Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Iatre, therapeuson seauton

That's Greek. To me and to everyone else. Jesus, in Luke, quoting a proverb he knew, "Physician, heal thyself."

My friend jpnill, who wanders through realms even more arcane than ExCathedra, sent me a blog entry from a Jungian website. I will not bore you with the text or the link to this online "global community". It's a good example of why, despite my continuing appreciation of Jung, Jungians are another matter.

The piece was a discussion of enantiodromia, the process by which a thing, if unbalanced, turns into its opposite. The subject was Obama. And how he had captured the projections of America and the world as a "bearer of the transcendent function." That is a Jungian term for what reconciles opposites in new synthesis. 
Obama's own mixed heritage of Caucasian and African American, Christian with a Muslim background, Ivy league educated but upwardly mobile with humble roots made him a suitable figure to bear the transcendent function. Candidate Barack Hussein Obama was a lightning rod whose power arced through the electorate and through people across the planet in almost palpable ways.*
And it further pointed out how hope had turned to disappointment so that now, Obama was being scapegoated for the failures of the economy and the world scene.

(ExCathedra rolls his eyes here and sighs.)

Throughout the piece, there is no hint whatever that Obama's failures resulted in any way from his adult and presidential, much less masculine, agency. It is rather we, poor sinners with our unreal projections, who expected the impossible from him --he inherited an impossible situation--and now we wish to blame the Suffering Servant for our illusions. (Isaiah 53, anyone?)

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
 4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all
    and of the Evil One from Texas.

Or Numbers 21?
"Look ye upon the brazen snake-on-the-pole & ye shall be healed!"

As if the poor little mulatto fella did nothing himself to curry, kindle and fan those illusions. Remember the European tour with the Greek pillars, the seal and the speech about healing the fucking planet?

As regular readers may know, when it comes to anything to do with "racism", ExCathedra is waaay over it. Know wh'am sayin'?  But it is very interesting that all these very white people refuse to imagine that a halfBlack man may be in big trouble because of his own empowered, free, black and over 21 decisions, choices, actions, policies, etc. They never had any trouble at all demonizing a White male American Christian Texan capitalist pro-military president. He who left Obama the impossible inheritance which he currently carries up the hill of political Calvary. But now that their precious symbolic child of the opposites is floundering, he must be the scapegoat (Leviticus 16, btw) for our psychological transgressions and iniquities.

With false and formulaic humility, the blog entry mentions "the possible contributions, if any, of Analytical Psychology to the political process".

"If any".

As if.

*For some unfathomable reason, I was never thus palpably arced.


Anonymous said...

But GWB also invited the transcendent function and thus execration, though by the educated class in the West, when he declared that his favourite political philosopher was Jesus. This invitation was much more oblique than the current president's »European tour with the Greek pillars, the seal [Greek phok√™; water barkers, sc dogs] and the speech about healing the phok√™-king planet«. I guess, though, that GWB can't reasonably complain that thereafter he was depicted by all the educated-class editorial cartoonists as a monkey, and condemn'd as if the nightmare of rightwing domination began with his election -- the Republican theft, really, of the election via Florida voting machines.

But then for the educated, the nightmare of rightwing domination is always beginning anew, the theft of the true America's patrimony in the pacifist, socialist-communitarian post-Christendom, post-Biblical Whitmanesque "shining light on the hill for all the world to see." This theft began anew with Ronald Reagan, and began anew with Richard Nixon (ruling the years that properly belong'd to Bobby), and began anew with Ike (defeating Adlai Stevenson), etc.

In between are the pacifist socialist-communitarian lightning rods such as Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, JFK, et al, and the Democratic-majority congresses, who impose halycon politics again thus confining the military-industrial complex + fundamentalist low-class pastors to fret in powerless rage and resentment, until manipulation of the democratic process enables Christian creationism to explode in unprecedented violence again, as in the war on the people of Iraq.

Time to make more donuts again?

Anonymous said...

P.S. If there is a difference with the transcendent function in President Obama, it could be that he is a lightning rod for "disappointment" both from the educated class and the rightwing Christian class. The Newsweek cover ?6 Sept 2010 that alarm'd Dr. Cruz unites leftwing and rightwing unfavourable identifications of the President which the editorialist says aren't actually part of who the president is. Thus the current president in the transcendent function is both a Muslim and a Wall Street-lover, both a terrorist-coddler and a warmonger.

In contrast, Ronald Reagan wasn't both a California astrologer (for conservative Christians) and a Cold Warrior who refused to see the benefits and necessity of co-operating with the USSR.

Yet in some ways President Carter was a transcendent function obedient will-to-power who disappointed both conservative Christians and the secular left (he opposed abortion; and sent memos to his co-habiting staff urging them to marry). ... LBJ-Humphrey were execrated by both conservative and liberal Americans.

As for me, I still have the strong sense that President Obama is revered by African Americans and blacks elsewhere in the world. For this reason, and because no good can come for America or the rest of the world from the failure of an American president of whatever party and other identification labels, I still really hope for his eventual success.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Does Jung describe a difference between "transcendent function" and "daimonization"?

Anonymous said...

Freud dismiss'd the transcendent function as an "obsessional neurosis"?

... Religion, he hoped, would become a science, but I suppose in this he was preceded by Aquinas (sacra doctrina as the scientia), who was ripping off Aristotle's metaphysics as a "first" philosophy (a philosophy for »in the "beginning"«), who was drawing on Plato's episteme or understanding, to which the chain of karma from first in itself to first for us, or vice versa.

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