Monday, November 26, 2007

Forever Jung

I know what some of you are thinking: "The occult? Gods and superheroes? Is this guy off of his rocker?" Well, maybe, but there is an established methodology I'm trying to follow in looking at these issues. A lot of you may be familiar with Joseph Campbell, but some of you may not realize that Campbell's research was in no way unique. He was actually a follower of the legendary Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung.

Appropriately enough, I first became aware of Jung when the Police released their album Synchronicity, named in honor of one of Jung's central teachings. Synchronicity as Jung taught was meaningful coincidence, which he saw as the unifying principle behind human experience; "the Hand of God" as he called it. Jung also saw our mythology as having a profound basis in human psychology and mirrored our real-life dramas by exaggerating and universalizing them. That is the framework in which I approached Our Gods Wear Spandex, and the framework in which I would like it to be read.

Jung enjoyed a vogue in the 90's with writers like James Hillman, Robert Bly, Thomas Moore and Deepak Chopra. I've read and appreciate a lot of their work, but Jungian philosophy is a lot deeper, more challenging and much more dangerous than the version some of these writers presented to us. Jung also introduced the language of Symbology into the popular lexicon which has burst into the forefront with films like The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure.

So what would I recommend as a good starting point for people to enter the mysteries of Jung's teachings? Interestingly enough, I'd recommend a comic book: Introducing Jung by Maggie Hyde and Michael McGuinness.

This book is by no means comprehensive (many of Jung's books are very tough to get through unless you're an academic), but will give you a good overview of Jung's life and work and help provide a framework for understanding what I am trying, in my own modest way, to accomplish in Our Gods Wear Spandex.

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