Columbus, Ohio USA
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The Haus That Jung Built
by Kaizaad Kotwal
Anyone interested in creativity, spirituality, psychic phenomena, the universal, and so on, will find in Jung a kindred spirit.
Getting To Know Jung
Other than Sigmund Freud, no figure has had a greater impact on modern psychology and psychiatry than Carl Gustav Jung. He was born in Kessewil, Switzerland on July 26, 1875, to Emilie Preiswerk Jung and Paul Jung, a country parson. He was surrounded by a fairly well-educated extended family, including quite a few clergymen. The elder Jung started Carl on Latin when he was six, beginning a long interest in language and literature – especially the literature of antiquity. Besides most modern Western European languages, Jung could read several ancient ones, including Sanskrit, the classical language of India. The philosophical, the supernatural, the symbolic, the religious, and the occult all influenced Jung's work, making his psychology unique and pioneering in the field of psychoanalysis.
Jung studied medicine at the School of Basel and psychology in Paris. He became a physician and a lecturer in psychiatry in Zurich. In 1912 he founded his own school of psychology there, eventually becoming a professor of psycho-logy at the Federal Polytechnical University of Zurich.
Jung developed many theories about dreams, a lot of them disagreeing with Freud. Freud and Jung were friends besides being co-workers until they had a falling out. They met in 1907 and worked together until about 1912 when Jung decided to start his own school of psychology. The friction between Jung and Freud went beyond the theoretical. It was personal. They would analyze each other's dreams. In this process, Jung found out that Freud was sleeping with Jung's wife. While telling each other their dreams in their unconscious, Freud found out that Jung was sleeping with one of his younger female patients. Freud used this against Jung, saying that if Jung told anyone about Freud and Jung's wife, that Freud would publicly air Jung's dirty laundry.
When it came to the study of dreams Freud and Jung had some different ideas. Freud asserted that dreams were all about sex. Jung argued that dreams were a tool to help us grow, not just to release extreme sexual desires, asserting that dreams were more than about sex. They were about life. He believed our sexual drive does not motivate us as much as the fear of death.
After the war, Jung traveled widely, visiting tribal people in Africa, America, and India. He retired in 1946, and began to retreat from public attention after his wife died in 1955. Jung himself died at the age of 85 on June 6, 1961.
For Freud the goal of therapy was to make the unconscious conscious. Jung was to make the exploration of this "inner space" his life's work. He attacked this task with a background in Freudian theory and with an inexhaustible knowledge of mythology, religion, and philosophy. Jung was especially knowledgeable in the symbolism of complex mystical traditions such as Gnosticism, Alchemy, Kabala, and similar traditions in Hinduism and Budd-hism. He also had a capacity for very lucid dreaming and occasional visions.
In the fall of 1913, he had a vision of a "monstrous flood" engulfing most of Europe and lapping at the mountains of his native Switzerland. He saw thousands of people drowning, civilization crumbling and water turning into blood. This vision was followed, in the next few weeks, by dreams of eternal winters and rivers of blood. Jung feared he was becom-ing psychotic. But on August 1 of that year, World War I began. Jung felt that there had been a connection, somehow, between himself as an indivi-dual and humanity in general that could not be explained away. From then until 1928, he was to go through a rather painful process of deliberate self-exploration that formed the basis of all of his theorizing and analyzing.
Jung dreamt a lot about the dead, the land of the dead, and the rising of the dead. These represented the unconscious itself &endash; not the tinier, personal unconscious that Freud emphasized, but a new collective unconscious of humanity itself, an uncon-scious that could contain all the dead. Jung began to see the mentally ill as people who are haunted by these ghosts, in an age where no one is supposed to even believe in them. For him, if we could only recapture our mythologies, we would understand these ghosts, become comfort-able with the dead, and heal our mental illnesses.
Jung spent his later years in Bollingen, by Lake Zurich, defining the mythological dream figures to which he had devoted his life. Reportedly, on the night of his death, thousands of friends and disciples throughout the world dreamed in varied ways of his passing. Some also had visions of his favorite tree beside the lake being split in two by lightning. Perhaps, he was now an eternal part of that pantheistic, collective realm that he had intuited while alive: "At times I feel as if I am spread out over the landscape and inside things, and am myself living in every tree, in the splashing of the waves, in the clouds and the animals that come and go, in the procession of the seasons"
The Jung and The Restless Archetype
Jung divides the psyche into three parts - the ego, identified with the conscious mind; the personal unconscious, anything which is not presently conscious, but can be; and the collective unconscious, a sort of "psychic inheritance." This is the reser-voir of our experiences as a species, a kind of knowledge we are all born with. Yet we can never be directly conscious of it. It influences all of our experiences and behaviors, most especially the emotional ones, but we only know about it indirectly, by looking at those influences.
The contents of this collective unconscious are called archetypes - an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way. Jung also called them dominants, imagos, mythological or primordial images. He defined the archetype as, "a figure &endash; be it a daemon, a human being, or a process &endash; that constantly recurs in the course of history and appears wherever creative fantasy is freely expressed. Essentially, therefore, it is a mythological figure .... In each of these images there is a little piece of human psychology and human fate, a remnant of the joys and sorrows that have been repeated countless times in our ancestral history." These archetypes are not really biological things, like Freud's instincts. They are more spiritual demands.
In Jung's world there are many archetypal structures which overlap and easily melt into each other as needed. Some of the seminal archetypes include the mother, the father, the family, and the child. Many archetypes are story characters. The hero, one of the main ones, is often engaged in fighting the "shadow," in the form of dragons and other monsters. There is the trickster, often represented by a clown or a magician, whose role is to hamper the hero's progress and to generally make trouble. There is also an animal archetype, representing humanity's relation-ships with the animal world. Animals, in the Jungian paradigm are seen to be more in touch with their natures than we are.
There are other archetypes that are more difficult to talk about - original man, represented in Western religion by Adam; the God archetype, representing our need to comprehend the universe, to give a meaning to all that happens, to see it all as having some purpose and direction.
Sex and the life instincts in Jung's system are a part of an archetype called the shadow which derives from our prehuman, animal past, when our concerns were limited to survival and reproduction, and when we weren't self-conscious. The hermaphrodite, both male and female, represents the union of opposites, an important Jungian archetype.
The most important archetype of all is the self. The personifications that best represent self are Christ and Buddha, two people who many believe achieved perfec-tion. But Jung felt that perfection of the personality is only truly achieved in death.
Aside from his seminal work on the archetypes, Jung also developed a ground-breaking personality theory that introduced to the world to the concepts of extroversion and introversion and explained human behavior as a combination of four psychic functions - thinking, feeling or valuing, intuition, and sensation. He also coined the term "synchronicity" - or "meaningful coincidence" - as an acausal, non-mechanistic explanation for extra-sensory events traditionally deemed "occult."
Quite a few people find that Jung has a great deal to say to them. They include writers, artists, musicians, film makers, theologians, clergy of all denominations, students of mythology, and, of course, some psychologists. Examples include mythologist Joseph Campbell, film maker George Lucas, and science fiction author Ursula K. LeGuin. Anyone interested in creativity, spirituality, psychic phenomena, the universal, and so on, will find in Jung a kindred spirit.
Jung In Columbus
Carl Gustav Jung has a definite and important presence in Columbus through the auspices of The C.G. Jung Association of Central Ohio (JACO) which is operated out of the JungHaus on 29 East Russell Street. The literature of JACO announces that they are "a center for studying the mind and spirit; for creating and displaying art; for attending programs which inform, uplift, heal, and bring focus to life."
Ann and Bob Murtha who were instrumental in the creation of JACO and the JungHaus have said that, "Jung's concept of synchronicity lies at the heart of JACO's beginnings." Synchronicity for Jung was "the simultaneous occurrence of two meaningful, but not causally connected events," one which is manifested by the inner and psychic realms of the individual and the other related to the outer and physical realms.
Bob and Ann Murtha met at a mountain retreat center where they had gathered to investigate the Jungian idea of individu ation. The following year the two were married and the second synchronous moment found them moving to Columbus in 1987. The Murtha's were asked to lead a Jungian study group by the First Community Church which was moving towards an approach to spiritual life within the nexus of religion and psychology. The early meetings, held in their house on Neil Avenue were focused around Jungian materials created by the Center Point Foundation and included a potluck supper, music and simple rituals.
The group fast outgrew the Murtha residence. The Murtha's recounted that at that time, "there were, however, no Jungian analysts in Columbus, nor in the entire state of Ohio." They soon discovered that there were many "closet" Jungians at The Ohio State University, at Ohio Dominican, at Otterbein and at the Methodist Theological Seminary. The reason that these Jungians were closeted was because that brand of psychology and spirituality was largely frowned upon by the powers that be in the mainstream of academia and theology.
The Murthas described how the "first public Jungian event took place in the dark basement of the King Avenue Church on a snowy December afternoon in 1989." They had put in a small advertisement in the Dispatch. Expecting no more than 40 people, especially given the inclement weather, no one could have been more stunned than the Murthas when "135 frozen-faced folk appeared!" That event was focused around a BBC film, "The Story of Carl Gustav Jung," written and directed by Sir Laurens van der Post, a founding member of the Jung Institute in Cape Town, South Africa. The screening was followed by a panel discussion led by Dr. Bob Bargar from OSU, Dr. Jeff Hopper of the Methodist Theological Seminary, and Dr. Mary Jo Meyers of Ohio Domini-can. The event was a smashing success and the participants clearly wanted more.
Elaborating on the synchronicity of Jung in Columbus, the Murthas said that, "Just as the inner need became apparent, there was the outer availability of a small house on the corner of Pearl and Lincoln. We responded with a unanimous, 'Yes'." Thus, JACO was officially launched in the JungHaus and the rest, as they say, is history.
The JungHaus In 2001
Today, JACO has almost 300 members and is operated primarily by a very enthusiastic and dedicated staff of volunteers. The center's director Gina Peacock said that she works hard with the volunteers to keep the JungHaus open from 11a.m. to 2p.m. Tuesday thru Saturday.
The Director's position at JACO is the only paid position at the center. Gina Peacock who has been with the institution for the past three years has lived in Columbus for the past five years. Born in West Virginia, she moved to Marion, Ohio when she was 12 because her father took a teaching job there. Peacock graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Secondary Education. She only taught for one year and was a stay at home mom for several years. After working at a libraryfor 11 years she earned a Masters Degree from the Methodist Theological School. In addition to her work at JACO, Peacock enjoys her 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.
For Peacock, the best part of her job is, "Coordinating volunteers and assisting in the developing and coordinating of activities and programs that would be of interest to members and others on their journey of individuation." She also noted that this allows her personal journey to be "enhanced and supported as well." "My goal is to help to make it all happen smoothly and joyfully," she concluded.
Peacock added that, "Anyone interested in exploring life and the meaning and the journey of life is welcome." She argued that in this process of "becoming con-scious, many have found that Carl Jung's writings and reflections greatly enhance and elucidate the process." I jokingly asked Peacock if Freudians were also welcome in the haus that Jung built. "Of course," she exclaimed with a laugh.
JACO is supported by membership fees, donations and program fees. There are several levels of memberships available to those interested in JACO. The Basic Membership provides access to all the organization's resources at a reduced cost, including ten percent off all bookstore purchases. Sustaining and Patron Member-ships help to provide JACO with the means to keep the facility open and to continually improve on the services offered. In addition, these members get to take a charitable tax deduction for the amount over the cost of a Basic Membership. There are Student, Senior, and Associate Status memberships available as well.
The JungHaus is nestled on a corner of Russell Street just East of High Street, behind the Riley Hawk Gallery. The cozy facility, once a church, still has some of the stained-glass intact. Inside the modest space are a couple of offices, a library, a bookstore and an art gallery. Books from the library may be checked out for four weeks at a time, with one permissible renewal by phone.
The gallery at the JungHaus features mainly local artists who in one medium or another are dealing with "journeys of individuation." Each exhibit lasts two months and two receptions are held, one for each of the Gallery Hops during the tenure of a particular exhibit. Interested artists are encouraged to submit their work to Claire Hagan, the curator at the JungHaus.
For Peacock, "The JungHaus Gallery provides an outreach into the community. It also reflects the Jungian view that each of us can find ways to express our inner journey. Creating art is one way, and so those artists who attempt to reveal their life journey through their art are particularly welcome to exhibit."
She went on to say that, "We are not a commercial gallery in that we don't try to make money through the selling. Instead, we give artists an opportunity to show work that often doesn't fit the commercial gallery model." Over the eleven years, the gallery has exhibited work from a wide range of about 100 or more artists, primarily two-dimensional work, but some sculpture and ceramics, as well as inter-active works.
JACO also organizes and sponsors many different types of programs. Peacock said that, "Often meetings and programs are held in the gallery space or in the Jungian analyst's office off the gallery area. JACO provides off-site programs also. Our programs are presented by nationally, internationally, and locally respected speakers on a wide range of interesting topics with a Jungian perspective. The Program Committee selects the presenters and topics."
One of the more interesting programs, offered on the second Saturday of each month, is the Coffee and Conversation series. Peacock said that this particular series began about a year ago. "The Membership Committee initiated them to provide an opportunity for members, neighbors and friends to gather to discuss interesting topics," she said. In addition, "they are also a welcoming way of introducing JACO to the neighborhood and to others in the Central Ohio area." Peacock said that "Many do not know that there is a Jung Association in the area and are not aware of what we offer." Topics are suggested by volunteer facilitators. The facilitators are members of JACO and are invited to offer a topic that they are very familiar with or would like to explore further.
Jung And The Modern Age Of Titanism
On Saturday, October 13, facilitator Lee Tucker led a group of ten through a session titled "The Titanic: The Ship As An Iconic Entry Point to Human Nature." The event was attended by a diverse group who participated in a spirited and intelligent assessment about the lingering myth and power of the Titanic, which is about so much more than just a sunken ship. Tucker's thesis was that the Titanic, although long at the bottom of the ocean, is ever present in the spirit of the modern world, particularly America in 2001. Tucker stated that, "Next to God and Coke, Titanic is the third most recognized word in the world."
Using books about the ship itself as well as more contemporary examples of capitalistic and technological hubris, Tucker and the participants revealed some very astute awareness of the current state of affairs, particularly in light of the September 11 tragedies. Cynda Lynn Kimm, one of the attendees, argued that "The pride that the builders of the Titanic had seemed to outweigh any rational thinking." Similarly, the group seemed to assert that recent claims that the World Trade Towers would be rebuilt to former glory needed some serious reconsideration and more collective humility.
For many in the groups, the World Trade Towers and their collapse were a modern reflection of Titanism. Kimm said that for many "it was unthinkable that they would ever collapse." Peacock, who was also present at the discussion, claimed that in light of this wounded hubris, "the search for security had become tantamount."
Tucker asserted that, "Titanic societies, based on the mythical figures in ancient Greek traditions, are sandwiched between primitive and civilized societies. Here there are no limits, no boundaries are accepted and no external order is deemed necessary."
The groups conclusion seemed to be, within a Jungian framework, that Titanism is a vacuous ethos, an empty space, which leaves people with nothing to reflect on. And on September 11 a lot of that changed, giving people pause and cause to reflect on, as Kimm put it, "the deeper meanings, the better values in life."
Ann Gazelle, who had come with her seeing-eye dog Nicole, spoke to the issues of the pervasive sense of vulnerability in the aftermath of September 11. "As a blind person I have lived with vulnerability on a daily basis," she claimed, indicating that for most Americans, in the age of Titanism, this was a unique and scary experience.
Jacquline Robinson, who had come with her teenage son Stefan Davis and their friend Tom Payton from Washington Courthouse, spoke lucidly about how in "this great horror there is such opportunity." An opportunity, the group seemed to be saying, to dig deep within to find the better incarnations of ourselves and each other. Jung's great reverence for the spiritual and the supernatural was succinctly stated by Payton, who said that in uncertain times such as these, "God is in the questions."
The two hour discussion was informa-tive, stimulating, funny, brutally honest, internally and externally critical, and a good example of people working on that elusive yet necessary journey of individu-ation. The occasion was a good example of how vital and unique this Short North organization is to the community. The group that Saturday morning also proved that JACO's work is not merely about some dead Swiss psychoanalyst, but rather it is a relevant, rewarding and reaffirming presence, of potential use to us in our daily lives.
In these times, as we journey through times of war and devastation, Jung's words are not only healing but prescient when he writes: "I speak not to nations, only to the individual few, for whom it goes without saying that cultural values do not drop down like manna from heaven, but are created by the hands of individuals.
If things go wrong in the world, this is because something is wrong with the individual, because something is wrong with me. Therefore, if I am sensible, I shall put myself right first. For this I need – because outside authority no longer means anything to me – a knowledge of the innermost foundations of my being, in order that I may base myself firmly on the eternal facts of the human psyche."
JungHaus, located at 29 East Russell Street in the Short North is home to the C.G. Jung Association of Central Ohio (JACO), an organization dedicated to the ideas of Carl Jung. To join or request information about upcoming programs, call 621-8217.