Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shaman Circus, Jung, Sabine, Freud

Just having seen the movie "A Dangerous Method" in addition to devouring John Kerr's 600 page book over a period of ten or twelve hours, has taken me round on the spiral again.  Thank goodness.  I need to be here, due to the change happening around me, some of which is due to my own change-mongering nature.
I saw the movie in the best of circumstances, with a great friend who is addicted to the concepts of the mind, the ethics of the individual ) not quite the same as the morals of a society) and the amazing potential for the individuation and growth of the Self. 
It was sad there were only five people at the 2 pm matinee which we attended.  Especially since the film is not even playing in Greenville, but by some odd synchronisitc moment, I found out about the film only the day before it was released (having thought it had already gone by) when Westgate Mall in Spartanburg popped up on a Google search.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I attended the Greenville Chautauqua lecture where Dr. George Frein spoke about  Jung's Red Book. His lecture also offered me the gift of the movie, but even better the book, A Most Dangerous Method on which the screenplay and movie were based.  Now in addition to get to see Dr. George Frein as Carl Jung in the Chautauqua series in June  this year, I am lucky to be offered a long term study of Jung, learning about an entire treasure load of new books including one made into a documentary on Sabina and Jung, My Name Was  Sabina Spielrein, and an additional film, Soul Keeper and even better the two webinars and the very passionate and enlightening discussions offered on  the The Asheville Jung Center's website.  I read the discussions, take a breath, then go and read a chapter of the brilliant and user friendly On Jung by Anthony Stevens and finally stop to sit and think. I now see so many correlations between the inner aspects of my characters in my novels, Shaman Circus (published in 2010) and Shaman in Exile (nearly finished) in the concept that a trinity is helpful in individuation in the form of the animus in a female's case, the shadow and the self.
Even though I knew I employed a great deal of Jungian thought in the two books, I hadn't quite come up with the concept in such simple concrete terms.
I'm not going to do any spoilers here.  I have a feeling the film will be viewed by a lot of people interested in Jung when it comes out on DVD.  Many might not hezf of it until it's already out of the theaters. But of course it is lacking compared to the book. You just can't jam that much info into a film.  But it did not have to be so inaccurate.  I think there's plenty of drama which could have been played up with the real dynamics and emotions between these three entangled real people. Sabina was not honestly portrayed as the very strong woman she had  become after her therapy and education. Instead of the film showing her present her powerful paper in front of  Freud and his Vienna psychoanalytical association, a very brave thing for the first woman in this group, they simply show her in Freud's office discussing her work, as if she is still simply a student or follower.The film doesn't reveal much about how her work impacted later analysts and therapists, either. 
And the way the relationship between she and Jung was approached was very shallow and surface level, hardly intimating the "poetry" between them as she called it, that mystical union of mind, spirit and archetypal power. I still leave it open in my mind as to whether Sabina and Jung physically consummated their affair.  The letters and diaries don't tell us this.  And I'm enthralled with many of Jung's alchemical correspondences with the process of individuation.  The stages of solutio, sublimation, nigredo, calcinatio, etc. and how when viewed through the alchemical lens, the libido, when unable to be enacted in the physical world becomes more powerful in the inner world leading to the same "destruction/death" aspect Sabina offered, offering a chance for a rebirth in some form. I am interested in of creative initiatives (writing, art,music, dance, film, theater) such as both of them going through the alchemical stages to deliver (as Sabina wrote) "their son" in the form of papers and books they wrote as they they tried to deal with the consequences of losing each other. I regret A Dangerous Method portrayed their love more as a common affair and not the very complicated connection it was.
Even the relationship, the powerful, father/son aspect between the two fathers of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy , let alone the lover aspect, followed by the public and personal break up was downplayed in my view.  I could see it downplayed if the film focused on Sabina but instead, I felt it focused more on Freud, who I think could have been played better by Viggo, who has long been a favorite actor of mine.  I would have loved to have seen him rip into the anger and angst which attended their breakup and the following vacancy in both of their lives.
 I wouldn't want to have seen the film with someone who had not read some of the literature by and about either of these major influences on the world psyche. My friend who watched the movie with me, is more of a scientist, highly knowledgeable of neuroscience and a student of many more life experiences, as well as someone who leans towards Freud's developments of the actual brain. While I lean towards Jung and the explorations of the soul.  So this has led us into some enlightening series of discussions, disagreements, conclusions, realizations, conclusions, which I hoped the film and book would offer and I can see both forms of media now become an integral part of how we learn from each other - a great gift indeed at of course, a synchronisitc change as we both go through very real transitional periods in our separate lives.
I'd been looking for more books about the trinity of these three great psychologists, one could say, the father, mother and holy spirit of the psychoanalytical movement when I chanced upon the notice the movie was playing in Spartaburg but not the larger city where I live, Greenville. And I find it wonderful and strange that after 29 years of searching for another Jungian, I should find a friend and mentor, who is not a Jungian but a Freudian, more versed in various aspects of the brain and unconscious than I am.  But I see it as a gift that he tends towards the investigative and I towards the mystic, since this is how we best learn - through our opposites, the homeostatic way we achieve balance.
I hope anyone interested in Jung will read the book first, then see the film. And then check out the Asheville  Jung Center's website to fully round out their experience of the film and book. 

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