Dear members of the depth psychology community,
Like many of you, I was stunned by the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election yesterday, November 8, and have spent the day mourning for so many things that feel like they have been lost. As a woman, I am keenly aware that the moment for electing our first woman president has evaporated, but on a much deeper level, I am also profoundly distressed by the election of someone who is so clearly disrepectful of women and lacks compassion and understanding for so many who are marginalized, including other minorities, other species, and planet itself. I wonder how all these deep feelings, including anger, are going to be manifest in coming weeks, months, and years.
Like some of you, also, I seem to bounce between feeling numb and being distraught, even questioning on some level what role I play in all of this, and whether the calling I feel to make depth psychology more accessible in the world actually does a bit of good on some many levels. And yet, I know I must have hope: hope for our future, for our young people and generations to come; for everyone who is suffering and will continue to suffer in the face of a political system that favors certain groups over others.
We live in a world that is as challenged as it has ever been, and yet I maintain a powerful faith in the patterns at work in a world where change is the only constant. I know there is something bigger at work. I am certain I see only a narrow slice of what's at work. I believe in the idea that nature is constantly reaching out to us to pull us back from the brink of extinction (an idea I first encountered in Jerome Bernstein's groundbreaking work, Living in the Borderland.) Some part of me wonders if Donald Trump had to be elected because it will serve as a catalyst to something new; because people will be more innovative in creating change, be inspired to action in a different way, collaborate together with those they may not have engaged with before.
Ten years ago I experienced a profound awakening of my own—so powerful it sent me into what Stan Grof aptly terms "spiritual emergency"—basically, when something spiritual happens that sends one spiraling into emergency. Somehow, at that time, I believe I managed to tap into something bigger than me, a pattern at work in which I play a part and which is playing out not only for the good of each of us individually, but for us as a collective, a species which is resilient, conscious, and able to evolve and learn and love one another. What I experienced then was a taste of what we truly are as divine souls, and the stunning realization that as earthly beings caught up in human bodies and conditioned by culture outside our control, we have truly "settled" for something we can't begin to grasp. Each of us is different, and perceives our lives on earth in different ways, and we each must find our way to carry the torch for new beginnings, for hope in humanity, for belief that we can truly evolve as a species. I think being willing to participate in community is one of the ways these things can manifest. I hope you believe that too.
If anyone feels moved to share your own thoughts and feelings about all of this, please feel free to respond below. If you have criticisms or comments on political parties or policies, maybe your forum is elsewhere. If you wish to provide a depth psychological response or lens, or simply an authentic contribution (it could even be in the form of art or poetry), please respond below, and let us each hold one another in love, compassion, and a willingness to hold the tension as much as we possibly can.
REVISITING THE GREAT DEBATES
Why am I revisiting the nature verses nurture debate following the 2016 USA Presidential election?
My teacher always encouraged me to stay informed about what was “happening” in the world that surrounds me as these factors may affect my very existence and quality of life. Sound advice. I joined DPA in 2012 in the hopes of finding a “virtual” community where I could engage in online and in-depth conversations. To this end, I have participated in many offerings and conversations that either pushed me towards deeper explorations and/or frustrated me due to content being lost in translation. I am not scholarly regarding mythology nor do I align myself within a neither psychoanalytical nor Jungian point of view. Let me try to explain what I am trying to convey in simple, respectful manner.
My father was a wise man and one of the most important teachings he gave me was when I was 12 years old when he stated, “If you remember nothing else I have tried to teach you, remember this…if your word doesn’t mean anything, then, nothing else matters.” I have seriously contemplated upon this advice my entire life and have taken my father's teaching to heart.
The other good conversational pieces of wisdom that I keep in my conversational toolkit are:
1) If you have to take someone else down to make yourself look good [right], then, resist... that approach for if you have nothing kind or constructive to say that helps build the other person up or improve your relationship with each other, then, do not say anything at all. Silence is golden.
2) What you think is, so be careful regarding the words you choose to express your own personal thoughts. Words are powerful and they can both nurture or abuse. Thoughts can deceive.
3) Be careful using, dropping people’s names and ideas, integrating them into your own personal experiences, narrative, and formation of your on-going moral fibre - compass you use traversing time. The use of words forms constructs, powerful sources, a way of disseminating your private and professional views into the public arena. We are social beings living together within a cultural context. We are all trying to individuate and maintain health and wellness affirming, due care and attention for our young to ensure the survival/care of our species/planet.
Beware the influence we have upon each other for "undue influence and abuse" contaminates our soul journey, collective – destiny. I personally try hard to not be unkind nor hurt another, and definitely do not want to be misunderstood, so I remain careful and cautious in what I say, and if I have a reaction…I immediately own it for that reaction tells me the animal instincts in me feels unsafe [real or imagined], and needs more in-depth personal work.
After all is said and one, I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror - each and every new day dawning [a gift] I awaken to, use my time wisely, and to do so, I need to feel comfortably within my own skin.
Pre-election, I avoided joining in on any further race/politically based conversations this past year for I wanted to simply follow content shared by the membership within the PDA community, while concurrently following the daily national news, and reading a few texts on Jung and Clinton. These are my bottom-line observations and opinions:
1) There is too much reaction, sensationalism and speculation going on and much of it is “Jerry Springer” style...so not good journalism nor depth inquiry!
2) There is too much 3rd party conversation going on...he said, she said...we all know gossip is cruel, unkind and solves absolutely nothing. I am disgusted with the gist of conversations of both political party candidates and campaigns, in this regard and they owe all of us in North America - a huge apology for throwing gas upon the real fires burning!
So, now that I got this off my chest, I would like to respond to the last post for as a woman, I am disappointed that Mrs. Trump, who is going to be your next “First Lady”, was compared to “Barbie” an inanimate object [doll]. She is so much more than that. She is a beautiful woman in physical appearance that has the body frame, hence, was a model. My husband and I liked her last speech, and in her own way, and in the background, I do believe she will rise to the occasion to address cyber-bullies, including her spouse! After all it was a “dirty” election campaign full of historic trails of abnormal power dynamics, greed and lust in the lives of many of the characters on stage - the elite, rich and famous!
Let us get into more forgiveness and lovingkindness…please. I do appreciate all the divergent points of view, however, my suggestion is…if you are posting complex theorems to others with a similar analytical flavour, please do not leave the rest of us out...getting lost in translation, and briefly summarize a paragraph in plain language, for those of us who have no idea or desire to get into that amount of depth that you are pursing on any particular thread of knowledge.
I am going back, for the third time [3 decades of study], to review the nature verses nurture controversy literature of the 19th and 20 century scholars…within the mix of contemporary research on near-death and trauma wounds. Have a blessed day.
I am so sad your Veteran’s day and our Remembrance Day ceremonies were contaminated with civil unrest. During the trumpet and bagpipe offerings to honour the fallen and dead…I cried.
Peace + Love Linda
I am sorry first of all for having stirred things up for you, I really mean it. However in my very first message to this forum, (to which I refer to in my last one), I did explain of my (personal) need to take a satirical approach. Perhaps I did not make it explicit enough but I used the words I used because I too cannot endure the level of seriousness, trench digging and position taking that the whole event seems to have triggered. To keep with the trenches metaphor, do you know that in one year of the first world war (1914?) apparently on Christmas day some soldiers from both sides came out and played a game of football (Link) Well, I am feeling a bit like that, I just want to play a different game than the seriousness of the trenches game. By the way, I too had a chance to admire the new First Lady making her speech and I really think she has all the qualities needed to be the President's wife. My name calling (the Barbie reference) was just a way of being sarcastic in wanting to confound my true sentiment (and I suppose that of many men) of finding her very attractive. Finally, allow me to revert to my equivocating self (please forgive me for my mischievousnesses but I just cannot resist). I liked Melania speech but she said the word "Donald" too many times.
Peace and love to you too.
Just a gentle reminder to everyone: This thread was opened for people to express a depth perspective, which includes holding (in the Jungian sense--not rushing to judgment or weighing in on partisan politics). I would remind everyone that if you want to express feelings, support, compassion, depth perspective, or genuine non-judgmental depth or symbolic analysis, this is a good place to do it. If you can't resist posting something outside of that focus her in a depth psychology oriented forum, perhaps ask yourself why and please consider posting it on a different site more conducive to your perspective or offering. Thank you.
Amen. This is what I find to be a sensitive and keen forum moderation.
To simplify my first post, it helped me tremendously to reread Jung’s reflections on the great war. I needed to withdraw my identification with the outer conflict/division/hysteria and bring it into myself. My hysteria, my insoluble conflict, my head-breaking-aching holding of the tensions. This was (and still is) one of the most difficult projection withdraws ever. To recollect within myself in these times seems impossible. Yet, Jung has said, “…something bloody and dreadful lay before us. I saw the foot of a giant that crushed a whole city: How could I interpret this sign otherwise? I saw that the way to self-sacrifice began here. They will all become terribly enraptured by these tremendous experiences, and in their blindness will want to understand them as outer events. It is an inner happening; that is the way to the perfection of the mystery of Christ, so that the peoples learn self-sacrifice. May the frightfulness become so great that it can turn men's eyes inward, so that their will no longer seeks the self in others but in themselves.”
And still, I attempt to have mercy on myself for my blindness, for the tendency to get hooked into trying to understand the outer event. It is so hard and I feel I fail every hour. But indeed I see some change in 100 years or even 10 years in terms of the individual and the collective, if only by a mille degree -- the sacrificing of a long-held denial.
“In December I9I6, in his preface to The Psychology of the Unconscious Processess, Jung wrote: "The psychological processes, which accompany the present war, above all the incredible brutalization of public opinion, the mutual slanderings, the unprecedented fury of destruction, the monstrous flood of lies, and man's incapacity to call a halt to the bloody demon—are suited like nothing else to powerfully push in front of the eyes of thinking men the problem of the restlessly slumbering chaotic unconscious under the ordered world of consciousness. This war has pitilessly revealed to civilized man that he is still a barbarian ... But the psychology of the individual corresponds to the psychology of the nation. What the nation does is done also by each individual, and so long as the individual does it, the nation also does it. Only the change in the attitude of the individual is the beginning of the change in the psychology of the nation"
thank you Pamela...we await for our nations to change and do...I concur this is a sensitive, keen and appreciate the individual and moderation contributions from Bonnie...Peace + Love Linda
no need to apologize to me personally, Franco, and thanks anyways for I do believe your reply addressed all. Yes, I did know about the WW1 time-out...when the enemies of each other gathered together to play.
Regarding your choice for using a satirical approach that helps you hold up... manifesting human vices and follies... irony to light...either censure, scorn, ridicule [trenchant wit]... typically used to expose and/or discredit vice or folly...this is not a writing talent nor way for me. I'm glad it helps you...there is a place [forum] for Saturday Night Live, however, we watch it knowing beforehand... it is satire.
People are always telling me [still to this day] that I am so naive...do not recognize when someone is joking, so I take them seriously as I believe they are telling me their truth and when they follow with "i'm joking" and I ask why are they joking around with me...there is silence.
I am also reminded of rare upsurges of "dark humour" [twice in my 25 years ICU nursing career], when travesty befell upon an already tragic circumstances...that was unbearable and someone said something satirical...that actually helped at a guttural level...shadow has survival value...after all we are simply human animals in our hind brain.
The other form of satirical form I was exposed to... was when a professor asked us and showed us a session where the therapist used "provocative" therapy [involving using a chain saw metaphor] and he asked us...if push came to shove... and a client's life was on the line...could we use provocative therapy. The case was an extreme example and I do know I would have not been able to be that brave and instead of being provocative with a client, I would have chosen to call in the troops for help.
Anyways...thanks for the exchange. More peace + love back to you...
Shock and dismay over the recent election results is not restricted to this forum. It is widespread and is especially prevalent in the mainstream media which had exposed belittled demonized and threw everything but a nuclear bomb at Donald Trump. Racist, mysoginist, zenophobic, irrational, unstable, not to be trusted with the ultimate nuclear button et al et al et al.. May I add SHADOW! Trickster! Narcissist! for the readers at this forum.
Yet despite the 24/7 full court press and media barrage of slings and arrows the electorate put their imprimatur on Trump. His victory had nothing to do with fascism, racism or the rise of impoverished lower classes in America.... He tapped into and rode the same Tsunami that propelled the Arab spring. It is becoming increasingly impossible for loyal patriotic decent law abiding American citizens to make ends meet and to pursue the American dream in the nation today. This made them impervious to the mainstream media propaganda. America and Americans first resonated with them as it provided them with the hope that they could regain their freedom to pursue happiness and the American way of life. There is a massive socioeconomic transformation happening in America. Think of Elon Musk saying robots are going to eliminate most of the jobs. A historical change with all its tectonic distortions and attendant disruptions is underway. The election result is a function of the change that is sweeping the nation.
The NY times was also shocked at the elections outcome. That they had used every trick in the book to derail Trump and had failed to do so must have especially amplified their disbelief at the outcome To their credit they took some time to reflect upon and to try to understand what had happened. I suspect a bit of introspection and analysis of the trump phenomenon would be therapeutic for us all.
The publisher of The New York Times penned a letter to readers Friday promising that the paper would “reflect” on its coverage of this year’s election while rededicating itself to reporting on “America and the world” honestly.
Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s embattled publisher, appealed to Times readers for their continued support.
New York Post columnist and former Times reporter Michael Goodwin wrote, "because it (The Times) demonized Trump from start to finish, it failed to realize he was onto something. And because the paper decided that Trump’s supporters were a rabble of racist rednecks and homophobes, it didn’t have a clue about what was happening in the lives of the Americans who elected the new president.
Given what is unfolding elsewhere I think this has been a wonderfully civilised and forward looking discussion - even though many of us have strong feelings about the topic, and are genuinely concerned about the future 'out there' and the combination of economic, cultural, historical and, yes, psychological forces that have led to the current situation. The line between depth psychology - which aims to assist individuals - and social psychology - which aims to understand and treat the sicknesses of entire societies - is never so in danger of being blurred as when political sentiments are heightened, as they are at present. It can look like a group cathartic primal scream/Groffian session at times - disturbing for those unsure what's going on - especially when as many have said, there's a fair bit of mutual projecting, and maybe not a lot of healing going on in the public domain! The difficulties of processing such group shadow stuff, however, should not deter depth psychologists from commenting, And I agree with Bonnie that we do need to use the tools of the depth psychologist to encourage the public to take their discussion to deeper, healing levels.
I think the first chapter of Jung's 'The Undiscovered Self' - ie The Plight of the Self in Modern Society - is very apt reading right now, re how to attain to that balance between understanding and responding to the impact of the social on the self AND understanding how our experience of self influences the society and world we have built collectively and are building for our children etc. - quite a few contributors seem to be highlighting this or circling it. One of Jung's sentences in particular resonates for me right now: 'The mass crushes out the insight and reflection that are still possible with the individual, and this necessarily leads to doctrinaire and authoritarian tyranny if ever the constitutional State should succumb to a fit of weakness.' I've been pondering that sentence, that chapter, indeed that entire book this morning - and difficult as it is we need to keep the channels open between these two relational realms - and be advocates for balance between them, come what may, as we move forward. Best wishes to all contributors and to those who have looked on without feeling the need to contribute. Ian
NOTE: Depth Psychology Alliance is hosting a post-election online event led by Kim Hermanson, PhD, THIS Tuesday, November 15, at 4pm US PT for those interested in holding space in community through a very special process involving metaphor.
Please come with an open mind and a willingness to engage what is showing up for you in the moment. This is NOT a political discussion, but rather an opportunity to hold space for whatever wishes to come through for the collective or for individuals, whether that be healing, rest, or constructive action. When the mind is quiet and we've transcended the ego, something beyond thought can move us.
Oh thank you Paul for sharing with us your feelings with that poignant image. I have been listening repeatedly to Buckley’s Hallelujah for weeks and working on a new (hallelujah) mandala.
It is difficult at this juncture to assimilate and integrate what happened and I am ill (lungs/grief). But this morning I remembered what Ventura and Hillman were talking about almost twenty years ago and this has been my sentiment for at least that long, “Okay. My feeling is that this worldwide disintegration is gong to play itself out no matter what, and it’s going to take a while, a century or two…of a kind of chaos…but call it a Dark Age. But remember what philosopher Miguel de Unamuno said, ‘We die of cold and not of darkness.”
My first response when I saw the NYT’s headlines at 1 am (T**** Triumphs), I almost passed out, the words on my lips: “It’s the end of the world.” Today I begin to remember my teaching that Michael Ventura has validates: It IS the end of one world, one story…and it has to end for the new story to emerge. With all the support from you guys here and from my worldwide family (yes, I wanted to flee back to France but I feel I am needed here for now and there really isn’t an escape anyway…) Of course I/and so many are sickened. Yet, facing the darkness, accepting it, though difficult, is necessary. Resisting it is worse.
As Ventura continues, “trying to be a wide-awake human during a Dark Age and keeping alive what you think is beautiful and important.” And Hillman responds, “keep the memory alive.”
These quotes were from the last pages of “One Hundred Years of Psycho Therapy and the World’s Getting Worse. No kidding.
Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen died, age 82, the day before the U.S. election. I'm one of many people who will miss his soulfull spirit. I find in many of his lyrics a kind of "holding the tension of oppossites."
"Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed," his manager Robert Kory wrote in a statement. "I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come." (Rolling Stone obit.)
Born in 1934, Cohen moved from Montreal to New York in 1966. He lived there, or in London, for much of his life.
In 1988, after the Berlin wall had fallen, Cohen heard a lot of people saying democracy would now come to the countries east of it. He didn't believe it, and asked himself where true "democracy" could be found. So he began writing the song "Democracy", which was released in 1992. (The first Gulf War ended Feb., 1991.)
From interview comments about the song, it's clear that Cohen did not intend it as a criticism or satire of the U.S., and the repeated line - "Democracy is coming to the U.S.A." is not meant to be ironic. It simply means what Cohen believed -- that "democracy" is an ideal, a project being worked on. As I recall, he says the U.S. is where all the various social forces and conflicts - hopes and desparations - meet most energetically in this project, which he saw as just beginning. Cohen wrote many verses, but for the recorded version he kept only those that would reinforce the sense of experiencing a "revelation" about democracy.
As in many of his songs, there is plenty of room for ironic double meanings to many of the lines -- room for the oppossites of hope and despair. But the overall intention is much like the lines from another song, "Anthem":
"There's a crack in every thing;
That's how the light gets in."
"Democracy", by Leonard Cohen (1934 - 2016)
It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.
It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Sail on, sail on ...
I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Spoken (shortened) version of "Democracy":