Integral eco-archetypal image

Integral eco-archetypal image
Integral eco-archetypal image

Monday, May 6, 2013


Its Freud's birthday today! I totally enjoyed my visit to the Freud Museum in London a few years ago. Hope some of you get an opportunity to visit. Freud's gift to us was the connection of our dreams to the Unconscious. Whatever we may think about Freud, he did leave us in the therapeutic field with some very enduring concepts such as counter transference and defense mechanisms. The following is an excerpt from the Writer's Almanac sent to me by a friend this morning:

It's also the birthday of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (books by this author), born in 1856 in Freiburg, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic). He's usually associated with Vienna, where he lived from the age of four until the Germans occupied it in 1938. He moved to London, where he died of throat cancer in 1939.

 People tend to hold very strong opinions on Freud, pro or con, but most agree that his theories completely transformed the study of psychology. He had many pupils in the early 20th century; notable among them were Alfred Adler and Carl Jung, and both of them eventually broke with Freud. Adler believed that aggression, rather than sex, was the primary motivator of the human animal, and insecurity over their perceived failings is what caused people to act out; Adler, not Freud, coined the term "inferiority complex."

While he wasn't too upset by the loss of Adler, Freud viewed Carl Jung as his natural successor, his "crown prince." He was bright, ambitious, and Protestant, which eased Freud's worries that psychoanalysis would be seen as a "Jewish matter." But ultimately Freud, an atheist, couldn't go along with Jung's increasing focus on myth, mysticism, and the "collective unconscious" that he believed was common to all humans. Freud, trained in neurology, was a believer only in the tenets of scientific inquiry, with its mechanisms to check for reliability and validity. Religion had none of these mechanisms, and therefore he saw it as completely useless. Their letters to each other became tense, even hostile. Jung wrote to Freud: "Your technique of treating your pupils like patients is a blunder. In that way you produce either slavish sons or impudent puppies. ... I am objective enough to see through your little trick." Freud reacted to the break with his star pupil by becoming increasingly protective of his work.

 In 1933, Albert Einstein was invited by the Institute for Intellectual Cooperation to exchange ideas about war with a "thinker of his choice," and although he didn't believe in psychoanalysis, he chose Freud, opening his letter with "I greatly admire your passion to ascertain the truth — a passion that has come to dominate all else in your thinking."

Freud responded: "I expected you to choose a problem lying on the borderland of the knowable, as it stands today, a theme which each of us, physicist and psychologist, might approach from his own angle, to meet at last on common ground, though setting out from different premises. Thus the question which you put me — what is to be done to rid mankind of the war menace? — took me by surprise. ... But then I realized that you did not raise the question in your capacity of scientist or physicist, but as a lover of his fellow men." After a long discussion of aggression, he concluded: "How long have we to wait before the rest of men turn pacifist? Impossible to say, and yet perhaps our hope that these two factors — man's cultural disposition and a well-founded dread of the form that future wars will take — may serve to put an end to war in the near future, is not chimerical. But by what ways or byways this will come about, we cannot guess. Meanwhile we may rest on the assurance that whatever makes for cultural development is working also against war."

Their exchange was published as a pamphlet, "Why War?" in 1933, but by then, Hitler had risen to power, and the first German edition only numbered 2,000 copies.
Freud wrote several books, including The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905), and Civilization and Its Discontents (1930).

Sunday, May 5, 2013



Just finished reading A Place to Stand, the autobiography of Jimmy Santiago Baca, a young illiterate Chicano who goes to prison to serve a five year sentence in New Mexico and emerges as a poet! His memoir is itself a literary masterpiece giving us a window into the brutality of American prison life which can kill the spirit and diminish the human soul. It details how he discovered his essential self  during periods of solitary confinement and started the process of individuation by refusing to work because his application to take classes to learn to read and write was denied! Check the video in the video bar!

It is a testament not only to the human spirit but also to what I describe as the call of the imaginal self!

Born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age 13, it was after Baca was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison that he began to turn his life around: he learned to read and write and unearthed a voracious passion for poetry.  During a fateful conflict with another inmate, Jimmy was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca, and made a choice that would alter his destiny.    Instead of becoming a hardened criminal, he emerged from prison a writer. Baca sent three of his poems to Denise Levertov, the poetry editor of Mother Jones.  The poems were published and became part of  Immigrants in Our Own Land,  published in 1979, the year he was released from prison. He earned his GED later that same year. He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award and for his memoir A Place to Stand the prestigious International Award. In 2006 he won the Cornelius P. Turner Award. The national award recognizes one GED graduate a year who has made outstanding contributions to society in education, justice, health, public service and social welfare. 

   Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship. His themes include American Southwest barrios, addiction, injustice, education, community, love and beyond. He has conducted hundreds of writing workshops in prisons, community centers, libraries, and universities throughout the country.  

   In 2005 he created Cedar Tree Inc., a nonprofit foundation that works to give people of all walks of life the opportunity to become educated and improve their lives. 

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Love, light and shadow,
Dr. Jalaledin Ebrahim, LMFT, Ph.D