A good friend and I got together a few days ago ostensibly to drum in a park near where he lives. Once we were seated in a field we started talking. He brought up Trump. My knee-jerk reaction was: "Why do you talk sh*t when we get together?". (Note: We are in the habit of being very frank with each other.) Here is what was behind that. It has to do with complexes, which he and I are familiar with and know something about.
Every friendship is absolutely unique, with its unique history and tensions and expectations. With our friendship, one expectation is that he knows what a complex is and how, at the center of a complex is an archetype. (And how to know when he's in one or when someone else is.)
A complex is an emotional sensitivity or wound that has attracted and contains (hence sequesters) a certain amount of emotional / psychic energy deflecting our attention inward. It consists of a shell of volatile triggers while at its core is a psychic injury or hurtful / painful memory but (according to Jung), deeper than that, there is an archetype.)
The main thing I want to talk about here is how, when a sensitive or controversial subject comes up, such as the hopeless situation of the world , whether due to greed or power-mongering or run-away materialism or being "in the Matrix", or how "our generation sold out", no matter how hard we listen to each other or try to maintain our centers, we are probably entering a huge complex. The triggers might be, "Trump" or the latest in the war in Ukraine or how we are close to annihilation. Another trigger is the whole topic of climate change or extinctions.
It's not that we shouldn't discuss these things: When I get together with friends I usually expect a "check-in" as a kind of (ritual) containment. (In a traditional sweatlodge there are four rounds, one round just for prayers for ourselves and there is a round just for prayers for the world.)
In a dream, I might be with a group where someone is passing around a radioactive element and I'm the only one who is aware of the danger. For me, when the word "Trump" comes up it's radioactive. Trump means different things to different people. Same word, different feelings and emotions. Same with Ukraine.
Recently my wife's sister was visiting and Ukraine came up. She brought it up. She is a very caring, good person, but she and all her friends see America's role in Ukraine as heroic and all positive. Most Americans feel this way and they see the 800 billion dollars that Congress quickly allocated for the purchase of more and higher tech weapons as proof that America is still the great defender of democracy. She was in a powerful complex and my wife was with her. It was as if I could see them stuck a big web. I knew that if I launched into any attempt to question their position, that I would soon be stuck in my own web of emotional, knee-jerk platitudes about how our country is partly to blame for the whole incendiary situation in that part of the world. But I couldn't help myself. I said something critical about the US (Cardinal No-no -- Never criticize your country when it is at war. . .The trouble is my country has always been at war for as long as I remember!!!!) My wife's sister was shocked that I was assigning any blame for the war on the US, and my wife was hurt and dismayed. When I realized how toxic my complex was to their complex, I backed off and tried to smooth things over. The relationship was far, far more important than any need to be right.
Another example is a friend of mine who believes the world economy is about to collapse. He and his wife and close friends have been preparing for the worst. Maybe he's right, maybe it is about to collapse, but it is also a complex. What is the difference? A complex is sticky! When we are in it, it holds us emotionally captive. We can't just pop out and change the subject.
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