Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wild fires and sacred trees

After months of drought, with extreme weather and dry winds, fires have been raging across Israel, beginning November 22, 2016.
More than ten thousand dunam have been burned in 200 fires, with severe damage to forests, animals, villages and towns. A quarter of the population in Haifa, the country’s third largest city, had to be evacuated, and two thousand apartments and houses have been damaged or destroyed.
Human negligence lies behind the first fires, with the extreme weather causing wide damage. Then, Palestinian arsonists, as it seems, may have caused half of the fires, joined on social media by triumphant encouragement, such as the imam of Kuwait's Grand Mosque, Sheikh Mishary Alfasy Rashid, who tweeted “All the best to the fire.”

The tree is sacred, perhaps particularly so in a barren country like Israel, where almost all trees have been planted. Since the beginning of the nineteen hundreds, hundreds of millions of trees have turned the country from swamplands into a land of parks and forests.
Those radical Palestinian arsonists (far from all Palestinians) are committing crimes against humanity and against Nature, just like those fanatic Israeli settlers (far from all settlers), who uproot Palestinian olive trees.

The fires are now being extinguished. Many are the local heroes – fire fighters, voluntary guards at night, police and security forces, people in kibbutzim and in towns, including many Arabs, who have offered their homes for the many who have had to evacuate their own homes.
But an additional phenomenon during these times needs to be mentioned, possibly opening a window to reconciliation, if the political leaders will wisely choose that path:
Israel, recognized by the World Health Organization as the world leader in emergency field hospital, sent to disaster areas around the world, has this time had to ask for help.

The first to respond was – the Palestinian National Authority, sending firefighters to help combatting the wildfires. And Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, United States, France, Great Britain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, and Russia are among the countries that have sent planes, equipment and firefighters.
Israel has not been alone in this crisis. When it is over, the Israeli political leadership will have an opportunity to change its policies, to open a window to reconciliation, to invite the Palestinians (who have been equally reluctant) and other neighboring countries, to begin a new chapter, based on mutual recognition, mutual acceptance of responsibility, and willingness to give to each other, rather than take.

As a small gesture, 50% of royalties between November 27 and December 31, 2016, from the two books of mine that pertain to psychological perspectives on Israeli society (regardless of where you purchase them), will be donated to one or more organizations devoted to promote peace and reconciliation, such as joint projects between Israel and Palestine.

The Hero and His Shadow
“This is a fascinating book. … On the one hand, we see the hero, the warrior, the pioneer, the fearless man of doing.    On the other hand, we see the shadow, the dark side, … You see this dichotomy between the internal feeling of strength and forcefulness, and on the other hand a terrible fear.
   In order to properly understand Israeli society and the sometimes strange responses in certain political circumstances, we need to understand this terrible fear that is hidden within us.”
Prof. Yoram Yovell, author and psychoanalyst.

"… Requiem is also a story of the alienation of the Western intellectual Jew from their Jewish religious heritage and the potential for finding a way back to a renewed Judaism and humanism through a new understanding of self and other.  … it is a fight against denial, a battle for consciousness, and the courage to take a stand against evil that define the integrity one can maintain even in a situation that is seemingly hopeless in so many ways.  …"
Dr. Steve Zemmelman, Jungian Psychoanalyst

All my books are available at Amazon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Kafka’s (Never Sent) Letter to Father

An excerpt from the beginning of the chapter 'Kafka's (never sent) letter to father,' in The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego:

"A more vivid description of a negative father-complex than Kafka’s (Never sent) Letter to Father can hardly be conceived of. Mairowitz refers to it as an “uncanny level of self-revelation.” Kafka had intended to actually hand over the letter to father by means of his mother, hoping to clear up their relationship. Max Brod , however, makes it unmistakably clear that

    in reality the opposite would probably have happened. The explanation of himself to his father that the letter aimed at would never have been achieved. And Franz’s mother did not pass on the letter but gave it back to him, probably with a few comforting words.
   Kafka primarily identified with his maternal ancestors, the Löwys, whom he saw as representing sensitivity and intelligence. However, he also found in himself 

    a certain Kafka foundation [shrewd and aggressive in business] that, however, just isn’t set in motion by the Kafka will to life, business and conquest, but by a Löwy spur that operates more secretively, more timidly, and in a different direction, and which often fails to work at all. (Italics mine)
That is, his father identification was not activated, due to his lack of extraverted (business) and aggressive (conquest) energy (will to life). While Franz Kafka was extremely sensitive and introverted, his father, on the other hand, was extraverted, depicted by Franz as

    a true Kafka in strength, health, appetite, loudness of voice, eloquence, self-satisfaction, worldly superiority, stamina, presence of mind, knowledge of human nature, a certain generosity.
Lest we be tempted to believe Franz idealized his father, he quickly corrects this erroneous impression, adding that father also possesses “all the failings and weaknesses that go with these advantages, into which your temperament and sometimes your violent temper drive you.”
Max Brod and others have pointed out and criticized Kafka’s description of his father for being exaggerated. He says,

    Here and there I feel the perspective is distorted, unsupported assumptions are occasionally dragged in and made to fit the facts; on what appear to be negligible, immediate reactions, a whole edifice is built up, the ramifications of which it is impossible to grasp as a whole, which in fact in the end definitely turns on its own axis and contradicts itself, and yet manages to stand erect on its own foundation.
Of course Kafka’s description is exaggerated, self-contradictory and yet “stands erect on its own foundation!” This merely reflects that we are dealing not with a scientific description of the object, as if there were such a thing, but with Kafka’s imago of his father, and seemingly unbeknownst to himself Brod here draws the very contours of an autonomous complex.

Kafka’s father is perceived through the tinted lens of his complex, and as complex and object interact in the psyche, perceptions will be drawn into the complex and cluster around its core. This does not necessarily mean that Kafka’s view of his father is entirely wrong or distorted. Portraying his father, Kafka himself says, “I am speaking only of the image through which you influenced the child.”

I. Complexes - The Historical Link                               
The Complex in the History of Psychoanalysis                                                  
A Plenitude of Complexes                                                                                      
Jung’s Personal Complexes                                                                                     
Complex Psychology                                                                                              
The Complex as Path and Vessel of Transformation                                              
The Complex – Cluster, Core and Tone                                                                  
Archetype and Ego                                                                                                 
II. Oedipus – The Archetypal Complex                           
Freud, Jung and Oedipus                                                                                         
Oedipus - The Myth                                                                                                  
Hero and Complex                                                                                                   
Mars and Eros – the Drive of the Complex                                                          
Mother Self – Father Ego                                                                                        
The Primal Scene                                                                                                    
The Sword and the Shield                                                                                       
The Complex Path – From Archetype to Ego                                                       
The Wounding of Oedipus – Ego Defences and the Autonomous Complex           
Oedipus’ Journey                                                                                                    
From Delphi to Thebes - From Archetype to Ego                                                    
Patricide at the Cleft Way Crossroad                                                                       
The Riddle                                                                                                              
The Cancerous Complex                                                                                         
III. The Complex in the Shadow                                   
The Autonomous Complex                                                                                     
The Complex and the Call                                                                                      
The World Parents                                                                                                 
The Archetypal Core of the World Parents                                                             
The Abandoned Child                                                                                             
A Mother Complex                                                                                                  
Kafka’s (Never Sent) Letter to Father                                                                 
The Tower of Babel                                                                                                 
The Tower of Babel                                                                                                
The Inflated Ego - The Emptied Self                                                                       
Integration of the Complex                                                                                   
Castration at the Gateway to Individuation                                                      

      Available on Amazon 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Who by fire

Image result for leonard cohen tel aviv

Leonard Cohen, Sept 21, 1934 - Nov 10, 2016

And who by fire, who by water,
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
Who in your merry merry month of may,
Who by very slow decay,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
And who by avalanche, who by powder,
Who for his greed, who for his hunger,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent, who by accident,
Who in solitude, who in this mirror,
Who by his lady's command, who by his own hand,
Who in mortal chains, who in power,
And who shall I say is calling?

Image result for leonard cohen tel aviv

Who By Fire? is based on the prayer, U’netaneh Tokef, recited on the Jewish High Holy Days. Watch the song by Yair Rosenblum performed by Hanoch Albalak

Image result for ‫חנוך אלבלק‬‎

U’netaneh Tokef:

"… On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by upheaval and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity annul the severity of the Decree."
"For Your Name signifies Your praise: hard to anger and easy to appease, for You do not wish the death of one deserving death, but that he repent from his way and live. Until the day of his death You await him; if he repents You will accept him immediately. It is true that You are their Creator and You know their inclination, for they are flesh and blood. A man's origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream."   

An excerpt from Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:

Abraham does not question his God, with whom he has sealed a covenant. He binds his son Isaac and lays him upon the wood of the altar he has built. The son submits to the father, Isaac to Abraham, and Abraham to God – a weakness of character? Hardly, since Abraham has already proven his capacity to leave his father’s house, and no less, when he argues and negotiates with God to spare the sinners with the righteous in Sodom.

Perhaps Abraham did not ask any questions because this was simply his adherence to the ancient practice of surrendering the first-born to the gods? The Scriptures tell us Abraham offered up his “only son Isaac.” Consequently, some Muslim scholars claim that not the little laughing one was to be sacrificed, but Ishmael the first-born, who was the only one who could be the only one of Abraham’s sons. Did not the God of compassion hear the lad who cries of thirst, expelled from his father’s house into the desert?

“Is it not a common practice to this day for many a father to sacrifice their sons on the altar of this or that divine expectation, of one or another ideology or firm conviction?” Eli Shimeoni asked rhetorically, when suddenly he started to tremble, as he wondered if this was what he was doing to his children. Had he sacrificed them on the altar of his beliefs? Just to keep a mad project going? Just because he thought, there was value in keeping an ancient culture alive? Did not our national poet, Yehuda Amichai lament the death of Stalin – mourning the leader of a country that recognized the State of Israel, emperor of socialist equality, the victor over Nazism, rather than celebrating the death of the dictator, murderer of millions? How easily do we all fall prey to false believes, only in retrospect realizing how mad we were!

He wondered, if Abraham argued with Terah when he left his father’s house and went forth to the land unto which God would lead him? What doubts pounded in his heart when he put the burnt offering upon his son, for him to carry the wood, some say cross, of his own sacrifice? Was this the wood of the sacred grove that so meticulously had to be cut down, as when Yahweh commands, “build an altar to your God upon the top of this rock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down?” Without being asked, was little Isaac to carry the Lord of Hosts’ mighty struggle against Asherah, the goddess of the grove, on his shoulders? Was he to be sacrificed, bound to the mother of the morning star and the king of the evening, the mother of the twin brothers Shahar and Shalem – yes, Shalem, the Canaanite king-god and mythological founder of Ir-Shalem?

The Biblical account is the skeleton of a drama, for the reader to flesh out with feelings, and to be dressed in the garb of interpretations. There is not a word of dialogue between father and son as they ascend the mountain of worship – is it the awe of fate, the brevity of speech when walking straight into inescapable tragedy, or is it the focused silence when you walk the line, stretched to its limits across the cosmic abyss? Or maybe it is the chilling coldness of mechanically executing daily movements, when you submit to invincible catastrophe, as when rather than waiting for the five o’clock bus, you are lining up at Umschlagplatz?

Is this the story of the Jews’ submission to the father, in which the instincts of the sons bend to the fathers’ discipline, with the rabbis as a Halakhic fortress cementing the power of God, the Father? Or is it the callous need of fathers to castrate their sons, who on the one hand embody their future and bring the prospect to “multiply exceedingly,” but who on the other hand, by their very prime and youth, seem to hold the sword that separates the future from the past, determining who by water and who by fire, who will rest and who shall wander, as the poem recounts our disastrous fate on atonement day?

In some legends, he recalled, Satan tries to prevent Abraham from carrying out the sacrifice. In his role as adversary, instigating toward consciousness, Satan introduces some healthy doubt into what otherwise seems to be passive submission. But in Biblical reality, it is only when the angel calls upon Abraham not to slay his son, that he lowers his hand, and puts away the knife with which he was ready to sacrifice his beloved son. He has passed God’s test of devotion, and the ram is offered in place of Isaac.

But has he passed the human test of devotion? 

Available at Amazon

like a bird on a

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Haruki Murakami – “The Meaning of Shadows”

 This month, November 2016, Haruki Murakami received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award. He refers to Andersen’s tale “The Shadow” (you can read the story here), which is woven around the Faustian theme of losing, or selling the shadow, then being overtaken by it (see below an excerpt from Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path).

The Japanese bestselling writer next to the Hans Christian Andersen's house in Odense.

Murakami warned against excluding outsiders and rewriting history. “No matter how high a wall we build to keep intruders out, no matter how strictly we exclude outsiders, no matter how much we rewrite history to suit us, we just end up damaging and hurting ourselves,” Murakami said.
Both individuals and societies need to face their shadow; “we have to, when necessary, face our own shadows, confront them, and sometimes even work with them,” he said in his acceptance speech.
And he is of course right, because if we don’t face the shadow, however difficult and aggravating that may be, the shadow has a Golem-like tendency to rise up against us – whether as individuals or in society.

An excerpt from Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path (pp. 82-3):

The shadow is the most accessible and the easiest to experience of those archetypes that have a “disturbing influence on the ego,” says Jung, “for its nature can in large measure be inferred from the contents of the personal unconscious.” Consequently, the shadow is often considered to be synonymous with the personal unconscious, or the Freudian idea of the unconscious as container of repressed “instinctual representatives.” 
Indeed, “To the extent that the shadow is unconscious it corresponds to the concept of the ‘personal unconscious’,” which, says Jung, “contains lost memories, painful ideas that are repressed… subliminal perceptions… and finally, contents that are not yet ripe for consciousness.” Jung then continues, saying that the personal unconscious corresponds to “the figure of the shadow so frequently met with in dreams.” He then explains that by the shadow he means “the ‘negative’ side of the personality, the sum of all those unpleasant qualities we like to hide, together with the insufficiently developed functions and the contents of the personal unconscious.” 
Yet, truth and honesty thrive in the shadow, however heavy it is to carry. While we hide the shadow from the light, it is dangerous to appear openly without it. Or, rather, it is dangerous to appear in the open, if we are too good and deny having a shadow, because then we come across as not having a soul. 
In Chamisso’s book Peter Schlemihl: The Shadowless Man, the artist tells the protagonist, who has turned to him in order to resolve his increasingly painful shadowless existence, “The false shadow that I might paint, would be liable to be lost on the slightest movement, particularly in a person who … cares so little about his shadow. A person without a shadow should keep out of the sun, that is the only safe and rational plan.” Neither does the sewn-back shadow of Peter Pan, whose ‘real’ shadow got stuck in the window, provide for the depth of mature character.

cover image from an original painting by Susan Bostrom-Wong
I. The Hero     
Who is he, or she, the hero?; The Hero Ideal; Hero and Shadow; The Sun and the Sword, the Moon and the Mirror; The Nixie of the Mill-Pond; The Hero Myth; The Myth of Perseus; The Hero Unfolds; The Departure; The King; Parents and Birth; The Hardships of the Hero; The King and the Fisherman; Layers of the Unconscious; The Treasure; The Old Principle; The Beehive and the Ram

II. The Shadow
The shadow and the hero; A Shadow of Many Faces; The undifferentiated void; Ego Formation and the Face of the Shadow; Shadow, persona and projection;
The Enemy; Ego and Shadow; Amalek – The Wicked Warrior; Evil deception; Archetypal identification and denial; Samson – The Impoverished Sun; Jacob and the Divine Adversary; The Hill of Evil Counsel; The Setting Sun; Caiaphas, the Fathers and Collective Consciousness; Law of the Fathers, Grace of the Son; The Hero Betrayed: Personal Greed or Archetypal Scheme?; Compassion at the Court of Collective Consciousness
The Cripple; Wounds and Eros; Hephaestus; From Mars to Eros; Following the Wound; The Wounded Healer; The Case of Dr. D. and Mrs. M.; The Cripple and the Wound; H. C. Andersen: The Cripple; Death – The Archetypal Cripple; Death’s Messengers       
The Beggar; Faceless Interiority; The Beggar Healer; At the Gateway to the Self; The Way Home; Prophet Elijah  

 Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path at Amazon, at Fisher King Press

You can read Ann Walker's review of the book in Psychological Perspectives, here.

Jacob and Esau: Reconciliation between the hostile brothers. Silhouette by Meir Gur Arieh

Friday, November 4, 2016

Turbulent Times, Creative Minds: Erich Neumann and C.G. Jung in Relationship - from the Introduction

Excerpt from the Introduction

With the recent publication of the correspondence between C. G. Jung and Erich Neumann, the personality and significance of Neumann for analytical psychology heaves into view more sharply than ever before. 
Although Neumann’s classic works, such as The Great Mother and The Origins and History of Consciousness, have been widely read and appreciated inside and outside of Jungian circles, his full range of works and his vibrant personal qualities as an intellectual leader in the field fell sadly into the shadows following his early death in 1960 at the age of only fifty-five. 
Had he lived another thirty years to the ripe old age of eighty-five as Jung did, his name and contributions would be far more widely recognized among his analytic colleagues and in the world at large. Now with the publication of the extensive correspondence between Neumann and Jung and thoughtful contributions by scholars such as those included in this volume, the stage is set for a Neumann renaissance.

Neumann was clearly a star in the Jungian firmament during his last decade of life and was recognized as one of the most brilliant exponents of analytical psychology. Beyond that, he made genuinely original contributions in works that extended depth psychology’s range of application to areas of history and culture that Jung himself, as a pioneer, had not been able to work out in a systematic way. 
While the focus of many of the papers in this volume is on the relationship between Neumann and his mentor, others consider topics that represent original and groundbreaking expansions into territories such as cultural history, art, and religion.

The relationship between Jung and Neumann can be compared to that between Freud and Jung. Both involved an older senior mentor figure and a young aspiring student. A similarity between the two relationships lies in the fact that Neumann never conceded his intellectual independence, just as Jung had claimed similar autonomy vis-à-vis Freud. A difference is that Jung, in the position of mentor, was considerably more encouraging and supportive of Neumann’s individuation process, which inevitably included differences of opinion, than Freud had been of Jung’s. ...

Jung and Neumann shared roots in a common culture in central German-speaking Europe, with a shared love of the poets Goethe, Schiller, and Hölderlin and an education (Bildung) among great German philosophers such as Kant and Schelling. But they were also each indelibly steeped in their distinctly different heritages. 
Jung was a Swiss Protestant Christian, quite secularized as an individual but bearing the religious influences of his culture and of numerous pastors and theologians in his immediate family background. Neumann was a Jew who grew up in Berlin in a nonobservant family, and as a young man he looked to elements in Jewish culture for his identity and sympathized with Zionist ideas about a homeland for the Hebrew people in Palestine. 
Upon discovering Jung—they met for the first time at Jung’s famous Berlin seminar in 1933—Neumann quickly realized that Jung’s analytical psychology and his discovery of the objective psyche could offer a means to recover more of the profound value and meaning of his Jewish heritage. They could thus each separately but also in fruitful dialogue share an appreciation of the depths of the archetypal layers of the psyche as explicated in their separate cultures and envision general trends in and threats to humanity. The basis for collaboration was present despite what would turn out to be quite sharp cultural differences. ...


Introduction (Erel Shalit and Murray Stein) ix
I. The Correspondence (1933–1960)
Uncertain Friends in Particular Matters: The Relationship between C. G. Jung and
Erich Neumann (Martin Liebscher) 25

Companions on the Way: Consciousness in Conflict (Nancy Swift Furlotti) 45

Neumann and Kirsch in Tel Aviv: A Case of Sibling Rivalry? (Ann Lammers) 71

II. Cultural Backgrounds
German Kultur and the Discovery of the Unconscious: The Promise and Discontents of the German-Jewish Experience (Paul Mendes-Flohr) 83

Basel, Jung’s Cultural Background and the Proto-Zionism of Samuel Preiswerk (Ulrich Hoerni) 95

The Cultural Psyche: From Ancestral Roots to Postmodern Routes (Erel Shalit) 111

III. Troubled Times
Carl Jung and Hans Fierz in Palestine and Egypt: Journey from March 13th to
April 6th, 1933 (Andreas Jung) 131

1933—The Year of Jung’s Journey to Palestine/Israel and Several Beginnings (Thomas Fischer) 135

Jungians in Berlin 1931–1945: Between Therapy, Emigration and Resistance (Jörg Rasche) 151

IV. The Problem of Evil
The Search for a New Ethic: Professional and Clinical Dilemmas (Henry Abramovitch) 167

Erich Neumann and C. G. Jung on “The Problem of Evil” (Murray Stein) 185

V. Neumann and Eranos (1948–1960)
Neumann at Eranos (Riccardo Bernardini) 199

“Dear, dear Olga!” - A Letter to Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn (Julie Neumann) 237

VI. On the Arts
The Great Mother in Israeli Art (Gideon Ofrat) 245

Jung, Neumann and Art (Christian Gaillard) 261

The Magic Flute (Tom Kelly) 299

A Brief Comment on Neumann and His Essay “On Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’” (Debora Kutzinski) 309

VII. Clinical Contributions
Erich Neumann’s Concept of the Distress-ego (Rina Porat) 315

Can You Hear My Voice? (Batya Brosh Palmoni) 333

Neve Tzeelim—A Field of Creation and Development (Rivka Lahav) 347

VIII. On Religion
Erich Neumann and Hasidism (Tamar Kron) 367

Theological Positions in the Correspondence between Jung and Neumann (Angelica Löwe) 385

IX. On Synchronicity
Toward Psychoid Aspects of Evolutionary Theory (Joseph Cambray) 401

X. “Memories from My (Grand)Father’s House”
Introduction 411
Some Memories of My Grandparents (Andreas Jung) 413
Memories (Ulrich Hoerni) 415
Memories (Micha Neumann) 417
Memories (Ralli Loewenthal-Neumann) 421
Memories (Debora Kutzinski) 425
A Response (Thomas B. Kirsch) 429
Remembering the Mamas and Papas (Nomi Kluger Nash) 433
Memories of Max Zeller (1904–1978) (Jacqueline Zeller) 437


About the Contributors
Available at Amazonand at Chiron