It’s June, and the pandemic is getting worse as people defy common sense and refuse to wear masks or care about others. Cell phone videos have revealed to us how common it is for police to murder innocent human beings and get away with it because those killed have dark skins. Now many of all races have been risking their lives to march in the streets, saying the time’s up on Black lives not mattering, as it is on so many other things.
Some of the police are behaving appropriately, but police brutality toward peaceful protesters also has been on public display, not just here in the U.S. but all over the world, as our international stature drops daily. We have even seen on TV militarized police and other law enforcement agencies using tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets, all of which can do great harm, to clear Lafayette Square and surrounding streets so that our country’s president could pose for a photo op in front of a church holding a Bible upside down. Since I grew up exposed to “End Time” notions, I’m immediately reminded of the predicted Antichrist, who would be everything Jesus warned against, metaphorically turning the Bible upside down, yet still being received as the longed-for Messiah that will save the elect.
Turning to my Jungian training, it becomes clear to me that the shadow of our nation is being shown to us, and none of us is exempt from the task of seeing the shadow in ourselves. It is not that I, or we, have not known how horribly unequal our society is, but I grew up in a poor neighborhood and still had a fine childhood. Work-driven as I tend to be, I admire people who survive with little—the ones who live on the beach or river and surf or fish, just enjoying life. I also tend to tell myself that people who need to keep making millions or billions must be insecure. However, this pandemic is revealing how severe the suffering still is, whether caused by poverty or the fear of falling into poverty in an instant because of illness or job loss.
And what of people with brown and black skins, who are carrying negative psychological projections of the Caucasian American shadow? Where did the image of Black rapists come from? Former plantation owners who regularly raped enslaved women. This notion was kept alive by a judicial system that severely punished Black men who were accused of rape, while White rapists frequently were not charged or let off with a slap on the wrist. Why?
What we do not want to see in ourselves, Jung explained, gets projected onto others.
With redlining, enforced for a long time by government policy, darker skinned people were limited in where they could live—places away from where the good schools or jobs were, forcing many into poverty or illegal work. They were then characterized as lazy, lacking ambition, and/or generally being criminals. I was shocked when I found that two friends I talked with recently—one conservative, one liberal—had internalized this belief, blaming problems in the Black community solely on the culture of their ethnicity.
Several women friends and I have wondered aloud how it is that so many people are drawn to President Trump, while we have had a visceral feeling of not just distrust, but also distaste and disgust, since he announced his candidacy for the presidency. We surmised that since there has been abundant evidence of his being a sexual predator, underneath our feelings could be fear. By inciting racial fears, Trump could also be arousing the terror several of us have had of vicious white good-ole-boys who do what they want with women and people of color—that is, anyone they think has no power over them. And his mean tweets often project onto others what he himself is doing.
Yet, now, I’m more and more fearing Trump’s incredible incompetence in the job he is in. What if, I thought, the issue for White liberals and progressives is that, in spite of our being generally an urban, educated group, we have reached the level of our incompetence. How? By thinking that we have the answers without understanding the perspectives of racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations, and those most hurt by global changes in manufacturing and other fields where jobs are becoming scarce.
To bring this home: While I dislike the idea of being personally incompetent, I have to laugh about my instant resistance to this awareness. Of course I am incompetent. I know a lot about my field, of course, but not all that much about anything else. Yes, I have a Ph.D. from a good university, but from a time in which white males—their lives and accomplishments—defined what was considered worth studying. Yes, I’ve worked on expanding my knowledge and awareness over time about people from different backgrounds than mine. Yet, now I get it that my task is to keep listening and learning. I’m searching for what I can do in the interest of my actual belief that we are all inherently equal in God’s eyes and in the promise of our nation’s founding, and I must learn from others how best to do this.
Trump ran on a promise to shake things up, and he has. We now have a society crumbling around us, so it is time to invoke the Creator archetype in collective efforts to nurture the sprouts of what could be, if we are successful, a new and better normal.
I’m on board. Are you?
As you may have read in a special newsletter I sent in May, the new and improved version of the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® (PMAI®) has made its debut, along with its own website, www.storywell.com. Kudos to the staff of the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), who devoted extra time working from home to put the finishing touches on both the instrument and the website so that we could get them out to the world without further delay.
The response has been extremely encouraging. To introduce the new version of the instrument, I offered two free webinars, on May 13th and May 20th, on how to identify the archetypes in your life and in the culture, and on the meaning of our archetype profiles and how to work with them in this time of crisis. About 130 people signed up for each webinar, including numerous practitioners who use the PMAI® in their work and other individuals, some of whom had taken the instrument in the past and wished to learn more about the revised version. You can listen to a recording of the first webinar on the StoryWell website. Unfortunately, the recording of the second webinar didn’t work properly, so it’s not available.
Articles related to the PMAI®, by me and other contributor, are posted on the StoryWell website, so if you check the site regularly or follow me or CAPT on social media, you can find out when new items appear. So far, I have posted three articles:
The world has moved online, and so have I! In the next several weeks, I’ll be offering a webinar for EQ-HR: The Center for Emotional Intelligence & Human Relations Skills and another for the Assisi Institute: The International Center for the Study of Archetypal Patterns.
The webinar, entitled “EQ Meets Archetypal Narrative Intelligence (NQ),” will be held on Wednesday, July 8th, at 12 noon Eastern time. I will be discussing the ways in which recognizing the archetypal (universal) stories we are living can be a great assistance in developing self- and social awareness as well as the development of self and relationship management skills. The cost for attending is $40 and includes access to the video recording. The video recording will be available separately for $25. Registration is available here.
As a courtesy, the publisher of the PMAI® instrument is offering a 25 percent discount on either the Core or Expanded PMAI® Reports for people who register for the webinar. To get the discount, go to the StoryWell website, take the PMAI®, and use coupon code JUNEPMAI during checkout. The code is good for one purchase until July 15, 2020.
The mission of the EQ-HR Center is to increase the effectiveness of leaders within faith-based communities through experiential development of emotional intelligence competencies and human relations skills.
On Saturday, August 1st, I will offer a webinar as part of the Assisi Institute’s series “Fairytales, Folklore, and Myth.” The title of my program will be “Will the Real Persephone Please Stand Up? A Layered Archetypal Analysis of the Myth of ‘Demeter and Persephone.’” I will draw on some of the material in my book Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within to explore the psychospiritual truths revealed in the myth and how they can assist with the inner challenges we face today. Full information on my webinar and the Assisi Institute series will be available shortly on the Events page of my website.
In the Blogosphere
In May, I wrote a blog, “The Power of Story in a Time of Crisis and Potential Social Renewal,” for the International Leadership Association’s blog series “Leadership for the Greater Good: Reflections on the 2020 Pandemic.” The series is designed to allow “thought leaders from around the world to share their leadership knowledge, wisdom, and viewpoint to inform and inspire us as we continue our collective work” during this unprecedented time. With ILA’s permission, I also posted the blog on my blogsite.
In the blog, I examine how leaders in the past have used the power of story to both challenge and inspire Americans to rise to the trials confronting them. In the present moment, we can use this power “to help ourselves and others face tough realities without getting dragged down by the kind of fear that brings out our lesser angels—hoarding, advantaging ourselves and disadvantaging others, calling for saving the economy by sacrificing people seen as replaceable, or throwing ‘you can't tell us what to do’ tantrums.” I argue that the archetypes I have focused on in my work can help us develop capacities that are needed to address our current predicament and build a better society: “the Idealist's faith, the Realist's fortitude in facing facts, the Caregiver's compassion, the Warrior's courage, the Seeker's pioneering spirit, the Lover's steadfast commitment, the Creator's inventiveness, the Revolutionary's sacrifice of lesser for better, the Ruler's system savvy, the Magician's ability to change consciousness at will, the Sage's wisdom, and the Jester's joy.”
I welcome and encourage your comments on any of the blogs posted on my blogsite, several of which have inspired a rich exchange of ideas. Also, if you have an idea for a blog that you might like to submit, please send me an email with a brief summary and I will let you know whether it is suitable for my website and, if so, what guidelines you should follow in preparing it.
In addition to my blogsite, you can find many of my blogs on those of Psychology Today and the Depth Psychology Alliance, and you are invited to make comments on the former and on the latter if you are a member. The easiest way to learn when a new blog goes up on my website or any of the others on which I post is to follow me on Facebook at Carol S. Pearson, PhD and Twitter @carolspearson. Posts and tweets will inform you of the topic and how to access it. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram at carolspearsonphd. Just click on one of the buttons on the right to connect, and let me know what is going on with you.
As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested.
Carol S. Pearson