Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Friends Quote

In The Flying Muse on November 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.


You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.

1.     It was without a doubt imperative to the cause that you have a clearly defined overview of your opponent before any consultation – this means to have a most intimate knowledge of his/her mental state as well as the physical to name but  two of the most important factors that must on no account be taken lightly.

In order to have an enemy, one must be somebody. One must be a force before he can be resisted by another force. A malicious enemy is better than a clumsy friend.

He hasn’t an enemy in the world – but all his friends hate him.

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

Choose your friends carefully. Your enemies will choose you.

The Bible tells us to love our neighbours, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

Man is his own worst enemy.

Money can’t buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

One enemy can do more hurt than ten friends can do good.

1.     You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

If you want to make enemies, try to change something.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

You shall judge a man by his enemies as well as by his friends.

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.

Treat your friend as if he might become an enemy.

A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

Man usually avoids attributing cleverness to somebody else unless its an enemy.

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.

There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself: an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly.


Just A Thought!

In The Flying Muse on November 27, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Conscious and unconscious

We now come to the psyche’s great paradox. It knows what it doesn’t know of. It is conscious, when it wakes from dreamless sleep, that it has been totally unconscious. It is conscious, when awake, that it is only partly conscious, and that there is a great deal within it and beyond it that is unconscious. Indeed, it is relatively conscious, at all waking times, to a greater or much lesser or minimal degree, of its relative unconsciousness.

This last point is rather an important one. It affirms that it is impossible for a psyche, when conscious, to be unconscious of the fact and of the extent of its own unconsciousness. It is both a logical and a substantial point that consciousness necessarily includes some cognisance, however marginal, of what is not within it. This means that there is always coded within it some surrogate or marker of this ‘what is not within it’. In its dusty, relatively unused corners lie the rusty keys to its own extension, the transcendence of its current limits.

The most radical thesis on this point is that there is, somehow or other, coded or indexed within any and every current field of consciousness everything that is not within it.

The conscious-of-the-unconscious paradox is particularly acute at the verge between the two. Suppose I have forgotten a name which I know that I know. I stand at the edge trying to summon up the forgotten name: I know what I am looking for but I don’t know exactly what it is. I have got in consciousness some imaginal marker or trace, a nonverbal index entry, which makes me know that I know the name, and which I broadcast at the verge. When the name crosses the verge it joins its marker and I say ‘Of course’.

But let’s follow the radical thesis and consider the case in which I have got in consciousness imaginal markers of something I have never known, which no-one anywhere else at any time has ever known, and I have no overt knowledge that I don’t know it. This will naturally make the markers obscure, so much so that I may well assert that for all practical purposes they are not anywhere in my consciousness. Well, the radical thesis insists that they are there, this side of the verge, supraliminal not subliminal. Such markers are necessarily imaginal, in image not verbal form, since they relate to content that is prior to any explicit form of human, cultural symbolism. They constitute part of a tacit, universal imaginal language in the psyche that is presupposed by any subsequent manifest predication.

A somewhat intermediate and instructive case is any small child starting to acquire its mother tongue. It doesn’t overtly know the grammar of the language, but it doesn’t have to be taught it, for the imaginal forms or markers of any grammar are readily accessible somewhere within its field of consciousness, and to these markers actual grammatical forms, evident in the family’s use of language, readily attach themselves. This has a parallel in Chomsky’s view that the overall framework of universal grammar is genetically inbuilt in all humans. Every child knows what the linguistic options are within this framework, but has to discover by experience which particular set of options its mother tongue has selected (Chomsky, 1985). But once people have learnt one explicit language and used it a lot in reflective, conceptual ways, they seem to lose the knack of effortlessly attaching a spoken language to imaginal markers, and so make heavier weather of learning a second language.

It is possible to conceptualise some of the main types of unconsciousness and generate a list something like the following. The first distinction is between the processes whereby something is made or kept unconscious, and the content of unconsciousness. And with regard to the content of unconsciousness, we can distinguish between personal unconsciousness and non-personal unconsciousness.

The processes that sustain unconsciousness

I have no idea what the full range of these processes is, or rather I should say I am very busy not noticing what they all are doing. For all practical purposes, at the time of their operation, they are unconscious. Here are some of the more obvious ones.

1. Inattention. This is the effect of everyday selective attention. For example, there may be something in my visual field which is distinct and possible to see, but I am not aware of it because I am attending closely to something else. Another example, I may not attend to what is outside the range of my perceiving, that is, over the horizon, round the next corner, beyond earshot. Or again, the contents of my accessible memory are mostly out of consciousness, because I am busy attending to what is going on in present time and have no need or wish to recall them.

More radically, I simply do not attend to what transcends the process of sense perception. I unawarely disattend from what happens at and beyond its edge, where other realities can loom up in the mist of unknowing. I am hypnotised and seduced by sense perception, and the bits of introspection that go with it, into systematic inattention to every other mode of knowing.

Selective attention may be immediately due to ego-bound preoccupation – with sense perception and with everyday concerns and interests. Beyond that it is the result of an embedded cultural framework of beliefs acquired early in life which desensitise people so that they don’t notice what the framework has no concepts for. The vast inattention that results from these two processes may well be the everyday way to sustain unconsciousness. But it will be interwoven with other items below.

2. Thresholds. Certain impressions have too low or too high energy frequencies to reach consciousness; or, to put it the other way round, the current structures of consciousness are unable to detect them and only operate within a certain band. Obvious examples here are sensory thresholds which screen out infrared and ultraviolet, subsonic and supersonic, bodily processes and so on; psychic thresholds which screen out extrasensory impressions; and spiritual thresholds which cut off cosmic consciousness. Psychic and spiritual thresholds can, it seems, be altered by appropriate training and inward opening.

It is an open question whether restrictive thresholds of a psychic and spiritual kind are in some sense innate and developmental, or whether they are acquired by systematic and congealed inattention (plus identification, see below), or whether they are a mixture of the innate and the acquired. I take the view that there is a significant acquired component.

As well as thresholds which restrict vertically the band of frequencies within which I am conscious, there are also those that determine the horizontal extent of my consciousness within any given band or form of consciousness. Within sense perception acuity of sight and hearing will only extend so far. Within two-valued logical thinking there is a limit to what I can conceive. The same kind of open question applies here too. Where there is a limited range of non-perceptual forms of consciousness, is this innate and a developmental if only temporary limit, or is it acquired, or both?

3. Identification. If I identify fully with the current explicit structure or process of consciousness, I am unaware that I am doing it, since I have abandoned any viewpoint that would give me such cognisance. This also means I cannot locate the boundaries of that structure or process, which in turn means that I sustain in unconsciousness everything beyond those boundaries. If my face is right down in the pea soup, I cannot see it there, and have lost sight of the rim of the soup bowl and of what is beyond it on the table. Thus when I identify with the subject-object split, as I have described in earlier chapters, I have no awareness that I am doing so and as a result my feeling of participation with the world, and the deeper processes of the imaginal mind in perception, recede into unconsciousness.

Of course, the conscious-of-the-unconscious paradox means that such identification can never fully sustain unconsciousness, since any explicit structure of consciousness will always contain markers of what is beyond it. Sooner or later the markers will disconcert me enough to start my disidentifying, and moving onto some wider and deeper structure.

Inattention, thresholds and identification – in interaction – are perhaps the three primary factors that sustain unconsciousness.

4. Acute forgetting. I cannot recall something when I know perfectly well that I have not really forgotten it. This is temporary lapse of memory, which recovers after a pause, or after turning attention to other things.

5. Chronic forgetting. I cannot recall what I used to know, and the memory loss appears to be permanent. However, I may still be able to recognise what I have thus forgotten when I see it again. If I have to learn it all again, I may learn it significantly faster than I did the first time. And I may be able to recall it under hypnosis. So there are still significant traces or markers left.

6. Repression. Certain emotions, images, ideas and impulses that have entered consciousness I forcibly push down into unconsciousness because they are too threatening to my precarious and beleaguered sense of identity. This process is one that particularly occurs during and after traumatic events in infancy and childhood. It is not only the emotions and images to do with trauma that can be repressed, but some elements of psychic heredity (see below), and also early manifestations of psychic and spiritual capacity where these are met with adult hostility and rejection.

7. Defence mechanisms. If all the other defence mechanisms – of projection, denial, displacement, reaction formation, rationalization, undoing, regression – are seen as elaborations or variants of repression, that is, as ways of pushing certain states out of consciousness, then they belong in this list of processes that sustain unconsciousness.

8. Blocking. Whereas repression pushes out of consciousness something that is already in it, blocking will not let into consciousness something that has never entered it but is ripe to emerge within it. This especially applies to formative potentials – to do, for example, with psychic and spiritual capacities – whose time for overt manifestation and development has come, but whose emergence into consciousness may be defensively resisted.

The contents of personal unconsciousness

This list contains only those contents that are particularly to do with the individual psyche and its inner life.

1. The processes that sustain unconsciousness. All of the processes given above are also themselves unconscious, part of the content of unconsciousness. The effects of some of them may be obvious within my consciousness, but the doing of them appears to be unconscious. I seem not to be aware of my inattending, of my thresholding, of my identifiying with the current structures of consciousness, of my forgetting at the very moment of forgetting, of my repressing and blocking. These things apparently operate outside my awareness of what I am up to. This raises a key question which I will deal with in a later section: what keeps these processes so seemingly unconscious?

2. Bodily processes and physical heredity. We are not conscious of most bodily processes, at least when they are working normally, nor of the genetic base of the body, nor of the effect of this on our conscious structures, nor of our physical drives when they are dormant.

3. Body-mind processes. We are not conscious of how we move the body, fall asleep, wake up, alter the breathing rate. We are certainly conscious of these things going on, but not of how they go on.

4. Accessible memory images. What I am able to remember but am not needing or choosing to remember.

5. Inaccessible memory images. These include whatever a person has acutely or chronically forgotten.

6. Subtle bodies. Various other non-physical sheaths of consciousness may be totally unconscious, including the immediate subtle sheath interpenetrating the physical body with its chakras, and its vital energy – variously called mana, prana, chi, etc.

7. Psychic heredity. Whether you explain it in terms of reincarnation, or better still, in terms of resonant affinity with a line of people who lived in earlier times, we are born, I believe, with congenital behaviour tendencies, the samskara skandhas of Buddhist psychology. These go beyond the effects of physical heredity and are a dispositional legacy of our psychic ancestors. We are not conscious of their origins, of their nature (until some work is done on them) and of how and where they are deposited in the psyche.

8. Repressed material. This includes emotions, images, ideas and impulses that have entered consciousness but have been forcibly pushed out into unconsciousness because they are too threatening to the individual’s precarious and beleaguered sense of identity. This covers childhood trauma and birth and intrauterine trauma; the participatory modes of the psyche that lead to too much vulnerability; maybe some elements of psychic heredity; early manifestations of extrasensory and spiritual capacity where these meet with adult hostility.

9. Deep entelechy. All the formative potentials of the psyche – beyond physical and psychic heredity and more basic than either – that have not yet emerged as explicit structures of consciousness are unconscious. Entelechy contains the developmental seeds of the psyche that have not been actualized. For the foetus the entelechy will include all aspects of bodily, psychological, social, psychic and spiritual development. Entelechy is the unconscious, enfolded, latent, promise of the psyche, its potential stages of unfoldment. For a similar account of entelechy see Houston (1987: 31-32); see also Wilber’s account of the ground-unconscious as a developmental concept, (1990: 105).

10. Ripe entelechy. Those formative potentials that have matured in the unconscious and are ready to emerge into explicit conscious states. Ripe entelechy will also deliver into consciousness prompts to individuate or participate or conservate or innovate.

11. Blocked entelechy. This includes potentials which have not yet been actualised, have not emerged as explicit structures in consciousness, and are ripe for emergence for their time has come, but they are blocked, held down in unconsciousness and resisted.

12. Transpersonal archetype. Whereas the entelechy is human potential enfolded and embedded deep within the psyche, the transpersonal archetype, the divine form of the manifest person, dwells in the elevated subtle domains. Archetype calls to entelechy, entelechy aspires to archetype. Transcendental archetype seeds the immanent entelechy in the psyche and beckons it to unfold the developmental stages of the person.

The contents of non-personal unconsciousness

These items go beyond and outside the structure and dynamics of the individual psyche into wider states and spaces. For a pareallel account, see the researches of Grof (Grof, 1976, 1988).

1. Phylogenetic heritage. The unconscious repository of phylogenetic history, a recapitulation of the evolution of all life forms, from the simple to the complex, from the remote past to the present. Its conscious outcrop is in terms of physical reflexes and instincts and unlearned instinctive behaviour.

2. Racial memory. The unconscious respository of family, cultural and racial history that is beyond personal memory and learning.

3. Mythic images. This is an offshoot of racial memory and refers to relatively independent image structures that condense within them the collective experience of the race with regard to basic aspects of human life. They can be as confused, contradictory and misleading as human experience itself. They are quite other than transpersonal archetypes (see above) or cosmic archetypes (see below). For a clear untangling of the confusion Jung makes between myth and archetype see Wilber (1990: 255-257).

4. Unnoticed energies and realities. These include other realities and aspects of this reality that are unnoticed because of some one or more of the processes that sustain unconsciousness. This item covers a huge field encompassing subtle aspects of this reality, extended spatio-temporal accounts of it, psyche-matter interactions, and all sorts of different content in other realities (see Grof, 1976, 1988). It overlaps with the next three items.

5. The recently deceased. Those who have recently died are relatively close to earthly conditions and can mingle their activities with humans. Their influence can range from the destructive and malicious, to the addictive and indulgent, to the misleading and mischievous, to the helpful and supportive, to the protective and guiding.

6. Presences. These are high-raised souls in other and exalted dimensions of being who can exert an inspirational and transformative influence upon humans.

7. Cosmic archetypes. These are the great powers of creation, the first manifest dynamic forms which emanate the patterns for all subsequent creation. See Plato, Philo, Plotinus, St. Augustine, Hindu-Buddhist systems, Grof, Wilber.

The guardian on the verge

There is a quite fundamental question which I raised above at the end of the first item in the personal contents of unconsciousness. This item asserted that the various processes that sustain unconsciousness – inattention, thresholds, identification, forgetting, repression and so on – are themselves unconscious, part of the contents of unconsciousness. If this is so, the key question arises: What extra process sustains all these processes in unconsciousness? If it is another unconscious process, then we embark an an infinite regress of processes which by definition are forever inaccessible to consciousness; and this seems to be inherently implausible.

The point has long been made that repression is an unconscious process but is not itself repressed. But what keeps it, and the whole family of such processes, unconscious? The answer takes us to the heart of the conscious-of-the-unconscious paradox. What keeps unconscious the processes that sustain unconsciousness, I believe, is (1) a conscious anxiety about being overwhelmed by its contents and (2) a conscious choice not to notice what I am doing to keep them at bay.

In other words, there is a systematic self-delusion based on fear operating at the verge of unconsciousness, and both the act of self-delusion and the fear are supraliminal, within the margins of consciousness. This is a ring-pass-not which I choose, at the fringe of my awareness, to set up out of anxiety – so as to make it seem that my various devices for sustaining unconsciousness are subliminal. I choose, as it were, to convince myself that these devices are unconscious when they clearly are not. My self-delusion thus sets up a new illusory verge, throwing into apparent unconsciousness the processes, such as repression, that sustain, at a more basic verge, the real unconsciousness. Nevertheless, though only apparent and illusory, this new verge becomes the de facto one.

This is the guardian on the verge, not beyond the fringe, but visible and identifiable at the margins of awareness. It is not itself an unconscious defence mechanism, an unconscious act of inattention, but a conscious choice to delude myself that I am unaware of just such processes. It is a quite unique, and paradoxical, phenomenon in the dynamics of consciousness. And it is therefore a quite unique key.

For I can at any time reverse the choice to sustain the guardian in place, dismiss it and remove my self-delusion. I can choose, instead, to live with the anxiety of being overwhelmed and notice all the devices I am using to cope with it. The processes that sustain unconsciousness thus become conscious as redundant habits above the deeper verge which they set up, and I can start to modify and dismantle them, and shift that verge. A deep process of transformation and liberation begins.

In his early theory in the 1890s, Freud’s view was that anxiety is a product of repressed libido. Thirty years later, he reversed this to the view that anxiety leads to repression; and repression, he held, was unconscious but not itself repressed. What he never explained was how conscious anxiety can lead to non-repressed but unconscious repression. Nor has anyone else ever explained it as far as I can see. This may be because conscious self-delusion of the guardianship kind is a particularly kind of addictive choice to make. And because it is an addiction which may be particularly strong in psychologists and psychotherapists who spend a lot of time in thought and practice at the verge where the guardian stands.


Figure 50 The guardian on the verge

If we bring the whole business out into the open, the sequence of events seems to be something like this, although in reality it is not likely to be a temporal sequence but more a concurrent pat-a-cake, like a bunch of hands all slotted on top of each other at the same time. First, the current field of consciousness is full of markers of what is not in it, markers of the contents of unconsciousness. Second, these markers start to draw to themselves the unconscious contents with which they resonate. Third, these contents become imminently subliminal, they draw close just beyond the verge of consciousness, with a foreshadowing rumble at the verge. Fourth, this looming up, the feeling that the markers are about to be joined by one knows not what, generates conscious anxiety. Fifth, a conscious choice is made out of this anxiety to delude oneself that one has no awareness of the various devices being used to keep what is looming up unconscious. This fifth event, or pat-a-cake layer, is the weirdest: all in one go you consciously delude yourself that you are unconscious – when you are not – of processes you are using to sustain systematic unconsciousness. This is the real heart of maya.

Figure 50 depicts the guardian. The triangle in the darker line is consciousness, the lower layer of this being where the guardian stands, within consciousness but at the verge of unconsciousness, performing its curious act of chosen self-delusion.

The guardian will start work very early on, at foetal or infantile, pre-verbal stages, so its degree of choice and consciousness at that time may be highly attenuated, low-level, marginal – but the inherent logic of the whole situation requires that it is unmistakably supraliminal. Later in life its degree of choice and consciousness may be increased in order to keep it effective in its elected role, with post-verbal conceptual elements transferred into it.

Threshold and verge

I used these two separate terms in order to avoid confusing two different concepts. ‘Threshold’ is the term I use to designate what may be built-in restrictions as to what can enter a particular form of consciousness. Sensory thresholds are certainly built in, it seems, to the structure of the nervous system. And psychic and spiritual thresholds may proceed from the entelechy as part of a developmental phase and so in that sense they may also built in, even if later they can be altered by self-development.

A vertical threshold determines, for example, what is above or below the range of human hearing. A horizontal threshold determines the extent of hearing within its band – for example the distance beyond which I cannot hear certain sounds.

‘Verge’ is the term I use to designate the boundary to consciousness that is set up by all kinds of processes such as selective inattention, identification, forgetting, repression, blocking, including thresholds, and including the guardian’s self-delusion. So ‘verge’ is the inclusive, generic term, of which ‘threshold’ is a species; and there is the de facto verge of the guardian and a deeper one set up by the processes the guardian deludes itself about.

Conscious markers of unconscious contents

I wish now to look at some of the different sorts of conscious markers of unconscious contents. But first I will recapitulate the basic argument derived from the conscious-of-the-unconscious paradox.

Any field of human consciousness – and I cannot speak for horses and guerillas or any other non-human creature – knows that it is bounded, knows – behind the self-delusion of the guardian – what these boundaries are, and knows that there is something which it does not know beyond those boundaries. This is because there are always things within the field of consciousness which indicate what is beyond it. I have called these things markers.

I have suggested the radical view that any current field of consciousness contains markers of everything that it excludes. This is in line with a general principle that the whole is coded and represented in each of its parts. So though I am only conscious of a small part of the whole universe of being, within my conscious field I have access to markers of all of it.

But what sorts of markers are there? Well. one important class is provided by boundaries, because boudaries themselves are markers.

Thus a very obvious sort of marker is a perceptual limit, that is, as far as the eyes can see, the ears can hear, the nose can smell. For visual perception this sort of marker is the horizon and what abuts it, all of which together is a marker telling us that there is more sky and land beyond it, and tell us something about what kind of sky and land there is likely to be immediately beyond it.

Another obvious one is the boundary of any area of explicit propositional knowledge. If I marshal all I know, however little, about bee-keeping, then the restrictions of this will clearly indicate the broad categories of what it is I don’t know.

These first two examples are boundary markers within a certain form of field such as perception or propositional knowledge. But there is another much less obvious sort of boundary marker, and that is the edge of a field as such. Take the visual field. That has an edge, not the limit of what I can see out there in the world, but the actual experiential edge of the field where it blurs out into seeming nothingness. This experiential edge is a spatial edge, but it is not in the space of the world, since there is nowhere in the world you can locate it. Since, however, it is clearly spatial it must be an edge between two different kinds of space, two different kinds of world. It is in short a marker of another world.

This is a very disconcerting marker and one that the guardian will very quickly delude itself about. It will insist that it is not conscious of systematically disattending from it when it knows perfectly well it is doing that very thing out of great anxiety. For if it does not so disattend, goodness knows what will tumble over the edge into consciousness.

Another disconcerting marker is at the edge of imagination, when it converts into supersensory perception, either of this reality beyond the range of one’s ordinary perception, or of quite other realities. The guardian will likewise pretend it is not aware of practising selective inattention, so that it gets nowhere near this sort of edge.

But it is not just boundaries within fields and boundaries of fields that are markers. It is the very central content of fields that are markers. Thus the distinctive patterns within perceptual imagery are markers, that is, the patterns and images just as such, without words and concepts and propositional beliefs attached to them. These are the patterns, which, when we do attach words and concepts, we call sun or moon or tree or river or mountain As patterns and images pure and simple they designate the dynamic archetypes in an unknown dimension that generate them. They mark and bear witness to the great unseen powers and principalities of their continuous creation.

With this central mass of markers, the guardian has to be very busy. One main device is to identify so strongly with the subject-object split inherent in the use of language that I no longer see the perceptual field as a set of images I am involved in generating, but as something given out there. I set up outside it an alienated little ego, which replaces the real I who is a participant in the original generation of the world, and the field itself becomes an opaque set of closed things, instead of a transparent set of radiant markers of archetypal origins.

Then I plaster over the perceptual field the concepts and elaborate belief-systems that derive from the cultural use of language. I embed these concepts and belief-systems so deeply into the very act of perceiving that they totally obscure the meaning of the field per se, that is, as a set of markers of the powers of creation. Thus selective inattention is sustained by the distracted use of language and conceptualisation. When combined with identification, the guardian has converted a central throng of markers of the great unknown into a debased and banal coinage for exchange with other alienated souls.

But there is no avoiding the call of the unknown, for the general concepts and conceptual systems that come with the use of language are the most obvious and unavoidable markers of all. Concepts spawn their polar counterparts, so concepts that classify the limited and familiar immediately generate their polar terms, which are the great abstract markers of any language. The concept of the limited yields the concept of the unlimited, and so it goes from known to unknown, consciousness to unconsciousness, familiar to unfamiliar. Concepts designate classes, and classes of classess, and classes of classes of classes, and we are launched into handling infinite sets and theories of infinity – which are used to redefine the parameters of the finite. Terms like ‘all’, ‘everything’ are, as markers, latent and limitless cornucopiae. And so it goes on.

In our personal psychology, when we repress into unconsciousness painful trauma of the past, we set up markers of the repressed material by symbolically re-enacting it in our current adult behaviour. In short, just about wherever we look within the field of consciousness its contents are constituted by markers of the contents of unconsciousness. The invitation to self-transfiguration is compendious.


In The Flying Muse on November 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm

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New insights into the moon’s rich geologic complexity

In The Flying Muse on November 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm

New insights into the moon’s rich geologic complexity.

In Media Dailies, The Flying Muse on November 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm

500,000 public sector jobs to go: Danny Alexander lets the cat out of the bag on spending cuts

In Media Dailies on November 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm
  • David Cameron and Danny Alexander snapped with secret drafts
  • 1 in 10 public sector jobs to go as government gambles on private recovery
  • Speculation mounts of deliberate ‘leaks’ by government ministers

The coalition expects 500,000 public sector jobs to be lost as a result of the drastic spending cuts, it was revealed today.

Danny Alexander let slip the forecast when he was spotted driving into the Treasury with an open copy of the Comprehensive Spending Review on his lap.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury – who has been nicknamed Beaker after the Muppets character – was reading the document, which was caught on camera by waiting photographers.

Danny Alexander with the Comprehensive Spending Review Some light reading: Danny Alexander with the Comprehensive Spending Review arriving at the Treasury today

CSR Drastic action: The CSR sets out cuts across Whitehall as the coalition battles to save money

It laid out details about the likely effect of spending cuts on the public sector as well as the coalition’s plans to pour billions into tackling climate change.

At the same time, the Prime Minister was photographed today holding a draft of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.



  • The overall value of the public sector reward package … has remained generous in recent years
  • Action on pay will help to reduce job losses
  • Actions Govt is taking will facilitate a movement of jobs from the public sector to the private sector
  • In the second quarter of 2010, both private sector and total employment experienced their largest increases on record
  • However, the OBR’s Budget forecast was for a reduction in public sector workforce numbers of 490,000 by 2014-2015
  • It will be for each public sector employer to determine the workforce implications of spending settlements in their areas

While figures in Mr Cameron’s documents appeared to show the defence budget was to be cut by 6 per cent, the Prime Minister confirmed to the Commons this afternoon that the department’s cuts will be 8 per cent.

The fact that both were photographed on the same day has sparked speculation that the papers were deliberately ‘leaked’ to soften the blow ahead of the official announcements.

Mr Alexander’s copy of The Comprehensive Spending Review laid out details about the likely effect of spending cuts on the public sector as well as the coalition’s plans to pour billions into tackling climate change.

The document stresses that tackling the deficit now is ‘unavoidable’ and will ultimately benefit the public and private sectors.

It warns it will ‘inevitably impact’ on workers because the paybill in Whitehall accounts for such a huge proportion of departmental spending.

Action on pay – a freeze for the lowest paid is already in place – will help reduce job losses, the papers say.

But they make clear that the Government has adopted the Office for Budget Responsibility‘s forecast that 490,000 jobs in the public sector will go by 2014/15.

Each public sector employer will have to ‘determine the workforce implications of spending settlements’, the document says.

It adds: ‘Government will do everything they can to mitigate the impact of redundancies’.

This will be done by creating conditions for private sector growth, encouraging pay restraint and reduced hours and supporting employees facing redundancy.


The Office for Budget Responsibility was formed in May 2010 to independently assess the state of public finances and issue economic forecasts.

It was originally chaired by fiscal expert Sir Alan Budd – but he quit in July, with Labour peers suggesting he had fallen out with ministers over the degree of independence given to the OBR.

On climate change, which was on the opposite page of the document held by Mr Alexander, the coalition pledges to ‘lead efforts to secure ambitious global action’.

It pledges that the UK will contribute £2.9billion in international climate finance and sets out plans to focus on developing wind power to help reach environmental goals.

Mr Alexander, 38, is the latest minister to be caught out by photographers carrying documents in Whitehall.

He was promoted from Scotland Secretary to the Treasury within weeks of the coalition taking power after fellow Lib Dem David Laws was forced to quit by revelations about his expenses claims.

Just five years ago, he was a press officer for the Cairngorms National Park but he was a key figure in the negotiations with the Tories after the election.

Mr Alexander has no experience of finance and has been compared to Beaker, the Muppet Show’s hapless laboratory assistant.

David Cameron was also spotted with a copy of his statement about the defence review today, which showed the MoD faces cuts of 8 per cent.

David Cameron leaving No10 today with a copy of his speech on defence cuts Revealing: David Cameron leaving No10 today with a copy of his speech on defence cuts appearing to show the budget could be slashed by 6% – but Mr Cameron later confirmed cuts of 8%


Danny Alexander is far from the first public figure to let slip information by being less than careful as they carry documents around Whitehall.

Housing Minister Caroline Flint (below left) revealed forecasts of a 10 per cent plunge in property prices in Downing Street in May 2008.

In 2009, Met Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick (below right) had to quit after displaying secret notes that led to a suspected Al-Qaeda operation being brought forward.

Caroline Flint
Bob Quick

Blunders: Caroline Flint showing off notes in Downing Street and (right) counter-terror officer Bob Quick

Reprinted from The Daily Mail

Brazilian Police Restore Law & Order

In The Flying Muse on November 27, 2010 at 3:39 am

Drug gangs flee Rio favela after crackdown Published: 11:18 GMT, 26/11/2010 Hundreds of gang members have been filmed fleeing from a Rio shantytown after police invaded the slum. Elite police units in borrowed navy tanks rumbled through a heavily fortified favela in the Brazilian city in an effort to apprehend drug gang leaders blamed for five days of widespread violence, as scores of armed youths fled to a neighbouring area. Authorities said the gangs had erected roadblocks on major highways to rob motorists en masse, torched more than 40 cars and buses, and fired at police outposts – all to protest against a security programme that has been pushing them from the favelas where they’ve held sway for decades. The officers arrived in the Vila Cruzeiro shantytown under the cover of police helicopters and amid the rattle of high-calibre gunfire despite the gang members’ efforts to block access with burning vehicles. As police entered, alleged gang members were seen fleeing down jungle-covered hills, across an area known as “the green hell,” to a neighbouring gang stronghold, Alemao. At least 30 people have died, many believed to be suspected drug gang members, and more than 150 suspects arrested in police raids at nearly 30 shantytowns in the northern and western parts of Rio. Authorities also have established 13 permanent police posts in the favelas as part of their efforts to clean up the seaside city before it hosts the World Cup football final in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics. Police have not released the identities of all those killed, but spokesman Henrique de Lima Castro Saraiva did acknowledge on Wednesday that “bystanders would be affected” by the battles. © Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Transactional analysis

In Business on November 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Eric Berne‘s Transactional Analysis – early TA history and theory

Transactional Analysis is one of the most accessible theories of modern psychology. Transactional Analysis was founded by Eric Berne, and the famous ‘parent adult child’ theory is still being developed today. Transactional Analysis has wide applications in clinical, therapeutic, organizational and personal development, encompassing communications, management, personality, relationships and behaviour. Whether you’re in business, a parent, a social worker or interested in personal development, Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis theories, and those of his followers, will enrich your dealings with people, and your understanding of yourself. This section covers the background to Transactional Analysis, and Transactional Analysis underpinning theory.

Throughout history, and from all standpoints: philosophy, medical science, religion; people have believed that each man and woman has a multiple nature.

In the early 20th century, Sigmund Freud first established that the human psyche is multi-faceted, and that each of us has warring factions in our subconscious. Since then, new theories continue to be put forward, all concentrating on the essential conviction that each one of us has parts of our personality which surface and affect our behaviour according to different circumstances.

In 1951 Dr Wilder Penfield began a series of scientific experiments. Penfield proved, using conscious human subjects, by touching a part of the brain (the temporal cortex) with a weak electrical probe, that the brain could be caused to ‘play back’ certain past experiences, and the feelings associated with them. The patients ‘replayed’ these events and their feelings despite not normally being able to recall them using their conventional memories.

Penfield’s experiments went on over several years, and resulted in wide acceptance of the following conclusions:

  • The human brain acts like a tape recorder, and whilst we may ‘forget’ experiences, the brain still has them recorded.
  • Along with events the brain also records the associated feelings, and both feelings and events stay locked together.
  • It is possible for a person to exist in two states simultaneously (because patients replaying hidden events and feelings could talk about them objectively at the same time).
  • Hidden experiences when replayed are vivid, and affect how we feel at the time of replaying.
  • There is a certain connection between mind and body, i.e. the link between the biological and the psychological, eg a psychological fear of spiders and a biological feeling of nausea.

early transactional analysis theory and model

In the 1950’s Eric Berne began to develop his theories of Transactional Analysis. He said that verbal communication, particularly face to face, is at the centre of human social relationships and psychoanalysis.

His starting-point was that when two people encounter each other, one of them will speak to the other. This he called the Transaction Stimulus. The reaction from the other person he called the Transaction Response.

The person sending the Stimulus is called the Agent. The person who responds is called the Respondent.

Transactional Analysis became the method of examining the transaction wherein: ‘I do something to you, and you do something back’.

Berne also said that each person is made up of three alter ego states:




These terms have different definitions than in normal language.


This is our ingrained voice of authority, absorbed conditioning, learning and attitudes from when we were young. We were conditioned by our real parents, teachers, older people, next door neighbours, aunts and uncles, Father Christmas and Jack Frost. Our Parent is made up of a huge number of hidden and overt recorded playbacks. Typically embodied by phrases and attitudes starting with ‘how to’, ‘under no circumstances’, ‘always’ and ‘never forget’, ‘don’t lie, cheat, steal’, etc, etc. Our parent is formed by external events and influences upon us as we grow through early childhood. We can change it, but this is easier said than done.


Our internal reaction and feelings to external events form the ‘Child’. This is the seeing, hearing, feeling, and emotional body of data within each of us. When anger or despair dominates reason, the Child is in control. Like our Parent we can change it, but it is no easier.


Our ‘Adult’ is our ability to think and determine action for ourselves, based on received data. The adult in us begins to form at around ten months old, and is the means by which we keep our Parent and Child under control. If we are to change our Parent or Child we must do so through our adult.

In other words:

  • Parent is our ‘Taught’ concept of life
  • Adult is our ‘Thought’ concept of life
  • Child is our ‘Felt’ concept of life

When we communicate we are doing so from one of our own alter ego states, our Parent, Adult or Child. Our feelings at the time determine which one we use, and at any time something can trigger a shift from one state to another. When we respond, we are also doing this from one of the three states, and it is in the analysis of these stimuli and responses that the essence of Transactional Analysis lies. See the poem by Philip Larkin about how parental conditioning affects children and their behaviour into adulthood. And for an uplifting antidote see the lovely Thich Nhat Hanh quote. These are all excellent illustrations of the effect and implications of parental conditioning in the context of Transactional Analysis.

At the core of Berne’s theory is the rule that effective transactions (ie successful communications) must be complementary. They must go back from the receiving ego state to the sending ego state. For example, if the stimulus is Parent to Child, the response must be Child to Parent, or the transaction is ‘crossed’, and there will be a problem between sender and receiver.

If a crossed transaction occurs, there is an ineffective communication. Worse still either or both parties will be upset. In order for the relationship to continue smoothly the agent or the respondent must rescue the situation with a complementary transaction.

In serious break-downs, there is no chance of immediately resuming a discussion about the original subject matter. Attention is focused on the relationship. The discussion can only continue constructively when and if the relationship is mended.

Here are some simple clues as to the ego state sending the signal. You will be able to see these clearly in others, and in yourself:


Physical – angry or impatient body-language and expressions, finger-pointing, patronising gestures,

Verbal – always, never, for once and for all, judgmental words, critical words, patronising language, posturing language.

N.B. beware of cultural differences in body-language or emphases that appear ‘Parental‘.


Physical – emotionally sad expressions, despair, temper tantrums, whining voice, rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders, teasing, delight, laughter, speaking behind hand, raising hand to speak, squirming and giggling.

Verbal – baby talk, I wish, I dunno, I want, I’m gonna, I don’t care, oh no, not again, things never go right for me, worst day of my life, bigger, biggest, best, many superlatives, words to impress.


Physical – attentive, interested, straight-forward, tilted head, non-threatening and non-threatened.

Verbal – why, what, how, who, where and when, how much, in what way, comparative expressions, reasoned statements, true, false, probably, possibly, I think, I realise, I see, I believe, in my opinion.


And remember, when you are trying to identify ego states: words are only part of the story.

To analyse a transaction you need to see and feel what is being said as well.

  • Only 7% of meaning is in the words spoken.
  • 38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
  • 55% is in facial expression. (source: Albert Mehrabian – more info)

There is no general rule as to the effectiveness of any ego state in any given situation (some people get results by being dictatorial (Parent to Child), or by having temper tantrums, (Child to Parent), but for a balanced approach to life, Adult to Adult is generally recommended.

Transactional Analysis is effectively a language within a language; a language of true meaning, feeling and motive. It can help you in every situation, firstly through being able to understand more clearly what is going on, and secondly, by virtue of this knowledge, we give ourselves choices of what ego states to adopt, which signals to send, and where to send them. This enables us to make the most of all our communications and therefore create, develop and maintain better relationships.



modern transactional analysis theory

Transactional Analysis is a theory which operates as each of the following:

  • a theory of personality
  • a model of communication
  • a study of repetitive patterns of behaviour

Transactional Analysis developed significantly beyond these Berne’s early theories, by Berne himself until his death in 1970, and since then by his followers and many current writers and experts. Transactional Analysis has been explored and enhanced in many different ways by these people, including: Ian Stewart and Vann Joines (their book ‘TA Today’ is widely regarded as a definitive modern interpretation); John Dusay, Aaron and Jacqui Schiff, Robert and Mary Goulding, Pat Crossman, Taibi Kahler, Abe Wagner, Ken Mellor and Eric Sigmund, Richard Erskine and Marityn Zalcman, Muriel James, Pam Levin, Anita Mountain and Julie Hay (specialists in organizational applications), Susannah Temple, Claude Steiner, Franklin Ernst, S Woollams and M Brown, Fanita English, P Clarkson, M M Holloway, Stephen Karpman and others.

Significantly, the original three Parent Adult Child components were sub-divided to form a new seven element model, principally during the 1980’s by Wagner, Joines and Mountain. This established Controlling and Nurturing aspects of the Parent mode, each with positive and negative aspects, and the Adapted and Free aspects of the Child mode, again each with positive an negative aspects, which essentially gives us the model to which most TA practitioners refer today:


Parent is now commonly represented as a circle with four quadrants:

Nurturing – Nurturing (positive) and Spoiling (negative).

Controlling – Structuring (positive) and Critical (negative).


Adult remains as a single entity, representing an ‘accounting’ function or mode, which can draw on the resources of both Parent and Child.


Child is now commonly represented as circle with four quadrants:

Adapted – Co-operative (positive) and Compliant/Resistant (negative).

Free – Spontaneous (positive) and Immature (negative).

Where previously Transactional Analysis suggested that effective communications were complementary (response echoing the path of the stimulus), and better still complementary adult to adult, the modern interpretation suggests that effective communications and relationships are based on complementary transactions to and from positive quadrants, and also, still, adult to adult. Stimulii and responses can come from any (or some) of these seven ego states, to any or some of the respondent’s seven ego states.

You Can Be Wrong & Right

In Business on November 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm



The Power of Positive Thinking and how to get Affirmations To Work For You

Positive thinking is a practice and it requires that you have a certain mental attitude. When you have a positive thinking mindset you automatically have positive thoughts and you continually recite positive affirmations. This process happens automatically.

When you have a positive thinking mindset you almost instantly find answers to even the most complex problems and challenges. Positive thinking is a mindset or attitude that is geared towards automatically expecting things to work out. A person with a Positive Thinking pattern in place expects, believes and trusts that things will always work out and they often do.

This is not to be confused with someone who simply says: “Think positive and everything will workout.” Such a person is does not have the proper positive thinking mindset in place. They are simply turning to positive thinking when things go wrong – and by then it’s too late, the damage has been done.

Someone who has a positive thinking mindset naturally thinks positive and always foresees happiness, good health, success, and a positive outcome to just about every situation and event that takes place. They also trust and know that they will make the right decision and the right choices. Since they expect it – their mind and subconscious mind find a way to make it happen. This is the power of having a positive thinking mindset.

Now I know that not everybody thinks that positive thinking works, and often these are the people who use the concept of positive thinking sporadically or when they need to get out of a jam. That’s not the way positive thinking worse as I just outlined, so if you try this approach don’t expect results.

There are also those who believe in positive thinking but don’t know how to properly apply it. These are the people who will say “Think Positive” when you’re down or when things aren’t going well. But the person hearing this phrase has no idea what they mean and so tries to apply it and doesn’t get the result they want.

The Power to Change

In Business on November 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

A goal properly set is halfway reached.

– Zig Ziglar




Jamaica: State of emergency in Kingston

In Media Dailies on November 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm
By the CNN Wire Staff
May 24, 2010 7:22 a.m.
Supporters of an alleged drug lord blockaded Kingston neighborhoods.
Supporters of an alleged drug lord blockaded Kingston neighborhoods.
  • NEW: Gang members had blocked off a miles-long area of Jamaica’s capital city
  • Standoff revolves around U.S. attempts to extradite suspected drug kingpin
  • Coke was charged last year, accused of leading international crime syndicate
  • Violence, blockades prompt emergency meeting of Jamaican president’s Cabinet

Kingston, Jamaica (CNN) — Jamaican authorities declared a state of emergency in Kingston after gang members supportive of an alleged drug lord wanted by the United States attacked police stations and blockaded a large swath of the city.

Two police stations were evacuated after being hit with Molotov cocktails, while the status of a third was unclear.

Gang members blocked off a miles-long area of Jamaica’s capital city — mostly in West Kingston — using vehicles, sandbags, barbed wire and anything else they could find.

Are you there? Send us your stories, images

The standoff revolves around attempts by the United States to extradite suspected drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke. Last year he was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine and with conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms in U.S. federal court.

On Friday, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding said citizens should “allow the courts to deal with the extradition matter,” the state-run Jamaica Information service reported.

In a statement issued Sunday afternoon, Golding announced an emergency meeting of his cabinet in response to the violence and blockades, the Jamaica Information Service said.

The state of emergency extended to St. Andrew, an area near Kingston, according to the Jamaica Information Service.

The U.S. State Department is “monitoring the situation closely,” a spokesman said Sunday evening.

Coke was charged in August by the attorney’s office in New York, which accused him of leading an international criminal syndicate known as the “Shower Posse.”

“At Coke’s direction and under his protection, members of his criminal organization sell marijuana and crack cocaine in the New York area and elsewhere, and send the narcotics proceeds back to Coke and his co-conspirators,” the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said in a release accompanying the charges.

“Coke and his co-conspirators also arm their organization with illegally trafficked firearms,” the DEA said in a statement at the time.

Coke is on the Justice Department’s list of Consolidated Priority Organization Targets, which the department says “includes the world’s most dangerous narcotics kingpins.”

The State Department issued a travel alert for Jamaica on Friday, saying that the “possibility exists for violence and/or civil unrest in the greater Kingston metropolitan area.”

“If the situation ignites, there is a possibility of severe disruptions of movement within Kingston, including blocking of access roads to the Norman Manley International Airport,” the alert said.

Journalist Kirk Abrahams contributed to this report.

The Epistles of Seneca

In Readers Choice on November 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm


Roman Emperor and Stoic, the author of Meditations in twelve books. Its first printing appeared in English in 1634. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius the celebrated Pax Romana collapsed – perhaps this made the emperor the most forbearing of all Stoics. An important feature of the philosophy was that everything will recur: the whole universe becomes fire and then repeats itself.

Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web. (from The Meditations)

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was born in Rome. He came from an aristocratic family long established in Spain. His father was Annius Verus. When only a small child, he caught the attention of the Emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138) – a pedophile and his fellow countryman. He was appointed by the Emperor to priesthood in the year 129, and Hadrian also supervised his education, which was entrusted to the best professors of literature, rhetoric and philosophy of the time. His letters to one of the teachers, Marcus Cornelius Fronto (c. 100 – 170), the foremost orator of his day, were found by Cardinal Mai in 1815.

Marcus Aurelius discovered Stoicism by the time he was 11 and from his early twenties he deserted his other studies for philosophy. The Emperor Antoninus Pius, who succeeded Hadrian, adopted Marcus Aurelius as his son in 138. “He never bathed at odd hours,” Marcus Aurelius said of him in Meditations, “or took a passion for building; never set up for a table connoisseur, and expert on textures and tints, or an authority on good looks… One might fairly apply to him what is recorded of Socrates, that he could either enjoy or leave things which most people find themselves too weak to abstain from, and too self-indulgent to enjoy.” Antoninus Pius treated Aurelius as a confidant and helper throughout his reign; Marcus Aurelius also married his daughter, Faustina, in 139. He was admitted to the Senate, and then twice the consulship. In 147 he shared tribunician power with Antoninus. During this time he began composition of his Meditations, which he wrote in Greek in army camps. Thus Book I is headed ‘This among the Quadi on the Gran’, and Book II ‘Written at Carnuntum’.

At the age of 40, in 161 Marcus Aurelius ascended the throne and shared his imperial power with his adopted brother Lucius Aurelius Verus. Useless and lazy, Verus was regarded as a kind of junior emperor; he died in 169. After Verus’s death he ruled alone, until he admitted his own son, Commodus, to full participation in the government in 177.

As an emperor Marcus Aurelius was conservative and just by Roman standards. He was beset by internal disturbances – famine, earthquakes, fires, and plague – and by the external threat posed by the Germans in the north and the Parthians in the east. However, Sir Edward Gobbon has praised the period of ‘Five Good Emperors‘ – Narva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius – of which Marcus’ own life spanned almost three-quarters: “If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.”

Toward the end of his reign, in 175, Marcus Aurelius was faced with a revolt by Avidius Cassius, the governor of Syria, who perhaps believed rumors that the Emperor had died. His head was sent to Marcus Aurelius. According to some sources, Faustina, Marcus’ wife, may have been involved in this conspiracy. An epidemic of plague followed Cassius’s army from the East. Year after year Aurelius tried to push barbarians back but witnessed the gradual crumbling of the Roman frontiers. In these times of disasters, he turned more and more to the study of Stoic philosophy.

The Latin writings of Marcus Aurelius, letters to a teacher, Fronto, are not interesting, but the “Writings to Himself”, called Meditations, are remarkable. They are personal reflections and aphorisms, written for his own edification during a long career of public service, after marching or battle in the remote Danube. Meditations are valuable primarily as a personal document, what it is to be a Stoic. His opinions in central philosophical questions are very much similar to Epictetus’s (c. 55-135 AD) teachings. Epictetus’s two basic principles were: Endure and Abstain. He stressed that inner freedom is to be attained through submission to providence, and rigorous detachment from everything not in our power.

He who fears death either fears the loss of sensation or a different kind of sensation. But if thou shalt have no sensation, neither wilt thou feel any harm; and if thou shalt acquire another kind of sensation, thou wilt be a different kind of living being and thou wilt not cease to live. (from The Meditations)

Marcus Aurelius’s melancholic writings reveal that the public duties depressed him and he wanted to retire to live a simple country life. After his death in Vindobona (now Vienna, Austria) on March 17, 180 the emperor’s only son Commodus became Emperor and turned out to be one of the worst rulers. Marcus Aurelius’s reputation is shadowed by his persecution of Christians. A devout adherent of the Roman religion, Marcus Aurelius considered the Christians fanatics, who don’t die with stoic dignity. “How lovely the soul that is prepared – when its hour comes to slough off this flesh – for extinctions, dispersion, or survival! But this readiness should result from a personal decision, not from sheer contrariness like the Christians…” Probably Marcus Aurelius knew very little about Christian beliefs. The fierce cruelty, with which the persecution was carried out in Gaul, was not consistent with his writings. However, Stoics had a profound influence upon both Neoplatonism and Christianity. Besides Meditations Aurelius left behind among others two Roman monuments, the column which commemorates his victories in the Marcomannic Wars and the equestrian statue on the Capitol.

Stoicism, named after the Stoa Poikile, a hall in Athens where it was first formulated around 300 BC by Zeno of Citium. Zeno’s all writings are lost. The philosophy was developed by Cleanthes (331-232) and Chrysippus (280-207), who organized it into a system. Marcus Aurelius based his views in part on the later version, which was developed by the freed slave Epictetus (55-135). The Stoics were the first thoroughgoing pantheists: God is the universe, the universe is God. The wise and virtuous learns one’s place in the scheme. According to Stoic Ethics, the goal of human existence is to live consistently with Nature, which means “consistently with Reason”.

Meditations, or Writings to Himself (Ta eis heauton). First printed in 1559 in Zurich by Andreas Gesner with a Latin translation by William Xylander. Thereafter it has enjoyed a wide readership from poets to statesmen. Meditations contains 12 books, but while Book I offers a clear organization and unity, the others do not. Marcus Aurelius worked on his philosophical summary or pensées during the last years of his life while on campaign along the marshlands of the Danube. Among the central themes is man’s fate to die and be forgotten. “What should be valued?”, he asks, but sees not the answer in the rewards of glory. Aurelius had wanted to be untouched by passion, and generous by nature rather than by calculation. He had a firm sense of responsibility, but was perhaps more attracted to the Stoic ideal of the perfect man. When according to Stoicism humanity’s whole duty was to discover how it might live in harmony with the order of Nature, Aurelius hoped sadly that it could also apply to him: “Even in a palace life may be lived well.”

For further reading: Marcus Aurelius: His Life and His Works by A.S.L. Farquharson (1951); Marcus Aurelius by Anthony Birley (1987, original edition 1966); The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by R.B. Rutheford (1989); The Therapy of Desire by Martha C. Nussbaum (1994); The Roman Empire in Transition by Michael Grant (1994) – Note: in some sources Marcus Aurelius’s birth date is April 16, 121 (Lexicon der Weltliteratur, ed. by Gero von Wilpert, 1988).


Selected works:

  • Marcus Aurelius Antoninus the Roman emperour, His Meditations Concerning Himself, 1635 (notes by Meric Casaubon)
  • The Emperor Marcus Antoninus, His Conversation with Himself, 1701
  • The Thoughts of the Emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus, 1862 (tr. by George Long)
  • Opera Inedits cum Epistulis Item Ineditis Antonni Pii M Aurelii L Veri et Appiani nec non Aliorum Veterum, 1815 – The Correspondence of Marcus Cornelius Fronto with Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Lucius Verus, Antoninus Pius, and Various Friends (ed. C.R. Haines, 1920)
  • The Communings with Himself by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, 1916 (tr. by Charkes S. Haines)
  • The Meditations of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, I-II, 1944 (2nd ed. 1952, ed. by A.S.L. Farquharson)
  • Marcus Aurelius: Ad se ipsum libri XII, 1979 (ed. by J. Dalfen)
  • The Emperors Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations, 2002 (tr. by David Hicks, C. Scot Hicks)
  • Meditations, 2002 (tr. and introduction by Gregory Hays)


In The Flying Muse on November 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Vatican bust of Caesar Vatican bust of Caesar, side

102/100 BCE: Gaius Julius Caesar was born (by Caesarean section according to an unlikely legend) of Aurelia and Gaius Julius Caesar, a praetor. His family had noble, patrician roots, although they were neither rich nor influential in this period. His aunt Julia was the wife of Gaius Marius, leader of the Popular faction.

c. 85 BCE: His father died, and a few years later he was betrothed and possibly married to a wealthy young woman, Cossutia. This betrothal/marriage was soon broken off, and at age 18 he married Cornelia, the daughter of a prominent member of the Popular faction; she later bore him his only legitimate child, a daughter, Julia. When the Optimate dictator, Sulla, was in power, he ordered Caesar to divorce her; when Caesar refused, Sulla proscribed him (listed him among those to be executed), and Caesar went into hiding. Caesar’s influential friends and relatives eventually got him a pardon.

c. 79 BCE: Caesar, on the staff of a military legate, was awarded the civic crown (oak leaves) for saving the life of a citizen in battle. His general sent him on an embassy to Nicomedes, the king of Bithynia, to obtain a fleet of ships; Caesar was successful, but subsequently he became the butt of gossip that he had persuaded the king (a homosexual) only by agreeing to sleep with him. When Sulla died in 78, Caesar returned to Rome and began a career as a orator/lawyer (throughout his life he was known as an eloquent speaker) and a life as an elegant man-about-town.

75 BCE: While sailing to Greece for further study, Caesar was kidnaped by Cilician pirates and held for ransom. When informed that they intended to ask for 20 talents, he is supposed to have insisted that he was worth at least 50. He maintained a friendly, joking relationship with the pirates while the money was being raised, but warned them that he would track them down and have them crucified after he was released. He did just that, with the help of volunteers, as a warning to other pirates, but he first cut their throats to lessen their suffering because they had treated him well.

72 BCE: Caesar was elected military tribune. (Note that Pompey and Crassus were the consuls for 70 BCE.)

69 BCE: He spoke at the funerals of both his aunt, Julia, and his wife, Cornelia. On both occasions, he emphasized his connections with Marius and the ancient nobility of his family, descended from the first kings on his mother’s side and from the gods on his father’s (revealing a notable talent for self-dramatization and a conception that there was something exceptional about him).

68/67 BCE: Caesar was elected quaestor and obtained a seat in the Senate; he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla. Caesar supported Gnaeus Pompey and helped him get an extraordinary generalship against the Mediterranean pirates, later extended to command of the war against King Mithridates in Asia Minor.

bust of Caesar

65 BCE: He was elected curule aedile and spent lavishly on games to win popular favor; large loans from Crassus made these expenditures possible. There were rumors that Caesar was having an affair with Gnaeus Pompey’s wife, Mucia, as well as with the wives of other prominent men.

63 BCE: Caesar spent heavily in a successful effort to get elected pontifex maximus (chief priest); in 62 he was elected praetor. He divorced Pompeia because of her involvement in a scandal with another man, although the man had been acquitted in the law courts; Caesar is reported to have said, “The wife of Caesar must be above suspicion,” suggesting that he was so exceptional that anyone associated with him had to be free of any hint of scandal. In 61 he was sent to the province of Further Spain as propraetor.

60 BCE: He returned from Spain and joined with Pompey and Crassus in a loose coalition called by modern historians “The First Triumvirate” and by his enemies at the time “the three-headed monster.” In 62, Pompey had returned victorious from Asia, but had been unable to get the Senate to ratify his arrangements and to grant land to his veteran soldiers because he had disbanded his army on his return and Crassus was blocking his efforts. Caesar persuaded the two men to work together and promised to support their interests if they helped him get elected to the consulship.

59 BCE: Caesar was elected consul against heavy Optimate opposition led by Marcus Porcius Cato, a shrewd and extremely conservative politician. Caesar married his only daughter, Julia, to Pompey to consolidate their alliance; he himself married Calpurnia, the daughter of a leading member of the Popular faction. Caesar pushed Pompey’s measures through, helped Crassus’ proposals, and got for himself a five-year term as proconsul of Gaul after his consulship was over. However, he used some strong-arm methods in the Assembly and completely cowed his Optimate colleague in the consulship, Bibulus, so that jokers referred to the year as “the consulship of Julius and Caesar” (instead of “the consulship of Caesar and Bibulus”). Caesar was safe from prosecution for such actions as long as he held office, but once he became a private citizen again he could be prosecuted by his enemies in the Senate.

58 BCE: Caesar left Rome for Gaul; he would not return for 9 years, in the course of which he would conquer most of what is now central Europe, opening up these lands to Mediterranean civilization—a decisive act in world history. However, much of the conquest was an act of aggression prompted by personal ambition (not unlike the conquests of Alexander the Great). Fighting in the summers, he would return to Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) in the winters and manipulate Roman politics through his supporters (see this map of Caesar’s Gallic campaigns).

56 BCE: Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus met in Caesar’s province to renew their coalition, since Pompey had been increasingly moving toward the Optimate faction. Pompey and Crassus were to be consuls again, and Caesar’s command in Gaul was extended until 49 BCE.

bust of Caesar

54 BCE: Caesar led a three-month expedition to Britain (the was the first Roman crossing of the English Channel), but he did not establish a permanent base there. Meanwhile, Caesar’s coalition with Pompey was increasingly strained, especially after Julia died in childbirth in 54. In the following year, Crassus received command of the armies of the East but was defeated and killed by the Parthians.

52 BCE: Rioting in Rome led to Pompey’s extra-legal election as “consul without a colleague.” Without Julia and Crassus, there was little to bond Caesar and Pompey together, and Pompey moved to the Optimate faction, since he had always been eager for the favor of the aristocrats.

51 BCE: The conquest of Gaul effectively completed, Caesar set up an efficient provincial administration to govern the vast territories; he published his history The Gallic Wars. The Optimates in Rome attempted to cut short Caesar’s term as governor of Gaul and made it clear that he would be immediately prosecuted if he returned to Rome as a private citizen (Caesar wanted to run for the consulship in absentia so that he could not be prosecuted). Pompey and Caesar were maneuvered into a public split; neither could yield to the other without a loss of honor, dignity, and power.

49 BCE: Caesar tried to maintain his position legally, but when he was pushed to the limit he led his armies across the Rubicon River (the border of his province), which was automatic civil war. Pompey’s legions were in Spain, so he and the Senate retreated to Brundisium and from there sailed to the East. Caesar quickly advanced to Rome, set up a rump Senate and had himself declared dictator. Throughout his campaign, Caesar practiced—and widely publicized—his policy of clemency (he would put no one to death and confiscate no property). In a bold, unexpected move, Caesar led his legions to Spain, to prevent Pompey’s forces from joining him in the East; he allegedly declared, “I am off to meet an army without a leader; when I return, I shall meet a leader without an army.” After a remarkably short campaign, he returned to Rome and was elected consul, thus (relatively) legalizing his position.

48 BCE: Pompey and the Optimate faction had established a strong position in Greece by this time, and Caesar, in Brundisium, did not have sufficient ships to transport all his legions. He crossed with only about 20,000 men, leaving his chief legate, Mark Antony, in Brundisium to try to bring across the rest of the soldiers. After some rather desperate situations for Caesar, the rest of his forces finally landed, though they were greatly outnumbered by Pompey’s men. In the final battle, on the plains of Pharsalus, it is estimated that Pompey had 46,000 men to Caesar’s 21,000. By brilliant generalship, Caesar was victorious, though the toll was great on both sides; Caesar pardoned all Roman citizens who were captured, including Brutus, but Pompey escaped, fleeing to Egypt.

October 2, 48 BCE: Caesar, with no more than 4,000 legionaries, landed in Alexandria; he was presented, to his professed horror, with the head of Pompey, who had been betrayed by the Egyptians. Caesar demanded that the Egyptians pay him the 40 million sesterces he was owed because of his military support some years earlier for the previous ruler, Ptolemy XII (“The Flute Player”), who had put down a revolt against his rule with Caesar’s help. After Ptolemy XII’s death, the throne had passed to his oldest children, Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XIII, as joint heirs. When Caesar landed, the eunuch Pothinus and the Egyptian general Achillas, acting on behalf of Ptolemy XIII (at this time about 12 years old), had recently driven Cleopatra (at this time about 20-21 years old) out of Alexandria. Cleopatra had herself smuggled into the palace in Alexandria wrapped in a rug (purportedly a gift for Caesar) and enlisted his help in her struggle to control the Egyptian throne. Like all the Ptolemies, Cleopatra was of Macedonian Greek descent; she was highly intelligent and well-educated. Caesar saw her as a useful ally as well as a captivating female, and he supported her right to the throne. Through the treachery of Pothinus and the hostility of the Egyptian people to the Romans, Achillas and an army of 20,000 besieged the palace. Caesar managed to hold the palace itself and the harbor; he had Pothinus executed as a traitor but allowed the young Ptolemy to join the army of Achillas. When he ordered the Egyptian fleet burnt, the great Library of Alexandria was accidently consumed in the flames.

drawing of Caesar with general's cloak
drawing of Caesar with general’s cloak; see also this statue

February, 47 BCE: After some months under siege, Caesar tried unsuccessfully to capture Pharos, a great lighthouse on an island in the harbor; at one point when cut off from his men he had to jump in the water and swim to safety. Plutarch says that he swam with one hand, using the other to hold some important papers above the water; Suetonius adds that he also towed his purple general’s cloak by holding it in his teeth so that it would not be captured by the Egyptians.

March, 47 BCE: Caesar had sent for reinforcements, two Roman legions and the army of an ally, King Mithridates; when they arrived outside Alexandria he marched out to join them and on March 26 defeated the Egyptian army (Ptolemy XIII died in this battle). Although he had been trapped in the palace for nearly six months and had been unable to exert a major influence on the conduct of the civil war, which was going rather badly without him, Caesar nevertheless remained in Egypt until June, even cruising on the Nile with Cleopatra to the southern boundary of her kingdom.

June 23, 47 BCE: Caesar left Alexandria, having established Cleopatra as a client ruler in alliance with Rome; he left three legions under the command of Rufio, as legate, in support of her rule. Either immediately before or soon after he left Egypt, Cleopatra bore a son, whom she named Caesarion, claiming that he was the son of Caesar.

August, 47 BCE: After leaving Alexandria, Caesar swept through Asia Minor to settle the disturbances there. On August 1, he met and immediately overcame Pharnaces, a rebellious king; he later publicized the rapidity of this victory with the slogan veni, vidi, vici (“I came, I saw, I overcame”).

October, 47 BCE: Caesar arrived back in Rome and settled the problems caused by the mismanagement of Antony. When he attempted to sail for Africa to face the Optimates (who had regrouped under Cato and allied with King Juba of Numidia), his legions mutinied and refused to sail. In a brilliant speech, Caesar brought them around totally, and after some difficult battles decisively defeated the Optimates at Thapsus, after which Cato committed suicide rather than be pardoned by Caesar.

coin of Caesar
coin issued by Caesar depicting military trophy

July 25, 46 BCE: The victorious and now unchallenged Caesar arrived back in Rome and celebrated four splendid triumphs (over the Gauls, Egyptians, Pharnaces, and Juba); he sent for Cleopatra and the year-old Caesarion and established them in a luxurious villa across the Tiber from Rome. In a letter at this time he listed his political aims as “tranquility for Italy, peace for the provinces, and security for the Empire.” His program for accomplishing these goals—both what he actually achieved and what he planned but did not have time to complete—was sound and farsighted (e.g., resolution of the worst of the debt crisis, resettlement of veterans abroad without dispossessing others, reform of the Roman calendar, regulation of the grain dole, strengthening of the middle class, enlargement of the Senate to 900), but his methods alienated many of the nobles. Holding the position of dictator, Caesar governed autocratically, more in the manner of a general than a politician. Although he nominally used the political structure, he often simply announced his decisions to the Senate and had them entered on the record as senatorial decrees without debate or vote.

April, 45 BCE: The two sons of Pompey, Gnaeus and Sextus, led a revolt in Spain; since Caesar’s legates were unable to quell the revolt, Caesar had to go himself, winning a decisive but difficult victory at Munda. Gnaeus Pompey was killed in the battle, but Sextus escaped to become, later, the leader of the Mediterranean pirates.

October, 45 BCE: Caesar, back in Rome, celebrated a triumph over Gnaeus Pompey, arousing discontent because triumphs were reserved for foreign enemies. By this time Caesar was virtually appointing all major magistrates; for example, when the consul for 45 died on the morning of his last day of office, Caesar appointed a new consul to serve out the term—from 1:00 p.m. to sundown! Caesar was also borrowing some of the customs of the ruler cults of the eastern Hellenistic monarchies; for example, he issued coins with his likeness (note how the portrait on this coin, celebrating his fourth dictatorship, emphasizes his age) and allowed his statues, especially in the provinces, to be adorned like the statues of the gods. Furthermore, the Senate was constantly voting him new honors—the right to wear the laurel wreath and purple and gold toga and sit in a gilded chair at all public functions, inscriptions such as “to the unconquerable god,” etc. When two tribunes, Gaius Marullus and Lucius Flavius, opposed these measures, Caesar had them removed from office and from the Senate.

February, 44 BCE: Caesar was named dictator perpetuus. On February 15, at the feast of Lupercalia, Caesar wore his purple garb for the first time in public. At the public festival, Antony offered him a diadem (symbol of the Hellenistic monarchs), but Caesar refused it, saying Jupiter alone is king of the Romans (possibly because he saw the people did not want him to accept the diadem, or possibly because he wanted to end once and for all the speculation that he was trying to become a king). Caesar was preparing to lead a military campaign against the Parthians, who had treacherously killed Crassus and taken the legionary eagles; he was due to leave on March 18. Although Caesar was apparently warned of some personal danger, he nevertheless refused a bodyguard.

March 15, 44 BCE: Caesar attended the last meeting of the Senate before his departure, held at its temporary quarters in the portico of the theater built by Pompey the Great (the Curia, located in the Forum and the regular meeting house of the Senate, had been badly burned and was being rebuilt). The sixty conspirators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Brutus Albinus, and Gaius Trebonius, came to the meeting with daggers concealed in their togas and struck Caesar at least 23 times as he stood at the base of Pompey’s statue. Legend has it that Caesar said in Greek to Brutus, “You, too, my child?” After his death, all the senators fled, and three slaves carried his body home to Calpurnia several hours later. For several days there was a political vacuum, for the conspirators apparently had no long-range plan and, in a major blunder, did not immediately kill Mark Antony (apparently by the decision of Brutus). The conspirators had only a band of gladiators to back them up, while Antony had a whole legion, the keys to Caesar’s money boxes, and Caesar’s will. Click here for some assessments of Caesar by modern historians.

possible head of Caesar
first century BCE portrait bust with features resembling Caesar’s, found in Ancient Thera

Julius Caesar

Sigmund Freud’s Self-Analysis

In The Master Class on November 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm

By Jean Chiriac

Freud’s self-analysis started in the mid 1890’s to reach its climaxes in 1895 and 1900. In certain authors’ opinion, it was continued up to his death in 1939. Nevertheless, we have to set a clear boundary between the time of Freud’s discovery of the Oedipus complex and other essential contents of psychoanalysis and routine self-analysis he performed to check his unconscious psychic life.

The first phase is full of unexpected aspects and inventiveness – the productive, creative stage. The second becomes an obligation derived from his profession as a psychoanalyst.

Freud’s discoveries during his first stage of self-analysis are known to have been included in two of his main books: “The Interpretation of Dreams” and “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life“.

“The Interpretation of Dreams” provides plenty of Freud’s dreams in his own interpretation, among which the famous dream of Irma’s injection, which he considers a key issue in understanding the mysteries of dream life. It opens Chapter II (“The Method Of Interpreting Dreams: An Analysis Of A Specimen Dream”) and provides material for an analysis covering several pages ahead.

Just as Freud himself maintained, the analysis of the dream is not complete but it was here that Freud for the first time asserted that dreams are the disguised fulfilment of unconscious wishes.

The explanation of the dream is quite simple: it tries to hide Freud’s lack of satisfaction with the treatment given to a patient of his, Irma, and throw the guilt of partial failure upon others, exonerate Freud of other professional errors.

Dream interpretation also provides a dream psychology and many other issues. The volume is extremely inventive and rich in information, and, in its author’s view, it is his most important work.

“The Psychopathology of Everyday Life”, offers Freud room to focus on the analysis of faulty and symptomatic actions, the important thing to emphasize here being that this volume represents Freud’s transfer from the clinical to normal life – it proves neurotic features are present not only in sickness but also in health. The difference does not lie in quality but in quantity. Repression is greater with the sick and the free libido is sensibly diminished. Therefore, it is for the first time in the history of psychopathology that Freud overrules the difference between pathology and health. That makes it possible to apply psychoanalysis to so-called normal life…


  • Discovery of the Oedipus Complex

The discovery of Oedipus’ complex is indicated in a historic letter Freud wrote to Fliess, his friend and confidante.

    I have found, in my own case too, [the phenomenon of] being in love with my mother and jealous of my father, and I now consider it a universal event in early childhood, even if not so early as in children who have been made hysterical.

Freud adds a few more important details to his confession:

    If this is so, we can understand the gripping power of Oedipus Rex, in spite of all the objections that reason raises against the presupposition of fate; and we can understand why the later «drama of fate» was bound to fail so miserably.

The Greek legend touches upon an urge “which everyone recognizes because he senses its existence within himself. Everyone in the audience was once a budding Oedipus in fantasy and each recoils in horror from the dream fulfillment here transplanted into reality, with the full quantity of repression which separates his infantile state from his present one.”

Together with these remarks, essential for psychoanalytic practice and theory, the buds of applied psychoanalysis also emerge. Freud links the Oedipus complex to Hamlet.

    Fleetingly the thought passed through my head that the same thing might be at the bottom of Hamlet as well. I am not thinking of Shakespeare’s conscious intention, but believe, rather, that a real event stimulated the poet to his representation, in that his unconscious understood the unconscious of his hero. (1)

In its monograph of Freud’s biography, Peter Gay asserts that “The method Freud used in his self-analysis was that of free association and the material he mainly relied upon was that his own dreams provided”. But he didn’t stop there: “[Freud] also made a collection of his memories, of speaking or spelling mistakes, slips concerning verse and patients’ names and he allowed these clues to lead him from one idea to the other, through the “usual roundabouts” of free association.” (2)

One of the most beautiful examples of self-analysis can be found in his letter to Romain Rolland, entitled “A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis”.

The disturbance occurred as follows: In the summer of 1904, after prolonged hesitation, Freud suddenly traveled to Athens in the company of his brother Alexander. Once up on the Acropolis, instead of the expected admiration, he was enveloped by a strange feeling of doubt. He was surprised that something he had been learning about at school really exists. He felt divided in two: one person who empirically realized his actual presence on the Acropolis and the other that found it hard to believe, as if denying the reality of the fact.

In the mentioned text, Freud tries to elucidate this feeling of strangeness, of unreality. He then showed that the trip to Athens was the object of wish mingled with guilt. That was a desire because, from his early childhood even, he had had dreams of traveling expressing his wish to evade the family atmosphere, the narrow-mindedness and poverty of living conditions he had known in his youth.

On the other hand, there was also guilt, as for Freud going to Athens meant getting farther than his own father, who was too poor to travel, to uneducated to be interested in these places. To climb the Acropolis in Freud’s mind was to definitely surpass his father, something the son was clearly forbidden to. Let us resort to Freud’s own words:

    But here we come upon the solution of the little problem of why it was that already at Trieste we interfered with our enjoyment of the voyage to Athens. It must be that a sense of guilt was attached to the satisfaction in having gone such a long way: there was something about it that was wrong, that from earliest times had been forbidden. It was something to do with a child’s criticism of his father, with the undervaluation which took the place of the overvaluation of earlier childhood. It seems as though the essence of success was to have got further than one’s father, and as though to excel one’s father was still something forbidden. (“A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis”.)

Fliess’ friendship certainly provided Freud the dialectic relationship that psychoanalytic dialogue (or rather monologue) allows. Fliess was the “idealized other”, the one who supposedly knew and understood (even appreciated) the analyst’s efforts. In fact, self-analysis is of course only possible by projection.

In his letter of November 14th 1897, Freud wrote: “Self-analysis is impossible in fact. I can only analyze myself by means of what I learn from the outside (as if I were another). Were things different, no disease would have been possible otherwise but through projection”.


  • The Difference between Self-analysis and Introspection

The practice of introspection has its origins in St. Augustus’ Confessions. It is thus defined as an analysis of our mind’s contents that are directly accessible and ethical in character as it launches a debate on the relationship between moral man, which he longs to be, and immoral man, which he is by birth.

Augustin does not understand dreams and thinks it is God who is responsible for their emergence. There is no trace here of any knowledge of the unconscious mind, of the way it works works. This is the field of Christian psychology which only assumes a horizontal dimension of analysis.

Self-analysis does not deal with known things any more. Having known facts as a starting point, the self-analyser goes deep into the world of his unconscious life and leaves aside the ethic criterion for a while. Conscious psychic manifestations are connected to their unconscious roots and can be explained through the latter.

In this self-analysis God vanishes and with him the guilt of the self-analyser. Moreover, the investigation of unconscious needs resorting to the special investigation methods psychoanalysis has introduced: free associations, dream-analysis, work with slips and symbols, etc.

In short we may say that whereas introspection does nothing else but (re)integrate us into the level of our social values, psychoanalytic self-analysis offers us the opportunity of a radical change in our inner and outer being from the perspective of a reevaluation of these social values .


1. October 15, 1897, Masson, J.M. (1985) (Ed.) “The complete letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess”, 1887-1904. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

2. Translation by M. Cristea.

Energy firms facing gas and electricity price review

In Prime Time News on November 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

26 November 2010 Last updated at 12:02

Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan 

chanan: ‘We’re very concerned, on behalf of consumers’

Ofgem is to investigate recent energy price rises, as it says they have significantly widened suppliers’ profit margins.

The watchdog said that the net profit margin of £65 per typical customer in September was now £90, a 38% rise.

The calculations take into account price rises announced by three of the “big six” suppliers in recent weeks.

Energy UK, which represents the major energy suppliers, said it had “nothing to hide” during a review.

Ofgem will review the domestic energy market to see if more action is needed to protect consumers.

A previous investigation of the market in October 2008 found no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour in the sector.


The work will be completed by March 2011, and will study the “effectiveness of the retail market“.

The regulator said it was asking if “companies are playing it straight with consumers” after the latest figures showed a 38% rise in profit margins from the typical dual-fuel customer in the last three months.

“The energy retail market can only be fully effective if consumers have confidence that the market is transparent and easy to take part in,” said Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan.

“So we will go beyond our usual quarterly reports on prices and do a comprehensive review of the retail market and our recent reforms from the consumers’ perspective.

“Greater transparency in the market is good for consumers, investors and for the energy industry as a whole.”

Last week, Scottish Power said its customers’ electricity bills would rise by an average of 8.9% while prices for gas customers would increase by an average of 2%.

This came after Scottish and Southern Energy said it would put up its domestic gas tariffs by 9.4% at the start of December.

British Gas customers also face a 7% rise in gas and electricity bills this winter.


The review will not immediately make any change to customers’ bills.

Fuel costs graph

However it was understandable that consumers be reassured that companies were not “lining their pockets”, Mr Buchanan told the BBC.

Ofgem had the power to make some changes to the way companies operated, he added.

But they could also ask for more legislative support from the government or go to the Competition Commission.

Adam Scorer, of watchdog Consumer Focus, said that there was no cartel among the big energy suppliers.

“What the Ofgem review will not show is that the CEOs [chief executives] of the six major suppliers are huddling around a park bench with a calculator,” he said.

The problem was the structure of the market, he said, that prevented it being competitive, and it was impossible for a new entrant into the sector to challenge the major suppliers’ dominance.

“They do not feel the hot breath of competition on their necks,” he said.

But Energy UK, which represents the major suppliers, said that energy pricing was a complex business.

“The energy companies have been working closely with Ofgem for some time to implement an array of reforms that should bring significant benefits to customers,” said Christine McGourty, director of Energy UK.

“We welcome this review as an opportunity to explain energy pricing. We have nothing to hide and believe in transparency in this complex marketplace.

“The review is the latest in a long line of investigations into the energy market in recent years and no previous investigation has found anything to concern the competition authorities.

“Ofgem’s own analysis of profits across the sector shows that energy supply businesses have operated at a loss for many years of the last decade.”

The spokesman added that the latest profit margin will be eroded as wholesale prices rise.

How are you coping with your energy bills? How much confidence do you have in the energy retail market?



Dr. Carl Jung: Psyche

In The Flying Muse on November 24, 2010 at 12:06 am



1875 – 1961

Dr. C. George Boeree

Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology.  He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throught the world.  There in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with a real knowledge of the human soul. — Carl Jung

Freud said that the goal of therapy was to make the unconscious conscious. He certainly made that the goal of his work as a theorist. And yet he makes the unconscious sound very unpleasant, to say the least: It is a cauldron of seething desires, a bottomless pit of perverse and incestuous cravings, a burial ground for frightening experiences which nevertheless come back to haunt us. Frankly, it doesn’t sound like anything I’d like to make conscious!

A younger colleague of his, Carl Jung, was to make the exploration of this “inner space” his life’s work. He went equipped with a background in Freudian theory, of course, and with an apparently 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 Buddhism. If anyone could make sense of the unconscious and its habit of revealing itself only in symbolic form, it would be Carl Jung.

He had, in addition, 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 and civilization crumbling. Then, the waters turned into blood. This vision was followed, in the next few weeks, by dreams of eternal winters and rivers of blood. He was afraid that he was becoming 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 individual and humanity in general that could not be explained away. From then until 1928, he was to go through a rather painful process of self-exploration that formed the basis of all of his later theorizing.

He carefully recorded his dreams, fantasies, and visions, and drew, painted, and sculpted them as well. He found that his experiences tended to form themselves into persons, beginning with a wise old man and his companion, a little girl. The wise old man evolved, over a number of dreams, into a sort of spiritual guru. The little girl became “anima,” the feminine soul, who served as his main medium of communication with the deeper aspects of his unconscious.

A leathery brown dwarf would show up guarding the entrance to the unconscious. He was “the shadow,” a primitive companion for Jung’s ego. Jung dreamt that he and the dwarf killed a beautiful blond youth, whom he called Siegfried. For Jung, this represented a warning about the dangers of the worship of glory and heroism which would soon cause so much sorrow all over Europe — and a warning about the dangers of some of his own tendencies towards hero-worship, of Sigmund Freud!

Jung dreamt a great deal about the dead, the land of the dead, and the rising of the dead. These represented the unconscious itself — not the “little” personal unconscious that Freud made such a big deal out of, but a new collective unconscious of humanity itself, an unconscious that could contain all the dead, not just our personal ghosts. 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. If we could only recapture our mythologies, we would understand these ghosts, become comfortable with the dead, and heal our mental illnesses.

Critics have suggested that Jung was, very simply, ill himself when all this happened. But Jung felt that, if you want to understand the jungle, you can’t be content just to sail back and forth near the shore. You’ve got to get into it, no matter how strange and frightening it might seem.


Carl Gustav Jung was born July 26, 1875, in the small Swiss village of Kessewil. His father was Paul Jung, a country parson, and his mother was Emilie Preiswerk Jung. He was surrounded by a fairly well educated extended family, including quite a few clergymen and some eccentrics as well.

The elder Jung started Carl on Latin when he was six years old, beginning a long interest in language and literature — especially ancient literature. Besides most modern western European languages, Jung could read several ancient ones, including Sanskrit, the language of the original Hindu holy books.

Carl was a rather solitary adolescent, who didn’t care much for school, and especially couldn’t take competition. He went to boarding school in Basel, Switzerland, where he found himself the object of a lot of jealous harassment. He began to use sickness as an excuse, developing an embarrassing tendency to faint under pressure.

Although his first career choice was archeology, he went on to study medicine at the University of Basel. While working under the famous neurologist Krafft-Ebing, he settled on psychiatry as his career.

After graduating, he took a position at the Burghoeltzli Mental Hospital in Zurich under Eugene Bleuler, an expert on (and the namer of) schizophrenia. In 1903, he married Emma Rauschenbach. He also taught classes at the University of Zurich, had a private practice, and invented word association at this time!

Long an admirer of Freud, he met him in Vienna in 1907. The story goes that after they met, Freud canceled all his appointments for the day, and they talked for 13 hours straight, such was the impact of the meeting of these two great minds! Freud eventually came to see Jung as the crown prince of psychoanalysis and his heir apparent.

But Jung had never been entirely sold on Freud’s theory. Their relationship began to cool in 1909, during a trip to America. They were entertaining themselves by analyzing each others’ dreams (more fun, apparently, than shuffleboard), when Freud seemed to show an excess of resistance to Jung’s efforts at analysis. Freud finally said that they’d have to stop because he was afraid he would lose his authority! Jung felt rather insulted.

World War I was a painful period of self-examination for Jung. It was, however, also the beginning of one of the most interesting theories of personality the world has ever seen.

After the war, Jung traveled widely, visiting, for example, tribal people in Africa, America, and India. He retired in 1946, and began to retreat from public attention after his wife died in 1955. He died on June 6, 1961, in Zurich.


Jung’s theory divides the psyche into three parts. The first is the ego,which Jung identifies with the conscious mind. Closely related is the personal unconscious, which includes anything which is not presently conscious, but can be. The personal unconscious is like most people’s understanding of the unconscious in that it includes both memories that are easily brought to mind and those that have been suppressed for some reason. But it does not include the instincts that Freud would have it include.

But then Jung adds the part of the psyche that makes his theory stand out from all others: the collective unconscious. You could call it your “psychic inheritance.” It is the reservoir of our experiences as a species, a kind of knowledge we are all born with. And 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.

There are some experiences that show the effects of the collective unconscious more clearly than others: The experiences of love at first sight, of deja vu (the feeling that you’ve been here before), and the immediate recognition of certain symbols and the meanings of certain myths, could all be understood as the sudden conjunction of our outer reality and the inner reality of the collective unconscious. Grander examples are the creative experiences shared by artists and musicians all over the world and in all times, or the spiritual experiences of mystics of all religions, or the parallels in dreams, fantasies, mythologies, fairy tales, and literature.

A nice example that has been greatly discussed recently is the near-death experience. It seems that many people, of many different cultural backgrounds, find that they have very similar recollections when they are brought back from a close encounter with death. They speak of leaving their bodies, seeing their bodies and the events surrounding them clearly, of being pulled through a long tunnel towards a bright light, of seeing deceased relatives or religious figures waiting for them, and of their disappointment at having to leave this happy scene to return to their bodies. Perhaps we are all “built” to experience death in this fashion.


The contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypes. Jung also called them dominants, imagos, mythological or primordial images, and a few other names, but archetypes seems to have won out over these. An archetype is an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way.

The archetype has no form of its own, but it acts as an “organizing principle” on the things we see or do. It works the way that instincts work in Freud’s theory: At first, the baby just wants something to eat, without knowing what it wants. It has a rather indefinite yearning which, nevertheless, can be satisfied by some things and not by others. Later, with experience, the child begins to yearn for something more specific when it is hungry — a bottle, a cookie, a broiled lobster, a slice of New York style pizza.

The archetype is like a black hole in space: You only know its there by how it draws matter and light to itself.

The mother archetype

The mother archetype is a particularly good example. All of our ancestors had mothers. We have evolved in an environment that included a mother or mother-substitute. We would never have survived without our connection with a nurturing-one during our times as helpless infants. It stands to reason that we are “built” in a way that reflects that evolutionary environment: We come into this world ready to want mother, to seek her, to recognize her, to deal with her.

So the mother archetype is our built-in ability to recognize a certain relationship, that of “mothering.” Jung says that this is rather abstract, and we are likely to project the archetype out into the world and onto a particular person, usually our own mothers. Even when an archetype doesn’t have a particular real person available, we tend to personify the archetype, that is, turn it into a mythological “story-book” character. This character symbolizes the archetype.

The mother archetype is symbolized by the primordial mother or “earth mother” of mythology, by Eve and Mary in western traditions, and by less personal symbols such as the church, the nation, a forest, or the ocean. According to Jung, someone whose own mother failed to satisfy the demands of the archetype may well be one that spends his or her life seeking comfort in the church, or in identification with “the motherland,” or in meditating upon the figure of Mary, or in a life at sea.


You must understand that these archetypes are not really biological things, like Freud’s instincts. They are more spiritual demands. For example, if you dreamt about long things, Freud might suggest these things represent the phallus and ultimately sex. But Jung might have a very different interpretation. Even dreaming quite specifically about a penis might not have much to do with some unfulfilled need for sex.

It is curious that in primitive societies, phallic symbols do not usually refer to sex at all. They usually symbolize mana, or spiritual power. These symbols would be displayed on occasions when the spirits are being called upon to increase the yield of corn, or fish, or to heal someone. The connection between the penis and strength, between semen and seed, between fertilization and fertility are understood by most cultures.

The shadow

Sex and the life instincts in general are, of course, represented somewhere in Jung’s system. They are a part of an archetype called the shadow. It derives from our prehuman, animal past, when our concerns were limited to survival and reproduction, and when we weren’t self-conscious.

It is the “dark side” of the ego, and the evil that we are capable of is often stored there. Actually, the shadow is amoral — neither good nor bad, just like animals. An animal is capable of tender care for its young and vicious killing for food, but it doesn’t choose to do either. It just does what it does. It is “innocent.” But from our human perspective, the animal world looks rather brutal, inhuman, so the shadow becomes something of a garbage can for the parts of ourselves that we can’t quite admit to.

Symbols of the shadow include the snake (as in the garden of Eden), the dragon, monsters, and demons. It often guards the entrance to a cave or a pool of water, which is the collective unconscious. Next time you dream about wrestling with the devil, it may only be yourself you are wrestling with!

The persona

The persona represents your public image. The word is, obviously, related to the word person and personality, and comes from a Latin word for mask. So the persona is the mask you put on before you show yourself to the outside world. Although it begins as an archetype, by the time we are finished realizing it, it is the part of us most distant from the collective unconscious.

At its best, it is just the “good impression” we all wish to present as we fill the roles society requires of us. But, of course, it can also be the “false impression” we use to manipulate people’s opinions and behaviors. And, at its worst, it can be mistaken, even by ourselves, for our true nature: Sometimes we believe we really are what we pretend to be!

Anima and animus

A part of our persona is the role of male or female we must play. For most people that role is determined by their physical gender. But Jung, like Freud and Adler and others, felt that we are all really bisexual in nature. When we begin our lives as fetuses, we have undifferentiated sex organs that only gradually, under the influence of hormones, become male or female. Likewise, when we begin our social lives as infants, we are neither male nor female in the social sense. Almost immediately — as soon as those pink or blue booties go on — we come under the influence of society, which gradually molds us into men and women.

In all societies, the expectations placed on men and women differ, usually based on our different roles in reproduction, but often involving many details that are purely traditional. In our society today, we still have many remnants of these traditional expectations. Women are still expected to be more nurturant and less aggressive; men are still expected to be strong and to ignore the emotional side of life. But Jung felt these expectations meant that we had developed only half of our potential.

The anima is the female aspect present in the collective unconscious of men, and the animus is the male aspect present in the collective unconscious of women. Together, they are refered to as syzygy. The anima may be personified as a young girl, very spontaneous and intuitive, or as a witch, or as the earth mother. It is likely to be associated with deep emotionality and the force of life itself. The animus may be personified as a wise old man, a sorcerer, or often a number of males, and tends to be logical, often rationalistic, even argumentative.

The anima or animus is the archetype through which you communicate with the collective unconscious generally, and it is important to get into touch with it. It is also the archetype that is responsible for much of our love life: We are, as an ancient Greek myth suggests, always looking for our other half, the half that the Gods took from us, in members of the opposite sex. When we fall in love at first sight, then we have found someone that “fills” our anima or animus archetype particularly well!

Other archetypes

Jung said that there is no fixed number of archetypes which we could simply list and memorize. They overlap and easily melt into each other as needed, and their logic is not the usual kind. But here are some he mentions:

Besides mother, their are other family archetypes. Obviously, there is father, who is often symbolized by a guide or an authority figure. There is also the archetype family, which represents the idea of blood relationship and ties that run deeper than those based on conscious reasons.

There is also the child, represented in mythology and art by children, infants most especially, as well as other small creatures. The Christ child celebrated at Christmas is a manifestation of the child archetype, and represents the future, becoming, rebirth, and salvation. Curiously, Christmas falls during the winter solstice, which in northern primitive cultures also represents the future and rebirth. People used to light bonfires and perform ceremonies to encourage the sun’s return to them. The child archetype often blends with other archetypes to form the child-god, or the child-hero.

Many archetypes are story characters. The hero is one of the main ones. He is the mana personality and the defeater of evil dragons. Basically, he represents the ego — we do tend to identify with the hero of the story — and is often engaged in fighting the shadow, in the form of dragons and other monsters. The hero is, however, often dumb as a post. He is, after all, ignorant of the ways of the collective unconscious. Luke Skywalker, in the Star Wars films, is the perfect example of a hero.

The hero is often out to rescue the maiden. She represents purity, innocence, and, in all likelihood, naivete. In the beginning of the Star Wars story, Princess Leia is the maiden. But, as the story progresses, she becomes the anima, discovering the powers of the force — the collective unconscious — and becoming an equal partner with Luke, who turns out to be her brother.

The hero is guided by the wise old man. He is a form of the animus, and reveals to the hero the nature of the collective unconscious. In Star Wars, he is played by Obi Wan Kenobi and, later, Yoda. Notice that they teach Luke about the force and, as Luke matures, they die and become a part of him.

You might be curious as to the archetype represented by Darth Vader, the “dark father.” He is the shadow and the master of the dark side of the force. He also turns out to be Luke and Leia’s father. When he dies, he becomes one of the wise old men.

There is also an animal archetype, representing humanity’s relationships with the animal world. The hero’s faithful horse would be an example. Snakes are often symbolic of the animal archetype, and are thought to be particularly wise. Animals, after all, are more in touch with their natures than we are. Perhaps loyal little robots and reliable old spaceships — the Falcon– are also symbols of animal.

And there is the trickster, often represented by a clown or a magician. The trickster’s role is to hamper the hero’s progress and to generally make trouble. In Norse mythology, many of the gods’ adventures originate in some trick or another played on their majesties by the half-god Loki.

There are other archetypes that are a little more difficult to talk about. One is the original man, represented in western religion by Adam. Another is 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.

The hermaphrodite, both male and female, represents the union of opposites, an important idea in Jung’s theory. In some religious art, Jesus is presented as a rather feminine man. Likewise, in China, the character Kuan Yin began as a male saint (the bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara), but was portrayed in such a feminine manner that he is more often thought of as the female goddess of compassion!

The most important archetype of all is the self. The self is the ultimate unity of the personality and issymbolized by the circle, the cross, and the mandala figures that Jung was fond of painting. A mandala is a drawing that is used in meditation because it tends to draw your focus back to the center, and it can be as simple as a geometric figure or as complicated as a stained glass window. The personifications that best represent self are Christ and Buddha, two people who many believe achieved perfection. But Jung felt that perfection of the personality is only truly achieved in death.

The dynamics of the psyche

So much for the content of the psyche. Now let’s turn to the principles of its operation. Jung gives us three principles, beginning with the principle of opposites. Every wish immediately suggests its opposite. If I have a good thought, for example, I cannot help but have in me somewhere the opposite bad thought. In fact, it is a very basic point: In order to have a concept of good, you must have a concept of bad, just like you can’t have up without down or black without white.

This idea came home to me when I was about eleven. I occasionally tried to help poor innocent woodland creatures who had been hurt in some way — often, I’m afraid, killing them in the process. Once I tried to nurse a baby robin back to health. But when I picked it up, I was so struck by how light it was that the thought came to me that I could easily crush it in my hand. Mind you, I didn’t like the idea, but it was undeniably there.

According to Jung, it is the opposition that creates the power (or libido) of the psyche. It is like the two poles of a battery, or the splitting of an atom. It is the contrast that gives energy, so that a strong contrast gives strong energy, and a weak contrast gives weak energy.

The second principle is the principle of equivalence. The energy created from the opposition is “given” to both sides equally. So, when I held that baby bird in my hand, there was energy to go ahead and try to help it. But there is an equal amount of energy to go ahead and crush it. I tried to help the bird, so that energy went into the various behaviors involved in helping it. But what happens to the other energy?

Well, that depends on your attitude towards the wish that you didn’t fulfill. If you acknowledge it, face it, keep it available to the conscious mind, then the energy goes towards a general improvement of your psyche. You grow, in other words.

But if you pretend that you never had that evil wish, if you deny and suppress it, the energy will go towards the development of a complex. A complex is a pattern of suppressed thoughts and feelings that cluster — constellate — around a theme provided by some archetype. If you deny ever having thought about crushing the little bird, you might put that idea into the form offered by the shadow (your “dark side”). Or if a man denies his emotional side, his emotionality might find its way into the anima archetype. And so on.

Here’s where the problem comes: If you pretend all your life that you are only good, that you don’t even have the capacity to lie and cheat and steal and kill, then all the times when you do good, that other side of you goes into a complex around the shadow. That complex will begin to develop a life of its own, and it will haunt you. You might find yourself having nightmares in which you go around stomping on little baby birds!

If it goes on long enough, the complex may take over, may “possess” you, and you might wind up with a multiple personality. In the movie The Three Faces of Eve, Joanne Woodward portrayed a meek, mild woman who eventually discovered that she went out and partied like crazy on Saturday nights. She didn’t smoke, but found cigarettes in her purse, didn’t drink, but woke up with hangovers, didn’t fool around, but found herself in sexy outfits. Although multiple personality is rare, it does tend to involve these kinds of black-and-white extremes.

The final principle is the principle of entropy. This is the tendency for oppositions to come together, and so for energy to decrease, over a person’s lifetime. Jung borrowed the idea from physics, where entropy refers to the tendency of all physical systems to “run down,” that is, for all energy to become evenly distributed. If you have, for example, a heat source in one corner of the room, the whole room will eventually be heated.

When we are young, the opposites will tend to be extreme, and so we tend to have lots of energy. For example, adolescents tend to exaggerate male-female differences, with boys trying hard to be macho and girls trying equally hard to be feminine. And so their sexual activity is invested with great amounts of energy! Plus, adolescents often swing from one extreme to another, being wild and crazy one minute and finding religion the next.

As we get older, most of us come to be more comfortable with our different facets. We are a bit less naively idealistic and recognize that we are all mixtures of good and bad. We are less threatened by the opposite sex within us and become more androgynous. Even physically, in old age, men and women become more alike. This process of rising above our opposites, of seeing both sides of who we are, is called transcendence.

The self

The goal of life is to realize the self. The self is an archetype that represents the transcendence of all opposites, so that every aspect of your personality is expressed equally. You are then neither and both male and female, neither and both ego and shadow, neither and both good and bad, neither and both conscious and unconscious, neither and both an individual and the whole of creation. And yet, with no oppositions, there is no energy, and you cease to act. Of course, you no longer need to act.

To keep it from getting too mystical, think of it as a new center, a more balanced position, for your psyche. When you are young, you focus on the ego and worry about the trivialities of the persona. When you are older (assuming you have been developing as you should), you focus a little deeper, on the self, and become closer to all people, all life, even the universe itself. The self-realized person is actually less selfish.


Personality theorists have argued for many years about whether psychological processes function in terms of mechanism or teleology. Mechanism is the idea that things work in through cause and effect: One thing leads to another which leads to another, and so on, so that the past determines the present. Teleology is the idea that we are lead on by our ideas about a future state, by things like purposes, meanings, values, and so on. Mechanism is linked with determinism and with the natural sciences. Teleology is linked with free will and has become rather rare. It is still common among moral, legal, and religious philosophers, and, of course, among personality theorists.

Among the people discussed in this book, Freudians and behaviorists tend to be mechanists, while the neo-Freudians, humanists, and existentialists tend to be teleologists. Jung believes that both play a part. But he adds a third alternative called synchronicity.

Synchronicity is the occurrence of two events that are not linked causally, nor linked teleologically, yet are meaningfully related. Once, a client was describing a dream involving a scarab beetle when, at that very instant, a very similar beetle flew into the window. Often, people dream about something, like the death of a loved one, and find the next morning that their loved one did, in fact, die at about that time. Sometimes people pick up he phone to call a friend, only to find that their friend is already on the line. Most psychologists would call these things coincidences, or try to show how they are more likely to occur than we think. Jung believed the were indications of how we are connected, with our fellow humans and with nature in general, through the collective unconscious.

Jung was never clear about his own religious beliefs. But this unusual idea of synchronicity is easily explained by the Hindu view of reality. In the Hindu view, our individual egos are like islands in a sea: We look out at the world and each other and think we are separate entities. What we don’t see is that we are connected to each other by means of the ocean floor beneath the waters.

The outer world is called maya, meaning illusion, and is thought of as God’s dream or God’s dance. That is, God creates it, but it has no reality of its own. Our individual egos they call jivatman, which means individual souls. But they, too, are something of an illusion. We are all actually extensions of the one and only Atman, or God, who allows bits of himself to forget his identity, to become apparently separate and independent, to become us. But we never truly are separate. When we die, we wake up and realize who we were from the beginning: God.

When we dream or meditate, we sink into our personal unconscious, coming closer and closer to our true selves, the collective unconscious. It is in states like this that we are especially open to “communications” from other egos. Synchronicity makes Jung’s theory one of the rare ones that is not only compatible with parapsychological phenomena, but actually tries to explain them!

Introversion and extroversion

Jung developed a personality typology that has become so popular that some people don’t realize he did anything else! It begins with the distinction between introversion and extroversion. Introverts are people who prefer their internal world of thoughts, feelings, fantasies, dreams, and so on, while extroverts prefer the external world of things and people and activities.

The words have become confused with ideas like shyness and sociability, partially because introverts tend to be shy and extroverts tend to be sociable. But Jung intended for them to refer more to whether you (“ego”) more often faced toward the persona and outer reality, or toward the collective unconscious and its archetypes. In that sense, the introvert is somewhat more mature than the extrovert. Our culture, of course, values the extrovert much more. And Jung warned that we all tend to value our own type most!

We now find the introvert-extravert dimension in several theories, notably Hans Eysenck’s, although often hidden under alternative names such as “sociability” and “surgency.”

The functions

Whether we are introverts or extroverts, we need to deal with the world, inner and outer. And each of us has our preferred ways of dealing with it, ways we are comfortable with and good at. Jung suggests there are four basic ways, or functions:

The first is sensing. Sensing means what it says: getting information by means of the senses. A sensing person is good at looking and listening and generally getting to know the world. Jung called this one of the irrational functions, meaning that it involved perception rather than judging of information.

The second is thinking. Thinking means evaluating information or ideas rationally, logically. Jung called this a rational function, meaning that it involves decision making or judging, rather than simple intake of information.

The third is intuiting. Intuiting is a kind of perception that works outside of the usual conscious processes. It is irrational or perceptual, like sensing, but comes from the complex integration of large amounts of information, rather than simple seeing or hearing. Jung said it was like seeing around corners.

The fourth is feeling. Feeling, like thinking, is a matter of evaluating information, this time by weighing one’s overall, emotional response. Jung calls it rational, obviously not in the usual sense of the word.

We all have these functions. We just have them in different proportions, you might say. Each of us has a superior function, which we prefer and which is best developed in us, a secondary function, which we are aware of and use in support of our superior function, a tertiary function, which is only slightly less developed but not terribly conscious, and an inferior function, which is poorly developed and so unconscious that we might deny its existence in ourselves.

Most of us develop only one or two of the functions, but our goal should be to develop all four. Once again, Jung sees the transcendence of opposites as the ideal.


Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers found Jung’s types and functions so revealing of people’s personalities that they decided to develop a paper-and-pencil test. It came to be called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and is one of the most popular, and most studied, tests around.

On the basis of your answers on about 125 questions, you are placed in one of sixteen types, with the understanding that some people might find themselves somewhere between two or three types. What type you are says quite a bit about you — your likes and dislikes, your likely career choices, your compatibility with others, and so on. People tend to like it quite a bit. It has the unusual quality among personality tests of not being too judgmental: None of the types is terribly negative, nor are any overly positive. Rather than assessing how “crazy” you are, the “Myers-Briggs” simply opens up your personality for exploration.

The test has four scales. Extroversion – Introversion (E-I) is the most important. Test researchers have found that about 75 % of the population is extroverted.

The next one is Sensing – Intuiting (S-N), with about 75 % of the population sensing.

The next is Thinking – Feeling (T-F). Although these are distributed evenly through the population, researchers have found that two-thirds of men are thinkers, while two-thirds of women are feelers. This might seem like stereotyping, but keep in mind that feeling and thinking are both valued equally by Jungians, and that one-third of men are feelers and one-third of women are thinkers. Note, though, that society does value thinking and feeling differently, and that feeling men and thinking women often have difficulties dealing with people’s stereotyped expectations.

The last is Judging – Perceiving (J-P), not one of Jung’s original dimensions. Myers and Briggs included this one in order to help determine which of a person’s functions is superior. Generally, judging people are more careful, perhaps inhibited, in their lives. Perceiving people tend to be more spontaneous, sometimes careless. If you are an extrovert and a “J,” you are a thinker or feeler, whichever is stronger. Extroverted and “P” means you are a senser or intuiter. On the other hand, an introvert with a high “J” score will be a senser or intuiter, while an introvert with a high “P” score will be a thinker or feeler. J and P are equally distributed in the population.

Each type is identified by four letters, such as ENFJ. These have proven so popular, you can even find them on people’s license plates!

ENFJ (Extroverted feeling with intuiting): These people are easy speakers. They tend to idealize their friends. They make good parents, but have a tendency to allow themselves to be used. They make good therapists, teachers, executives, and salespeople.

ENFP (Extroverted intuiting with feeling): These people love novelty and surprises. They are big on emotions and expression. They are susceptible to muscle tension and tend to be hyperalert. they tend to feel self-conscious. They are good at sales, advertising, politics, and acting.

ENTJ (Extroverted thinking with intuiting): In charge at home, they expect a lot from spouses and kids. They like organization and structure and tend to make good executives and administrators.

ENTP (Extroverted intuiting with thinking): These are lively people, not humdrum or orderly. As mates, they are a little dangerous, especially economically. They are good at analysis and make good entrepreneurs. They do tend to play at oneupmanship.

ESFJ (Extroverted feeling with sensing): These people like harmony. They tend to have strong shoulds and should-nots. They may be dependent, first on parents and later on spouses. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and excel in service occupations involving personal contact.

ESFP (Extroverted sensing with feeling): Very generous and impulsive, they have a low tolerance for anxiety. They make good performers, they like public relations, and they love the phone. They should avoid scholarly pursuits, especially science.

ESTJ (Extroverted thinking with sensing): These are responsible mates and parents and are loyal to the workplace. They are realistic, down-to-earth, orderly, and love tradition. They often find themselves joining civic clubs!

ESTP (Extroverted sensing with thinking): These are action-oriented people, often sophisticated, sometimes ruthless — our “James Bonds.” As mates, they are exciting and charming, but they have trouble with commitment. They make good promoters, entrepreneurs, and con artists.

INFJ (Introverted intuiting with feeling): These are serious students and workers who really want to contribute. They are private and easily hurt. They make good spouses, but tend to be physically reserved. People often think they are psychic. They make good therapists, general practitioners, ministers, and so on.

INFP (Introverted feeling with intuiting): These people are idealistic, self-sacrificing, and somewhat cool or reserved. They are very family and home oriented, but don’t relax well. You find them in psychology, architecture, and religion, but never in business.

INTJ (Introverted intuiting with thinking): These are the most independent of all types. They love logic and ideas and are drawn to scientific research. They can be rather single-minded, though.

INTP (Introverted thinking with intuiting): Faithful, preoccupied, and forgetful, these are the bookworms. They tend to be very precise in their use of language. They are good at logic and math and make good philosophers and theoretical scientists, but not writers or salespeople.

ISFJ (Introverted sensing with feeling): These people are service and work oriented. They may suffer from fatigue and tend to be attracted to troublemakers. They are good nurses, teachers, secretaries, general practitioners, librarians, middle managers, and housekeepers.

ISFP (Introverted feeling with sensing): They are shy and retiring, are not talkative, but like sensuous action. They like painting, drawing, sculpting, composing, dancing — the arts generally — and they like nature. They are not big on commitment.

ISTJ (Introverted sensing with thinking): These are dependable pillars of strength. They often try to reform their mates and other people. They make good bank examiners, auditors, accountants, tax examiners, supervisors in libraries and hospitals, business, home ec., and phys. ed. teachers, and boy or girl scouts!

ISTP (Introverted thinking with sensing): These people are action-oriented and fearless, and crave excitement. They are impulsive and dangerous to stop. They often like tools, instruments, and weapons, and often become technical experts. They are not interested in communications and are often incorrectly diagnosed as dyslexic or hyperactive. They tend to do badly in school.

Even without taking the test, you may very well recognize yourself in one or two of these types. Or ask others — they may be more accurate!   But, if you like, you can take my Jungian personality test on the internet:  Just click here!


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 that come to mind are the mythologist Joseph Campbell, the film maker George Lucas, and the science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin. Anyone interested in creativity, spirituality, psychic phenomena, the universal, and so on will find in Jung a kindred spirit.

But scientists, including most psychologists, have a lot of trouble with Jung. Not only does he fully support the teleological view (as do most personality theorists), but he goes a step further and talks about the mystical interconnectedness of synchronicity. Not only does he postulate an unconscious, where things are not easily available to the empirical eye, but he postulates a collective unconscious that never has been and never will be conscious.

In fact, Jung takes an approach that is essentially the reverse of the mainstream’s reductionism: Jung begins with the highest levels — even spiritualism — and derives the lower levels of psychology and physiology from them.

Even psychologists who applaud his teleology and antireductionist position may not be comfortable with him. Like Freud, Jung tries to bring everything into his system. He has little room for chance, accident, or circumstances. Personality — and life in general — seems “over-explained” in Jung’s theory.

I have found that his theory sometimes attracts students who have difficulty dealing with reality. When the world, especially the social world, becomes too difficult, some people retreat into fantasy. Some, for example, become couch potatoes. But others turn to complex ideologies that pretend to explain everything. Some get involved in Gnostic or Tantric religions, the kind that present intricate rosters of angels and demons and heavens and hells, and endlessly discuss symbols. Some go to Jung. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this; but for someone who is out of touch with reality, this is hardly going to help.

These criticisms do not cut the foundation out from under Jung’s theory. But they do suggest that some careful consideration is in order.

The positive things

On the plus side, there is the Myers-Briggs and other tests based on Jung’s types and functions. Because they do not place people on dimensions that run from “good” to “bad,” they are much less threatening. They encourage people to become more aware of themselves.

The archetypes, at first glance, might seem to be Jung’s strangest idea. And yet they have proven to be very useful in the analysis of myths, fairy tales, literature in general, artistic symbolism, and religious exposition. They apparently capture some of the basic “units” of our self-expression. Many people have suggested that there are only so many stories and characters in the world, and we just keep on rearranging the details.

This suggests that the archetypes actually do refer to some deep structures of the human mind. After all, from the physiological perspective, we come into his world with a certain structure: We see in a certain way, hear in a certain way, “process information” in a certain way, behave in a certain way, because our neurons and glands and muscles are structured in a certain way. At least one cognitive psychologist has suggested looking for the structures that correspond to Jung’s archetypes!

Finally, Jung has opened our eyes to the differences between child development and adult development. Children clearly emphasize differentiation — separating one thing from another — in their learning. “What’s this?” ” Why is it this way and not that?” “What kinds are there?” They actively seek diversity. And many people, psychologists included, have been so impressed by this that they have assumed that all learning is a matter of differentiation, of learning more and more “things.”

But Jung has pointed out that adults search more for integration, for the transcending of opposites. Adults search for the connections between things, how things fit together, how they interact, how they contribute to the whole. We want to make sense of it, find the meaning of it, the purpose of it all. Children unravel the world; adults try to knit it back together.


On the one hand, Jung is still attached to his Freudian roots. He emphasizes the unconscious even more than Freudians do. In fact, he might be seen as the logical extension of Freud’s tendency to put the causes of things into the past. Freud, too, talked about myths –Oedipus, for example — and how they impact on the modern psyche.

On the other hand, Jung has a lot in common with the neo-Freudians, humanists, and existentialists. He believes that we are meant to progress, to move in a positive direction, and not just to adapt, as the Freudians and behaviorists would have it. His idea of self-realization is clearly similar to self-actualization.

The balancing or transcending of opposites also has counterparts in other theories. Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, Andreas Angyal, David Bakan, Gardner Murphy, and Rollo May all make reference to balancing two opposing tendencies, one towards individual development and the other towards the development of compassion or social interest. Rollo May talks about the psyche being composed of many “daimons” (little gods) such as the desire for sex, or love, or power. All are positive in their place, but should any one take over the whole personality, we would have “daimonic possession,” or mental illness!

Finally, we owe to Jung the broadening of interpretation, whether of symptoms or dreams or free-associations. While Freud developed more-or-less rigid (specifically, sexual) interpretations, Jung allowed for a rather free-wheeling “mythological” interpretation, wherein anything could mean, well, anything. Existential analysis, in particular, has benefited from Jung’s ideas.


Most of Jung’s writings are contained in The Collected Works of Carl G. Jung. I have to warn you that most of his works are not easy going, but they are full of interesting things that make them worth the trouble.

If you are looking for something a little easier, you might try Analytic Psychology: Its Theory and Practice, which is a collection of lectures and is available in paperback. Or read Man and His Symbols, which is available in several editions ranging from large ones with many color pictures to an inexpensive paperback. If you want a smattering of Jung, try a collection of his writings, such as Modern Library’s The Basic Writings of C. C. Jung.

The best book I’ve ever read about Jung, however, is the autobiographical Memories, Dreams, Reflections, written with his student Aniela Jaffé. It makes a good introduction, assuming you’ve read something like the preceding chapter first.

Copyright 1997, 2006  C. George Boeree



The Statesman

In The Flying Muse on November 23, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian philosopher and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science.[1] He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, poetry, and some of the most well-known personal correspondence in the Italian language. His position in the regime of Florence as Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence lasted from 1498 to 1512, the period in which the de’ Medici were not in power. The period when most of his well-known writing was done was after this.

Machiavelli is most famous for a short political treatise, The Prince, written in 1513, but not published until 1532, five years after his death. Although he privately circulated The Prince among friends, the only theoretical work to be printed in his lifetime was The Art of War, about military science. Since the sixteenth century, generations of politicians remain attracted and repelled by its apparently neutral acceptance, or even positive encouragement, of the immorality of powerful men, described especially in The Prince but also in his other works. Whatever his intentions, which are still debated today, he has become associated with any proposal where “the end justifies the means“. For example Leo Strauss (1958, p. 297) wrote:

Machiavelli is the only political thinker whose name has come into common use for designating a kind of politics, which exists and will continue to exist independently of his influence, a politics guided exclusively by considerations of expediency, which uses all means, fair or foul, iron or poison, for achieving its ends – its end being the aggrandizement of one’s country or fatherland – but also using the fatherland in the service of the self-aggrandizement of the politician or statesman or one’s party.

His works are sometimes even said to have contributed to the modern negative connotations of the words “politics” and “politician”, and within a few generations, “Old Nick” became an English term for the devil and the adjective Machiavellian became a pejorative term describing someone who aims to deceive and manipulate others for personal advantage. “Machiavellianism” also remains a popular term used in speeches and journalism; while in psychology, it denotes a personality type.

Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy, the third son of attorney Bernardo di Niccolò Machiavelli, and his wife, Bartolomea di Stefano Nelli. The Machiavelli family are believed to be descended from the old marquesses of Tuscany, and to have produced thirteen Florentine Gonfalonieres of Justice,[3] one of the offices of a group of nine citizens selected by drawing lots every two months, who formed the government, or Signoria. Machiavelli, like many people of Florence, was however not a full citizen of Florence, due to the nature of Florentine citizenship in that time, even under the republican regime.

Machiavelli was born in a tumultuous era—Popes waged acquisitive wars against Italian city-states, and people and cities might fall from power at any time. Along with the Pope and the major cities like Venice and Florence, foreign powers such as France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and even Switzerland battled for regional influence and control. Political-military alliances continually changed, featuring condottieri who changed sides without warning, and short lived governments rising and falling.

Machiavelli was taught grammar, rhetoric and Latin. It is thought that he did not learn Greek, even though Florence was at the time one of the centres of Greek scholarship in Europe. In 1494, Florence restored the republic — expelling the Medici family, who had ruled Florence for some sixty years. In June 1498, shortly after the execution of Savonarola, Machiavelli, at the age of 29, was elected as head of the second chancery. In July 1498, he was also made the secretary of the Dieci di Libertà e Pace. He was in a diplomatic council responsible for negotiation and military affairs, carrying out, between 1499 and 1512, several diplomatic missions, to the court of Louis XII in France; to that of Ferdinand II of Aragón, in Spain; in Germany; and to the Papacy in Rome, in the Italian states. Moreover, from 1502 to 1503, he witnessed the effective state-building methods of Cesare Borgia (1475–1507), son of Pope Alexander VI, who was then enlarging his central Italian territories.

Between 1503 and 1506, Machiavelli was responsible for the Florentine militia, including the City’s defense. He distrusted mercenaries (a distrust he explained in his official reports, and then later in his theoretical works), preferring a politically invested citizen-militia – a philosophy that bore fruit. His command of Florentine citizen-soldiers defeated Pisa in 1509; yet, in August of 1512, the Medici, helped by Pope Julius II, used Spanish troops to defeat the Florentines at Prato. Piero Soderini resigned as Florentine head of state, and left in exile. The Florentine city-state and the Republic were dissolved. Machiavelli was deprived of office in 1512 by the Medici, and, in 1513, was accused of conspiracy, and arrested and imprisoned for a time. Despite torture (“with the rope“, where the prisoner is hanged from his bound wrists, from the back, forcing the arms to bear the body’s weight, thus dislocating the shoulders), he denied involvement and was released; then, retiring to his estate, at Sant’Andrea in Percussina, near Florence, he wrote the political treatises that earned his intellectual place in the development of political philosophy and political conduct.He also maintained a well-known correspondence with better politically connected friends, attempting to become involved once again in political life.

Machiavelli’s cenotaph in the Santa Croce Church in Florence

In a letter to Francesco Vettori, he described his exile:

When evening comes, I return home and go to my study. On the threshold, I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty work day clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and, in this graver dress, I enter the courts of the ancients, and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world.

To cruise or not to cruise?

In Media Dailies on November 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm

By Robert Reid, Special to CNN
November 16, 2010 8:26 a.m. EST
  • Travel editor Robert Reid says some are likely leery of cruises after Carnival Splendor debacle
  • He says “real” travelers eschew cruises but people flocked to them after 9/11 especially
  • If you’re nervous about cruises, there are train trips and barge tours that give cruise experience
  • Reid: Cruises provide unusual access to open sea, and odds of Splendor-type disaster slim

Editor’s note: Robert Reid is the U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet and host of the 76-Second Travel Show.

New York (CNN) — Now that the 4,500 people stranded last week on the Carnival Splendor are safe and sound in San Diego, California, some vital questions need to be answered. Were the passengers cared for properly? Will any use the free cruise vouchers Carnival offered? And, most importantly, did they or did they not eat any of that Spam?

Another big one is whether anyone should bother taking a cruise in the first place. Already, cruises tend to be smeared by the “real” travel community as floating malls, Vegas on water, with structured camplike activities, dodgy food and, as writer David Foster Wallace called it, “1,500 professional smiles” from people “who clearly dislike you.”

But by all indications, people do have fun on cruises, and they are a committed lot. Particularly Americans. Of the 13.4 million worldwide travelers who set off on a “Love Boat” experience last year, says the Cruise Lines International Association, 70 percent are Americans. And the number rises every year.

The Titanic aside, cruise ships have an impressive safety record — especially when one considers that annual cruise bookings have risen by more than 1 million since 9/11. The fire that stalled the Carnival fun can pretty much be chalked up to a freak occurrence, not likely to be repeated if you’re planning a trip by big boat.

The people who do this usually defend their vacation choice with a handful of reasons. “You only have to unpack and pack once” goes one argument. “They’re hassle free.” “You don’t have to worry about planning anything.” “They’re relaxing.” And the biggest, “The value. They’re cheap and you know what your total cost will be.”

(Of course, a cruise’s final bill is much more than advertised. Onboard expenses are where cruises make their profit. Liquor is rarely included, same with offshore excursions, souvenirs, the casino and tips for the woefully underpaid staff, which can quickly reach $125 total. If you find a Mayan Riviera cruise in Mexico for $300, expect to pay $200, at least, in extras, not including transport to get to the pier.)

To be sure, there are sound reasons to get on board, and the most travel-oriented one is probably the best: People like that they get to see different places: “You fall asleep in Jamaica and wake up at Grand Cayman” (the catch being you only have a few hours and, usually, can only see what a tour offers).

But there are other kinds of travel that achieve this effect, and for those put off on cruises for the moment, they are worth considering.

One alternative that floats is spending a week aboard a barge. Burgundy in France has a network of canals and rivers that total nearly 800 miles. (Renting a barge can run about 300 to 400 euros a day). In the U.S., you can rent family-size barges to ride along the 365-mile Erie Canal system between Albany and Buffalo, New York, and stop into canal-side historic towns at your own leisure (from $350 a day for a week from rental companies such as It’s your boat for the trip — plus you get the added thrill of driving it yourself.

Another cruise-alternative is the train. But you needn’t hop on and off across Europe with a Eurail pass or the U.S. with an Amtrak pass; some trains offer built-in vacation packages. Though not as roomy as a boat, trains can be as social as cruises.

Whether you go on escorted trips — like Amtrak’s six-night, all-catered Glacier Park Discovery between Chicago, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington (from $3,250), or the luxury version of the Trans-Siberian, the Golden Eagle’s 15-day trip from Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia, ($8,000) — or go alone, there are many mix-and-mingle opportunities in observatory decks or while sharing a table in the dining car. And the views often beat a cross-country trip by car — with no billboards cluttering the passing landscape.

Canada’s VIA Rail has North America’s prettiest excursions, with multiday trips crossing the Rockies between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Jasper, Alberta. Costlier is the classic art-deco Venice Simplon-Orient-Express; an overnighter from London, England, to Venice, Italy, is more than $3,000. But it sure is nice.

If you still have a yen for the big boat, it’s understandable. Cruises do have their own distinctions. Like the sea itself. Taking my first cruise shortly after 9/11, I realized it was the only time I’d been at sea. I skipped the “fire gaucho” shows and limited my visits to the unlimited ice cream bar to the bare minimum, but the sea I liked and stared out endlessly — a rolling gray mass that looked like the surface of another planet.

And even for travel purists, it’s hard to deny that people do seem to have a great time on these things. Like the commercials attest, people do look and act younger once they get out there. Maybe it’s because it feels like an “adult camp” — a throwback-type of travel, on water not airways, where there’s no need for clocks, just a focus on magic shows, the dessert bar and dance floor.

No, taking a cruise isn’t ever going to let you get an authentic experience of a place, as compared to finding a posada or bed and breakfast in Puerto Vallarta or Cartagena for a week would.

But then again neither does a weeklong stay at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where you can find all the “professional smiles” you can handle.

In the end, I guess there are two types of travelers: those who like cruises, and those who hate them. If you like them, go. That random incident aboard the Splendor shouldn’t change a thing.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Robert Reid.