Join Robert Romanyshyn, Ph.D, in conversation with Bonnie Bright, as they discuss the ecological implications hinted at through Frankenstein's monster, and how our culture must shift to survive.

Originally aired July 15, 2015
(approx 37 mins)

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The Frankenstein Prophecies:
Jungian-Archetypal Reflections on Ecological Crises and the God Wars

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Robert Romanyshyn Ph.D. is an Affiliate Member of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and an emeritus professor of psychology in the Clinical and Depth Psychotherapy Programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has authored six books, including his most recent Leaning toward the Poet: Eavesdropping on the Poetry of Everyday Life, has contributed chapters to numerous edited volumes and has published essays and reviews in many professional journals. In addition to lectures and workshops presented in the U.S., he has lectured in Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and parts of Africa.

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  • If not, then maybe Prometheus' gift of fire is like those ugly sweaters your aunt always gives you for Christmas, something to be hung in the bsck of the closet and forgotten.
  • I'm going to go off topic again for a second:

    Is acting, dancing, or singing, where you're performing under a director or choreographer or producer's authority, a creative art?

    Playwriting I can see. Directing I can see. Choreography I can see. Songwriting and producing I can see. But as a performer are you being creative or are you like clay in a sculptor's hands, something to be shaped to fit the larger composition?

    If giving a performance *is* creative, then could it be argued that all those well off people passively consuming art to impress their friends are really giving a performance on a stage? That cultivating social capital is a creative act and that people with a need to be seen are living breathing art forms?
  • And I recommend "American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J.Robert Oppenheimer" by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin highly. I couldn't put that book down.
  • "When for instance Mats Winther claims in his essays that he posts here that romanticism in literature, paintings, and you name it is a neurotic response to "rationalism", you bet thet he is right. "

    No he's not.
  • "Whoever the Prometheus he or Mary Shelly was referring to it was not the Promethean Archetype we inherited from the Greeks. Prometheus' intentions inclined him to be a benefactor of mankind"

    Prometheus defies the gods and brings fire to Man.

    Frankenstein defies God and brings the ability to create life from death to mankind.

    Oppenheimer brought literal fire to mankind in the form of an atomic bomb.

    If Prometheus stands for "the ascent of humanity from primitive beginnings to the present level of civilization," then to me these guys nailed it. They raised the bar.

    And that makes them gods.
  • Organization


    you hit the nail on the head in regard to the dog chasing the tail analogy. I am trying to get off this merry go round. You wouldn't want to live in a society where the mother complex reigns supreme. It certainly wouldn't be modern and it wouldn't be a civilization as civilization was born when the independent masculine personality aka the patriarchal man imposed a spiritual kingdom within the material realm of existence. Romanticism as embodied by the feeling type form of expression is OK. I much prefer feeling types to thinking types. But the puer aeternus poncing through his maternal garden of eden seeking maternal adulation is a bit much. I see mats added a section on this kind of lollygagging to his Hillman essay...

  • Organization


    Prometheus was a god/archetype/instinct emanating from within the Pre-Olympian realm. A Titan who sided with and helped make possible victory of Zeus in his battle against the Titans. One who knew the name of the Goddess Zeus would mate with to sire the God who would replace Zeus. He was placed on a wooden cross like christ and tortured until he would reveal the name ...and i can go on and on bringing forward the full phenomenology of this archetype...cause he stole fire for man. 

    and you keep wanting to throw mary shelley's Frankenstein the new Prometheus monstrosity into this most beautiful phenomenological picture. I gave my explanation of the shadow function/representative in the Greek mythological construct. I also tried to explain why you were wrongly projecting shadow content on the archetypes actions that were initiated in response to those who opposed their instinctual imperative. Yet you persist in substituting a human shadow for what is the archetypal imperative...i.e.

    Many things we do out of love have consequences, good and bad, that we never intended

    Prometheus is an archetype/instinct/god. As is the shadow Ares. The animosity between Ares and most of the other Olympians is palapable. You are imputing a shadow to a God/archetype prometheus .... Whereas the shadow is an archetype/instinct/god that operates as an independent entity within the archetypal sphere... Despised but tolerated because pure unadulterated egotism is sometimes necessary to ensure the survival of the individual and species...

  • Organization


    all i can do is repeat my original reply

    comment by klemens swib on August 9, 2015 at 2:20pm Delete Comment

    Mary Shelley entitled her book Frankenstein,or The Modern Prometheus. Prometheus presumably being the model upon which she based the Frankenstein character.  She then made him responsible for a monstrous creation. Romanshyn argues that Frankenstein is really the monster. That he suffered the same Titanic hubris as Prometheus. Well hold your horses a minute. Whoever the Prometheus he or Mary Shelly was referring to it was not the Promethean Archetype we inherited from the Greeks. Prometheus' intentions inclined him to be a benefactor of mankind. "Karl-Martin Dietz states in Aeschylus' oeuvre, Prometheus stands for the "Ascent of humanity from primitive beginnings to the present level of civilization

    fiction writers can write whatever they want....but they should not presume to be channeling anything akin to the Prometheus the Greek phenomenologists worked painstakingly to empiracally observe describe and integrate into the matrix of the dynamic evolving Greek picture of the internal aspect of nature. 

    Karl-Martin Dietz
    Karl-Martin Dietz (* 1945 in Heidelberg) ist ein deutscher Altphilologe, Sozialphilosoph und Kulturwissenschaftler. Bekanntheit erlangte er vor allem…
  • "Is the fire Prometheus presented to mankind just the ordinary wood burning fire or did it also embody a creative component of the human condition. The forge the bellows the fire which Prometheus and his Olympain successor Hephaisto/Vulcan used has very little to do with roasting marsh mellows but with building wondrous armor/shields and machines to harness and entrap/contain opponents. "

    I doubt Shelly would disagree with you on that.

    "As wine is an attribute of Dionysos fire is an attribute of the Promethian archetype. Prometheus is considered to be the prototypical rebel. One who did his best to side with mankind;even against the Gods."

    Many things we do out of love have consequences, good and bad, that we never intended, and just because you start a revolution doesn't mean you get to control where it goes. And yes, you can use your creative fire to create wondrous machines. Like bombs (Oppenheimer). Or "monsters" (Shelly's). Or... mash ups! Like Elmer Fudd singing "Kill The Wabbit" to Wagner (there's a Frankenstein's
    monster if there ever was one). A creative fire that compels one to break a taboo, to cross a line, no matter what the collateral damage.
  • "Jung maintained myths are projected from the human psyche."

    Since myths *are* projections from the human psyche is it wrong to discuss how Frankenstein or Oppenheimer may invoke the specter of Prometheus?

    You could debate the merits, of course, but is it such a sacrilege to suggest a comparison at all?
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