Enough Theory Already!!

I love Jungian/Archetypal psychology. Let me say that up front. HOWEVER, I am reminded of a comment made by a professor many years ago when I told her that I love metaphor. She said, "Love it, but don't get lost in it." Later I was briefly a part of a Friends of Jung group that would gather and have a speaker about Jungian theory. After a few meetings I started getting uncomfortable because I wanted to yell, "How does this relate to real life?" meaning, just because you can wrap a neat theory around something, doesn't actually change the situation. Not many months after this feeling, the group announced that it was disbanding. I was not surprised.

One criticism of Jungian theory is that it has become so esoteric we begin to sound like a secret cult with code words and secret handshakes, helping the well-to-do to be better-to-do. (They are the only ones who can afford such assisted individuation.) What benefit is there in amplifying a personal or communal tragedy to 15 mythic stories if there is no practical guidance suggested by these myths to help the individual or the community?

I invite analysts, social activists, shamans, etc. who currently use Jungian theory in ways that inform them in the cause of making the world a little better AND ask how they have gone about connecting the theory with real world need, actual usage of theory.  Either reactive or proactive examples would be welcome. Maybe even asking the community for input would be helpful as well.

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  • But I didn't say NO theories. :)
  • Rats, I was hoping it would be taken for poetry!! Dimitri, you have me here.
    I guess, I'm THEORIZING :) that if we are to take on the beast we will need to be well prepared for battle understanding both the sacrifice and promise inherent in the victory.
  • Just now printing this out - I'll get back to you.
  • I think there is a place for Depth Psychology in mainstream media to help wake people up to the fact that the idea that 'someone else will fix this mess' are illusions that hold us all captive, unable to really feel that we can do much about our ecosystem because we depend upon a Big Other to provide our energy, communications and transportation needs. However, the usage of the depth perspective would probably be transparent to most.

    This comment today by David Brooks of the NYTimes is what got me started on this: "There’s something about the energy industry that touches a quasi-religious nerve." A good entre for the depth perspective to crack open the underlying memes that seen to control our collective will?
    And Gail Collins reply to David Brooks in their conversation: "Gail Collins: Do you have any solutions? I’m tempted to go with the classic knee-jerk reaction and say that we shouldn’t be drilling offshore. Didn’t feel that way before, but BP is making a convert of me. Or at minimum, there shouldn’t be drilling to depths so extreme that nobody but the perpetrators of the leak has the capacity to fix the damage." Lots of good depth material in here which can be brought to bear on national energy policies, in my opinion!

    from: Oil Rigs and Reality
    • Just bought the Times today. If the article is there, I'll read it. My question is: How did he mean "quasi-religious" nerve? My knee-jerk to the phrase listed: sacred cow (can't question); mysterious (we who do not worship at the altar of energy wouldn't understand); orthodoxy (must not attempt to broaden the existing characteristics of the energy-god); oil as the purest representative of god (with all the other forms as mere lower-level manifestations of the One-Energy); just to name a few. Julie (or Julie Ann?), how did you take his meaning?
      • Ed - I think Brooks used 'quasi-religious' in regard to our culture's reverence for the large stock return generators of the oil industry and the industry itself. And I agree with all of the angles that you have taken, except the last, which is why he said "quasi". It seems to me that our own culture's regard, and perhaps the regard of the collective will, is to let the inscrutable behemoths that cause our milk and honey to flow to do what they will without oversight. No higher 'god' to monitor their actions. That higher god could be many things. Perhaps public outrage will prevail?

        At least Obama did not extend the offshore drilling permit status, announced today.
        Perhaps the oil industry does represent the pinnacle of dominance and expansion (albeit at all costs). When the collective will decides to topple or undermine this god, much will change, I believe. What do you think?

        I had posted the article link but it did not stick - I will try again, sorry.

        Brooks' comments generated a lot of disagreement, as you can see in the comments section.
        • Your comment "milk and honey" prompted the phrase "bread and circuses" as the means to keep the Roman populace distracted and entertained. If we are to topple a god, I believe we need to be prepared for at least two things: 1) We (collective) must be prepared to suffer. No god goes down without a nasty fight. 2) We must beware that in such a vacuum, other forces will want to take the god's place and, I'm idealistically imagining, we want to keep the collective as the agent of change and not hand power over to another god no matter how initially, seductively beautiful she/he may be.
        • here is the link
  • How do you live without it?? :)
  • Yes, Master's in Counseling Psych. Is this something you are considering? What is your background?
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