Jung discovered the psyche’s dissociative nature through his Word Association Test. Subjects would delay or make nonsensical responses to ordinary words associated with troublesome personal memories or traumas.
James Hollis, noted Jungian scholar, teacher and author, joined us to discuss resilience. His new book, Living Between Worlds: Finding Personal Resilience in Changing Times, will be available on Amazon in mid-June.
Jung was particularly interested in the second half of life, perhaps because after his own midlife crisis he found himself so surprisingly generative. We tend to spend the first half of life oriented to familial values and cultural norms for success.
The dictionary defines authority as the power to “influence or command thought, opinion or behavior.” Authority’s Latin roots are master, leader, author—thus it lives next to its tough cousin, power. Families, organizations, and governing bodies influence and command us, whether slightly or mightily. Authority has legitimacy, from a traffic officer’s directives to a mentor’s wisdom .
The alchemical term nigredo means black or blackening, and is associated with decomposition and putrefaction. As a psychological state, nigredo is “the great suffering and grief” which the detached forces of nature inflict on the soul.
“Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” For Eeyore, only perverse possibilities lie ahead, even if they are unknowable. Do gloomy expectations create self-fulfilling prophecies? Or are pessimists more realistic than naive optimists like Winnie the Pooh? Pessimism can be associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and more. It may also motivate preparation and striving, especially if the pessimist believes he or she can overcome significant obstacles and succeed.
We can all cite examples of behaviors that defy reason and meaning. How can we understand X shouting those things at a party, or the bizarre thing Y filmed himself doing on YouTube? There is a great array of psychological labels for such behaviors, as if pronouncing them “histrionic,” “manic” or even “drunk” explains radical actions and cascades of feelings.
As we grow, unconscious unity becomes differentiated into feeling, ego, personality and desire. As we grow, we will have initiatory encounters with shadow, demanding the sacrifice of innocence and identification with ego. The story of Adam and Eve conceives this archetypal experience as the fall. The stories of Job, Faust and even the children’s tale, […]
When we speak of being triggered, what exactly is it that sends us into a familiar arc of feeling and behavior we may later regret? That mysterious force seems external and can elude our ability to locate it within. Jung called these autonomous and unconscious incursions complexes, and he discovered them through his Word Association Test.
A new year often symbolizes a new beginning, with resolutions to make specific lifestyle changes related to self-improvement. Research indicates, however, that up to 88% of these resolutions fail. If changes—no matter how worthy–are imposed by ego alone, the unconscious is likely to have its say by rebelling.