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Let's Take a Trip to New Mexico!       Who is Getting No Respect?

4. Are Heroes Okay?

My two heroes are Carl Jung and his brilliant colleague, Marie-Louise von Franz. I have purchased most of Ms. von Franz's books but very few of Carl's books. Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul explains why. When Mr. Moore required his students to read Freud and Jung (not books about them) they characterized this as abuse. Both require significant labor to understand. I was recently searching for some Jung books on State Street in Madison. I entered one of the many bookstores in the Mad City and asked the clerk why all the Jung books were gone. She pointed out that the books on the first level were 50% off and that all Jung-related books sold immediately. She also pointed out that she is unable to "even give the Freud books away."

I informed her that I knew why and then quoted a book by Peter O'Connor entitled Understanding Jung, Understanding Yourself (Paulist Press 1985) that I had read just the night before. By the way, I'm going to stop identifying "meaningful coincidences" by name so as not to bore you. Anyway, Mr. O'Connor on page viii of the preface stated: "As we head towards the last decade of this century, I think that the increasing interest in Jung is no accident. Rather, it reflects the fact that now the sexual revolution, to which Freud was a central figure, has passed, and the new anxiety is about the loss of meaning. It is the views of Carl Jung that speak so poignantly to this contemporary anxiety and indeed provide the most comprehensive and relevant understanding of it."

Our vacation in New Mexico is over so we need to start facing up to this societal stuff again. Specifically, how is our search for meaning in Amerika going? In this regard, the final paragraph on page 61 of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s article on Michael Jordon reads: "When I venture beyond the quiet of Jordan's suite and into his restaurant, I feel oddly reassured by the loud carnival of Jordan Iconography: huge posters, enormous murals, rows and rows of framed magazine covers, cascades of photographs-an empire of signs. The bar-and-grill on the first floor is dominated by a twenty-foot-by-six-foot video screen where customers can watch Jordan's greatest moments over and over and over again. It's a spectacle of kitsch-and, yes, of utter physical transcendence. Gazing for a spell at the highlights loop, I feel somehow uplifted by the procession of fadeaways, jump shots, dunks, fakeouts, double-pumps, alley-oops, lay-ups. They also serve who only stand and cheer."

This strikes me again as just too much. Perhaps it is just me. I feel reassured and uplifted when a child shows me his or her most recent drawing or even while biking in Madison along the lakes. I have never been to Jordan's restaurant. Do they have kneelers installed in front of the giant video screen or are you simply to stand and cheer while serving? Good grief.

Let's search out a different path to meaning. When we started this journey I mentioned that Marie-Louise von Franz would be assisting us in getting a handle on the concept or phenomenon of synchronicity. Frankly, I have been avoiding this task because an understanding of this thing means we need to adopt an essentially Chinese world view. I find the traditional Chinese world view to be persuasive but other may not. This in turn means considering the possibility that traditional scientific cause and effect cannot explain all happenings in our world. Cause and effect does the job most of the time though.

I'm asking you to focus on a minority of situations in our sphere of existence. Those of you familiar with the I Ching will have an easier ride. Ms. von Franz stated on pages 8 and 9 of On Divination and Synchronicity: The Psychology of Meaningful Chance (Inner City Books 1980): "In our causal thinking we have made a big separation between psychic events and physical events, and we only watch to see how physical events produce, or have a causal effect upon, each other and on psychological events. . .The synchronistic, i.e., the Chinese way of thinking, however, is completely different. It is a differentiation of primitive thinking in which no difference has ever been made between psychological and physical facts in their question as to what likes to occur together, one can bring in both inner and outer facts. For the synchronistic way of thinking it is even essential to watch both areas of reality, the physical and the psychic, and to notice that at the moment when one had these and these thoughts or these and these dreams - which would be psychological events - such and such outer physical events happened, there was a complex of physical and psychological events."

By the way, the answer to the question "Are Heroes Okay?" is "yes." I'm simply proposing that we select a few more introverts rather than always going with the loud crowd. At this juncture I would like to give Marie-Louise an opportunity to define "meaningful coincidences" also known as synchronicity from a slightly different angle because this will definitely get us on the high road to introversion. She stated on pages 236-237 of C. G Jung: His Myth in Our Time (Little, Brown and Company 1975) as follows: "There are indications that physical energy and psychic energy may be but two aspects of one and the same underlying reality. If this turns out to be the case then the world of matter will appear as, so to speak, a mirror-image of the world of spirit or of the psyche, and vice versa. From 1929 on Jung observed a class of events that appear to point to a direct relation between psyche and matter. If one observes a series of dreams and unconscious processes in an individual over a considerable period of time, one sees that with some frequency, but sporadically and irregularly, a dream motif or an unexpected fantasy will appear in the material environment also, as an outer event either in very similar form (which is recognized by parapsychology and explained as telepathy) or in a symbolical way, for instance if one sees a black-clad person in a dream and the next day receives news of a death.

"Jung described such a combination of events as a phenomenon of synchronicity. The connection between the inner event (dream, fantasy, hunch) and the outer event appears not to be a causal one, that of cause and effect, but rather one of a relative simultaneity and of the same meaning for the individual who has the experience.

"The difficulty of formulating such synchronistic phenomena scientifically is that they are irregular and hence unpredictable happenings."

After reading Marie-Louise it is very difficult to understand why the women's movement didn't take root centuries ago. What a mind. What a pen or should I say word processor. Marie-Louise has pointed out in one of her numerous books that neither extroversion or introversion is an inherently superior state. Each have their place, and the task is to achieve a viable balance between them. The question arises whether the introverts are getting any respect.

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Let's Take a Trip to New Mexico!       Who is Getting No Respect?