by Wayness Tamm-Clattuc
[‘Wayness Tamm-Clattuc’ is a classmate of Emmett Smith’s, now retired and who has agreed from time-to-time to write about matters in Bodwyn Wook from a jungian viewpoint — BW]
Now that I am retired of course I can let my hair down and roll around in it all too, whee. This is because as analysts we are not supposed to take public positions on events and loud off in a way that misleads people into thinking we have some sort of a magical formula that will fix up all of society’s ills. Jungian analysis remains an authentically individual work that only generates its public effects, if any, at second remove. To us public events are so often like a rehash of the old myths, as one Kennedy after another is shot, the king must die and all of that. None of this of course would even happen in the first place if enough people were conscious to begin with, so why spoil the fun? People not only will not thank you for it, they will get mad and accuse you of putting on airs.
So for lots of reasons, working analysts do not “go public.”
Reasonable people not unreasonably will then ask, how do people even find out what you’re up to? Of course we don’t make a big splash on the TV morning shows or anything, but there is an extant literature out there — whether you happen upon it is up to a stroke of fate, however. Given the actual fairytale nature of human psychic life, that is only right and proper, and in analysis we say we are working with the phenomena of the mind as they appear and not so much against them as with them, sometimes around them if need be.
The present election campaign once again presents us with a real mishmash.
Rather obviously, and regardless of all of her adult trouble with the Rose law firm, her husband and now Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton was pretty clearly and well-loved as a small child, the absolutely indispensable thing for that sort of confidence and self-esteem — but now she is out of the saga as the old Icelandic writers used to say.
It is because of the undoubted appeal of Barack Obama, who plays quite sincerely and truthfully to the element of youthfulness in American culture. Needless to say, there is something a bit off about him as with any Peter Pan figure, and even more with any man who overstays the dreams of youth into advancing middleage. None of that is to say he “shouldn’t” be who he is, but again fate is at work, foreign as that concept is today is to the willful American idea.
This “can do” attitude is not always positive either, as attested by the frankly sociopathic figures of individuals such as Karl Rove and the Vice-President. There is a good deal of functionally-necessary denial in the classical American optimism, as any European or Asian especially nowadays can tell you. Now these people I have mentioned and their supporters may of course protest with good reason that there is more to these men than a mentally-ill striving for power at all costs, that Mr Cheney loves his family and so forth, and of course I have not met them personally. But on the other hand the whole point of democracy is that we are expected to judge public figures on the basis of what we actually do see of them, and to that extent analytical knowledge can help.
“What you see REALLY is what you get” is certainly the truth in this case, and yet insight into what we are up against may not always yield clues to the cure. But it can certainly help people in their decision to remove themselves to a safe mental and moral distance if necessary. After all it should be clear by now, that being well-loved in childhood and encouraged in one’s pretensions does not all by itself guarantee anything like a moral basis.
So now we come to the figure of Senator McCain.
He is the old toad in the fairytale on his toadstool, croaking warnings but not entirely without self-interest, since he badly wants to be the beloved old grampa himself. So fed up at last with raven-voiced harridans and boy-men and outright criminals who are actually betraying the besieged castle to the Turks with every stunt they pull, the people in perplexity come on bended knee at last…only the old toad in his belated excitement then falls off his toadstool, hops all over the palace leaving wet pee marks, wears the crown upside down and so it’s just a complete mess….
As I say, analysis can improve one’s insights no end — but the decision as to what to do is entirely up to a stroke of fate. I cannot emphasize this enough and the critical matter now is the ethical attitude of the personality, about which more at another time.
[Emmett R Smith
[all transcription-rights reserved
[5 June 2008]