us, a work centered in the experience of living. It is a recognition of the coagulative tide of our collective experiment, the coming together of severed disciplines (in medicine especially, Kurt!), seeing once again the sacred in the commonplace, the bones of the matrix, the one heart of gold: the philosophers stone.
If you are falling, dive!~Deborah
I see the Tarot as an inner-role-playing tool that helps you experience possibilities and uncover your reaction to them. How the Tarot came to be is fascinating speculation, playing into the old search for lost perfections: the language of Eden and that sort of old obsession with emanation. It is a strong undercurrent in Western Culture, where we have plenty of quiet mysticism all our own.
Richard Roberts did a book with Campbell on the symbolism of the Tarot that correlates it with the the Renaissance Platonic Revival, (a mainline to the Perennial Philosophy of Bruno and later Alchemists), and Dante - and its later revival in the 19th C. early Golden Dawn (of W. B. Yeats). They are also products of syncretism: Kabbalah, Neo-Platonism, early Christian Gnosticism, and Alchemy (the latter links back to the East.) It stunned me to read about the book because I had intuitively linked all these things in Muse. In fact, I had personified them all, yet my approach had been one of pure skepticism. It seems another example of active imagination playing close to the bedrock of archetype.
There is something about the [Tarot] symbolism of crossed keys that reminds me of the Pope. Some authority beyond us, attached to some unyielding law? That would be a Renaissance perspective.
Ive noticed so many cars on the US highways sporting fish symbols, and last night I dreamt about a huge goldfish, as big as two hands. I was going from house to house (salesman?!) up in some green hilly country, all of them owned by strangers. Over and over I would be sitting at the table, and an animal - cat, dog, nothing exotic - would come and swallow the fish whole and then throw it back up. Repulsive, yes? The thing wouldnt die. The image and color was very distinct. Beautiful and repulsive...
The dreams strikes me that I have many ambivalent feelings about formal Christianity. It all seemed so matter of fact, as if it had nothing to do with me.
Then again - maybe the symbols came from watching Dark City five times last week. (This from the anchorite who watches little of the squares of any size.) Dark City is the ultimate Jungian cult film, O my fellow fire-sitters, water-brothers and sisters. Any one see it? Proyas also did The Crow, a movie that must have struck some nerves. I went to a Halloween party a couple of years ago and there were at least a dozen Crows there. None of them had dates.
"At first we cannot see beyond the path that leads downward to dark and hateful things - but no light or beauty will ever come from the man who cannot bear this sight. Light is always born of darkness, and the sun never yet stood still in heaven to satisfy mans longing or to still his fears."
~C.G. Jung, Modern Man In Search of a Soul
Thanks for your amiable welcoming. Also Shadowcatchers. It is heartwarming for a newcomer feeling shy in a group where folks have been writing together for a long time. You have offered me very many thoughts so well worth pursuing, that I lack the needed time to think & comment on them all. So here Ill concentrate on parts of your first response.
Yes, this is also the way I primarily choose to see both the Tarot and the I Ching. We humans react to the answers given us. And if they should surprise us, then all our beautiful shadow aspects of creativity and intuition are drawn in to make sense of the answers they give. Thus suddenly our shadow and our collective consciousness is activated in showing us some new and hitherto unthought of solutions to those old problems of ours. Jungs theory of synchronicity seems also to have a perpetually abiding relevance, something I personally often can wish to keep at an arms length. I dont find any foolproof explanation within science today - known at least to me. Any other logical explanations would reach far into shamanistic reality realms. (And any attempt at handling this aspect face on, could end up twirling my personal reality perception somewhat farther than I yet am ready for. So I have grown to be quite respectful.
Yes the Tarot arised from the deepest mysticism of the Jewish Qabalah movement; it also evolved within the depths of our European Medieval culture, though it might seem that all Western mystical experience has been arriving at somewhat similar conclusions, be it rooted within the Hebrew, Christian, European shamanic, Celtic or pagan traditions. Within the mysticism of Far Asian monotheistic religions we dont find the same concept of the individual, e.g. the Tao and I Ching are based on a philosophy we Europeans may preceive intuitively, while intellectually we may see how little we grasp.
Its me again, that crusty old Shadowcatcher. Years ago I was invited to a Healing-Sweat on a reservation, led by a Shoshone medicine man, Grey-Eagle. Inside the canvas covered Hogan, around the pit filled with red-hot lava rocks sat 6 men and 6 women, making 12 and the shaman made 13. I remember thinking at the time, that the polarity was balanced. Before the flap to the entrance was closed, the pipe went around, then Grey-Eagle began his invocation; he addressed the Great Spirit as "Eteh" or Grandfather. After the Sweat I asked Grey-Eagle why he addressed the Great Spirit as Grandfather, not Father? He replied, "Because when you ask for something, it is better to ask the Grandfather. He is more lenient, the Father is too strict." Now this explanation made sense to me, and it had its practical side.
Hi to Jung Circle. Re Carl Jung appearing in men's dreams, I had a dream that explicitly featured Carl Jung about three years ago. It occurred as I was commencing my Honours degree in Religious Studies - my thesis concerned the prophetic aspect of certain of Jung's writings, with a particular focus on his AION: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self. At that time I dreamt that I was wandering about my university with my elder brother, with whom I have had a somewhat troubled relationship. As we approached the university library I noticed Carl Jung walking towards me, looking quite elderly, with his white moustache and round glasses - the likeness was quite astounding. It appears that I was vaguely acquainted with Jung, and I was rather proud to be on speaking terms with him. I introduced my brother to him, but the old man said nothing, and instead with a wry smile on his face he leant over and touched me on the left heel. At that point it seemed as if all the energy had been drained from my body, and I collapsed onto the ground, feeling my face turn red with embarrassment as Jung just smiled in an all-knowing sort of way.
Upon waking, my immediate response was the association heel - Achilles heel - point of weakness - pride - brother - sibling rivalry; an image also appeared to me from a book of Greek legends I read as a child of the bronze giant Talos, magically animated by the god Hephaestus, who was destroyed when the sorceress Medea took a plug from his heel and let the precious ichor (blood of the immortals) escape from his body. In any case, it was clear my dream Jung was alerting me to the unseen weaknesses of my shadow, and he seemed to be pointing unambiguously to intellectual pride and rivalry with my brother, who had almost failed his Honours degree ten years earlier. Then it dawned on me that the dream was also pointing to a Biblical tract I was studying at the time, Jacob's nocturnal struggle with the shadowy angel as he crosses the river Jabbok to face his twin brother Esau (Genesis 32). Jacob had fought with Esau in their mother Rebekah's womb, and was born with his hand clutching his brotheršs heel in an attempt to win the rights of the firstborn (Gen. 25.26). That episode provides a key to the identity of the nameless angel with whom Jacob later struggled- though of course this shadow figure is also God, as Jacob names the place of his encounter Peniel (face of God), for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Gen. 32.30).
Anyhow, although this may all sound rather obscure, my dream seemed to stand as testimony to the fact that someone here knows quite a lot more about me than I do - and not just about my past and present, but also the possible future course of my life. At the end of my Honours year, after I had submitted my thesis, I got into a furious argument with my brother, which was only interrupted by a telephone call from my supervisor to tell me that the assessors had approved of my work on Jung as Prophet and I had gained a first class degree. My brother and I didn't speak for a matter of years thereafter, and I am still trying to find some way to solve the problem of our enmity, which seems an insurmountable problem to me at this time.
Regards to everyone,
Ive only read Maureens dream encounter with Jung, and there certainly seems to be a similar mischievous but benevolent tone to proceedings. Like Maureens dream, my own seemed to be very directly related to my work at the time - and the way it reached to events of my life in the past and future suggested I was caught in an intricate web of relations that ordinarily go unnoticed. As you say, an integrating dream. Truly it is said that all things are connected.
As for my paper, Im afraid its not available to read - although it received a good mark, I wasnt very happy with it and even after two years Im still too close to the events of that time to really see things in perspective. What do you make of Jungs appearance in our dreams? Im new to this thread, so perhaps youve discussed this before. Are we experiencing one Jung in our dreams, or many? Does Jung appear post-mortem to his followers as Christ is said to have done? Where is Jung now? Perhaps it is fruitless to attempt to answer such questions, merely note that we are dealing with an intelligence that is clearly autonomous and more powerful than our mundane consciousness?
[My brother and I didnt speak for a matter of years thereafter, and I am still trying to find some way to solve the problem of our enmity, which seems an insurmountable problem to me at this time.]
From insight Shadowcatcher passed along regarding a similar situation, I have one "solution" fresh in mind: acceptance. A solution not unlike a central Christian theme, I might add. Let the situation into your heart as it is, not as it "should be," and your brother will probably physically come back - long after he is back in psychic terms, which both of you know in your heart of hearts he has. When you approach problems utilizing the Self without all the baggage (worrying about time lost is baggage), it is absolutely amazing how well physical life will work, as if too well to be real (this is a key secret to everything, but only those who know it can know it). My brother and I didnt speak for twenty years, ending a couple of months ago. The whole family wrung their hands about it, proffering one solution after another. I did nothing and said all along he will come back sometime, maybe when he is in his seventies, where many of us mellow. Now he is around the house again (in his late forties) like the little brother he always was, and we didnt even have to hash over why the drought existed (useless baggage). He just called up and came over. I loved him and never for a second missed him - in fact, he can be a lot of work.
Are we experiencing one Jung in our dreams, or many? Does Jung appear post-mortem to his followers as Christ is said to have done? Where is Jung now? Perhaps it is fruitless to attempt to answer such questions, merely note that we are dealing with an intelligence that is clearly autonomous and more powerful than our mundane consciousness?
Though I have found this whole thread quite intriguing, it struck me as I read the above words that if Dr Noll read this post he might find it supportive of his "Jung Cult/Aryan Christ" hypothesis. I am in no way suggesting that we avoid such questions - we should go wherever our soul takes us, but statements comparing Jung to Christ are easily misunderstood or misinterpreted. Just something to be conscious of as we go down this path.
Hereward asks: What do you make of Jungs appearance in our dreams? Im new to this thread, so perhaps youve discussed this before. Are we experiencing one Jung in our dreams, or many? Does Jung appear post-mortem to his followers as Christ is said to have done? Where is Jung now? Perhaps it is fruitless to attempt to answer such questions, merely note that we are dealing with an intelligence that is clearly autonomous and more powerful than our mundane consciousness?. . . .
We havent directly discussed this in the Circle. It seems to me that Jung clearly strikes a chord/hits a nerve that we see as some integrating principal - within and with out. Clearly, we trust our ramblings with him in our investigative Nature hikes enough to allow him to pose these core questions/possibilities that lurk deeply in our hearts. It reminds me of meditative visualizations (best accompanied by Bachs Adagios!) where you walk yourself down, down, into the earth, across caverns and tunnels - on and on - and eventually come to the cosmic throne room where you may find the old wise man to whom you are allowed to ask but one question. Suddenly, the question comes - and that really is the hard part. Then, the answer.
Personally, I think it is a matter of trust. Jung opened his journey of inner life and all its ambiguities, power & weakness, dark & light, to us. He knew the dangers of seductive dogma, examined its function, what chord it strikes in us. We trust that and thus we image that model.
Summa felicitas, ~Deborah
Kurt points out: Though I have found this whole thread quite intriguing, it struck me as I read the above words that if Dr Noll read this post he might find it supportive of his "Jung Cult/Aryan Christ" hypothesis.
A very good point! We are aware of Christ as archetype here, Christ as Self and the myriad other related projections Jung chronicled BC & AD (or is it now BCE?), especially in his late works. This function is always the context (or both God & Noll forgive some of my posts). And very worth an exploration in itself, Kurt. We have, I think, in Jung modeled an open exploration that doesnt shy away/shut-down with ambiguity. Those attracted to these spiraling flames (pass the marshmallows, please) do seem, it seems, to dream of Jung, and least it become a cult/dogma/self-fulfilling prophecy, it is good to examine it.
Summa felicitas, ~Deborah
I, for one, have no memory of ever dreaming of Jung. I have, however, had intensely numinous dreams. As I have struggled to interpret them I must wrestle with the question, "How much of the meaning is personal versus collective?", i.e. is the source my own issues, or am I participating in forces beyond myself? The answer for me is yes. The ambiguity can never be eliminated and it is my fate to "hold the tension".
Perhaps the same is true of dreams of Jung. It may be best to accept that we will never have final answers to Herewards questions:
Are we experiencing one Jung in our dreams, or many? Does Jung appear post-mortem to his followers as Christ is said to have done? Where is Jung now?
I would ask the opposite question: could the appearances of Christ as documented in the Bible have a similar origin to Maureens or Herewards experiences, i.e. could they have been dreams or "active imaginations" that were documented as conscious experiences? There is no benefit in getting into a debate over the historical validity of the Bible, but by looking at it from that perspective we could explore the general issue of "what compensatory role(s) might be played by a post-mortem dream of a leader that broke new ground on spiritual issues?"
I agree that we shouldn't allow Noll's agenda to govern the parameters of our thinking, Kurt. I was unceremoniously dismissed from the jung-psych list (in its former Creighton University incarnation) after politely questioning the moderator's editorial policy on this very matter, so it is good to participate in a friendly Mercurial space where it is understood that the difficult questions can sometimes provoke the most fruitful exchanges and outcomes.
As Jung asserted, such misunderstandings often occur because the historical reality of a person has been obscured by the myriad projections of their followers and detractors. However, if the Gospels are anything to go by, Jesus was far from perfect - witness, for example, his racism in Mark 7.25-30. When we realise that our Saviour was nothing more nor less than a flawed human being, a comparison between Jesus and Jung loses the sacrilegious overtones that Noll's Aryan Christ sensationalism thrives upon. After all, this is fairly well trodden ground- in John 10 an orthodox group of Jews want to stone Jesus "because you, being a man, make yourself God", and Jesus quotes from the following verse in reply:
"You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like men,
and fall like any prince." (Psalm 82)
[Re Hereward Tiltons dream]
I started to comment on my similar Jung dream but got sidetracked by the similar brother situation in my last post, and I made a New Years resolution last month (who says they have to start in January) to post shorter - Ha! Most people have an act/shtick (I wont say all even if I think so). I am starting to think mine might be "living the dream." Acts are functions of immature egos, and I think my act is my ability to escape the conscious, two-dimensional work-a-dagwood plane - upon which most people march on, seeing nothing, thinking nothing, saying nothing, giving nothing, knowing nothing, and going nowhere - to feel superior to those who never dared to walk down the long dark road, through the lost tunnels and caves, past the pesky and incidental devil, to the bottom of the hole at the end of the last cavern, just to see who was there (its not about what, its about who). In part I pretend that my life is a walking dr(e)ama, where the poor player that I am still struts and frets, but can just as easily stroll into Heaven to have tea with the prettiest girl in the universe, and realize it doesnt mean anything. Then my actual dreams are often more like conscious reality, and often work on the shallow level of fulfilling wishes that I have outgrown but not forgotten.
So here is my waking dream, which I posted before, right after it happened, because it got my attention, like a good dream should. My wife and I were walking in the desert near Borrego Springs California, on our way to an oasis in an area appropriately named "Hell Hole Canyon," with posted mountain lion warnings, buzzards, lizards, and tarantulas so big that my wife thought one was an interesting plant, and all the neat stuff. Earlier that morning, sitting on our motel bed, I had read to my wife a very thought-provoking and interesting article written by Dr John Quirk. It was about the desert, and it was very Jungian. The magazine included his picture, which I showed my wife - kind of a wise old man look, maybe not unlike Jung, although he may be younger than I am. I found out later that he was a psychologist from Harvard. Anyway, who should we run into during our desert journey, walking toward us from the opposite direction, maybe from where we were going. I recognized him instantly because I had just looked at his picture. I said to him: "Wow! What a coincidence, I just read an article by you - you must have studied Carl Jung." He paused for an instant and deadpanned, yes, he had read a little Jung. I told him how much I liked the article as he continued on his way past us without glancing back; and the laconic encounter concluded with his barely audible gratitude, "yes, its all very cosmic," as much to himself as to us, joining the gentle and timeless chorus of the desert - and lighting another candle for our pilgrimage.
From the literature, Jung had a waking dream-like experience when he was twelve, where he reacted with uncharacteristic fury, for a young boy (no pun), to an adult who belittled him. At that moment Jung envisioned a powerful older man within who he described as an elderly 18th Century gentleman of wealth and position, sporting a white wig. Throughout Jungs life, he continued to experience this older man, who he called personality no. 2. According to legend, it was this old man who allowed Carl to see that there was a hidden domain, the collective unconscious.
Dreaming about Carl Jung seems like it is an expression of this most central of archetypes. When I have the wise old man dreams, I dream that I am an inflated Mark Twain, who, arguably, can out Jung Jung in appearance, with his elegant white hair, moustache, white suit and hat, gold watch chain, high boots, erect posture, and pipe. In my mind, Twain incarnates Jung into the American ethos.
Oh oh, here I go again; see how I get started? Im almost through. Jung gained much from Twain, in my opinion. I have found Jung passages where he composed the same cadence and lyricism, stride for stride, as passages from Twain (yes, Shadowcatcher, I am probably just projecting - but is "just" not just enow? - Ha!). When I find a passage that in my opinion finds a beautiful lyricism, I file it in my mind by cadence, so I can sometimes go back and find it, if I run into another similar passage.
Have you ever read Philip Jose Farmers Riverworld series? Twain in eternity, Goring as the bad, bad guy, and the Church of the Second Chance. And what, who, is at the mouth of the great, endless, river, anyway?!
In The Spiritual Problems of Modern Man, Jung writes:
"I dont believe Im going too far when I say that modern man (note: orig. pub. 1928), in contrast to his 19th C. brother, turns to the psyche with very great expectations, and does so without reference to any traditional creed but rather with a view to Gnostic experience. The fact that all the movements I have mentioned give themselves a scientific veneer is not just a grotesque caricature or a masquerade, but a positive sign that they are actually pursuing science, i .e. knowledge, instead of faith, which is the essence of the Western forms of religion. Modern man abhors faith and the religions based on it. He holds them valid only so far as their knowledge-content seems to accord with his own experience of psychic background. He wants to know - to experience himself." Jung then goes on to discuss our need to experience the psyche - to discover what exists in the psyche beyond consciousness.
The Fundamentalists seem to be a product of being caught up in these same forces as the century has progressed: wanting to objectify and prove faith with 'science' . It is an extreme that has NOT been positive. My experience: I homeschooled a child and bought a required CAT test from Bob Jones University and am now on their mailing list. Reading the glossy mailings for the expensive home curriculums I receive from them, I observe that (sadly) much of the push for homeschooling is part of the political movement in the US to release funding for Fundamentalist schooling that pushes a creationist perspective. The latter teaches that evol utionary scientific techniques are out and out wrong: e.g. can't trust that old Carbon dating. Our experts tell you why! These creationists have their own science that 'proves' their faith. Folks with good intentions buy this, as they also buy a literal expectation of a coming Rapture where all the unsaved go down in flames. It all has the potential for a Davidian tragedy of Wagnerian proportions.
Fundamentalist Christians are (of course) a minority of Christians:
extremists who no longer seem to understand faith, as are any extremists of any ken who mistake the metaphor for the meaning in their attempting to make faith/inner belief fact.
Ah. Wanting to know. The answer, please. How we yearn. The old spirit/body chicken/egg of it. We are pretty much over the Middle Ages and the exclusively dark Gnosticism on its underbelly: casting off the physical for the spiritual is a denial of life. But the tendency seems to persist, reborn as compensation for the other end of the empirical spectrum: casting the spirit out altogether, relegating the concept of consciousness to the world of meaningless statements. Remember the Behaviorists? Jung also says in the essay: "if we can reconcile ourselves to the mysterious truth that the spirit is the life of the body seen from within, and the body the outward manifestation of the life of the spirit - the two being really one - then we can understand why the striving to transcend the present level of consciousness through acceptance of the unconscious must give the body its due, and why recognition of the body cannot tolerate a philosophy that denies it in the name of the sprit."
Again, the question of balance: we find our perspective changes as the circle turns its way through this century. Just for the heck of it: maybe Hereward was bitten by our old friend Snake, and all that mysticism living inside him reeled like a stunning rush, like a slap that acknowledged his own inner wisdom.
I, for one, have no memory of ever dreaming of Jung. I have, however, had intensely numinous dreams. As I have struggled to interpret them I must wrestle with the question "How much of the meaning is personal versus collective?", i.e. is the source my own issues, or am I participating in forces beyond myself. The answer for me is Yes. The ambiguity can never be eliminated and it is my fate to "hold the tension".
This works for me. I mentioned that I have had wise old man dreams, but Jung is never the character. To me, Jung is a scientist mostly, with insights born of intelligence far superior to mine, and much more studying than I can do with the limited brains and time that I have. But my own thinking prior to reading anything by Jung was very similar (but much, much more primitive) to his core theme. I had immature theories about how our minds incorporate geometric analogies from our biology to create intimations of spirit. When I read Jung for the first time, I was blown away by his intelligence and models that freed me from my silly a priori pursuit. When I now struggle with thought as far as I can go, I get to a vibrating ambivalence/ambiguity that shuts me down like a governor (which in race engines shuts off every other spark plug so that the engine doesnt overwind). Many artists and writers deal with the same hitting of the wall (I am neither, a B.S. artist maybe, but Im in good company). I keep reading Jung I think because I have a quest archetype, but I have gone most of the way, I am afraid; even though another archetype says I have gone nowhere...see what I mean.
How is it that Noll gets so much play? I can find guys in diners all day who say stupid stuff. Is it because he is from Harvard? I havent read him, so technically I shouldnt comment, but I have read quotes, which, if not taken totally out of context, point to stupidity.
When I got to the end of the tunnels, to the last hole, where the wise old man for some is supposed to answer the big question, it was not a wise old man for me, but a woman, and she said nothing, which was part of the message. Incidentally, it was not my wife or mother. The gender of the person in the last room might be gender-specific to the searcher. So if Jung is a Christ figure for some, I think it is because archetypes sometimes or always mix and merge. There is hero worship for sure around Jung, but he was a very smart man, which aint nothin, its something, and if one needs an object like Christ, for a particular archetype, or all of them expressed together, why not just pick Christ, or a pet rock, or wake up with ones self, as Billy Joel suggests in "My Life."
Glad you had a look at Dark City. Hope some more folks will and we can all compare notes. Some thoughts to shake up with yours:
Memory is the mother of the Muses (creativity, active imagination, Art = the perception of the divine within us, the province of the soul). The Strangers as a split-off collective consciousness: they are looking for their lost soul, their connection with Nature. (If not soul, then Bruno's 'spirit' fx, mayhaps?) Without it, they perceive that their race of telepathic materialists can no longer exist (i.e. continue in time & space? Or better, have a meaning?) They study a stolen cross-section of humans, in a place where they can stop time (shut it down; they do this with their collective will, the tuning, just as they can direct material things) and control all the variables of human existence, hoping to isolate that essential human quality that they have lost: Soul.
Soul equated with individuality. Love lasting beyond the personality= Platonic soul mate. God, I love it when Murdoch shatters the glass with his will and kisses her (a kiss, after all, is to join their lifes breath at its font, and we all know breath = soul), and the trance he is in with this realization of his deepest identity: the way he looks at her as they drag him off her.
"They needed an artist," the doc says in reference to himself and the work he does for the Strangers, i.e. the personalities/life stories he concocts for the human experimental victims. Artist = Creator and, as the Kabbalah advises, "Imitate the Creator" = a link with the scintilla, the glimmer of the divine within each of us (again, the soul).
The Strangers as our collective shadow: a soulless, dissociated collective: Mr Quick dies, the quality lost for the whole? Mr Book reading the lives they create; the purpose of switching the memories/personalities is to define the variables and separate them out to find the essence of the human. A circle without closure (the Strangers) vs the (human) Jungian Self as an intelligent sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. No light, no sun, no sea, in the dark city. The renegades question the Doc in the boat: "Where did we come from?" and he answers that he has forgotten. No one remembers. Our story, too.
So it falls to the individual to save the whole - with some help from the Artist-Scientist wizard (the Doc). And the individual has enough of his center left to do it. The final dark city is a city of light. It looks like the Dantean Rose of Light in space (just like the first pic on Herewards web page). When this Murdoch-Dante emerges from the Dark hellish wood, he finds his Beatrice/soul mate looking out on a bright sea like a river of light. Like the Clapton song, she knows him in heaven (and this is the heaven from the Thomas Gospels: the kingdom of god is spread upon the face of the earth and men do not see it. Well, some DO see it - and if you dont see it here, youll never see it) even though she thinks they have never met. As he tells his shadow before he leaves the dark city, the specifics of the personality in the human are not what matters in each of us. It is what is in the heart.
Dark City: Reviewed by Maureen Roberts
I revelled in and am very impressed with this film, which deals in immense complexity - and with delightful artistic force - with science fiction’s two foremost issues: what is real, and what does it mean to be human? The film, which concerns a city’s induced amnesia by a parasitic bunch of dark aliens called ‘Strangers’, is undoubtedly destined to be slotted into the ‘film noir’ genre, along with Blade Runner and other ‘dark art as social comment’ movies. Dark City is a deft hybridization of a surrealist dreamscape and the kind of gloomy atmospheric consistency that made Blade Runner similarly impact and resonate on the mythic plane. Like Blade Runner, it’s also about human empathy and soul versus individual and collective soul loss.
In Dark City the central theme is (pre-Jungian i.e.) Platonic: the ‘loss of memory’ that we all suffer in having forgotten our original home and ground of being, in this case appropriately symbolized by the ocean. The challenge of the human characters is thus Platonic ‘anamnesis’ - the recovery of memory, or ‘re-collection’ as reconnection to lost soul. In this sense, one of the film’s opening, then recurring metaphors is perhaps the key: a goldfish bowl, belonging to the ‘hero’ figure, John, is accidentally shattered and we see the floundering fish gasping for air amid broken glass, then John carefully rescuing it and putting it in his abandoned bath of water.
The soul-robbing aliens, in a vain effort to discover what makes humans tick, are meanwhile busy erasing and replacing everyone’s memories, and dissolving and reforming the City at midnight to fit
the swapped identities. John, an imaginative type, and his alter ego, another artistic guy who’s been driven mad by knowing what’s going on, are two of only three humans who know what the aliens are up to. Here, then, is a comment on firstly, the fine line between creativity and madness - its ablity to push the individual either way - secondly on the awesome burden placed on ‘those few who see what’s really going on’ (= ‘visionaries’, such as genuine artists)’: John survives and grows stronger, in other words, but his victimized alter commits suicide.
John keeps searching for his home, called (not surprisingly) ‘Shell Beach’. Again not surprisingly, no-one seems to remember where it is. John asks the advice of one ‘Uncle Carl’ (could this be an allusion to Jung?), a friendly old guy who lives in a fish-filled place called (wait for it!) Neptune’s Castle, but it proves to be a red herring (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). All John can find is advertising boards, facades, saying, ‘Welcome to Shell Beach’. (Interestingly, another written sign that keeps reappearing is ‘Book of Dreams’). A fascinating figure - and the other of three humans who know that something fishy is afoot (double pun!) - is a limping, half-blind psychiatrist, a Hephaestus figure who is at first aiding the aliens, but later goes over to the human camp (again, another comment on the needed fate of psychiatry?)
Uncle Carl’s nasty alter ego is the cold old chief alien, whom John ends up battling with telepathically. John wins and is able to imagine (‘tune’) back into reality his home, Shell Beach, the sunlight which has been absent throughout the entire film, and his lost wife. (Again, there’s a visual and mythic resonance here with Blade Runner, which is similarly set in a ‘dark city’ void of sunlight; only at the end of the film do Decard and Rachel escape the dark clutches into sun-filled Nature, hence in both films the male-female union is inextricably melded with a reunion with Nature and with an escape from urban soul loss and dehumanization).
The Strangers revamp the familiar science fiction theme of the ‘soulless and dying alien collective’, a motif which films such as ‘War of the Worlds’, ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, and ‘Village of the Damned’ deal with. A key statement at the end of Dark City is John’s comment to the last remaining alien on the Strangers’ failure to discover what makes us human: "You were searching on the wrong level" (here he points to his head). The Strangers have missed the human centrality of heart, soul and individuality, as is reflected in some of their names, ‘Hand’, ‘Brain’, ‘Book’.
In summary, owing to its rich tapestry of archetypal themes, Dark City is one film that would definitely reward repeated viewing by those who are intrigued by the role which science fiction plays as contemporary myth.
( http://www.darkcity.com./ Dark City on the Web)
Blessings & Goldfish from the Event Horizon
Maureen/"The Dark" Nathair
Tasmanian Devil here (though not entirely here - part of me is still drumming and chanting atop Mt Wellington in snow and mist and minus10 degrees C with a mad Irish woodturner and his shaman wife, so need I mention that Ive had a ball?) Im having another one (what 2 balls and shes not even a bloke?) reading all your delightfully fire-provoking discussions of the past 2 weeks. Special appreciation to Deborah for her fire-minding, great-hearted giving and spirited input of many a wise and inspired/inspiring log. Ive especially revelled in Herewards Achilles Jung dream (Achilles, incidentally, is the Cancerian myth of the semi-divine, semi-human who is divided between the need to nurture others materially and the inner Child spiritually. The wounded heel is his vulnerable humanity, which was preserved when his mother, holding him by the heel, dipped him in the fire of immortality).
Gosh, your discussions (Hereward, Covert, Kurt, Deborah, Shadowcatcher) of which Jung are we dreaming when we dream of him are rivetting and deeply thought-provoking. Im reminded, of course, of Jungs own take on is it really the person when we dream of him/her? His own leaning was toward the view that if it was someone we were particularly close to, it probably was (e.g. his own dreams, recounted in MDR, of his wife after shed died). Certainly Jung avoids the dogma of (what he calls) interpretation on the subjective level being the only option. As to our shared dreams of Jung, perhaps I can speak for all of us dreamers of the Old Fool(?) when I suggest that, since hes someone we do feel personally close to, even (dare I say) love, with the Eros that he so revered, we have no qualms about assuming it was him (often playing the Trickster/Mercurius!) All of this is, of course, simple empiricism for shamans; hence I see Jung as a Wise Old Man spirit guide and friend whom I relate to in dreams (end of explanation).
Again, Jungs own input is surely relevant here: are we the dreamed, or the dreamers, or both? In other words, what is the relation between the atemporal Self and the earthly space-time version of it? A couple of Jungs own dreams come to mind here; firstly, a UFO one in which a UFO with a circular lens (= an objective!) flew toward him and pointed at him. Jungs reflection? "We always think that the UFOs are projections of ours. Now it turns out that we are their projections. I am projected by the magic lantern as C. G. Jung. But who manipulates the apparatus?" (Ive had a similar dream of a magic, projecting UFO spinning top - see my Jung Circle paper on UFO Dreams).
Jung also dreamed of a meditating yogi who had his face. Jungs response? "Aha, so he is the one meditating me. He has a dream, and I am it." I knew that when he awoke I would no longer be. Jung regarded this as a parable of the Self assuming earthly form to enter space-time reality. When it discards earthly form, the Self, Jung implies, resumes its religare - the religion of reconnection to atemporal Unity (Tao). Jung adds: "The aim of both these dreams is to effect a reversal of the relationship between ego-consciousness and the unconscious, and to represent the unconscious as the generator of empirical reality. The reversal suggests that in the opinion of the other side, our unconscious existence is the real one and our conscious world a kind of illusion . . . like a dream which seems a reality as long as we are in it. And I dunno about you fellow dreamers of Jung, but this kind of upsetting of applecarts is what he always manages to pull off in my own dream encounters with him!
And to Hereward, who wrote:
I was unceremoniously dismissed from the jung-psych list (in its former Creighton University incarnation) after politely questioning the moderators editorial policy on this very matter, so it is good to participate in a friendly Mercurial space where it is understood that the difficult questions can sometimes provoke the most fruitful exchanges and outcomes.
Indeed; its precisely because Mercurius (as wholistic Self, not limiting ego) is warmly invited to centre this Circle that the petty bickering I allude to on the JC (jeez, who else do we know with dem initials!) Archive page is avoided. Jung Circle was in fact set up as an alternative to jung-psyc, upon whose moderators I politely dropped the Holy Turd before abandoning this doomed Titanic (intriguing that in the Creighton version there were 1500 subscribers - same number as on the T!) Anyway, thrice welcome, Hereward.
Safe dreaming & waking to all!
Why are we going after Clinton for having an affair? Don Henley said it well in his song "Dirty Laundry":
Just give me something- something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry.
People do "love it when you lose". The public cant seem to tolerate the Hero archetype any more - we seem to have a need to "cut them down to size". I think there is also an element of the Fundamentalism that disturbs Deborah so much. I cant imagine "Aion" being a big hit in Pat Robertsons circles. People who want to be comfortable in their traditional Christian beliefs would find Noll very reassuring.
Also, never underestimate the power of enthusiasm, of passion. Noll is being driven by his own demons - a constellated archetype is a powerful force. I have read Jung Cult and Noll is a raging bull. So no, I for one do not think the popularity of his works stem from his Harvard position. I did have the opportunity to hear Sonu Shamdasani, author of Cult Fictions speak at a recent meeting of the Minnesota Jung Society. Sonu is a scholar of the first order and did an excellent job of debunking Nolls work without resorting to Ad Hominem attacks, even when baited to do so by the audience.
Good to see Im not the only woman who was held in thrall by Farmer. Im pretty sure Phil posed as Kilgore Trout, creator of Venus on the Half Shell. Somehow, I missed the fighting phallics, though.
As for Dark City, there was a complete absence of female Strangers, and I think that was the point. Classically, the Anima - soul - was always feminine (Jung borrowed this existing terminology). Part of the concept, then. And no opposites = no energy potential: the Strangers are doomed. (Metaphor, here, boys and girls.) Clearly, they have no understanding about the need to get in touch with their female side! But ultimately it is love that saves the dark city, and the female counterpart of John Murdoch is conceptually essential. So no, it wasnt just Jane folding Tarzans socks, though she didnt go head to head with Mr Hand.
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