Friday, August 17, 2007

Jung Love Review: Estes' Classic Starts My Journey

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola. (1992). Women Who Run with the Wolves. New York: Ballentine.

For a long time -- since 2004 -- ideas had been burbling around in my head about women, creativity, and building a new identity in later life, in a society that doesn't value post-menopausal females. Reading Estes in February 2007 was part of my probing; I didn't know that it would start me off in a new direction, nor that, come autumn, I would barely have scratched the surface of my hero's journey.

Estes deconstructs old fairytales and folk stories for the wisdom they contain about how social forces dismember women's psyche, creativity, and central soul identity. The points that most impressed me in this book are:

  • The wild female nature is creative and connected to spirit. Estes schema is that soul is a universal force that incarnates physically to know itself. Spirit inhabits the body and is the messenger between ego and soul. But ego is limited, afraid, and selfish. It sees the light of soul and entraps spirit, wanting to be close to it.
  • Entrapment includes trying to be the good girl/woman, behaving to please others, giving up art for money and things, a marriage and children.
  • Eventually, one must connect to the wildness within to be whole.
I recommend this book to any women who wants to know herself better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bad Newscasting

A new low for standards for television journalists was reached yesterday when a CNN anchor blithely admitted to a weather reporter, out in hurricane Flossie, that he didn’t know how to pronounce the name of the Hawaiian town from where the report was coming. I can hardly imagine Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Huntley or Brinkley, or any of the venerable newsmen of the past admitting – on camera – that he hadn’t done his homework. I can’t even imagine as a newspaper reporter of far lesser renown having gone out on an assignment without doing my homework.

Another egregious instance was when the Palm Beach Post, in the late 1990s, assigned a reporter to the fashion beat with no background in fashion – a deficiency she joked about in her columns. In a letter to an editor, I complained about how hard it is to teach young journalism students to do research when this is the role model they get. I also pointed out that the Post serves Palm Beach and Wellington, two of the most fashionable locales in the United States. Its readers contribute to a multi-billion-dollar fashion industry. Finally, I asked if the paper would dare send someone with no knowledge of football to report on a game and publish a lame article about how the reporter noticed that there were a bunch of guys tossing a funny-shaped ball around and bumping into each other – and that’s about all he could tell us about it.

The fashion reporter wasn’t on the beat for long, but the lame CNN reporters, with their pretty hair and superficial questions, have been around far too long.

Dan Rather, onetime CBS anchor, rails against the “dumbing down and tarting up of the news.” Pundits have been bemoaning the poor state of network and cable news, but it doesn’t do any good.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Carl Jung, Intrepid Traveler

Inspired by my brand-new Carl Jung action figure, I decided to take out my toy and give it a whirl. Here are the results.


CARL JUNG LIKES FLORIDA. He is overdressed. I suggest that he change into a Hawaiian shirt.

CARL JUNG CELEBRATES A VICTORY AT THE RACES. I wonder if Dr. Jung visited the gambling casino on the same property as the trotters' track in nearby Pompano Beach.

CARL JUNG ENJOYS SOME GARDENING AND LOSES HIS PIPE. The world-famous psychiatrist and reknowned egghead appears to own only one suit.

CARL JUNG RETIRES TO A CRUMBLING CHATEAU IN ZURICH. Being a world jet-setter is hard work. Now it is time for Jung to return to his research. I hope he makes enough money to buy another suit soon.

Jung Love Review: Caroline Myss on Archetypes

Myss, Caroline. (1995). Exploring the Archetypes for Life's Lessons: Victim, Prostitute, Saboteur & Child (Audio Cassette). Great Lakes Training Associates.

This four-cassette audio set presents the four archetypes that Myss believes are part of every individual’s components. She also takes an unusual approach by relating these to a structure similar to the houses of astrology. Co-author C. Norman Sheely doesn’t add much to the exploration of archetypes as tools for understanding life’s journey and goes off on what are to me some wild bio-physiological tangents. One of the devices he recommends sounded a lot like putting a tin foil hat on one’s head to keep out the brainwashing of space aliens.

The notion of archetypes derives from the work of Carl Jung, who is not credited by Myss. They are larger than personality and illustrate grand, cross-cultural themes in human life. I am sure that we have encountered someone whom we have identified as playing the role of victim or perhaps someone who inevitably sabotages him- or herself, or others. The archetype of the prostitute is rife in our material culture. The inner child has become quite celebrated in recent years with books obliging us to honor these innocent, creative impulses or to heal the wounding of our abandoned child within.

My experience was uncanny with Myss’s use of experiential houses or aspects of life into which to place our archetypes. She asks us to pick four numbers out of the air, intuitively. As she described the archetypes, I was able to interpret a work experience I was going through to see how I was evidencing the victim, saboteur, and wounded child and what life-stage was represented. As a result, I was able to choose more mature behaviors and see my folly.

Myss is an engaging storyteller with a good sense of humor who fleshes out her ideas with plenty of human interest examples, including self-deprecating anecdotes from her own life. I recommend this set as a good starting place for an exploration of archetypes or Myss’s work.