by Wayness Tamm-Clattuc
In jungian psychology we are mainly concerned with the image-making activity of the psyche. From our point of view then as students of the soul, the activity of the spirit archetype (“God,” religions and cet) is simply a necessary compensation for the eclectic randomness of the natural mind. “God” is no less natural in this homeostasis than any other evolutionary product, in other words.
Here is a link to a posting by Atheist Ethicist, and while I am no particular friend of any arbitrary constraint on imagination including atheism, the following certainly repays close attention:
The real interest is in the actual quotes attributed to Sarah Palin, Senator McCain’s vice-presidential candidate, including the following:
“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country; that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out for a task that is from God. That is what we have to make sure that we are praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.” the Alaska Governoress is quoted as saying.
Now in this we should examine the syntax closely:
“…[W]e are praying…that there is a plan and [that] that plan is God’s….”
In other words, psychologically, the latent doubt in Sarah Palin’s mind is actually very close to the surface. A typical reaction formation then is to act frantically to “make it so.” In other words, God Himself had better look out and be sure to get it right this time! In that projected internal conflict, then, lies the danger, namely the problem of doubt. This is the crux of any creative tension, namely a collision of opposites.
The trouble arises whenever education is onesided.
In America, and in the West generally, we stray on the side of material literalism and tend, certainly “officially,” to wholly neglect the human soul. .
We call this “scientific,” and the great drawback again is the educational problem. In the popular mind scientific translates idiomatically in western Wisconsin into something like, “if you can’t smoke it, f-ck it or wreck it, it ain’t no good!”
So it is that our collective unconscious fights the tendency to the death, turning money for example from something that means actual gold into abstract pixels and electrons. These of course can be tampered with by anyone. Historian emeritus John Lukacs has noted this characteristic “spiritualizing” tendency toward abstraction in our cultural setup since at least 1914. This of course is a broad collective pattern and it may be said to wholly unconscious. That is fine. As well as a dangerous situation, this same general not-awareness after all can allow for unimpeded spontaneous correction. At least we jungians in general tend to perceive a homeostatic process in what are essentially always mental events, in man’s natural response to nature. The danger, however, is when there is a little bit of naive “awareness” (“I have a degree…in PSYCHOLOGY!”) that makes a person feel like they are themselves God Almighty.
Then people start to act as though they are holding all the cards and, then, it all very well will hit the fan, as the Swiss say!
It is important to keep in mind that we jungians often now tend to think that this is a problem of language, and that it is inherent in all languages.
Naturally enough the first purpose of any descriptive system is get reality “under control.” It is absolutely vital after all for such basic cultural tasks as child-rearing and education, anything that assures cultural continuity.
Nowadays we would say it is to conserve “information.”
So this puts unexamined narrative systems pretty strictly on all fours with the small child’s anxious thumbsucking, and probably it is so in just about all cases. Or at least it is nothing but anxious self-comfort when the proprietor of a language lashes out. It is above all to defend a setup in which he may well have invested his whole identity, as well as prestige (on campus anyway) and income! In such a case, the threatened individual cannot easily and comfortably switch gears and say:
“OK, it’s a lot bigger than the two of us after all, obviously you are ‘right’ too!”
This common protective problem in all narratives is an automatic function except in a very few cases — naturally, these soon learn to shut up, or they soon find themselves in the concentration camp!
This automatism, it is a reflex, seems to account for the parallel patterns of onesidedness for example of both many religionists and scientists, today. So that if you show a trained scientist for example an icon or a rosary or something, and then suggest he must take it seriously (even if only as a human fact), he will so often fly into a rage and just go up to the moon. Likewise, to even mention “evolution” as I did last month at a funeral here in southern Minnesota, to a Baptist preacher, means you will be told “you will burn in hell!” And, “I pity you!” Still worse, one is then at risk of being prayed for….
My point is that all relativization of terms on average is distinctly felt probably as a biological threat.
This is the case especially for the ego-complex as we call it in jungian psychology, “I” and “me,” versus “you” and your obnoxious love of and belief in “weird” notions. Even more unbearable to me then is the spectacle of the other person’s exactly equal conviction of the truth of these notions so directly opposed to mine. It is just deliberate! So if anything, that purity of conviction (and that is what it is, of course, precisely because I am getting something out of it, every time!) is even more enraging than whatever may be the substance of the actual detestable error and love of “falsehood” that seems to be going on.
In fact, in closing, I would point out that we actually seem instinctively to seek out these fights, so as to be able to reinforce our ego-identities.
Still more importantly, through this very tricky business of projection and trying to strangle all the others, so we hope of course to kill off our own inner doubt. This may be what is going on then with Sarah Palin. I have seen exactly the same feeling-toned (not to mention drowned outright!) ruckuses between “orthodox” jungians and archetypalist hillmanites in my own psychological field, and it is always outright plain murder, I can tell you this! The repetitive pattern in this sort of two-sided dispute may be the giveaway, as well as the periodic meeting with others of a like mind.
All incantation, such as “Darwin” and “survival of the fittest,” is just stuffed full of wishful thinking, and as far as that goes they are all “nothing but” mandalas or protective spells.
Finally, I may be reproved by some for introducing an analysis of the psyches of people one after does not know personally and who, after all, are not clients. Be that as it may, the field offers a bona fide mode of inquiry, and as these same personalities are claiming fitness publicly to lead us all, so we are entitled to examine them strictly on their public display, of the psychological struggles of their individual selves. Moreover, I am retired.
[Emmett R Smith
[all transcription-rights reserved
[9 September 2008