Further thoughts on the election…
~ Susan Rowland
Ph.D., Chair of Engaged Humanities & the Creative Life
I have had a further depth psychology thought on the election which has changed what I plan to say at the book signing tomorrow Saturday 12th November Lambert 6pm (my Dionysus book and Jung and Sex by Ed Santana).
Basically I see three books coming together: Ginette Paris’s wonderful study of Dionysus in her book, Pagan Grace, Randy Fertel’s superb A Taste for Chaos and my own Remembering Dionysus – with the first two most germane to the election.
A Taste for Chaos is about literary improvisation and the god most invoked is Hermes, the trickster. There is a powerfully insightful late chapter on the dark trickster improvisation of fascism.
Referring to Fertel’s book, in RD I wonder why Dionysus as god of improvisation and boundary breaking was not cited. The author said in person to me recently that Dionysus improvisation is too chaotic, too dark… (yup!)
Actually I suggest a crucial clue comes from Paris who emphasizes that Dionysus MUST be met on a communal ritual level. Encountering Dionysus alone is always destructive of individual as drug addiction or alcoholism shows. And as we know from Dionysus myths, those who reject Dionysus utterly (and societies who do so) are condemned to be torn apart.
The president elect is a nasty Dionysus and spearheads dark Dionysus in the collective. HOWEVER depth psychology gets from Jung incurable hope – we know that Dionysus CAN be successfully integrated collectively and our depth psychology community can COLLECTIVELY help to do this.
As part of a very deep Dionysian turn, and as an instance of POSITIVE Dionysus, I point to the core argument of Remembering Dionysus, which sees Dionysian dismembering and re-membering happening at the level of intellectual disciplines.
Western culture dismemembered the Old God of monotheistic sacred knowledge beginning in the Renaissance and accelerating during the enlightenment and culminating in the multiplying disciplines of the last 100 years. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but now our single spheres need to be re-membered, NOT back to the old God with ONE truth and all else pernicious error (fundamentalism) but rather to a positive Dionysian body that knows disciplines as “parts” in what James Hillman called a Dionysian consciousness that is body oriented and is within the body of the god as experience of rejuvenation into a taste of endless instinctual life (well, Dionysus IS Too Much, so we need to incarnate Ariadne feminine soul knowing in her divine marriage to Dionysian re-juvenated disciplinarity).
AND MOREOVER a model for this new collective Dionysian positive disciplinarity already exists in the Transdisciplinarity devised and explored by Basarab Nicolescu. While not explicitly looking at myth, Nicolescu’s examination of the “third” between sybject and object in knowing endorses so much of depth psychology.
Here the Jungian symbol is the vehicle for multiple disciplinary knowing as the torn pieces of the body of positive Dionysus. I do believe that this kind of academic work is far from “academic”!!! It is part of the formation of collective Dionysian rituals that we are all called on to imagine – at all levels.
P.S. Dionysus is god in nature as well as in psyche. This is about saving the planet too!