As democracy is weakened by the growing primacy of capitalism, where does depth psychology stand? How are we either complacent or even colluding with the powers of capitalism by practicing therapeutic approaches that focus upon an individual's adaptation rather than on his/her thriving? How has managed care added to this predominance of cash over conscience? As people who support a theory of conscious congruence should we be more involved in calling out those who manipulate image to their own personal financial gain? Where do you stand?

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  • Hi Ed,

     I know this is outside of the parameters of what you are probably hoping for in way of discussion but it might be of some interest.

      I've been having an ongoing dialogue with an old school friend who is a diehard Republican, "proud to be a capitalist" He keeps sending me this strange propaganda from the right, I had no idea people actually believe this sort of thing who are reasonably intelligent. After dialoguing for some time about such things as managed healthcare, education, etc. I finally came to the conclusion that I was speaking to someone who was essentially talking in (religious rhetoric) in that there was actually no logic other than greed.It's a weird circular (religious capitalist) crazy argument. keeping that in mind it makes it easier to dialogue with these people.

     Here is a letter in response to some crazy diatribe about how people had to take responsibility, i.e. get their own damn healthcare,that sort of thing.

     I think it was quite inappropriate and silly of me to bring in Jung, but I remembered writing this after seeing your discussion topic, capitalism versus democracy. It's very rudimentary and simple, a little angry in that this person won't stop with this crazy propaganda for capitalism,( it's a religion)!

    Ken, Since your framing of the word “responsibility” is essentially philosophical, consideration, that is contingent on who’s viewpoint it is taken from. I would like to respond with two separate perspectives.
    The first being that of a “Jungian”. There perspective would be. The greatest most important fundamental responsibility that we have as humans towards the collective is not to (project our shadow) simple as this may sound it’s an extraordinarily hard task, that requires hard work and dedication. The reason that it is so fundamentally important is that virtually all of human suffering and pain that is inflicted on others or ourselves is directly related to this basic psychological function of the personal unconscious (shadow projection) from what I’ve been able to ascertain from the rhetoric and deconstruction of the fundamental positions posed by the Republican and teabag party is that it’s essentially one large unintegrated, of the lowest denominator shadow projection, that now as an autonomous life of its own. (A monster of destruction)
    Simply put a doctrine of blame and fear designed to leverage power to gain control for motives of self enrichment by way of pure greed.
    Throughout history this strategy of fear mongering and blame with absolutely no underpinning of logic or fundamental reasoning has been the author of many tragic history. So from a purely psychological philosophical point of view this empty rhetoric of people not taking responsibility rings extraordinarily hollow, more than that, it is ushering in an era of cynicism and hate. I can see absolutely nothing positive whatsoever coming from this perspective or rhetoric. Why are there never any answers other than “give me more” from the right? I think they’ve had enough!
    Another perspective:
     The fundamental lack of responsibility that has the most far-reaching and damning effect upon society as a whole is being leveled at the American people by extraordinarily wealthy people with disproportionate influence, “bribery” essentially a state of Usery!
    Large corporations in America have become essentially their own little country that levies taxes on people in different forms of essential services and commodities that are no longer competitive, i.e. the healthcare industry, but has no responsibility towards the collective.
    How responsible are credit card companies? that charge 29% and have people sign contracts that are unintelligible by even the most enlightened economist?
    How responsible are the banks? (no point in going further). Corporate America has made cheating and lying a way of life and completely acceptable to all impressionable youth, not to mention the beaten down middle-class if there is such a thing anymore. (And people wonder why people cheat, lie, and steal.) That is their condoned experience by all corporate America that is endorsed by the government.
    Average Americans have lost 40% of their net value! essentially a war tax! people want to work and have productive lives, it’s merely a matter of giving them the tools, education, and opportunity, all of which is very affordable and usually pays back three dollars on the dollar.  (Unfortunately our priorities have been of a different nature).
    The trickle down economics is such utter folly and has caused utter destruction of the infrastructure and ethical nature of Americans that I fear it’s too late.
     But hey we’re a nation where people pole dance for Jesus!
    In writing this I’ve already fallen victim to my own shadow and have projected it onto this paper and probably nothing good will come from it. 
     My humble opinion
    This domain may be for sale!
    • Les,

      Much of wealth in your comments (pun intended).

      Your comments about the shadow are well placed, in my opinion. It's much harder to "hold the tension of the opposites," a more humane position, in politics where the personas are formed around the only-one-answer, "my way or the highway" mentality. Such shadow projection also avoids the need to see the "devil in the details" of any generalized projection. The further into the projection, be it right-wing or left, the less the projectionist needs to be specific in their position. As long as the image of the enemy strikes fear in the hearts, there is no need to address the head, or the soul for that matter.

      As to wealth and responsibility, isn't that why you become wealthy, so that you can pay other people to be responsible? ("I don't know what my accountants are doing." sounds a bit irresponsible to me.)

      Large corporations are legally individuals with accountability only to their shareholders and whatever weak regulations are enforced or not enforced by the government whose members are more susceptible to big money influence than those affected by a corporations decisions. Does anyone know of a shareholders group that is responsible for checking the ethics of corporate decisions and the morality of the way these positions affect people? Would love to hear of it. Would love to see it. If financial wealth has become the dominant societal value, the "ultimate concern," within which "we live and move and have our being" then it has become our God and our subsequent set of perceptions, values, and ethics create the new secular, materialist religion. Not much room for the soul in any of the above, regardless of how you might define it.

      I find it interesting that the war cry of "class warfare" is being used most by those who have constructed an economic system that protects such class distinctions. Projection again?

      I would have even more of a response if your "friend" espoused any religious belief system.

      Les, keep fightin' the good fight.  :)


      • Hi Ed,

         Yes with wealth there is,(or should be) a fundamental responsibility.The mechanism of someone who has $20 million necessitates that he be removed from the actual machinery (the root word of mechanical in Greek means to trick), he is franchising himself in a way, and delegating in a very very abstract indirect way, so the consequences of his actions appear to be more impersonal and less direct, hence easier. (pure speculation since I don't have $20 million) 

        About six months ago I started reading Karl Marx capital volume 1 what a door stopper at 1100 pages I didn't make it very far! Essentially even Karl Marx thought that capitalism was extraordinarily powerful resilient structure, and didn't really know if it would self-destruct or not. More interesting is its relationship with democracy as they both start to change each other. (A different discussion).

         Obviously all these systems are only healthy as the people within them and to that end depth psychology ways has important part. Even in Germany it's an interesting debate in health care, they will not pay for Jungian analysis. (Because it's never ending!) frustrating all German analyst to no end. 

         Perhaps there should be some sort of pro bono fieldwork required of analysts, it would be interesting to see how they operated under self-imposed time restraint. (Just a thought). I remember Jack Sanford giving a lecture about the cost of doing dream analysis, essentially comparing it to becoming a shaman in Africa, in that the price is whatever needs to be paid. Perhaps the stance should be modified a little bit for people who are not quite prepared to set their hands fully on the handles of the plow.

         Since capitalism, democracy, and politics, have of all taken on a  hysterical religious constellation a little help from the depth psychology field would be most welcome! How that form would occur or work is hard to imagine.

         In Germany it's mandatory at all university level educational institutions that they teach about "The authoritarian personality" they have tried to integrate some form of political antibiotic to keep the balance between capitalism, government, and People's rights. So I guess the lesson here is it can be taught, but unfortunately probably only after a psychic cataclysmic event.



        • Les,

          I wonder how many folks think we have already reached a financially instigated "psychic cataclysmic event?" It's a shame that with all the wisdom available, we still have to hemorrhage or go psychotic for anyone to realize we are sick.


  • I think it would be helpful in this discussion to consider Jung's "representation collective." (I believe this discussion is in Volume 8 or the Collected Works - I'll have to fact check this later.) Capitalism certainly qualifies as one of those, what would be another way of saying it, paradigms? For me, any system that excludes a valued role for compassion is suspect. In the case of Capitalism, tends to reduce individual humans to their productivity, economic value, or cost. This is not unlike Stalinism, where someone like Joseph Brodsky (a poet) could be charged with being a "parasite" because he had no "job." This dehumanizing aspect of the Capitalism is one-sided, if nothing else.

  • Hi Ed,

    For insightful responses to your questions, I highly recommend you watch the movie Thrive.  It can be found at www.ThriveTheMovie.Org.


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