The Thinking Mind Podcast: Psychiatry & Psychotherapy

E87 - Carl Jung, the Meaning Crisis, the Red Book & the Apocalypse (with MJDorian)

May 24, 2024
E87 - Carl Jung, the Meaning Crisis, the Red Book & the Apocalypse (with MJDorian)
The Thinking Mind Podcast: Psychiatry & Psychotherapy
More Info
The Thinking Mind Podcast: Psychiatry & Psychotherapy
E87 - Carl Jung, the Meaning Crisis, the Red Book & the Apocalypse (with MJDorian)
May 24, 2024

MJDorian is an artist, educator, podcast creator, and award winning composer. In 2018, MJ launched the podcast: Creative Codex, which he continues to write and produce. The show frequently appears in the top 100 charts globally in the genre of Arts. The mission of Creative Codex is to explore the mysteries of creative genius through narrative, sound design, and original music.

Today we discuss who Carl Jung was, an overview of what he contributed to psychology, why he disagreed with Freud, the difference between Freudian & Jungian psychology, the Jungian interpretation of dreams, his apocalyptic visions, the Red Book, and much more. 

Interviewed by Dr. Alex Curmi, consultant psychiatrist. 

If you would like to enquire about an online psychotherapy appointment with Dr. Alex, you can email - alexcurmitherapy@gmail.com.

Give feedback here - thinkingmindpodcast@gmail.com -  
Follow us here: Twitter @thinkingmindpod Instagram @thinkingmindpodcast

Join Our Mailing List! - https://thinkingmindpod.aidaform.com/mailinglistsignup

SUPPORT: buymeacoffee.com/thinkingmind

Show Notes Transcript

MJDorian is an artist, educator, podcast creator, and award winning composer. In 2018, MJ launched the podcast: Creative Codex, which he continues to write and produce. The show frequently appears in the top 100 charts globally in the genre of Arts. The mission of Creative Codex is to explore the mysteries of creative genius through narrative, sound design, and original music.

Today we discuss who Carl Jung was, an overview of what he contributed to psychology, why he disagreed with Freud, the difference between Freudian & Jungian psychology, the Jungian interpretation of dreams, his apocalyptic visions, the Red Book, and much more. 

Interviewed by Dr. Alex Curmi, consultant psychiatrist. 

If you would like to enquire about an online psychotherapy appointment with Dr. Alex, you can email - alexcurmitherapy@gmail.com.

Give feedback here - thinkingmindpodcast@gmail.com -  
Follow us here: Twitter @thinkingmindpod Instagram @thinkingmindpodcast

Join Our Mailing List! - https://thinkingmindpod.aidaform.com/mailinglistsignup

SUPPORT: buymeacoffee.com/thinkingmind

 Welcome back to the Thinking Minds podcast. My name is Alex. I'm a consultant psychiatrist. If you've been interested in psychology for long or studied it at any depth, it's likely that at some point you've heard of Carl Jung. Yet, despite being one of the most influential figures in 20th century psychology at the time he was around, he was actually largely ostracized by the psychological community. Despite that ostracization, many people are attracted to the works of Carl Jung, his different theories about life and psychological development, and also the way that he combines psychology with spirituality with me to discuss Carl Jung and his work today is MJ Dorion. MJ Dorian is an artist, educator, podcast creator and award winning composer. In 2018, he launched his podcast The Creative Codex, in which he explores the mysteries of creative genius through narrative, sound design and original music, and that includes the creative genius of Carl Jung. Today, we discuss a bit about who young was, the major theories that young contributed to psychology, why Jung had a falling out with Freud, and the main differences between Jungian psychology and Freudian psychology. The Jungian interpretation of dreams. Some of Jung's more interesting or influential books, particularly some of his more mysterious works he completed towards the end of his life, like the infamous Red book, what Jung would have thought of the modern world, Jung's apocalyptic visions, and much more. We also discuss how young influenced MJ's creative process and MJ's thoughts on pursuing a career in the arts. This is the Thinking Mind Podcast, a podcast all about psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry and related topics. If you like it, there are a few ways you can support it. You can share it with a friend. Give us a rating, follow or subscribe on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you listen, which really helps new people to find us. Or if you want to support us further, you can check out the Buy Me a Coffee link in the description. In addition, if psychotherapy is something you've not just heard about, but maybe you want to try out for yourself, whether it's just to learn a bit more about yourself or to deal with a specific problem you might be having in your personal life. I'm now offering one on one private psychotherapy sessions, both in person in the South London area and online. So if that's something you're interested in, you can email me at Alex Kurumi therapy at gmail.com. Thanks for listening. And now here's today's conversation with MJ Dorian. 11s M.J. Dorian, thanks for coming on the show. It's a pleasure to be here. Alex. Thank you so much for inviting me. Looking forward to our conversation. What do you wish more people would understand about curling? Hmm. 2s Well, I mean, there's there's a lot there to dig into, but I would say that. 2s He the way I view him in the context of the 20th century and psychology as a whole. 1s Two things I would first say about him are that he was this very unique figure, in that he basically became like the Nikola Tesla of psychology. The Nikola Tesla, obviously originally of electrical engineering, he he reinvented the field. He turned it upside down, and he brought something new and valuable to our lives and technology, which is alternating current. Uh, doctor Carl Jung did something similar because without him, you know, that track of Freud's psychology would have been very much the dominant one, even though in some circles it still is. But Carl Jung came along and we could talk about the history there between those two figures, but he presented something so fresh and different that very much runs on a parallel track to modern psychology. And I would I would see him as this figure. That's the Nikola Tesla of psychology. And then additionally, I would say one thing that even people who are already interested in Jung's ideas and his theories tend to overlook is that he himself was also one of these creative genius figures. So coincidentally, he was just involved in the field of psychology. You could have just as easily went into a creative field, I believe. And when you look at books like the Art of CG Jung and his personal life, you see that he was constantly engaged by creative work. And I believe it's because of those creative inclinations that he was able to intuit these facets of the mind that he did. So that's that's where I would start with that. Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about Freud and Young, because Freud also was a revolutionary, you know, for his time. He, he was the one he didn't necessarily come up with the idea of the unconscious, but he did popularize it. And in many, you know, at the time he was seen as extremely radical. And it's also I always find it so interesting to see how much hate there is towards Freud. And for my money, whenever you see a lot of hate and vitriol, you know that possibly that person may have been on to something when it stirs up a lot of negative emotion. What do you think are the key differences between Freudian psychology and Jungian psychology? Right. It's helpful to just note their history there, because honestly, I think that that interplay that was happening in the in the early 1900s in the field of psychology between Freud and Jung, it's one of the greatest stories of psychology in general. And so we can maybe just touch on that a moment. So Freud comes along and as you said, he presents this pivotal theory of the unconscious and his interpretation of it. Psychopathology and complexes and such. And then Jung is also in training to be a psychologist, and he he's taken under the wing of Freud and he has clinical work. He early on works in hospital with schizophrenics and such. And then he has his own private practice and very much in this in the field and among his colleagues, uh, he's seen as the heir apparent to Freud that he's going to carry the torch after Freud has to, you know, put down his working tools and such. But what ends up happening around 19 tens is that Jung starts to have this split from Choi. They tend to have more arguments in their personal interactions, and there starts to be these distinctions that Jung can no longer parse with and he can no longer set aside. For one, he sees that Freud tends to have this very pessimistic view of of human nature, in that he tends to associate all of, you know, an adult's complexes with childhood traumas and sexuality and these kinds of things. And he refuses to acknowledge that there can be these other influences, you know, for neuroses. Uh, he also, in Jung's view, doesn't consider the unconscious going deep enough that he kind of just takes the bar and stops it at the level of the personal unconscious. Uh, on the other hand, to Jung, Jung was very fascinated early on by religion, by spirituality, by dreams, so as Freud. But in Jung's view, there's deeper layers there to uncover. And these deeper layers influence us in daily life, in our life choices. And Freud seemed to refuse to acknowledge those or even consider, you know, their validity. And finally, he had. 1s He had a certain disregard for for a human's need for some kind of spiritual engagement. He tended to see religion as fantasy fulfillment. And on the other hand, Jung thought that, you know, man's search for meaning and our engagement with spiritual practices was essential to human nature. So those inform basically how the two tend to branch off from that point on, I think. 2s Why do you think Freud was so reluctant to change his thinking or or to think that maybe young had some good points? You know, do you think that this is a very difficult question to answer? So I'm not necessarily expecting you to answer it, but do you think he just thought that young was frankly incorrect, or do you think based on the history that maybe Freud's ego was threatened, he was, you know, this giant in psychology at the time, and maybe he was feeling a bit undermined by his star disciple. Right? I mean, it's it's a topic that I'm sure a number of books have explored because. 2s It creates. It presents a very loaded territory of these, obviously, these two early juggernauts of of psychology and how they clashed. Uh, from my understanding, you know. Sure Freud had his own issues, his own ego involved in his work, and at that point. Because he was so established that the idea of someone like Jung being able to present this alternate view was was insulting in a sense, because there was nobody else presenting an alternate view to Freud at the time. And so, you know, Freud probably saw Jung in a sense of like a surrogate son and someone that, you know, would really be able to carry on his legacy. And for him to then say, well, you know, you have these major flaws here, I think was partially insulting. And I think it was personal by that point because they did split and then they didn't talk to each other for a number of years. So it was clearly more than just this kind of amicable professional split. There was a lot of personal emotions involved and intense kind of heated arguments. 2s Mhm. Yeah. It's always interesting when psychiatrists show their own neuroses isn't it? Uh, how did you become interested in young. You've done a whole series on young and your podcast, Creative Codex, which I'd certainly recommend. Uh, where did you come across young? And why did he spark your interest? Right. So I've done a number of series on young in my podcast, which which started as a personal fascination that I've had for a very long time. And because of the very positive response to my initial series, which was only about the Red book. I've delved further into other material of his, like the seven sermons to the dead and his his obsession with alchemy, each giving a few episodes per per series. But early on, I would say the thing that attracted me to Jung and Jung's theories is that myself as an artist, as a creative person, and as somebody interested in spiritual practices. Jung presents a framework in which to understand those human traits the inclination to pull up a canvas and paint something, you know, the the confusion of waking up from a dream that seemed incredibly profound, yet completely mysterious and foreign to you, you know? And of course, the inclination to want to engage with myth and want to have a spiritual practice and pursue these kinds of things. Jung presents a framework in which that makes sense and in which it encourages you to continue those things because. 1s Even setting aside metaphysical, um, instances or opinions. Uh, he presents this these ideas as valuable to your psychology in general, valuable to your mental health. And so I think that's what initially attracted me. 2s Mhm. So and it's interesting because young came of course from the medical world. So he was a doctor psychiatrist then psychotherapist and then particularly later in his life, he starts to build these bridges between psychology and spirituality but also creativity which obviously means you can include a lot more people. People of a various dispositions can now become attracted to your work because you're creating connections between these disciplines, which are seemingly disparate but actually might be more connected than they think. And of course, Jung paid a price for this because this is part of the reason for the split from Freud. This is part of the reason for the ostracization from the rest of the psychological community. His his almost willingness to dive into things in a quite an integrative, holistic manner. I'd like to talk about dreams a bit from a Jungian standpoint. How should we approach thinking about our dreams? Yeah, it's completely fascinating topic. Well, I think as as we're kind of laying the groundwork for, for this conversation, it would be also valuable to just quickly present Jung's model of the psyche, because these theories and things that will discuss very much will make more sense in the context of a rough idea of his model. As it differs from from other psychologists. So primarily we can say there's there's four facets that are most notable in Jung's view of the psyche. And they would be the ego, the personal unconscious, the collective unconscious, and then the self with the capital S. 1s So loosely defined the ego would be. It's easy to remember in the sense of its Latin definition, which simply is I is the pronoun I. Anything that refers to itself in your mind as I is part of your conscious mind, and that's your ego. And this is stripping any, you know, positive or negative connotations that we might have in, you know, our colloquial use of the word ego. It's just anything that refers to itself as I, and that includes the mask of our persona that we wear in, you know, social situations and such. Then there's the personal unconscious, which is anything that for whatever reason, we've pushed back into our our unconscious, whether it be memories, personal complexes, our motivations and these kinds of things. Those that's unique to each individual. Then Jung presents this idea that there's also the collective unconscious, which is in a sense more ancient than the other two. And if we imagine kind of builds, uh, one builds on the other. And so the collective unconscious, we could say, most notably, contains the archetypes which Jung described as images and these potentialities that bubble forth in our human experiences, in our stories and our dreams, um, and in our life. Then the self with the capital S. The easiest way to imagine that is, is it's the circle within whose bounds those all those other facets exist. So the self is is kind of everything combined. And oddly enough, the self also has its own 2s direction that it wants to as a conductor of of all those things that are going on, direct that story. And we can talk about any of those, of course, but just remembering that that's kind of the model we're working with in is helpful. 2s Mhm. And Yong also described not only a structure of the psyche, but like a process that people go through across their lives, a process of individuation. Can you walk us through a bit of what that process might look like? Sure. The way I think of it is that individuation is basically the project that the self is always working on. It's the life project of the human individual, and part of that project is the the balancing of these kind of opposites that exist within us. So, you know, you may have a very prominent aspect of your conscious mind or your persona as, you know, somebody incredibly virtuous, somebody who is who is calm and, you know, never triggers into anger. But then in the background, you know, in your unconscious, you have an undeveloped aspect of yourself that may present itself as, you know, a passive aggressive comment here and there, or may occasionally result in you just exploding for no reason. And you don't understand how that bubbled up. It didn't feel like that's you, because it's not your conscious mind, it's coming from the unconscious. And so there's these opposites that exist within us that need to be reconciled. That's one of the the processes that are occurring in individuation. When one engages them, you're you're starting to reconcile these opposites. And then also, of course, there's your complexes that, you know, I visualize as these, these knots, there's just these balls of tension that in some way influence you in your daily life often and in the process of, you know, your, your life and addressing and, uh, confronting these or just acknowledging them, you, you ease their tension and you bring them into the light of your consciousness, basically. So the process of individuation in its ultimate and ideal idealized form would be you're bringing everything that is under that sea level iceberg, um, into your conscious view. And then by the end of your life, it would be a wonderful thing if we all did. We we saw all of those, you know, myriad that multitude of influence that that we've had throughout our life. 3s Wow. And so, so much packed into those theories and yes, absolutely the. Resolving of psychological tension, or at least the bringing into awareness of psychological tension, is so important when you're unaware that you're being pulled in different directions. A part of you wants to. Part of you is ambitious and wants to work hard, and yet another part of you feels incredibly constrained by that and longs for freedom. If that's the kind of tension that you're unaware of, it can define your life. It can rule. You can cause you a lot of mental suffering, a lot of neurosis, and just becoming aware of these tensions. It's not everything, but becoming aware is such an important first step. So this idea of tension, I think both Freud and Young. Really helped people to understand. Obviously young, you could argue on a somewhat deeper level. Mhm. So having covered this a bit about how young thoughts about the mind going back to dreams. What? Because again, Freud and Young differed about the approach to dreams. What was the young approach to dreams? So it's viewed in Jungian analysis that the dream life of an individual is where the unconscious basically communicates to your conscious mind. The the division between them is now lowered, and your dreams are direct communications from what's existing and what's what. These various, uh, motivations and what these influences are on you that exist in your unconscious. And at times those will bubble up from also what Jung termed the collective unconscious, but most often, especially the ones that that feel very emotionally, um, wrought and, you know, engaging. Those are existing from what you have and what you carry in your personal unconscious. But the problem is, and why, you know, analysts exist, is that the dreams and the language of the unconscious, you could say, is through symbol and metaphor. And this is naturally very confusing. And it's resulted in people, you know, throughout the centuries inventing, you know, dream dictionaries. This symbol means that symbol. And then such, which is a little bit of a misguided effort in in Jungian theory, it's understood that although there are archetypes and they tend to have universal meanings for each individual, those those symbols can and often do take on personal significance. You know, if I see a cat in a dream, if you see a cat in a dream, depending on our experience with cats in our lives, it means totally something different. And so I don't know if that answers part of your question, but those are my thoughts at the moment. Yeah, and important to point out the distinction between the Jungian view and the Freudian view. So as you mentioned, dreams are a bit obscure. And there's a symbolic language to dreams. Am I understanding and correct me if I'm wrong? Is that. As you mentioned, Jung felt that dreams were symbolic because that was simply the language of the unconscious. You could also call it the right hemisphere of the brain if you wanted to. Like, the unconscious is communicating to us in the best way it knows how, and that's through symbols. And my understanding is Freud felt it was symbolic because there was an element of repression, like your mind was trying to guard itself against itself. And I think, you know, both theories have validity. But certainly the idea that our unconscious is, is trying to communicate to us in the best way knows how. It's compelling to me, particularly because sometimes dreams are very literal. And sometimes, at least in my experience, my when I think about my own dreams, sometimes they're symbolic, but sometimes they're. As as clear as possible. So I don't necessarily buy the idea that there's that, um, inbuilt repression so important to point out. And then the other thing I would point out is that. Particularly when I'm working with people clinically, it's very hard to interpret someone's dream unless you know what they're going through in their personal life. It's like essential. 1s So I can give you an example of that. Uh, I knew someone who had a dream that they were. Putting their hand into a mixed bag of chocolates. And there were two possibilities there. I'd only get one chocolate or the other, and they didn't get the chocolate that they wanted, but rather strangely, they kept pulling out their father's favorite chocolate and not theirs. And then, you know, that's that's, you know, hard to interpret, hard to know exactly what's going on until you find out about that person's personal life. And they'll tell you very plainly. I'm currently working with my father and feel like I'm doing all the kind of work that he likes to do, and none of the kind of work that I like to do. And then all of a sudden, the dream makes a lot of sense. Sure. Right. Yeah. Again. Yeah. If one were to use a dream dictionary, it'd be like, chocolate means this, but it's like, well, no, 1s we have all these the relationship dynamics being involved as well. Like what you're saying. Yeah. No, it's a tricky business interpreting a dream, but. There's there's tremendous value in it because again, it's it's communicating something that is outside of one's awareness. And. 1s And the. The Jungian analyst and author Robert Johnson has an amazing, amazing book called Inner Work that is all about dream interpretation through the Jungian lens. And in a very, very practical way. It's it's it's brilliant. I'm reading through it the second time right now. There's just a lot, a lot. He fills in a very short span. And from Jung himself, what are the books that you might direct people to read first if they if they wanted to learn more about you? And I know a lot of his works are quite dense and quite difficult to get through. Are there any in particular you would recommend? Yeah, always man and His Symbols is a great start. And this is a book that he wrote toward the end of his life, which was largely motivated by his colleagues basically saying that, you know, you have these theories of mind that could provide so much value to, to the common man and woman. Um, but up until that point, his, his psychology, uh, was largely followed by clinicians. And that's partially why his work, when one tries to read it, is so academic and dense because that was the intended audience. But this book, Man in His Symbols, was intended for more of a broad audience, and it includes various essays from Jung, but also from his colleagues like Marie-Louise von Franz and such, who. In a sense, Jung gave his stamp of approval to. In these essays that they write for more of a more of a broad audience, and then beyond that, a very approachable book also is what's his essentially his autobiography, memories, dreams, reflections, where Jung talks very candidly and openly about his own life and his dreams throughout his life that were meaningful to him, and visions and his experiences. Initially writing the Red book, which he only talks about in kind of these, these side references, because at the time 1s the Red book wasn't known publicly, but he refers to it and he's very significant ways as an important experience. So so those two. Okay, I've read man and his search for meaning, which I would also recommend, and particularly in that book he's talking about. How things have unfolded during the 20th century, and how he used his concerns about how things might continue to unfold if we, if young, were around today. How do you think he would view the way politics and culture have progressed? Do you think it would be pleased at the direction that things have gone in? What do you think would make of it? I think 2s it's I mean, it's so hard to to, you know, assume for, for young un certain opinions like this. Um, I have so much respect for him. It would be. 2s Uh, you know, it would 1s be very haughty of me to try to assume that I can think like him, but, I mean, certainly he would see these grand stories of the archetypes playing out on the world stage as they are today, through our politicians, through our wars, through these various conflicts that we continue to have. We essentially, as a human species, have the same problems that we had when Jung was still alive. And they're they've only become more exaggerated. So, um, he would still have the same sense of impending doom and danger that he had toward the end of his life. The last few years he had he had a few visions of, um, a great apocalypse or a catastrophe that he told this to Marie-Louise von Franz, and she's never shared the exact details of it in any written or video form. But she says that she she had this paper, so that paper is somewhere of exactly what his vision was, but essentially that. The way I see it is humanity is always on the brink of self-destruction. And partially this is due to our inability to, um, recognize these motivations, influences that that exist in our unconscious that propel individuals, nations and communities towards certain ends that are sometimes self-destructive. And so that's partially, I think, my thoughts on it. Yeah, and I guess he would have also commented, I suppose, on the fact that the gap of meaning that we have in our society and culture has just continued to grow, and my understanding is that he talked a lot about. 1s The decline of religion as an important institution, and that that religion was leaving a very important gap, and that gap was going to be filled. 1s By what he saw as more superficial manifestations of the culture. Like, for example, our politics, as you mentioned. And that, as far as I can tell, since the 20th century, that problem has only gotten worse. And this is why I think there is such a resurgence of interest in things like ancient philosophy, which you see in a lot of long form content, a lot of podcasts, because I think on one level or another, we're becoming increasingly aware that. 2s A given society or given culture used to run on these long standing existential pillars, and those pillars have been wiped away. And now it's like conservatives versus liberals on TikTok, and that's like not a substitute at all for the fundamental anchors of your society. Right? No. Great point. I wish I would have thought of it myself, but I do have some thoughts on it. So in Jung's Red book, he mentions these two influences that I suppose he implies exist in every individual. And this goes back to what you're saying, that there is the spirit of this time and the spirit of the depths. So what we could say is, is occurring in this scenario where I agree, people who are otherwise raised without any formal religion, any any formal spiritual practice that connects them to a native faith or to to their own ancestry. Which, yeah, it is, I think, a detriment to society. They're finding these other avenues. They're getting interested in ancient cultures. They're, you know, reading Plato's dialogues and engaging with perhaps their own way into those cultures through whether it's witchcraft or anything else they find. And I think what they're responding to is the spirit of the depths, which Jung talks about at length in the Red book. And it's a call from these more ancient parts of our mind, uh, are called toward timeless things, things that can be revived, you know, that have long since died, and in many ways that can connect us to the past and connect us to, you know, ancestors and these kinds of influences. And while the spirit of this time is the most superficial layer of society, that includes our politics, includes our celebrities and such, which with every generation essentially becomes wiped away and replaced. And when we fixate on on that level too much, even though it may, you know, give some dopamine release and such in the moment, we find it very unsatisfactory in the long term, I think. Yeah. And it's just not going to be something that sees you through the. UPS and downs of life, and that's something I see clinically and funnily enough. I think the context in which I saw the most was when I worked in an addiction clinic, where often using people who are either addicted to alcohol, heroin, very commonly cocaine, and. They're trying to figure out how to come off a drug like that. 1s And the biggest thing they often the biggest mistake, uh, someone with an addiction like that often makes is they focus on how to come off the drug, but they don't focus on how do I build the life that would make it unsatisfactory to go back to drugs? 2s And I think that's because as soon as you tackle that much harder, much deeper question, you are facing existential issues. You know, what actually do I value about my life? What is that value about life in general? And within this very medicalized way of viewing addiction, there almost isn't room to that to have those conversations. So I found myself having these more existential conversations with my patients there. And this is not in a psychotherapy context. This is more of a medical context where my role was more as their physician than as their therapist. And yet it it felt that, you know, the medical stuff obviously had to be taken care of, but once the medical stuff is taken care of, then it felt like it would have been a disservice to the patient to not take things on that more existential level. Right now. That makes total sense, and I'm sure that that was appreciated by by the people who you were speaking to in that regard. And maybe we can pivot in a for for the moment to that. So in your experience, you know, as a clinician psychiatrist. Are there moments where you see either this gap in modern psychology and the medical approach, and perhaps this. This way that that Jung and the theories of Jung address these kinds of gaps. Yes. So I think the gap is the same. The same gap. He talked about the meaning gap, if you like, and other prominent intellectuals have referred to it as the meaning crisis. I believe John Verhovek, who is a psychologist, psychology academic psychologist in Canada, talks about as the meaning crisis. Other people have talked about it as a spiritual blackout. I think that very much exists within both medical psychiatry and academic and clinical psychology. Both of those disciplines have a lot of value to offer, but both of those disciplines. 1s Are looking at the mind and as people, in my view, through too much of a mechanistic lens, the brain is a engine or the brain is a computer. And you know, something I learned from in my Gilchrest, who who's a psychiatrist who also studies and thinks about the brain, is that when you use a particular analogy to describe something, you're trapped within the limits of that analogy. So, yes, in many ways the brain is computer like, but by using, by saying the brain is a computer, you're now trapped thinking about it within those bounds. And even though the brain is computer like, the brain is also much more than a computer. So what I'm getting at is that I think these disciplines view. Human beings and the human mind in a two limited capacity, and makes it too easy to cut off the need for. Things like spirituality, things like transcendent experiences. 1s Things like a need for deeper wisdom traditions, I think through a more mechanistic lens. Those those things I just mentioned are seemed as decadent or as a fantasy as Freud may have thought. Thought of them, uh, as a kind of aberration or anomaly or a mistake. And as a society, I can't help but see the constant, constant psychological suffering that's produced from that, the suffering from not connecting to our deeper like pathos as a species, our deeper problems, the just, the, the universal problems of being alive is something that's completely missed when you throw that stuff out of the way. So sorry, that was a long run, but I know my answer to your question in some way. That's fantastic. No, it's it's heartening to see, you know, someone who works, you know, in the medical field who's concerned with those things because, like you say, uh, once the, the very clear medical issue is addressed, then there's these, these other things that come to the fore, which in some instances can be even psychosomatic, right? Someone's existential crisis can lead them to have a physical ailment or some issue, or maybe just even a drop in their immunity level and such. So there's the entire health of the individual at stake. Yeah, definitely. And on that note. 1s You know, Jung talked about a particular existential crisis that people can go to. I go through, I believe in the like mid 30s. And he talked about that in the Red book. Right? Yes, yes, yes. Can you talk a little bit about that? What are these? You know, no coincidence. I'm in my mid 30s for the kind of crises that people of that age, hypothetically I'm asking for a friend might go through during that time. Yeah. I mean, this is one of those moments when I was reading the Red book my first time through that. It just it struck me like a bolt of lightning when I read that passage. When Jung presents this kind of scenario that occurs to people in around their 35th year, and I believe I read it around that, that that age as well. And he termed it the shadow side, the descent into the shadow side of life. 1s Where someone in his view. During that writing, he says, they begin to look for their soul and. 1s Uh, they have this turning inward that occurs. And if they don't find it, which is very unsettling to read from him to say that if they do this, turning inward during the shadow side of life, and they look for their soul and they don't find it, then they'll turn right back around to the external world, to the material world, and try to look for it there. And it'll they'll turn around like a whip, lashing them, but they'll never find their soul in the external world. And they'll they'll go for this, um, basically an indulgent kind of whiplash back into the material world. That basically is a fruitless endeavor. But this this idea is just such a compelling one. And it's important to note that Jung's visions that caused him to start writing the Red book occurred to him in his late 30s, as well as as he's nearing 40. So? So there's something to that, I think. And I think maybe it also has to do with this idea that by that point in life, let's say, you know, in mid 30s, you're old enough to have experienced a few things that, that change you, that that alter you. You've seen a few tragedies. Maybe you've lost a friend, you've lost a loved one, you've lost some family members, you've had a relationship or two go sour and you've seen other people, you know mourn and lose things. And. You start to take life a little more seriously and you start to question, you know, what else is there? What else is beyond life, you know? Where do I find my meaning? What else do I want from life? From what's left of it? And I think that's part of it, too. I think there's a real practical element there and why perhaps that would occur at that point in time. Yeah, I think in that period of life we start to come to terms with, like you said, its limitations, its finitude. Mhm. And then everything takes on a new level of seriousness. And I actually think that. Maybe it's for men, a kind of mid-thirties thing, but I actually think for women it happens a lot earlier. I think it could be. Yeah. For, for for various reasons, you know, the differences between the sexes. Women have to contend with the fact that life is very, a very serious prospect a lot earlier. You know, they mature younger sexually but also psychologically. But certainly at some point you have to come to terms with the dangers and the the restrictions of life. And before that, you're kind of in this. 1s This period of almost naive optimism and going going through that process where it's inevitable part of maturation. And I guess it brings home the idea that growth is not necessarily pleasant, like growth can be filled with pain, as it was for young. So so maybe you can tell us, you know, what was happening to young when he was writing the Red book. Sure. Yeah. Again, this is part of that thing that I was mentioning is one of the greatest stories of psychology. So the the impetus to write the Red book comes from Jung's split from Freud. And the reason being there is that he has an immense support network of colleagues and friends that are now tied to Freudian thought and that that line of psychology. But as as he splits from Freud, he also basically loses this social support network, and he becomes derided by these people that he used to call friends. And in the papers that he writes, they start to label him in what they they termed a pejorative word, which was a mystic. They said, now who is who does he think he is, some kind of mystic? And so he's now facing this crisis, very personal and existential crisis in his life, where he still has his own personal practice, but he's basically, uh, he's been pushed out of the nest in that regard. And during that upheaval, he, in October 1913, is he's traveling on a train through the Swiss Alps, and he has what he terms a vision. And it's this apocalyptic vision of a great flood in which he sees the bodies of countless thousands. And then this river becomes blood. And he says that he cannot shake the vision, that it stays with him for, for quite a while. And then this recurs throughout the next few weeks as well. That specific type of vision, but also another one in the following year. And so he feels that there's there's something going on under the surface. And he would do a disservice to his clinical patients in therapy who may be going through similar things if he didn't try to understand what was happening with himself. 1s And so part of that process is. 1s Every evening, practically, according to his notes and his journal entries. He sits down, you know, after everyone has probably gone to bed, um, he has his his tobacco pipe and such, and he enters into a state of meditation where he then engages something that I've called the digging method. This is visualization that he uses, um, where he proceeds to take this fantasy and kind of turn it inward on itself and travel down into. These these imaginary depths. And in that process, he starts to interact with his unconscious contents. And these things, he terms visions. We basically have have no good word to approximate what it is he's doing, because it's such a foreign thing for us, you know, as adults to do. But he will turn them visions. And so he he writes them down and catalogs them initially into what are called the black books, which are just his personal journals about these experiences. And then he proceeds to take the next step and give them even more of this kind of value and reflection on them by writing them out in calligraphy, in what's called the Red book, which is this big leather bound volume. And he writes them out by hand, and he even paints illustrations within there. So it ends up looking like this medieval illuminated manuscript. And then when someone opens it and it's quite large to, it's, uh, 12in wide by 15in long. 1s And so that begins the process of the Red book, which lasts a number of years, that he works on it. So if you if you look at the red book, it's got. These amazing illustrations and if you're interested, definitely look those up. You know, they're they're like, oh, it's like a collection of paintings essentially. And I guess that's what's interesting to you as an artist. You know, it's it's a is it fair to say the Red book is. An amazing work of art, you know, independent of the psychological value. Sure. I mean, I would say certainly it's a great work of literature in just its sheer uniqueness. And it's certainly a work of art, though Jung didn't see it as such. You know, he never wanted to exhibit any of his paintings or anything like that. He shied away from presenting himself publicly as, you know, as an artist. He saw this as as a function of his own, in a sense, his own therapy, his own investigations of his unconscious, and that this process of externalizing these visions, these interactions with his unconscious, that they they cemented certain insights and brought forth more 1s the ability to process these, these changes that were happening in him. But but yes, certainly most people see it, including myself, as a work of art and a great work of literature. And something I'd like to go back to briefly is that, you know, in 1913, he has this, this apocalyptic vision of that, you know, and it's not necessarily, you know, uh, a concrete prediction about what's going to happen, but it's this apocalyptic vision. And then the next year, World War One happens. Mhm. Yes. The. 1s And. 1s I'd like to emphasize this because I think often when we look at things that have happened in history, because they happened, there's a sense of inevitability, and we can ascribe a sense of intentionality to the important leaders in that time that, you know, World War One was a thing that happened. It was caused by this person and this person and that person. 1s But something I'd like to point out about where the one and I'm not a historian, but this is my understanding, is that no one really knew that was going to happen. You know, people thought there would be some kind of conflict. Maybe it would be a larger conflict than others, but no one knew it was going to be World War One, the most unprecedented conflicts we've seen at that time. 1s I'm part of. The reason that that happened is just the the unpredictability of geopolitics, but also the technology that was available at that time, and particularly the invention of the machine gun. And it was, you know, very much the. Open. The combination of that, the geopolitical turmoil and the opening of the Pandora's box of technology. Combined with no ethical overarching structure, no moral structure, no meaning structure, as Jung would have pointed out to help us realize that, hey, things are going in a bad direction, and if you combine A with B, we're going to get the apocalypse. So I thought that was worth emphasizing. And then not only did that happen, but then it happened again, 1s like a few a few decades later. Yeah. His history, it's called what did They say? History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme the same scenarios, you know, keep reoccurring and we keep making the same mistakes. You know, hopefully we keep growing too. But what you mentioned is, yes, it's an important, uh, side note there. And, and Jung recognized that as well, because from that first initial apocalyptic vision to then that vision recurring and then another one taking its place in his dreams afterward, which was one of a great frost coming over the world. And in that vision of the great frost, where, you know, many lives were lost and also, you know, vegetation, uh, the ability to, to eat plants and such was lost at the end of that vision. He sees himself as, um, grabbing these, uh, sweet grapes from a tree and giving them out to people as a form of sustenance. So there's, there's kind of almost like a resolution there. And that dream started to occur to him, um, about a month before the war broke out. 1s So he recognized that. There. At first, he assumed that those dreams were indications of the mental strife that was going on in his own unconscious. But then, once you know, those events happened and World War One erupted, he started to consider. Was that precognition? Was this some kind of influence from the collective unconscious coming up? I tend to believe personally, you know, after having, you know, reflected on this many times, I think it was both. I think the mind has these interesting abilities to bring forth symbols and insights and such when there's a confluence of factors. In that instance, I think, uh, Jung at a crossroads in such at that instance, I think Jung was going through what would be called a mental breakdown. But at the same time, there were indications that the world was about to hit the same kind of point. And so the reason those dreams recurred to him and then even shift, but still keep their apocalyptic, um, feel to them. I think it's because there's this confluence of both occurring. Yes. And then that that points to. 2s The different ways you could look at what I meant to break down is. And again going back to the way things are viewed, typically clinically in a modern environment, a breakdown is bad. You know, my car breaks down. That's a bad thing. But again, referring to what I said earlier, our minds on cars, you know, our minds on machines. 2s And importantly, the the interesting thing about the human mind is break down certainly can be a bad thing, and a break down can take you out. And I've seen that happen. 1s But a contained breakdown, a breakdown which can be managed, a breakdown that you recover from reasonably that can actually take you forward. Because it means that you know what? I'm using the breakdown, the word breakdown, very generically. So, you know, you might have a breakdown with psychotic symptoms or depression or parts of your personality changing. But let's just think about the generically a breakdown that you can face, that you're somehow able to confront, that you're supported with and that you can recover from, can actually get you to a higher level, which is very different from a a machine. A machine cannot recover from a breakdown and actually get better human beings can. Because the strange thing about human beings is you can have a breakdown. That means the paradigm through which you've been looking at the world dissolves, and you can enter a more sophisticated paradigm, a paradigm of greater depth, or a paradigm of greater maturity. And my understanding is this is something that Jung talked about quite a bit, right? Right. I mean, I'm really interested in hearing, you know, your thoughts and your experiences. Either personal or professional otherwise in these kinds of scenarios, but I think that completely makes sense to me. You know, the idea that a breakdown, if it's not, you know, completely debilitating, is an opportunity as well to to rebuild something stronger, to rebuild something that lasts longer, that perhaps one is now building based on the knowledge one gained from 1s the tragedy, perhaps that just occurred or the misfortune that one faced. I think that's that's an important facet of life that we, um. We overlook or maybe don't acknowledge. So. So thank you for bringing that up. Yeah. And it's definitely something I've seen clinically. And this is something that's actually where acknowledged in psychotherapy that. 1s Today's coping mechanism is tomorrow's crutch. You know, every coping mechanism. 1s Although it can be useful as limitations. So like even let's take the most basic coping mechanism or the most basic defense mechanism, like repression. Freud talks about this. You know, in the short term, if something really unpleasant happens, repressing it is a good idea because it means you don't have to deal with it. And isn't that a wonderful thing? But in the long term, if you repress something and this is something Freud pointed out, it will come back in uglier ways always, which are more damaging or more corrosive. But this isn't just true with like more unsophisticated coping mechanisms like repression. It's true for any way we cope with life. Um, for some people, you know, I think we're living in an era where we lots of people cope with life, with ambition. You know, we're living a very ambitious, individualistic. Culture and ambition is one of the ways we try and deal with some of the unpleasantness of life, which I think, well, as long as you know, I'm being all I can be, and I'm optimizing my nutrition and optimizing my body and optimizing my bank account, everything's going to be great. And that's, you know, for many reasons. That's a great coping mechanism because it's a coping mechanism that means I can build a great life. But it can only guard you against some of the deeper sort of tragedies of life for so long before. At some point, whether it's your in your mid-thirties or later, you have to you have to confront them. So I think the meta coping skill is the ability to. Acknowledge and change your coping mechanisms regularly to recognize when that's necessary, which is, you know, what I'm saying is not an easy thing. And I'm no, you know, master at it myself. But I think that's what the meta skill is, is the ability to utilize when a coping mechanism has exhausted itself, and maybe when we need to try something new. And I think to remain psychologically healthy, that is a lifelong process. Right? Right, right, right. You know, it reminds me of, of a personal experience that, um, it was along these lines a few years ago, one of my best friends died, and it was kind of sudden and unexpected. And, you know, he left behind his wife and his seven year old child, which were still very close to and were close to at the time. But due to that experience, I mean, initially, it's the the upheaval of the first few months of grief and it was surprisingly intense grief in my case, because I didn't realize how close our relationship had gotten over about 20 some odd years. It snuck up on me. And so his death, um, was very. It brought up a lot of things for me. And so, you know, I spoke with a grief counselor and such, and that was very, very helpful. Um, but the reason I bring it up in this context was it was a type of breakdown of, of my framework of life. And I knew that it was a breakdown because I couldn't do art anymore while I was processing this grief, while I was experiencing living through it. And so so I understood that to be okay, something is, is being rebuilt inside of me. Mhm. And same thing was going on, you know with his wife and, and obviously in many more intense ways. But in the aftermath of this, you know now that a few years have passed. I can say that because of that loss and because of that grief that I experienced, it's opened me up to be more emotional. And that's not a bad thing. It's opened me up to, uh, to connect more with with individuals, with people. And I think partially the reason is because I understand what's at stake now. You know, I understand that when, you know, a family loses their father or their mother and only one is left, and the child and I see what effect that has, both personally, because, you know, I experienced some of that grief, but also just in living close to that, you know, by trying our best to take care of them in the aftermath. And so I know what's at stake. And so rather than closing me off, you know, perhaps that would have happened if I would have brushed it aside and tried not to acknowledge the grief or just go on living, you know? Um, it's made me able to, I think, connect more emotionally with, with other people. Yeah. That's a that's a big insight. You know, like, you see you see the limits of, of. There's something about understanding the limits of life. Help you see the value of life, right? 1s Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Definitely. How have some of Young's ideas? You know, you're a you're a creative person and it sounds like you're creating so many domains, you know, music, podcasts, etc.. And how have Young's ideas influenced you creatively as you go through the creative process? Well, mainly it helps me understand the the structure of it in terms of the the potential influences of any given, you know, work of art, music or. Or poetry. Uh, occasionally an influence arises, like while I'm about to fall asleep in this kind of hypnagogic state, and I see an image or a melody or or something that captivates me, and I need to then, you know, create it externally. And so Jung's framework helps me understand what's happening there. So I'm not mis attributing things, but also, um, I can help it along sometimes because I understand it a little more, I feel like. But other than that, in terms of like this idea of archetypes and such. I try not to influence those things superficially. You know, like somebody might try to write a script for a movie and they'll say, like, let me lay out all the archetypes, and I know that this archetype works with that one. And then we have to make sure that they clash. And, you know, superficially influencing the structure. I think that that can, in the end, results in, in a subpar work that that doesn't feel true or organic. And so in that regard, I certainly don't try to like create a formula of like knowing that in the collective unconscious this is going to bubble up or whatever. You know, uh, I think the organic aspect of any work of art, any creative work is the most valuable aspect of it, because you shouldn't really know where it comes from until it's already in front of you in that regard. Yeah. That's interesting. So you're saying if you and I think most people intuitively try and create like this, if they're new, if you put your conscious mind at the driver's seat, you're not going to generate anything truly creative. True creativity needs to come more from the unconscious, which is why accessing that hypnagogic state right before sleep or right after sleep, it gives you that gateway to things that not even you are aware of, letting that bubble up and letting that take the wheel and the creative process, if you like. Yeah. No, absolutely. What's fascinating, I think, is that those influences that exist in the unconscious, like, let's say an artist for for the sake. 1s They would. The work that comes out from those influences can be personally meaningful, but also can can serve a very specific, meaningful purpose in the culture that artists exists within. And so the work may come out. And to the artist, they don't always oftentimes understand what this work means, but they feel that it's meaningful, consequential and important to to produce. And then only after the fact one realizes that, oh, you know, this is serving this, this greater purpose within the the fabric of the culture they live within. And it becomes an important work for, for other people, too. You know, not just personal work. So there's these influences that we don't understand or don't realize are propelling us toward certain directions, I think, and I think it even applies to speaking and conversation and podcasting because, I mean, I'm I'm not sure how scripted your podcasts are. For example, but because my podcasts are largely conversations, you know, I might get asked, how do you get how do you generate a conversation that flows? And again, someone's intuitive approach might be, you know, having all the perfect questions prepared from before. And how do you know exactly what you're going to say? And, you know, preparation is important. And having questions prepared as important, but generally speaking, in a conversation. You're going to want to let things bubble up to your mind. Both questions, but also comments and and impromptu runs you might go on. You want to let those bubble up and go with them. And that being the case. 1s Speaking well, having a good conversation is less about sort of frantically trying to control everywhere that comes out of your mouth. It's not a control mechanism, it's more an allowing. 1s Allow yourself to be open to the different thoughts and feelings which occur to you, and then have the courage to express them with the full knowledge that maybe you say something dumb, but you know, and you might, you know, but but you'll also say the best stuff, the best stuff will also come out during that process, I think. Yeah, yeah. There's a that's fun. Spontaneity invites a kind of deeper insights and things that you wouldn't have considered just through conscious kind of, uh, processing earlier on when like you have to make the checklist of all the questions, you have to make sure you fast and such. I agree, I totally agree that a good conversation is more like, uh, a jazz performance rather than, you know, this, this kind of mathematical checking of the to do list in an, in a jazz performance. As a musician myself. Uh, I can say that, you know, the jazz musician, very few jazz musicians do like pure improvisation. It's always, you know, you have your your piece laid out in terms of, you know, your verse, chorus, verse and such, and then you know what the melody is, but you, you leave room for yourself to improvise throughout in certain sections, you know, there's a looseness to it and that varies from performer to performer. But the core idea of it is that there's a structure within which you can improvise, basically. Yeah, yeah. The beautiful dancing structure and improvisation. And it even works for psychotherapy because spontaneity is is the engine of psychotherapy. It's what makes it go. It's how people. Come to realise things about themselves which they weren't previously aware of. The most common thing people say in psychotherapy sessions is, you know, I don't know where to start. And really, the key is to just start and keep going and see where it goes. And don't feel like this is what I would tell to my clients, don't feel like it has to be correct or relevant, or don't feel like it has to make sense grammatically or otherwise. Just let yourself speak and don't worry, it'll go in a useful direction. And almost always it does if you let yourself do that. But then some clients, they can be too clamped down on what that they have to say the correct thing. And then ironically, that's stifling them. And and it's it's counterproductive. And so there's a lot there's a lot of people who who I think who aspire to be creative. Do you think we live in a good time to be creative? It's tricky. It's it's a yes and and no kind of answer. Overall, though, I think there's more yes on that spectrum than no because. The ability of the internet and our are kind of leveling of the playing field of how, as a creator, you can engage a certain level of visibility that, you know, 20 years ago. Would that be even before the internet? Or is it now 30 years ago? Probably at least 30 years ago. Before the internet. It was 50 years ago. 50 years ago. So, so pre-internet time. There was very much a structure of, you know, uh, industry gatekeepers for, for each industry that you're interested in participating in, whether it's film or music or, or even visual art. Uh, but the internet has leveled that playing field. At the same time, though, since the internet has been around as long as it has, those industries have figured out a way to have a foothold again. So, you know, with music, if you're in the music industry, you're making songs and you put them on Spotify and such. You know, Spotify now has deals with very specific record companies. And so the music that gets more likely pushed to new listeners is music that they already have a deal with, with the record company, you know, that's paying them and such. So those industries, again, have a foothold. But overall, I think that like even just your podcast, my podcast, the fact that we can, uh, publish something that then has the potential to reach an international base of listeners is, is overall a plus. And in that regard, it is a wonderful time to to be a creative that, uh, is courageous enough to create consequential works. What's courageous about creativity? I mean, the fact alone of. 1s Uh, being able to externalize something that could potentially be derided, made fun of, that could potentially be a complete failure, takes courage. So, uh, there's the ability of your self-critique to be the danger. You know, you create something, and then you beat yourself up because you failed or you didn't achieve it the way you had envisioned it. So it takes courage against your your future, your future critiques. But then, of course, the more obvious one would be it takes courage to create anything that then enters the public eye, or even the eye of a single audience member who are directed toward a loved one or, you know, a romantic interest. Because, again, you don't know what the reaction is going to be. And oftentimes, if it's a very meaningful piece to you, no matter what creative work it is, um, you're sharing a certain piece of your soul or your heart with other people. And so to me, every creative act is an act of courage. Absolutely. And how did you deal with that? Was that something? Was that a struggle with you, or were you just so engrossed in the creative process that you were going to do it regardless of what other people thought? Right? I mean, early on, luckily, I recognized that I, as a teenager, gained a lot of satisfaction from the creative process. You know, creating visual art, painting, drawing, writing songs. I realized that at one point as I was learning learning guitar, that I enjoyed creating songs more than playing other people's songs. And so, you know, there's people who go into Juilliard to be musicians and performers, and then there's people who go to Juilliard to be composers, you know, who just the right writing of the music. And so I realized early on that it just was such a love of mine. And so luckily, my parents, you know, had the, um, the wisdom to say, okay, well, if he's interested in art, maybe, you know, let him go to an art high school, like an art centric high school. So I went to the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan, here in New York City. And there I became enmeshed in, you know, a community of other misfits who were also, you know, the artists of their local communities. And after that, you know, I there's no way to to drop creative effort and work after, you know, those early kind of foundational experiences. So I think that's what I would say. 1s Yeah, I think just having those early reference experiences, the ability to put something out that's flawed or have it fail or realize that failure is in some sense failures and real in the sense that something can perform in it less than you want it to, or and somehow be inadequate. And yet you can still derive a lot of value from it, and it can help inform the next thing you make. You know, I think if you view things through the right lens, that. There's a lot of useful failure, which we kind of ignore, and we kind of make failure into this monster. But actually failure is just part of getting better at any process, whether it's creative or otherwise. And it's good to see that you had kind of that early positive experience. And I'm sure that's why you've been able to go on and create it at such high volume. Yes. Thank you, thank you. You know, I mean, I look at failure as, as a mix between an exploration and a result, because if you look at it as just a result, it's just, you know, well, you do something and there's always a result. Right? And if you do this that's what happens. But otherwise if you also look at it as an exploration, there's something to learn from explorations, you know, an experiment or exploration. So there's something you can then carry forth. And oftentimes I could say that in in most works of creative people, you know, that I cover in such and in my own life, uh, those perceived failures do teach you a lot that you then build on to then create something really great. And without those initial explorations that may have resulted in failure, the eventual, you know, really insightful creations wouldn't be possible. Definitely. Creativity is a long game, right? 1s Yeah, in many ways, yeah, we're out of time. But MJ, thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Where can people go to find out more about your work? Sure. There's I would say two main places. There's my podcast, Creative Codex at Codex, and that's available on Spotify and every podcast platform. And then there's just mainly for social media. I exist on my Instagram, which is at my name, MJ Dorian, one word with no spaces. And yeah, those two perfect. MJ Dorian, thanks very much. Thank you so much Alex. It's been a pleasure.