Category Archives: Culture

Syrian conflict – do nothing or do the wrong thing?

Syrian vote BBC reportDavid Cameron recalled parliament this week to seek approval for military intervention in Syria.  His motion was rejected, which has sparked a range of reactions – e.g. from people feeling proud to feeling ashamed of being British.  In a few days, Barack Obama is going to ask Congress to approve US military action.

Analytical psychology has a lot to offer this debate because it explains the conflict between the differing views and – more importantly – offers some hope for a constructive way ahead.

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Leveson – why it is bound to fail

Leveson inquiry: man reading newspaperPress freedom vs regulation

There is perhaps little doubt that the issues Leveson attempted to address in his report, published in 2012,1 are extremely difficult.  There are some fundamental clashes of values, e.g. between freedom of the press and individual human rights, which are compounded by other factors, such as the rising tides of the internet and alternative forms of publishing.

The issues are of fundamental importance to all of us, even those who are not involved in public life or journalism.  As C.G. Jung once pointed out, “politicians and journalists [can] unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world” (Jung 1929, p. 37).  Although such power/responsibility is now more widely shared, through globalisation and social media, the manner in which Leveson’s findings are being pursued may ultimately have a big impact on our social and cultural well-being and cohesion.  However, from the perspective of analytical psychology, things are not heading in a good direction.

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World Peace – how to do your bit.

Soldier
In 1948, C.G. Jung wrote to UNESCO describing how analytical psychology could help promote world peace (Jung 1948). He made some practical suggestions that they did not take up.

The nature of international conflict has changed significantly since then. There has been a shift in the balance from war towards terrorism, a shift that was predicted before the fall of the Berlin Wall by a Jungian Analyst (Bernstein 1989).  Nevertheless, Jung’s proposals remain relevant today as they provide practical ways in which every citizen can play their part in developing world peace.

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The Societal Value of Conspiracy Theorists

On the Sunday Politics recently, Andrew Neil called the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones an idiot, and made a circular motion pointing his finger at his own head to suggest Jones was crazy. You can see the 5 minute exchange using the BBC’s video clip (right, or at the BBC website).

To many viewers, it may have seemed a natural response for Neil to dismiss Jones as a crazy person.  However, from the perspective of Jung’s analytical psychology, that would be to respond to an error with another error – because Neil allowed himself to get drawn into Jones’ black and white thinking.  Also, there is something of potential value in Jones’ intensity of belief and breadth of support – because it suggests there is something else occurring at a much deeper, cultural level.

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