Yearly Archives - 2012

Consciousness and Freedom: Jung, Sartre, Steiner.

Freedom, that is the idea of freedom, the possibility of freedom, is a topic which strikes me as worth considering. It is, after all, arguably, the most important question philosophy can ask; and a defining parameter in our understanding of what it means to be a human being. The question simply put is this: Can an individual make choices which are not wholly determined by a prior casual chain? Is it possible, like Kant’s hypothetical God, to initiate a first [...]

Trauma, Emptiness and Failure to Relate in Steve McQueen’s “Shame”

This is a guest post by Helena Bassil-Morozow. The opening scene of Shame (2011) is shocking in its colourlessness and stillness: the film’s protagonist Brandon (Michael Fassbender), with his hand almost on his groin, is lying in bed looking rather dead. The shot’s colour temperature is cold; the mis-en-scene’s minimalism – the still naked body against the background of blue-white sheets – evokes associations with hospital rooms and mortuaries. The bird’s-eye shot lasts half a minute and looks almost like [...]

Yes I know your mother is a bitch…

Recently a young man (well not that young really, late thirties) came to see me for some coaching. He was fairly distressed; he felt a certain lack of direction, an absence of meaning in his life perhaps. Looking back on his life he saw a litany of failures, missed opportunities, could-have-been’s, should-have-been’s, mistakes, wrong turns, unfortunate turn of events and a few regrets thrown in for good measure. The young man was familiar with some pop-psychology and understood the importance [...]

To Have or Not to Have an Ego

In western culture the ego has had a bad rap. Most people think that an ego is something negative. That it should be suppressed. You have an over inflated ego, or you are egocentric or egotistical. And Eastern religions say you should abandon it altogether, it just causes problems. 🙂 But what is the ego? Is it something good or bad? Should you give up on it or hold on to it? In both analytical psychology (Jungian) and psychoanalysis (Freudian), the Ego plays [...]

The experience machine and Jung’s symbolic attitude

I heard from one of my lecturers at Wits recently about a book called Better never to have been: the harm of coming into existence, written by a local lad, Professor David Benatar, HOD of the philosophy department at the University of Cape Town. As the title suggests Benatar proposes that it is far better never to be born; that one is irreparably harmed by coming into existence. The two arguments that Benatar offers for this view are: 1.By bringing someone [...]

‘The Horror Comes from within Man’: David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method

Helena Bassil-Morozow PhD, is a cultural studies theorist and film scholar. This post is a copy of her talk given at the Confederation for Analytical Psychology Conference – A Dangerous Method which was presented on Saturday 11th February 2012. It does not come as a surprise that the body horror director David Cronenberg chose psychoanalysis as the subject of his latest work. Psychoanalysis must appeal to Cronenberg because it allows him to go back to the roots of violence, sexual [...]

How to make money and (still) be a nice person

If you are really wealthy, don’t read this blog. 🙂 I was reading an article that James Hillman wrote “A contribution to soul and money”. He says lots of interesting things in it, but what struck me as most interesting is the idea that money = psyche. Money is an Archetype which is translated into psychic energy. This psychic energy is limited, so it can only be used by the ego for either external (conscious) development, i.e. manifesting money or internal [...]

On the Nature of Love: an unromantic critique

When you love someone what is it that you love? Let me tell you why I ask. I think that often when we relate to other people we objectify them. This is most noticeable on virtual social networks such as facebook. The term facebook friend long ago started meaning something different from a friend in the real world. A friend on facebook means something like – a member of my virtual community. And much like those that follow you on Twitter a facebook [...]

Accepting the Helping Hand.

A little boy was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone. His father came along just then. Noting the boy’s failure, he asked, “Are you using all your strength?” “Yes, I am,” the little boy said impatiently. “No, you are not,” the father answered. “I am right here just waiting, and you haven’t asked me to help you.” Beautiful, isn’t it? And that is the inspiration for my blog today. This idea that we are not alone. That help is all around us and [...]

The Mysterious Case of the 2nd Personality: a Psychological Detective Story

One of the most profoundly interesting ideas in depth psychology is the second personality. In this post I will explore this idea of Jung’s, and consider its implications and  practical application. In as much as we refer to the ‘second personality’ we must credit Jung with coining this phrase and articulating the idea. However, first, to better understand the dualistic nature of our inner life it will be helpful to consider Freud’s idea of the id and the superego. OUR FIRST [...]