I just wanted to take a moment here in the Alliance community to acknowledge and witness the tragedies that have unfolded in recent days--in particular with the Newtown, CT school shooting and the Clackamas, OR mall shooting just 3 days before. In fact, the web site for ThinkProgress has posted a timeline of shootings since Columbine and the CT shooting was the eighth in the U.S. in 2012.
I don't have answers about what's going on in our culture. True to the spirit of depth psychology, I do have a million questions. There are clearly dark shadows at play--and the archetypes and gods showing up in these scenarios are demanding attention--something only those who are paying attention can probably begin to address right now. I am reminded that Martin Prechtel, author and initiated shaman among the Maya people in Guatemala, suggests that if a culture is not willing to make offerings, there will be arbitrary sacrifices. It makes me wonder: What are we, as a culture--and as a community, even--missing here? What is being neglected, bypassed, or buried that we can individually and collectively address? And how do we begin?
I know many of you have likely been horrified at the events--especially this week--and at the same time I find it somewhat surprising that no one (including myself until now) has brought it up here in the forum for discussion, a place I would wish could be a destination and a container for such distressing emotional issues at such a critical time in our culture.
This is not a judgement but a curiosity--a wondering at how we can make this community more relevant and meaningful in dealing with the difficulties that come our way--and in connecting more humanly with each other. Perhaps there are no words for the horror and despair; or perhaps many of us, me included, are introverts and find it hard to reach out, or find that the feeling function is our inferior function...
What do you think? How have you been affected by this tragedy and the increasing violence in the world today? I wrote a brief blog on the subject of witnessing, but it doesn't begin to address the depth of emotion I'm feeling and you may be as well... Please join in discussion, even if only to express your feelings here...
There's a reason you have trouble wrapping your head around colonisation: because you're a sane person with a conscience!
It's interesting what you say about "Americans think...". The US seems to be undergoing one of its biggest cultural changes; not just in terms of division, but breaking out of its insularity. Prior to Bush in particular, the US was such a powerhouse that it could afford to be insular; it was often a running joke amongst comedians that there was 'America' and 'The World', and Americans didn't need to know about 'The World' bit. And at least from the outside, Americans seemed to hold their presidents in esteem (comparatively) and the White House in awe.
Now, the internet is in almost every house, and the average person is hooked up by Facebook and the like. Whatever insularity there may have been on Americans' part is quickly being dissolved; whereas 15 years ago it was cool and interesting to have international friends, now it's just a running assumption, and I'm guessing you'd struggle to find Americans who don't have an international friend online somewhere. Americans are quickly becoming part of 'The World', not due to politicians, but average citizens, now bestowed with a much more realistic worldview from connectivity. And it seems to me at least that this move it also coinciding with much stronger political division, as Americans see themselves not just as Americans, but where they sit and how they relate to the world as a whole.
Whatever jokes there may have been about American insularity (for instance the "...only in America" jibes), they're quickly becoming redundant. It seems the last ten years or so have been almost like a giant reset switch, and the 'Average American' (whatever that is) is just as in touch with the world as anyone else, just as 'dissident' as anyone else, and the only Americans that fit the old stereotype are dinosaurs who'll be left behind as the rest of Americans take their place in the world at large.
John, excellent questions, and America is certainly lacking in its cultural ability to reflect on its own actions. To your point of "identities" and why we need to identify with, say, political parties or religions, or ethnicities, etc., I think there is a purpose to it all. What Jung called individuation. America has essentially pioneered the notion of the individual in a way that had not existed before, when the Founding Fathers set out to create a country with freedom for every individual. A part of the various identifications we so love is in part a beginning of individuation - a separation from the collective tribe piece by piece, bit by bit, part by part, identity by identity. If one were to continue the process, I imagine every single person would be an entirely unique mix of all kinds of various identifications. But it's terribly difficult to do, and the fight to not compromise who we are as a unique individual gets challenged day in and day out by the external world's demands. More and more, uniqueness is essential, in a country where we have millions of choices around every corner. Without the uniqueness intact, the concepts such as "we are all one" and "we're all connected" can easily become more like an out-of-focus blurry film image rather than a high-resolution, HD screen with high pixellation honing in on every single, unique dot that makes up the image as a whole.
I'll be thinking more about your other important questions, but wanted to get those thoughts out at the moment!
Aye, sounds about right. :)
Wonderful discussion last night. As I was writing to my friend and mentor about it today, I suddenly remembered a dream I had several month ago, way before the shooting. In that dream I was in a house packed with panicking, agitated strangers. I was told that there is a mass murderer in the house. He is looking for a person with a tattoo. I took a breath of relief - I knew I didn't have a tattoo. Then the mirror appears. I look in a mirror and I see a 4-letter ancient Hebrew word tattooed on my forehead. I never knew Hebrew, and I didn't know I had it written on my head. "Oh shit.. What do I do now?", - I think to myself and wake up. The dream didn't make much sense to me back then, and so I almost forgot about it, but perhaps I should revisit it.. Any suggestions?
Thank you much!
Heck, the 4-letter Hebrew word couldn't have been YHWH (Yahweh), could it? Do an image search on that or 'tetragrammaton' if you think it may be, perhaps it may jar your deeper parts of memory. It's interesting that the mass murderer is singling out one person, why do you think that may be?
WOW!! It could be! I'll do an image search for sure, and...what's "tertrgrammation"?? I never heard of it before. And yes, it's a good point I didn't realize before - why would a mass murderer single out anyone, he wouldn't be a "a mass" then.. Curiouser and curiouser. Thank you John!
No worries, this dream had me very interested! I was wondering if you come from a Judeo-Christian background, perhaps Christian (if it's not too personal a question for the public space)? The Tetragrammaton refers to the four letters YHWH that form the 'Divine Name' in Hebrew, or they can also be rendered JHVH. The original pronunciation of the name has been lost, but most Hebrew scholars agree on Yahweh being the most likely pronunciation, and in English, 'Jehovah' has been the translation used for centuries from the JHVH interpretation. A good bible should have its use in Psalms 83:18 most commonly, a not so good bible will have it rendered as LORD (not the use of the four capital letters).
If you're from a Jewish background, then I guess the name of the God of the Israelites needn't any more explanation. ;) If you're from a Christian background (whether still practising/believing or not), the Tetragrammaton has appeared on a lot of ancient church art in particular (very common in stained glass motifs, altars, and so on), and I'm wondering if you were raised as a Christian at any point if this may be the source of your memory of these four letters? (It seemed the most likely assumption for a Westerner who's not a Hebrew scholar).
As for the rest of the dream, I was wondering if the shooter might be singling you out for religious beliefs/background, whether active/inactive, conscious/unconscious? It would seem that religion and/or fundamentalism is one of America's most sensitive and explosive subjects during this period, and if this violent shooter is coming for you for having some kind of religious background in a culture that's becoming increasingly tense about it? I have another interpretation or two in that vein, but only if that interpretation fits, and if you do come from a Judeo-Christian background (the interpretation is useless unless it fits the dreamer).
Apart from more obvious reasons, as for the mirror (and this may be an interpretation too far), but as Hebrew is written from right-to-left, in opposition to English, what if you could only recognise it in a mirror where the direction would be reversed? That one might be labouring it a bit! ;)
All said gives me a lot to wonder about.. I am from former Soviet Union, and didn't have any particular religious upbringing. However, I recall that the day before having this dream, I made a trip to Brooklyn, NY, and got lost. I ended up driving through an orthodox Jewish neighborhood, on Saturday morning. It was a gruesome scene - I was the only one on the road driving, up above my head was a train running, there were no trees or plants, no animals, no women on the streets, only crowds of men dressed in bizarre black outfits. When I stopped for red light, a father with a boy of my son's age, about 6 or 7, crossed the street in front of me. I remember it very vividly - a man drugging that little boy's limp, half-alive body. A boy looked at me through the windshield, those huge eyes with unchild-like sadness in them. My heart sunk as I felt very very sad for that boy. I don't know why, but it was a very strong feeling even as encounter was very short. There was lots of signs and ads in Hebrew which I didn't understand.
As of my religious believes, I don't have any at this time. I had my fingers in every religious/spiritual pie there is, none of which tasted good enough to keep eating 'em. I firmly don't believe in believing in God, you see. I think I have withdrawn that particular projection. In addition, I am devoted to the growth and development of "psychic feminine principle" in myself and our culture. In old times, the way I am, might have been considered a goddess worshiper, but I don't believe in goddess either. To me, goddess or god is the way of being we are manifesting every day. That's that, and it perhaps marginalizes me in this society...
Does it have anything to do with the dream? I don't know.. You gave me a lot to think about..
And yes - a mirror!! Never occurred to me that mirror doesn't show exact image, but "a mirror image".. Shortly before the dream I remember talking to a vision of mine, she said - "abandon the world that is looking at its reflection and become the reflection itself"..
How very strange. This dream has so many more levels than I thought.. I don't understand it.
But yes, I drew the image of the tattoo, and I checked images of YHWH - and it seems exactly that. Pheww... Makes my head dizzyy
Thank you so much for your brilliant contribution. Please comment if anything else resonates..
Thanks, and happiest New Year!!
Could it be that the shooting at Sandy Hook is a breaking of a mirror? If approached with the reflection-based attitude, it can allow inquiry into a deeper truth and as such can become a revelation, or Apocalypse in ancient Greek..
Heyer, sorry about the delay, my twin brother was visiting and we were busy recording some tracks. :-/
No idea on that last amplification of the Sandy Hook theme, but if it's something that intuitively grabs you, then it's probably worth exploring. The Jewish neighbourhood dream, would you say the bizarre black outfits have some kind religious/ritual purpose?
The Soviet background makes this an especially interesting set of circumstances, particularly when we take into account Lenin and Marx's view on religion. While Jung was very careful never to comment on the literal/physical existence of God in official psychology works, he nonetheless wrote extensively on the subject of God as a very real psychic fact inside humans - an archetypal image deeply tied in to the image of the Self. In cultures where religion is suppressed, these 'godly' attributes then get projected onto something else; such as 'The Flag', the leaders of the nation and so on, often endowing them with qualities far beyond their material nature, with leaders often being endowed with super-human qualities by their subjects (for a strong modern day example, examine the creation myths that surround Kim Jong-Il and his father, which go beyond bizarre).
Unfortunately, dreams don't lie, and what they expose can be highly confronting... so umm... I hope this isn't too confronting...
Anyway, your quote, "I firmly don't believe in believing in God, you see. I think I have withdrawn that particular projection. In addition, I am devoted to the growth and development of "psychic feminine principle" in myself and our culture"; this seems to be very much a product of the conscious mind - rather than the psyche as a whole - and when an important position is taken by the conscious mind, its counter-position is taken in the unconscious, where further ideas continued to be played out. And in this case, your dreams seem to be saying (or dare I say "confronting you with") something very different to your stated conscious position.
Some interesting quotes from Jung on God and spirituality:
"I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life - that is to say, over 35 - there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life".
"You can take away a man's gods, but only to give him others in return".
There are of course many more, but I think that should do, and as a religious man myself, I wouldn't want to appear either forceful or dogmatic. Either way, regardless of your life experience with 'the gods', it appears that 'The God of Abraham' has made some sort of permanent mark on you (hence the tattoo - itself a permanent form of expression); a mark that you have perhaps denied so far but has only been highlighted blatantly when you looked into a mirror, and it was emblazoned across your forehead.
There are a number of interesting scriptures that actually have the marking of foreheads like this in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, but I'll only highlight them if this isn't starting to rub you up the wrong way! ;)
Dr. Dave on Shrink Rap Radio is a firm believer that dreams have multiple levels, and often have further parallels that make sense later in life. This dream appears to be particularly 'energic' and weighty, and I'd say many more dreams will be attached to this one. If you have the time to listen, there's a Shrink Rap Radio episode that will probably help you drop down in to this particular rabbit hole, if you are so prepared! ;) Richard Naegle struck me as someone particularly mature, developed, and profound in this sense, if you're willing to give his point of view a go. Check it out at:
Oh, this is a later reply, but was the Jewish neighbourhood encounter a literal one or a dream one? I'm just re-reading it and I'm not sure if you're saying you dreamed that or not...
I have always been troubled by the stigma associated with emotional and behavioral disabilities (ED/BD). It is the only disability I am aware of where the individuals with these disabilities are openly discriminated against in society. I do everything I can, personally and in my profession, to break the stigma associated with ED/BD. Over 50% of the kids who have ED/BD drop out of high school. The highest drop out rate of any disability. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students. Your question was "what is being neglected, bypassed, or buried that we can individually and collectively address". I believe the answer is the proper treatment and support of children with ED/BD.
If society would stop ignoring this disability, stop stigmatizing it, and discriminating against it.....we would not see these things happen. People with ED/BD would not be afraid or embarrassed to seek help. They would talk to others about their disability without feeling like they would be judged or treated like they have the plague.Until society begins to treat ED/BD the same way they do with every other disability...with kindness, support, and understanding....unfortunately, we are going to see these tragedies continue to happen.
How do we begin? Children with ED/BD need support and education early on to learn about their disability, how to self-regulate their own behaviors, and how to be an advocate for themselves. There is also a biomedical component. It is crucial that individuals with ED/BD listen to and take care of their bodies. It is also important that society is educated on ED/BD.