—Dennis L. Merritt, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, Ecopsychologist
The movie The Hunger Games at one level depicts the adolescent's world on steroids and at another level relates to powerful forces stirring in America. As a nation we are struggling to find a new identity as the myths that have sustained us are showing their age and ineptness while the controlling powers are expressing themselves more strongly. InGames those controlling forces directed by President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, are challenged by a powerful feminine energy in the form of sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen, played by Jenifer Lawrence.
The Story from an Archetypal Perspective
In the film the rule of the archetype of the Old King as embodied by the President is nearing its end. The King represents the dominant features of a culture depicted in its values, attitudes, behaviors and systems. (1) Old systems in Snow's realm are showing signs of strain in a decadent society that has lost its soul. The ruling power uses intimidation, deceit and diversions to maintain its position. The Capitol is the powerhouse and center of President's domain, a place of ultra modernity in its buildings, machines, and electronic marvels. It is inhabited by a ruling elite of shallow people living in luxury who are caricatures of humans with their bizarre clothing, makeup and behaviors. This society without a heart is epitomized by an annual event—the Hunger Games--captivating the entire culture. The games cruel nature is symptomatic of the absence of the Queen archetype--there is no feminine companion/counterpart to the President. The Queen symbolizes the Eros or archetypal feminine in a culture, the feeling values and how people relate to each other. In the film a primary feminine figure is the woman who reaps the tributes from the districts: a shallow, empty, painted woman enamored with the allure of the games.
Outside the Capitol lie twelve poor, starving, downtrodden districts still being punished for a rebellion over 74 years ago. Twelve is an archetypal number associated with wholeness (twelve months, twelve apostles). Here we have a kingdom of the haves and the have nots, reflecting the 1% and 99% in American society. Every year a male and a female between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected at random as tribute (sacrifice) to represent their district in the Hunger Games. The randomness highlights the cruel uncertainty of fate, subjecting everyone to its fears. The games are an annual reminder of the punishment for rebelling against the powers that be, a punishment meted out in the form of human lives for the entertainment of the populace and a means of maintaining a fear in both city and country of the ruling power.
The tributes get trained in the arts of combat and survival before being thrown into a dog-eat-dog world--the ultimate survival show—teenage gladiators in a Thunderdome sport. To survive they must generate interest in sponsors, selling themselves to their captors' conscious and unconscious desires. Game activities are manipulated for audience appeal and the rules changed accordingly, including a manufactured love scene.
Katniss Everdeen is the heroine, cats being associated with the archetypal feminine–sensuous, sleek, and cunning. Everdeen sounds like evergreen, a symbol of hope and rebirth. Kat is an attractive woman of the woods who developed her hunting skills to help feed her starving mother and sister. She is an Artemis type with the heart of an Amazon female warrior. As a young woman she represents open and innocent feminine energy, full of potential, not raped by society or sold out to its values. She holds the possibility of birthing a new generation, symbolic of a new paradigm, and becoming the Queen of a new culture with a positive Eros. Katniss is from the last of the districts, the twelfth, similar to the archetypal domain of Jesus coming from rural Nazareth. She represents the salt-of-the-earth, down-to-earth, hard working class of her coal miner district. Her type of people do the back-breaking, unpleasant and often dangerous jobs, represented in American society by the likes of coal miners and illegal immigrant workers.
Katniss embodies the archetypal energies of what Carl Jung called the “the two million-year-old man within.” This is a link back to nature, a place to get clean when, according to Jung, we have had too much civilization. (2) Katniss is a woman toughened by suffering and survival, having lost her father in a mining accident and living in abject poverty under the oppression of the Capitol. (3) She sees and experiences the dark side of the ruling forces, as do women and minorities in a male-dominated society. This is archetypically presented in our Judeo-Christian tradition by Job seeing the dark side of God. (Jung 1969, p. 365-397; Merritt 2012, p. 55) Katniss has not lost her heart, displaying the compassion of a Jesus in offering to sacrifice herself for her terrified younger sister. She shows warm teenage affection for Gale Hawthorne, a wholesome male from her community who shares a love of the wild. Kat is an emblem of courage, fearlessness, and grit; a crafty being with what Jesus said is needed in this difficult world--“to be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
A hero needs helpers, helpers who know the system and its weaknesses. It often comes from unsuspected sources, in this instance a drunken mentor, Haymitch Abernathy played by Woody Harleson. Alcoholism is one of the prices paid for living in a soulless world. Katniss wins him over by her very nature and he teaches her the importance of appearance, presentation, and the vagaries of the powers that be. She also wins the support of a symbol of the oppressed in our society—an African American male, Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz. He uses his sense of beauty, sexiness, grace and flare (Cinematic), aided by his sensitivities as a minority, to design outfits that dazzle the Capitol audiences, functioning like Cinderella's fairy godmother. (4) His stunning gowns enabled Katniss to outwardly display and see her true beauty and have it reflected back to her in the admiration of the audience and sponsors. The challenge is to not to be seduced by power, glamour and material ways but to stay connected to one's soul, the inner beauty of the True Self--to remain as Cinderella in contrast to her step-sisters. By staying connected to Cinna's spirit when she faces the massive audience adoring her and her dress, she maintains her balance and equilibrium and does not get abducted by fame and adulation.
Katniss acquires an ally in the games in Rue, a young African American girl, a child, from a poor agricultural district, representing the roots of slavery and racism as a repressive element in American society. Rue does not have a killer mentality and lacks Kat's tough survival skills associated with a more primal hunting base, so Rue becomes the innocent sacrifice. Katniss is able to avoid the competitive hunt-to-the death game, killing only in self-defense much like Americans like to imagine themselves doing. She suspects Peeta, her male partner from district twelve, has turned against her after she sees him in alliance with killers, but his non-aggressive suggestion to his band to wait it out rather than attack Katniss ends up buying time for a solution to emerge at Rue's suggestion (the wasps). Peeta remains true to his commitment not to let his soul be destroyed by the system and had revealed his secret love for Katniss—saved by Eros. Flashbacks reveal that she had seen him at a humiliating moment when he was being severely reprimanded for burning loaves of bread that had to be thrown to the swine. Peeta felt guilty for tossing a loaf to Katniss that landed in the mud as she crouched in the rain: the bread of life delivered in a hostile manner. By using camouflage, cleverly, he survives by hiding with his wounds in plain sight. Peeta is an interesting combination of brute strength and a sense of beauty; someone who can easily tote heavy bags of grain and be a master cake decorator; can handle raw ingredients and produce a delicate finished product.
The deepest conflict Katniss experiences is to be placed in the position of having to express romantic affection for Peeta. He certainly loves her and the audience wants a good love story, `a la Shakespeare’s “star crossed lovers” in Romeo and Juliet, so Katniss goes along to get along. Meanwhile, her True Love back in the home district watches the unfolding drama on TV. Jung said it is better to be a conscious hypocrite than an unconscious one. In the end, we do not know if Katniss will stay with Peeta or somehow get back to Gale, also a woman's name, suggesting a man with a developed feminine side, his anima (see the anima section in my blog at this site on A Dangerous Method).
Archetypal Monsters in American Democracy
Many Americans can identify with the tone and feel in Hunger Games of being trapped in a deadly system that seems impervious to change. How such systems can develop in a democracy is an important issue and the answers are related to the film.
Modern day monsters, according to Jung, are the large machines and huge organizations such as the military complex, big businesses, and corporations: he asked us to imagine how the little merchants felt when they were crushed by the Standard Oil Trust. (Jung 1984, p. 538, 539) President Snow (cold, heartless) with his Capitol and its relation to the oppressed personifies a monster developing in American society and its affect on the dynamics and current state of American culture. (5) Snow's monster status in our culture is largely the consequence of the manipulations by corporate power to establish systems and laws to extend its range. American cultural biases, fears, racism, self-image and conservative religions have been deliberately manipulated with concepts and boiler-plate laws developed by conservative think tanks. These are promulgated by “fair and balanced” news groups and funneled out to politicians through the likes of the American Legislative Exchange (ALEC). (6) Popular showmen of hate radio like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh use their genius of communication to spread the propaganda.
There has been a slow but profound evolution of the American monsters like the military-industrial-congressional complex and businesses too big to fail. (7) Corporations are an integral part of these systems. Originally created with a revokable charter to facilitate economic development to benefit all people, corporations have evolved to have the legal rights of a person with the sole charge to make money for the stockholders. That is the sick system, that is the main monster. There is no responsibility to one's children or grandchildren, let alone the seventh generation. Moral obligations to people, the next generation, the environment, do not exist. Money talks, “Show me the money!” Money is God.
A prime example of the plethora of corporate power abuses is described in two letters sent by the British Royal Society to Exxon Mobile, berating them for funding groups that deliberately mis-inform people about climate change. They make it seem that many scientists doubt that the present climate change is largely due to humans—a total untruth. (8) One of the groups had been hired by Phillip Morris in 1993 to create doubt that second hand smoke is harmful to your health as pronounced by a 1992 government report. (9) President Snow in the movie is a face, a personification, of that all-too-typical type of corporate mentality.
The tributes from the districts can be seen as personifications of deaths consequent to climate change that will literalize the apocalyptic horrors described in the Book of Revelation. The effects of climate change resulting from humans burning fossil fuels was computer modeled over 30 years ago: severe weather conditions in the forms of prolonged droughts, massive floods, monster storms (including hurricanes and tornadoes), rising sea levels, exceedingly highs winds, etc. Humans, it is estimated, will be responsible for the elimination of half of the approximately 10 million species of plants and animals on the planet, the polar bear being the poster child as the Arctic ice cap melts. More insect born diseases will appear in northern climes and farmers will suffer greater crop failures and losses. Our national security advisors are expressing concern over water wars, an inevitably in nations around the globe.
Jung suggested we might sensitize ourselves to evils like war by imagining what it would be like to sacrifice a person to the God of War when war drums are beating. (Jung 1988, p. 1276, 1277) If that person was randomly chosen, everyone in the society would take it personally. Then we would deeply and seriously engage and confront warmongering. The consequences of climate change are much further reaching than that of war, indeed will be the genesis of many wars. The young couples in the Hunger Games might be thought of as sacrifices to corporate power and the God of Money, for it is the poor and disenfranchised who will, as usual, be most affected by climate change and be the ones to join the military for lack of jobs elsewhere.
The 23 death a year in the Hunger Games do not compare with the slow and painful deaths of tens of thousands annually from illnesses resulting from air, water and product contamination due to inadequate laws, regulations or enforcement. Also to be considered are the countless deaths of souls from operating in heartless systems with the accompanying drug and alcohol abuse.
If our lives or that of our children or friends were to be sacrificed to the God of Money, the God of corporate power and financial institutions too big to fail, we would be outraged by the conservative Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that allows corporations and other organizations to make unlimited contributions to political campaigns. This year, 2012, oil companies will make over $136 billion in profits. Citizen contributions cannot approach this amount of funding. Disempowerment and despair result from knowing that lobbyists and corporations are literally writing our laws and of the necessity of politicians to raise huge sums of money to run campaigns. They have to sell their souls to big money, as garishly depicted in Hunger Games, with the necessity to obtain sponsors to fund campaigns and stay in the political game.
The Distorted Power of Advertising in a Consumer Culture
Complimenting the conservative think tanks and ALEC-like groups is the power of advertising in our consumer-based society. More subtle than the Swiftboat political ads are the ads that create the basis for considering issues. A current ad by the oil and gas industry is a prime example. It features a woman in her power pant-suit confidently striding across an outline of the US with happy workers emerging in her wake in the map. She spouts the buzz words “jobs” and the “energy independence” America will enjoy from new methods of oil and gas extraction. Not mentioned are the methods used to increase production—fracking and the Canadian tar sands. Fracking uses enormous amounts of water and explosive chemicals that include carcinogens to crack shale bedrock underlying 30 states, thereby releasing natural gas. Its potential for serious and permanent damage to aquifers and drinking supplies has not been seriously researched and alarming problems have already surfaced. (10) The Canadian tar sands use 2 to 5 barrels of water to produce a barrel of oil and release 2 to 3 times the amount of greenhouse gases compared to conventional production. (11) James Hansen, one of America's leading climatologists, has stated that if the XL Pipeline from upper Alberta to Gulf refineries proceeds the ball game is over. Inevitably the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere will result in a global temperature increase of over 2 degrees C, beyond the tipping point whereby irreversible and apocalyptic damage will occur. Hansen, the scientist, has become so frustrated with lack of public understanding that he has taken to the streets to organize demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience.
Advertisers and propaganda agents play on our unconscious fears, attitudes and desires— racism, sexism, homophobia, abortion issues, macho male mentality, heroic stances, beliefs that America is number one with God on our side, adolescent black-and-white mentality, and an American optimism and naivete. We like to believe we are a classless society and anyone can grow up to be president. However, the huge and growing divide between the haves and have-nots, the 1% versus the 99%, is making that increasingly unlikely. Social issues in political campaigns become tactical diversions from discussions of real importance—climate change, health care, education, the consequences of globalizations and automation, etc. What's the Matter with Kansas (Frank 2004) summarizes how people are persuaded to vote against their best interests by the deliberate manipulation of evangelical and conservative religious groups. A six-day creation is endorsed by 49% of Republicans and 39% of Democrats. (12) “Faith based reality” makes it difficult to rationally discuss issues and run a democracy. Polarization and chaos favors the powers that be. A “God is on our side and you can go to Hell” mentality is not a suitable ground for the debate and compromises necessary in a democratic system.
The Hunger Games as the Distilled Essence of the American Worldview
It is necessary to change the systems people get trapped in. Good people can get co-opted into doing evil things in a corrupt system, be it a corporation, an ad agency, or a political or business environment. As in Hunger Games, one can get caught up in a competitive dog-eat-dog atmosphere, confident in one's heroic abilities to overcome all obstacles and beat the opposition by any means necessary to win the grand prize. This cultural attitude is rooted in the American icons of the lone cowboy and the rugged, independent, heroic frontiersmen and women who battled the savage world of the Wild West. We have remnants of Calvinism with the belief that being prosperous is a sign of God's favor—and vice versa. (Merritt 2012, p. 9, 133 note 8) Unregulated corporate personhood represents the ultimate distillation of the American worldview. Real people get wounded and killed by the worst of corporate behavior as metaphorically depicted inHunger Games. At the same time, gambling is increasing in American society as we struggle in tight economic times, a belief in a get-rich-quick possibility as a means of escape.
Our films and TV programs are amuck with violence and bounty systems have been revealed in America's sport—the violent game of football. We are addicted to survival programs and are voyeurs into the lives of Hollywood stars. Politicians mercilessly seek any dirt they can use against opponents. Our populace not only lacks financial, health and retirement security compared to other developed countries, but we have not done well in our relationship with the rest of the world. Growing past adolescence and into a mature country has been a problem.
Hunger Games reflects an adolescent world with its cliques, nasty remarks, deadly rumors, bullying, and massive levels of uncertainty and insecurity. Katniss does her best in the games, and throws a monkey wrench into the system by being ready to commit suicide with her partner rather than sell out. They were ready to sacrifice the False Self, being part of the system, to protect the True Self in Thelma and Louise fashion. (13) That makes the system look bad. Appearance is everything: witness corporate greenwashing. In the film, the street revolt is crushed and the couple's victory is temporary--they return to their enslaved communities and the Old King remains in power. Katniss is in danger of being trapped in a False Bride position in the end, appearing to the world as partner to Peeta. A True Bride status remains her goal to attain. (14)
Hunger Games as an Elaborate Punch Dream
I see Hunger Games as a film version of what University of Wisconsin-Madison psychiatry professor James Gustafson calls a “punch dream”--a dream with a kick from amplified negative energy or situations. The dreams' intent is to shock the dreamer into awareness. An example is the dream of a bright but mousey woman who was having a difficult time establishing her own power and identity. She managed to slowly get onto a degree path and was within a couple years of completing her Ph.D. when she entered analysis. She dreamt she was walking around the house picking up the faeces of her family members. I often used that dream in our analytic sessions when I wanted to remind her to be more assertive and to hold her ground. She is now the chair of prestigious university department.
Hunger Games, like many dreams, extrapolates a current situation into a potential future narrative. If one takes the negative energies and systems in our culture, extends them out 74 years and amplify the results, metaphorically it might look like Hunger Games. Amplify unfettered, unregulated, free market capitalism and financial institutions in a globalized economy and dramatically increase the gap between the haves and the have-nots, andvoila! The Ayn Rand and environmentally ignorant solutions currently being proposed for government programs in education, health care, energy, research funding, student loans, etc. will take years to yield their deadly fruits. Imagine what it will be like to ratchet up the effects of climate change and extend it out 74 years beyond Katrina.
A Paradigm Shift as the Way Forward
From an archetypal perspective it is crucial that we understand the Greek god Hermes if we are to confront at their deepest level the issues raised in The Hunger Games. Hermes is the messenger and trickster, the god of dreams, the unconscious, businessmen, advertising, adolescence, gambling and film makers. Hermes can lead the way or lead us astray—it depends on our awareness of his activities and the ethical positions we take on them. (See volume 3 of The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe—Hermes and the Cows—Hermes, Jungian Ecopsychology and Complexity Theory)
We can see what needs to be done but the forces are deeply entrenched, well funded, and organized. It's going to be a long hard struggle as Joan Biaz said in in one of the last anti-Viet Nam war protests held in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jung associated our period with a time of danger and chaos when old systems no longer work, the powers feel threatened, and they forcefully and deceitfully struggle to maintain their position. Jung saw the last 2000 years, the astrological Age of Pisces, as being the Christian era. The sign of Pisces has two fish swimming in opposite directions, representing to Jung the light and dark sides of Christianity. The first 1000 years emphasized the light side of God and strengthened the ego, while the second 1000 years revealed the dark side of God and the split in our God image—we don't have monotheism but a dualistic religion: on earth the Devil has equal power with God. (Jung 1969, ¶¶ 257, 644, 660, 733; Merritt 2012, p. 58) Jung, who died in 1961, emphasized the necessity for a paradigm shift in the West and for the world to the extent Western values have come to dominate the planet. He coined the terms “New Age” and “Age of Aquarius” for this needed shift and said an important feature would be the emergence of positive archetypal feminine energies. Many see 1968, that pivotal year, as the beginning of the Aquarian Age. I see the emergence of strong young women in recent movies as an important sign; Katniss in Hunger Games, Alexander King in The Descendents, and Sabina Spielrein in A Dangerous Method (see my analysis of that film in my blog on this site).
This is a challenging and exciting time. Within a few years we must reformulate our concept of what it is to be human and how to relate to the environment in a profoundly different way. Millions of people around the globe are organizing to address environmental issues. The Earth Charter is a superb document providing a comprehensive framework for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society. It recognizes that “environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible.” (earthcharter.org.) (13)
Two movements in America are particularly interesting. The Move to Amend is organizing to get a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. (movetoamend.org) This process will take years and time is short, so I like the focus of the Citizens Climate Change Lobby, whose premise is that major change occurs when ten percent of the population is passionately committed to a cause. (citizensclimatelobby.com) They are pushing for a carbon tax bill as the most effective means of limiting CO2 emissions, a position supported by James Hansen. (14) “Moyers and Company” on PBS is required viewing for topics germane to these and other issues directly or broadly related to environmental problems.
My contribution has been to develop the field of Jungian ecopsychology, allowing me to integrate my background in the ecological sciences (a Ph.D. from Berkeley in entomology) with nearly 30 years of experience as a Jungian psychoanalyst and over 25 years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies. (15) My thoughts are contained in The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe—Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology, with volume 1 now in print, Jung and Ecopsychology, available on Amazon and from the publisher, Fisher King Press. (16) After developing the principles of Jungian ecopsychology, I show how they can be applied in psychotherapy, our educational system, and in our relationship with indigenous cultures.
- The kings in ancient times were regarded as living gods or as God's representative on earth with the wellbeing of the peoples and the land associated with him. An excellent description of the archetypes of the King and Queen is presented in Marie-Louise von Franz, 1996, The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, Revised ed., Shambhala: Boston and London, p. 50-55. Studying fairytales was the most important means of developing an archetypal perspective and a symbolic eye during my training at the Jung Institute in Zurich.
- We can get clean by going out into nature or going inward through our dreams to connect with nature within. (Jung 1984, p. 142)
- Apropos of the theme of corporate power and Hunger Games is the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster on April 5, 2010. A methane gas explosion killed 29 miners and Massey Energy was blamed due to numerous safety violations over a period of years. A report from an independent investigation noted how Massey intimidated politicians with the vast amounts of money it could and did use to influence elections to get favorable legislators and judges. The report also noted that safety regulations were violated to increase profit margins.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Big_Branch_Mine_disaster retrieved April 13, 2012)
- The master of ceremonies exclaims, “She's on fire!” Katniss is alive with life energy, with spirit portending redeeming possibilities like that of the flaming apostles at the Pentecost. Red is a sign of life's blood, of passion. At the physical level, she's hot.
- The ability to personify is an important human trait. Many of the ancient Greeks knew the gods and goddesses were not real, but they also knew there were forces both within the psyche and in the world that had powerful influences on their lives. These forces were personified in the forms of stories, images, statues, rituals and symbolic expressions to make the Greeks more conscious of the forces and their interactions with each other and with humans.
- The American Legislative Exchange exerts a powerful influence on American politics and attitudes through a system designed to favor big business. Basic concepts are that everything should be privatized except for a strong defense and minimum regulations should be imposed on businesses. ALEC is funded almost entirely by corporations with the ultraconservative Koch brothers being a major supporter. (http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/koch-connection) Federal and state legislators, mostly Republicans, are wined and dined at subsidized annual meetings where model legislation is handed to them to be enacted in their home states and in Congress. Goals include crushing the labor unions, undermining public education through voucher programs and other means, restricting voter rights, privatizing the health care industry and Medicare, opposing health and environmental standards like restrictions on greenhouse gas omissions, establishing corporate prisons, and supporting concealed weapons and “Stand your ground” laws as seen in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.(http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed)
- President Dwight Eisenhower, the commanding Allied General in World War II, gave a farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961, just days before leaving his second term in office. He warned of the dangers of a military-industrial complex and the undue influence it could have on American society both financially and spiritually. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWiIYW_fBfY)
- Air quality poorer than in Los Angeles and Houston has been reported in sparsely populated counties in Wyoming with large numbers of fracked gas wells. There is growing evidence of a relationship between fracking and the recent spate of earthquakes in the Central and Eastern US. Pressure from then Vice President Cheney resulted in laws exempting fracking from air and water quality standards and removing a requirement to disclose the names of the chemicals used in the process. At best the natural gas from fracking may release half the amount of climate change gases as burning coal, but estimates are that full utilization of the its potential will raise global temperatures by 3.5 degrees C, well above the 2 degrees increase estimated to be the potential tipping point. (Bill McKibben, 2012, Why Not Frack? The New York Review of Books, Vol. LIX, No. 4, March 8, 2012, p. 13-15) The documentary Gasland offers a good introduction to the problem. (http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/whats-fracking#faq)
- The tar sands strip mining and drilling project in Alberta, Canada has been called the largest and most destructive project on Earth. If the Keystone XL pipeline is built, Canadian boreal forests and wetlands in an area the size of Florida will be mined, removing the area as a carbon sink and instead adding it a contributor to greenhouse gases. Over 50 square miles of toxic waste ponds have alreadhy been created, and severe water pollution is affecting the health of downstream indigenous populations. Millions of migrating birds will be lost and huge aquifers in the US will be at risk from accidents in piping this particularily toxic mix of oil and gas to the Gulf. Production is expected to triple by 2025. Two excellent websites arehttp://www.nrdc.org/energy/dirtyfuels_tar.asp, which includes a video showing land damaged from the removal of tar sands, andhttp://www.nrdc.org/energy/tarsandsinvasion.asp
- http://today.yougov.com/news/2012/02/28/social-issues-big-party-differences-gay-rights-and/ retrieved April 15, 2012.
- The True Self/False Self is a concept developed by the brilliant British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott. It is intimately related to Jung's concept of the Self. To live in relation to the True Self is to live out of the unique essence of one's nature and in a manner that furthers the integration of the personality and a movement towards wholeness. The False Self is a fragmented personality unaware of its unique and essential nature because it is identified with the collective and/or has split off parts of itself due to traumatic experiences (the complexes). Also see note 14.
- An alchemical image of wholeness is the sacred marriage, the mysterium coniunctionis, the mysterious union of opposites. The opposite sex is the most available biological equivalent of the Other (see the anima section in A Dangerous Method on this blog site). A woman personifies the soul of a man (and vice versa), the embodied unconscious, and at the deepest level, in those divine moments in a romantic relationship, is the face of God. The divine marriage is thus symbolic of a union with God. The True Bride is this deepest level of the anima, acting as a function of the Self (usually God in our culture), the True Self in Winnicott's system (see note 13). Since one's unique nature is an integral aspect of the True Self, very few women come close to a particular man's ideal woman within (his anima), a prerequisite for the experience of sublime moments in a relationship. The False Bride is the anima related to the distorted sense of Self, Winnicott's False Self, before we have discovered our unique and true nature. I discuss the dynamics of the discovery and connection with the True Bride in my analysis of Grimm'sCinderella in Appendix D: The Alchemy of Psychoanalysis in volume 1 of The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe—Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology.
- My presentation on the Earth Charter in relation to Jungian ecopsychology is available on my website
under the section "The Earth Charter, Jung, and Ecopsychology."
- Ecopsychology examines how our values, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors affect our relationship with the environment. It calls for the integration of our educational, political, economic and social systems to build a sustainable society. Personal and societal transformation must go hand in hand. Jung described a link between the two with his concept of the shadow, our dark side within:
If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all [his] projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against…Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day. (Jung 1969, ¶ 140)
Jesus articulated this 2000 years ago in Luke 6:41: "Why do you see the speck in
your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 6:42 Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye."
your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 6:42 Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye."
18. Click on the bookcover and it will take you to the FisherKing website where chapter 1 of The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe is available free. Page vii has a description of all 4 volumes.
Frank, T. 2004. What's the Matter with Kansas—How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. Metropolitan Books.
Jung, C. 1969. The Collected Works of C. G. Jung . 2nd ed. Vol. 11. Psychology and Religion: West and East. H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler and W. McGuire, eds. R.F.C.
Hull, trans. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.
1984. Dream Analysis: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928-1930 by C. G. Jung. W. McGuire, ed. Princeton University Press: Princeton.
1988. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1934-1939 by C. G. Jung. James Jarrett, ed. Princeton University Press: Princeton.
Merritt, D. L. 2012. The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe—Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology. Vol. 1. Jung and Ecopsychology. Fisher King Press: Carmel, CA.