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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/15/14

Jung's View of Bottom-Up Change

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Nevertheless, Jung spells out explicitly how new creation gets on its own feet, figuratively speaking. For example, the seeds of thought that fell from the philosophical tree into the Declaration of Independence as formulated by Thomas Jefferson and the other individuals who signed it, led to the clash known as the American Revolution. In the clash of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln (the fertile individual mind) watered those seeds of thought with the tears of sorrow he shed and thereby creatively helped further the development of the seeds in his Gettysburg Address. In my lifetime, the clashes of the black civil rights movement, led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helped further develop the seeds of thought in the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. Let us hope that those seeds of thought continue to be developed further.

But the way in which Jung words his statement ("Without that clash or synthesis") seems to suggest that there can somehow be a synthesis of the individual, presumably the individuated individual, coming together with the crowd, with the collectivity, but without the clash. I guess that this kind of synthesis without clash might be carried out by the proverbial man or woman of the people who is rooted in himself or herself in the collective. Then again, Jung's wording may mean that he sees the clash itself as producing the synthesis. Of course the word synthesis here calls to mind Hegel's famous formulation about the thesis and antithesis and synthesis. But Jung was not fond of Hegel. However, Jung was fond of discussing opposites, but usually not as leading to synthesis. In any event, in the final analysis, Jung says that change is brought about from the bottom up, when it occurs.

So if Jung is right, I don't think that today's Republicans will emerge as agents of creative change. I know, I know, President Lincoln was a Republican. But today's Republicans just don't seem to me to be of the same caliber. So they are likely to be on the non-creative side of any clash that emerges in the creative struggles of our times.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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