Carl Jung and the Holy Grail of the Unconscious - NYTimes.com
Topic: Health and Wellness
8:42 am EDT, Sep 20, 2009
This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.
Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.
Op-Ed Columnist - Help Is on the Way - NYTimes.com
Topic: Health and Wellness
5:54 am EST, Nov 22, 2008
With so much attention understandably focused on the economy and the incoming administration, the struggles being faced by G.I.’s coming home from combat overseas are receding even further from the public’s consciousness.
Reactions to Bristol Palin’s pregnancy have exposed a cultural rift that mirrors America’s dominant political divide.
Religion is a good indicator of attitudes toward sex, but a poor one of sexual behavior, and that this gap is especially wide among teen-agers who identify themselves as evangelical. Evangelical teen-agers are more sexually active than Mormons, mainline Protestants, and Jews. Evangelical Protestant teen-agers are also significantly less likely than other groups to use contraception.
For too long, the conventional wisdom has been that social conservatives are the upholders of family values, whereas liberals are the proponents of a polymorphous selfishness. This isn’t true, and, every once in a while, liberals might point that out.
From the last Presidential election cycle:
By near universal agreement the morning after, these two words tell the entire story of the election: it's the culture, stupid.
There's only one problem with the storyline proclaiming that the country swung to the right on cultural issues in 2004. Like so many other narratives that immediately calcify into our 24/7 media's conventional wisdom, it is fiction.
If anyone is laughing all the way to the bank this election year, it must be Rupert Murdoch. The Murdoch cultural stable includes recent books like Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" and the Vivid Girls' "How to Have a XXX Sex Life," which have both been synergistically, even joyously, promoted on Fox News.
The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients - or each other - is in danger of becoming extinct.
So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples. ... Top medical acronyms CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon) GLM - Good looking Mum GPO - Good for Parts Only TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury ... And the number of terms for patients believed to be somewhat intellectually challenged is enormous.
From LOBNH (Lights On But Nobody Home), CNS-QNS (Central Nervous System - Quantity Not Sufficient), to the delightful term "pumpkin positive", which refers to the implication that a penlight shone into the patient's mouth would encounter a brain so small that the whole head would light up.
The patient was a 37-year-old man who had been physically abused as a boy by his schizophrenic mother, often while he lay in bed trying to fall asleep. Nevertheless, he had grown into a reasonably normal, gainfully employed adult, and he thought that the worst was behind him, until one night he awoke to find an intruder rummaging through his dresser drawers. After that, his nightmares began — terrifying, recurrent dreams in which the intruder was a middle-age woman and a knife dangled with Damoclesian contempt from the ceiling fan over his head. ... In a recent paper in Psychological Bulletin, Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Levin proposed that dreaming served to create what they call “fear extinction memories,” the brain’s way of scrambling, detoxifying and finally discarding old fearful memories, the better to move on and make synaptic space for any novel threats that may show up at the door. “The brain learns quickly what to be afraid of,” Dr. Nielsen said. “But if there isn’t a check on the process, we’d fear things in adulthood we feared in childhood.”
Ordinary bad dreams rarely recapitulate unpleasant events from real life but instead cannibalize them for props and spare parts, and through that reinvention, Dr. Nielsen explained, the fears are defanged. “A bad dream that doesn’t lead to awakening is successful in dealing with intense emotion,” he said. “It’s disturbing, but there is some kind of resolution to the extent we don’t wake up.”
By this scenario, nightmares, in allowing you to escape prematurely, represent a failure of the “fear extinction” system. “Bad dreams are functional, nightmares dysfunctional,” he said.
i read this when it was first online on 23rd Oct after some minor league odd dreams last night it came back to me so i meme it now for your reading pleasure
plus i'm reminded of something i have believed for years that art is like the dreams of a culture - an expression of the cultural unconsciousness - those that study narratology talk about the creation of a magical resolution, clearly sometimes it is a nightmare like in Kafka's The Trial, a sustained surreal journey that ends with the execution of K. I looked for some old text books to explain magical resolution but couldn't find what i was looking for but it's about closure, resolving the story arc and having a happy ending (obviously The Trial isn't a happy ending but like Shakespearean tragedy the nightmare has closure). The Tempest is a rather literal example of magical resolution. A Midsummer Nights Dream, Fanny Hill, Pride and Prujudice. Sometimes there is too much magic and the ending is perceived as too forced, too contrived and the book or film isn't satisfactory. Peter F Hamilton's conclusion to his Nightsdawn trilogy springs to my mind.
edit googling magical resolution i came across a great example "Neo’s triumph over the Agents is a magical resolution" from here absolutely the ending of The Matrix is a great and rather more contempory example of a magic resolution which is artistically successful Neo is dead/dying but revives by hacking the Matrix itself
Stuart Baker-Brown, 43, a photographer and writer based in Dorset, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1996. On World Mental Health Day, he delivers a unique personal insight into how his condition has nurtured his artistic expression.
i don't have schizophrenia but i have had schizophreniform psychosis (the difference being the duration of my episodes [under 6 months]) and a lot of those experiences go into the poetry i write