For the past few years, I have been pursuing some PhD research into the relationship between personality and mythology. The overall aim is to find ways of promoting religious tolerance. It is based on Jung’s analytical psychology and is now in the final stretch.
I would appreciate your help by completing four online questionnaires, which will take about 30 minutes in total. When you have finished, there will be a report in the form of a PDF file, or Ebook, or you can read the results online. There is more information about the research on the page that introduces the questionnaires, at https://research.myers.co. Thank you, in advance.
If you have any questions or comments, please use my contact page (above).
My jaw dropped when I started reading The Independent’s review of the Mansion House speech yesterday morning. On the front page of their website they showed a picture of George Osborne, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, in full flow delivering his speech. Alongside was a headline that said “£1,400 a year from UK’s 3.7m poorest families: Osborne reveals who cuts will hit”.
Wow, I thought. How could Osborne follow up Cameron’s “one nation” speech by telling a group of highly-paid financiers that he was going to cut benefits for the poor?
Then something strange happened. When I returned to the home page some time later, the headline had changed. It now read: “£1,400 a year from UK’s 3.7m poorest families: Is this where Osborne’s cuts will hit?” In the early afternoon, I returned to The Independent home page a third time. This time the headline had been removed altogether, but older stories were still there.
The resolution of interpersonal and international conflict is often hindered by the hero myth.
A traditional hero in myth is a powerful person who “vanquishes evil… and who liberates his people from destruction and death”1. The psychological power of the hero is illustrated by its frequent use in fiction to achieve commercial success. For example, George Lucas used a hero myth to craft the characters in the film Star Wars. This was so successful that the hero myth became an integral part of Hollywood screenwriting and computer game design.
However, less attention is paid to the significant role that the hero myth can play in interpersonal and international relations. It can shape those relationships, exacerbate conflict, and create new problems of its own.
In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins argues that God (probably) does not exist, and he associates belief in God with the childhood practice of having an “imaginary friend” (Dawkins 2006, p. 88). He advocates, as an alternative to belief in God, using science and evidence to develop useful models that replicate how the world works.
Although his argument has some validity, it is underpinned by a Western cultural premise that something is either real/exists or imaginary/unreal. This is a false dichotomy, created by the tendency in the modern Western mind to think in terms of simple opposites (Corbin 1972, p. 1). Imagination and reality are not alternatives, but imagination helps to create reality. This can be illustrated with three practical examples.
Illustration 1: Optical Illusion
In the picture above/right (published by Edward Adelson on a Wikipedia page), squares A and B are opposite colours – one is black the other is white. Can you see how this reality is created by your imagination?
Plebgate is a scandal that began with a politician (Andrew Mitchell) swearing at a police officer and having to resign. It then turned into the police investigating the honesty and integrity of its own officers (“plodgate”). On Wednesday (23/10/13), the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) showed that there is more confusion between fact and fiction in this story than in a good Dan Brown novel. For example:
- Three Chief Constables apologised for their officers’ actions – but the officers refused to do so.
- The officers claimed they had been accurate, but most others agreed they had misled.
- The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), and Chief Constables differed as to the charges that should be laid against the officers.
- The SIO disagreed with his own report, which he had signed as author.
- The way the SIO finalised the report’s conclusions was probably illegal.
- The Chief Constables disagree as to whether the report’s conclusions need to be reviewed.
How does mythology help explain this fog of confusion?