American and Russian Shadow Projections

The news on Morning Joe (9.12.13)reported on New York Times op-ed by Vladimir Putin A Plea for Caution From Russia – What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria. We need to carefully read his op-ed, listen to some pundits, reflect on how our developing investigative framework helps us understand and write about the actions we propose. In following this forward we might start with our ongoing Discussion Fourm where the events unfolding in and around Syria have Obama explaining taking the case on Syria to the American people and then Obama making his case to the American people, Congress, and the world community for military intervention and for dialogue on the situation in Syria. Frontline’s reporting on The Conflict in Syria is an excellent presentation looking inside the conflict. How did we get here, and what happens next?

Watching the talking-heads regarding Obama’s leadership style, one hears both from the right and the left questions on his effectiveness (see Morning Joe 9.12.13). In most cases they are baffled about Obama leadership and support his statement on American exceptionalism that Putin very effectively challenges in his op-ed. On August 30, 2013, as the United States contemplated a response to Syria, I asked this question of the Chinese I Ching: What of the U.S.’s response to Syria? I threw three Chinese coins six times and received Hexagram 26 Ta Ch’u/The Taming Power of the Great with a changing line nine in the third place, which results in Hexagram 41 Sun / Decrease and provides more information on the future. Of course, this question is directed at how Obama should respond to Syria so, as we read this counsel, reflect on how President Obama’s leadership is unfolding and what we discover is that the I Ching anticipates how Barack is now leading.

26. Ta Ch’u / The Taming Power of the Great
__________
____     ____            above      Ken         Keeping Still, Mountain
____     ____
__________
__________            below      Ch/ien    The Creative, Heaven
__________

The creative is tamed by Ken, Keeping Still. This produces great power, a situation in contrast to that of the ninth hexagram, Hsiao Chu, The Taming of the Small, in which the creative is tamed by the Gentle alone. There one weak line must tame five strong lines, but here four strong lines are constrained by two weak lines; in addition to a minister, there is a prince, and the restraining power therefore is far stronger.

The hexagram has a threefold meaning, expressing different aspects of the concept “holding firm.” Heaven  within the mountain gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding together; the trigram Ken which holds the trigram Chien still, gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding back; the third idea is that of holding firm in the sense of caring for and nourishing. This last is suggested by the fact that the strong line at the top, which is the ruler of the hexagram, is honored and tended as a sage. The third of these meetings also attaches specifically to this strong line at the top, which represents the sage.

THE JUDGEMENT
The Taming Power of the Great.
Perseverance furthers.
Not eating at home brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.

To hold to great creative powers and store them up, as set forth in this hexagram, there is need of a strong, clearheaded man who is honored by the ruler. The trigram Chien points to strong creative power: Ken indicates firmness and points to strong creative power; Ken indicates firmness and truth. Both point to light and clarity and to the daily renewal of character. Only through such daily self-renewal can a man continue at the height of his powers. Force of habit helps to keep order in quiet times; but in periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the power of the personality. However, since the worthy are honored, as in the ruler, it is an advantage not to eat at home but rather to earn one’s bread by entering upon public office. Such a man is in harmony with heaven; therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great waters, succeed.

THE IMAGE
Heaven within the mountain:
The image of The Taming Power Of The Great.
Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity
And many deeds of the past,
In order to strengthen his character thereby.

Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and deeds of the past and there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history, but through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.

Nine in the third place means:
A good horse that follows others
Awareness of danger,
With perseverance, furthers.
Practice chariot driving and armed defense daily.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

The way opens; the hindrance has been cleared away. A man is in contact with a strong will acting in the same direction as his own, and goes forward like one good horse following another. But the danger still threatens, and he must remain aware of it, or you will be robbed of his firmness. Thus he must acquire skill on the one hand in what will take him forward, and on the other in what will protect him against on foreseen attacks. It is good in such a pass to have a goal toward which to strive.

Fred Kaplan’s post (9.10.2013) Your Move, Putin, points out that “Obama’s speech may not have sounded novel but may have helped his cause in unexpected ways by making the case for action and keeping the way open for a diplomatic solution.” Putin speaking on Syria’s chemical arms handover says that it will work if US calls off a strike and then last week we listened to Charlie Rose’s Exclusive with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Supplementing these view’s of the characters involved are Time Magazine articles by Simon Shuster’s (2013) The world according to Vladimir Putin, Aryn Baker’s (2013) The cult of Bashar Assad, and Michael Crowley’s (2013) The unhappy warrior.

Finally, I have just touched the conscious surface identifying the issues unfolding among these cultures trying to interrupt their killing. We have Holmes & Watson’s keen investigative mythology on this mystery case of insanity and we need to add additional analytical fire-power from depth psychology (DP). Stephen Aizenstat, founding president of Pacifica Graduate Institute, points to three results we can expect form adding this tool to our investigative tool kit. First, DP looks at what lies below the surface of life – at the unconscious forces; the second contribution is the activation of human imagination – that which comes forth in cultures; and third “we are all asked to see into the social, political, economic realities which face us in daily life and in societal affairs.” A very powerful tool, for sure!

Depth psychologist James Hollis in The Lore of Shadows defines our investigative scene is to “investigate the dialogue between psychology and theology – we are interested in the invisible energies that move the world.” Hollis suggests that we need to dialogue with this invisible world in order to understand and thereby harness the tremendous energies (E) outside of our ego control that are involved. It is suggested that we work with Carl Jung’s concept of the Shadow1, where we are “summoned to accountability for the Other – it is about the capacity of the Ego to tolerate the Other.”  Hollis nails it in saying “the single biggest difficulty we face as a culture today is tolerating the otherness of the other.” The conflict now simmering between the U.S., Russia, Syria, etc. is a neurosis resulting from no country yet finding its meaning. Hollis states “the biggest Shadow issue is the degree to which we are willing to open ourselves to mystery.” Isn’t this what Marx said in a previous posting, “the problem is Us.”

This week as we read and listen with our analytical psychology lens to unfolding events, beginning links are above, be mindful of the how the players Obama, Putin, Assad, other political personalities, and to the media’s talking-heads portray themselves and the Other. Out task in the coming weeks is to identify the shadow projections taking place in ourselves and between the American and Russian cultural complexes.

Footnotes

1In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious, or an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem). Contrary to a Freudian conceptualization of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow often refers to all that lies outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Jung wrote, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” It may be (in part) one’s link to more primitive animal instincts, which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.

According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections are unrecognized “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object–if it has one–or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.” These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world.

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4 Responses to American and Russian Shadow Projections

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