Tag Archives: psychology

The dustbin of art history



There is a pattern typical of these end-phase periods, when an artistic movement ossifies. At such times there is exaggeration and multiplication instead of development. A once new armoury of artistic concepts, processes, techniques and themes becomes an archive of formulae, quotations or paraphrasings, ultimately assuming the mode of self-parody.

Over the last decade, not only conceptualism—perhaps the dominant movement of the past three decades—but the entire modernist project has been going through a similar process. Of course, some important and inspired artists have made important and inspired work in recent years—from famous photographers like Andreas Gursky and painters like Luc Tuymans to lesser-known video artists like Lindsay Seers and Anri Sala. But there is something more fundamentally wrong with much of this century’s famous art than its absurd market value.

I believe that this decline shares four aesthetic and ideological characteristics with the end-phases of previous grand styles: formulae for the creation of art; a narcissistic, self-reinforcing cult that elevates art and the artist over actual subjects and ideas; the return of sentiment; and the alibi of cynicism.

But in order clearly to see what is in front of our eyes, we must acknowledge that much of the last decade’s most famous work has been unimaginative, repetitious, formulaic, cynical, mercenary. Why wait for future generations to dismiss this art of celebrity, grandiosity and big money? To paraphrase Trotsky, let us turn to these artists, their billionaire patrons and toadying curators and say: “You are pitiful, isolated individuals. You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on—into the dustbin of art history!”

Read the article:


The dustbin of art history



Why is so much contemporary art awful? We’re living through the death throes of the modernist project—and this isn’t the first time that greatness has collapsed into decadence

Art by John Campbell via Comics Alliance


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Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation


“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789. This notion, carried down through the years, underlies everything from humble political pamphlets to presidential debates to the very notion of a free press. Mankind may be crooked timber, as Kant put it, uniquely susceptible to ignorance and misinformation, but it’s an article of faith that knowledge is the best remedy. If people are furnished with the facts, they will be clearer thinkers and better citizens. If they are ignorant, facts will enlighten them. If they are mistaken, facts will set them straight.

In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation evenstronger.



This bodes ill for a democracy, because most voters — the people making decisions about how the country runs — aren’t blank slates. They already have beliefs, and a set of facts lodged in their minds. The problem is that sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

“The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.” ()

Continue reading:

How facts backfire

Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains

via Boston.com | hat tip aldaily.com


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Chicken Little (1943)


Whatever deceives men seems to produce a magical enchantment. ~ Plato

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On Symbolism




by Alfred Korzybski


The affairs of man are conducted by our own, man-made rules and according to man-made theories. Man’s achievements rest upon the use of symbols. For this reason, we must consider ourselves as a symbolic, semantic class of life, and those who rule the symbols, rule us. Now the term ‘symbol’ applies to a variety of things, words and money included. A piece of paper, called a dollar or a pound, has very little value if the other fellow refuses to take it; so we see that money must be considered as a symbol for human agreement, as well as deeds to property, stocks, bonds. The reality behind the money-symbol is doctrinal, ‘mental’, and one of the most precious characteristics of mankind. But it must be used properly; that is, with the proper understanding of its structure and ways of functioning. It constitutes a grave danger when misused.

When we say ‘our rulers’, we mean those who are engaged in the manipulation of symbols. There is no escape from the fact that they do, and that they always will, rule mankind, because we constitute a symbolic class of life, and we cannot cease from being so, except by regressing to the animal level.

The hope for the future consists in the understanding of this fact; namely, that we shall always be ruled by those who rule symbols, which will lead to scientific researches in the field of symbolism and s.r. (semantic reactions : reactions bound to the use of words at the emotional, biological colloïdal, etc., levels) ). We would then demand that our rulers should be enlightened and carefully selected. Paradoxical as it may seem, such researches as the present work attempts, will ultimately do more for the stabilization of human affairs than legions of policemen with machine guns, and bombs, and jails, and asylums for the maladjusted.

A complete list of our rulers is difficult to give; yet, a few classes of them are quite obvious. Bankers, priests, lawyers and politicians constitute one class and work together. They do not produce any value, but manipulate values produced by others, and often pass signs for no values at all. Scientists and teachers also compose a ruling class. They produce the main values mankind has, but at present, they do not realize this. They are, in the main, themselves ruled by the cunning methods of the first class.

In this analysis the ‘philosophers” have been omitted. This is because they require a special treatment. As an historical fact, many ‘philosophers’ have played an important and, to be frank, sinister role in history. At the bottom of any historical trend, we find a certain ‘philosophy’, a structural implication cleverly formulated by some ‘philosophers’ gamble on multiordinal and el (elementalist ) terms, which have no definite single (one-valued)meaning, and so, by cleverness in twisting , can be made to appear to mean anything desired. It is now no mystery that some quite influential ‘philosopher’ were ‘mentally’ ill. Some ‘mentally’ ill persons are tremendously clever in the manipulation of words and can sometimes deceive even trained specialists. Among the clever concoctions which appear in history as ‘philosophic’ systems, we can find flatly opposing doctrines. Therefore, it has not been difficult at any period for the rulers to select a cleverly constructed doctrine perfectly fitting the ends the desired.

One of the main characteristics of such ‘philosophers’ is found in the delusion of grandeur, the ‘Jehovah complex’. Their problem have appeared to them to be above criticism or assistance by other human beings, and the correct procedure known only to super-men like themselves. So quite naturally they have usually refused to make enquiries. They have refused even to be informed about scientific researches carried on outside the realms of their ‘philosophy’. Because of the ignorance, they have, in the main, not even suspected the importance of the problems of structure.

In all fairness, it must be said that not all so-called ‘philosophy’ represents an episode of semantic illness, and that a few ‘philosophers’ really do important work. This applies to the so-called ‘critical philosophy’ and to the theory of knowledge or epistemology. This class of workers I call epistemologists, to avoid the disagreeable implications of the term ‘philosopher’. Unfortunately, epistemological researches are most difficult, owing mainly to the lack of scientific psycho-logics, general semantics, and investigations of structure and s.r. We find only a very few men doing this work, which, in the main, is still little known and unapplied. It must be granted that their works fo not make easy reading. They do not command headlines; nor are they aided and stimulated by public interest and help.

It must be emphasized again that as long as we remain humans, (which means a symbolic class of life), the rulers of symbols will rule us, and that no amount of revolution will ever change this. But what mankind has a right to ask – and the sooner the better – is that our rulers should not be so shamelessly ignorant and, therefore, pathological in their reactions. If a psychiatrical and scientific inquiry were to be made upon our rulers, mankind would be appalled at the disclosures.

We have been speaking bout ‘symbols’, but we have not yet discovered any general theory concerning symbols and symbolism. Usually, we take terms lightly and never ‘think’ what kind of implication and s.r. one single important term may involve. ‘Symbol’ is one of those important terms, weighty in meanings. If we use the term ‘food’, for instance, the presupposition is that we take for granted the existence of living beings able to eat; and, similarly, the term ‘symbol’ implies the existence of intelligent beings. The solution of the problem of symbolism, therefore, presupposes the solution of the problem of ‘intelligence’ and structure. So, we see that the issues are not only serious and difficult, but also, that we must investigate a semantic field in which very little has been done.

In the rough, a symbol is defined as a sign which stands for something. Any sign is not necessarily a symbol. If it stands for something, it becomes a symbol for this something. If it does not stand for something, then it becomes not a symbol but a meaningless sign. This applies to words just as it does to bank cheques. If one has a zero balance in the bank, but still has a cheque-book and issues a cheque, he issues a sign but not a symbol, because it does not stand for anything. The penalty for such use of these particular signs as symbols is usually jailing. This analogy applies to the oral noises we make, which occasionally become symbols and at other times do not; as yet, no penalty is exacted for such a fraud.

Before a noise., may become a symbol, something must exist for the symbol to symbolize. So the first problem of symbolism should be to investigate the problem of ‘existence’. To define ‘existence’, we have to state the standards by which we judge existence. At present, the use of this term is not uniform and is largely a matter of convenience. Of late, mathematicians have discovered a great deal about this term. For our present purposes, we may accept two kinds of existence : (1) the physical existence, roughly connected with our ‘senses’ and persistence, and (2) ‘logical ‘ existence. The new researches in the foundations of mathematics, originated by Brouwer and Weyl, seem to lead to a curtailment of the meaning of ‘logical’ existence in quite a sound direction; but we may provisionally accept the most general meaning, as introduced by Poincaré. He defines ‘logical’ existence as a statement free from self-contradictions. Thus, we may say that a ‘thought’ to be a ‘thought’ must not be self-contradictory. A self-contradictory statement is meaningless; we can argue either way without reaching any valid results. We say, then, that a self- contradictory statement has no ‘logical’ existence. As an example, let us take a statement about a square circle. This is called a contradiction in terms, a non-sense, a meaningless statement, which has no ‘logical’ existence. Let us label this ‘word salad’ by a special noise – let us say, ‘blah-blah’. Will such a noise become a word, a symbol ? Obviously not – it stands for nothing; it remains a mere noise., no matter if volumes should be written about it.

It is extremely important, semantically, to notice that not all the noises., we humans make should be considered as symbols or valid words. Such empty noises., can occur not only in direct ‘statements’, but also in ‘questions’. Quite obviously, ‘questions’ which employ noises., instead of words, are not significant questions. They ask nothing, and cannot be answered. They are, perhaps, best treated by ‘mental’ pathologists as symptoms of delusion, illusion, or hallucinations. In asylums the noises., patients make are predominant meaningless, as far as the external world is concerned, but become symbols in the illness of the patient…..

An important aspect of the problem of existence can be made clear by some examples. Let us recall that a noise or written sign, to become a symbol, must stand for something. Let us imagine that you, my reader, and myself are engaged in an argument. Before us, on the table, lies something which we usually call a box of matches : you argue that there are matches in this box; I say that there are no matches in it. Our argument can be settled. We open the box and look, and both become convinced. It must be noticed that in our argument we used words, because they stood for something; so when we began to argue, the argument could be solved to our mutual satisfaction, since there was a third factor, the object, which corresponds to the symbol used, and this settled he dispute. A third factor was present, and agreement became possible. Let us take another example. Let us try to settle the problem : ‘Is blah-blah a case of tra-tra ?’ Let us assume that you say ‘yes’, and that I say ‘no’. Can we reach any agreement ? It is a real tragedy, of which life is full, that such an argument cannot be solved at all. We used noises, not words. Here was no third factor for which these noises stood as symbols, and so we could argue endlessly without any possibility of agreement. That the noises may have stood for some semantic disturbance is quite a different problem, and in such a case a psycho-pathologist should be consulted, but arguments should stop. The reader will have no difficulty in gathering from daily life other example many of them of highly tragic character.

Excerpt From:
Science & Sanity Ch. VI – ON SYMBOLISM (p. 76-82)
By Alfred Korzybski

via Grey Lodge / Issue #9

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Experimental epidemiology: The work of Chip Heath

Experimental epidemiology: The work of Chip Heath by Hugo Mercier

The aim of the post is to bring to the attention of experimentally minded anthropologists the work of Chip Heath and his collaborators. A professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Heath describes his research as examinining “why certain ideas – ranging from urban legends to folk medical cures, from Chicken Soup for the Soul stories to business strategy myths – survive and prosper in the social marketplace of ideas.” Heath has a knack for fun psychology experiments that test broader concepts of cultural transmission. In chronological order, here are some examples from his recent publications–I’ll bet that many of you will find stuff that is relevant to your own research or ideas for how to test your own hypotheses.

Bangerter, A., & Heath, C. (2004). The Mozart effect: Tracking the evolution of a scientific legend. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43(4), 605-623.

In this paper, the authors look at the “Mozart effect”, the belief that listening to classical music increases IQ. Among their many findings, they show that this effect spread more in states that had more education problems: anxiety regarding the ability to teach kids made people more receptive to such solutions.

Fragale, A. R., & Heath, C. (2004). Evolving informational credentials: The (mis) attribution of believable facts to credible sources. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(2), 225.

In an interesting variation on the source memory experiments, the authors demonstrate a nice example of ‘motivated’ source attribution. For instance, “When participants believed a particular suspect to be guilty, they misattributed evidence incriminating that suspect to the high-credibility source.”

Berger, J. A., & Heath, C. (2005). Idea habitats: How the prevalence of environmental cues influences the success of ideas. Cognitive Science, 29(2), 195-221.

In a series of experiment, the authors show that the success of different cultural items (catchphrases, proverbs, etc.) will be strongly linked to their ‘habitat’: the contexts in which they are relevant. Thus, they show that the success of ideas shrinks or increases with fluctuations in the prevalence of their natural habitat, and that those ideas that have a wider habitat are more successful.

Berger, J., & Heath, C. (2007). Where consumers diverge from others: Identity signaling and product domains. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(2), 121-134.
Berger, J., & Heath, C. (2008). Who drives divergence? Identity-signaling, outgroup dissimilarity, and the abandonment of cultural tastes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(3), 593-607.
Berger, J., Heath, C., & Ho, B. (2008). Divergence in cultural practices: Tastes as Signals of Identity. Manuscript in preparation.

In this set of papers, the authors show that our tastes are influenced not only by who we want to be like, but also by who we want to not be like. They develop an interesting model of taste as a form of signaling, predicting that we change our tastes when the signal they convey shifts or becomes noisy.

Fast, N. J., Heath, C., & Wu, G. (2009). Common Ground and Cultural Prominence: How Conversation Reinforces Culture. Psychological Science, 20(7), 904-911.

When people start interacting with people they don’t know, they will try to find some common ground. This process (among others) maintains the prominence of some cultural products. For instance, people who are already famous for some reason are more likely to be talked about than other people with similar accomplishment because they make for better common ground.

Loewenstein, J., & Heath, C. (2009). The Repetition-Break Plot Structure: A Cognitive Influence on Selection in the Marketplace of Ideas. Cognitive Science, 33(1), 1-19.

People form predictions based on a succession of samples very easily. Violations of these predictions typically carry an extra relevance. This papers show that this basic cognitive phenomenon can explain the success of jokes and folktales that have a pattern of “repetition-break”, as in the following (stolen from the paper):

A rabbit is hopping happily through the forest. On his way, he meets a giraffe who is about to smoke marijuana. The rabbit says to the giraffe, ‘‘Giraffe, you shouldn’t pollute your neck and hurt your lungs inhaling that harmful stuff! Let’s breathe in the fresh air as we jog through the forest.” The giraffe pauses, drops the marijuana, and follows the rabbit.
A little further through the forest, they meet an elephant about to snort cocaine. The rabbit says to the elephant, ‘‘Elephant, why do you want to ruin your precious trunk with that sinful powder? Sniff the spring flowers instead. Come jog with us and enjoy Mother Nature.” The elephant spills out the cocaine and jogs with the rabbit and giraffe.
Then they meet a lion who is about to use heroin. The rabbit says to the lion, ‘‘Lion, you’re the king of the forest! Isn’t that enough of a ‘‘high” for you? Join us for an invigorating jog together through the beautiful forest.”
The lion puts down the heroin and punches the rabbit on the nose. The giraffe and the elephant exclaim, ‘‘Why do you beat him? He is so nice.” The lion answers angrily, ‘‘Such a hooligan rabbit. Every time he takes Ecstasy, he convinces me to run with him in the forest like an idiot.”

Wiltermuth, S. S., & Heath, C. (2009). Synchrony and cooperation. Psychological Science, 20(1), 1-5.

This paper is a first stab at explaining the prevalence of goose-stepping and why it can create bonds among those who take part in it. The authors observed that people who had had to act in synchrony were more likely to cooperate, even at a potential cost to themselves (in public-goods game for instance).

Some of these papers can be found here, and others here.

Photo:  Woman ‘s Thoughts AkA,=,/,or, ; ) Complex Memetics by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE

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Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992) is a multi award-winning documentary film that explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, a linguist, intellectual, and political activist. Created by two Canadian independent filmmakers, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, it expands on the ideas of Chomsky’s earlier book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which he co-wrote with Edward S. Herman.

The film presents and illustrates Chomsky’s and Herman’s propaganda model, the thesis that corporate media, as profit-driven institutions, tend to serve and further the agendas of the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society. A centerpiece of the film is a long examination into the history of The New York Times coverage of Indonesia‘s invasion and occupation of East Timor, which Chomsky claims exemplifies the media’s unwillingness to criticize an ally.

Until the release of The Corporation (2003), made by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan, it was the most successful documentary in Canadian history, playing theatrically in over 300 cities around the world; winning 22 awards; appearing in more than 50 international film festivals; and being broadcast in over 30 markets. It has also been translated into a dozen languages.

Chomsky’s response to the film was mixed; in a published conversation with Achbar and several activists, he stated that film simply doesn’t communicate his message, leading people to believe that he is the leader of some movement that they should join. In the same conversation, he criticizes the New York Times review of the film, which mistakes his message for being a call for voter organizing rather than media critique.

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, is an analysis of the news media as business. The title derives from the phrase “the manufacture of consent” that essayist–editor Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) employed in the book Public Opinion (1922).

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Logophobia: The S from Hell

THE S FROM HELL is a short documentary-cum-horror film about the scariest corporate symbol in history – The 1964 Screen Gems logo, aka ‘The S From Hell.’ Built around interviews with survivors still traumatized from their exposure to the logo after shows like Bewitched or The Monkees, the film brings their stories to life with animation, found footage, and dramatic reenactments. 

Further studies in Logophobia 


The image you see on the above television screen may seem innocent enough and not scary at all, but to many of us who watched television as small children in the mid 1960’s through the early 1970’s, it was the most frightening thing on TV. In exteme cases, it caused nightmares and prevented the viewing of programs that used the logo-which was shown after the closing credits. 

A Tribute to the Most Frightening S Ever


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Kubrick: The opportunity to see things the way they are.


135 Wardour Street (Registered Office)
London WIV 4AP
Telephone: 01-437 5600
Fax: 01-437 9544
Telex: 22653
Registered in England No. 259661

Dott. Rocco Moccia
Direttore Generale Dello Spettacolo
Ministero Del Turismo e Dello Spettacolo
Via della Ferratella in Laterano, 51
00184 Roma

5th October, 1987

Dear Dott. Moccia,

You will undoubtedly understand my disappointment that my film “Full Metal Jacket” has been classified so as to prevent it being viewed by young people under the age of 18. Obviously I do not regard young Italians as being substantially different in nature, character or temperament to young people in other parts of the world and it was my earnest desire that my film be an experience capable of being shared by the widest audience possible.

This is important to me because I sincerely hope that “Full Metal Jacket” will be regarded as making an important and relevant contribution to the ways in which people view their own nature.

My intention was not to relish violence for it’s own sake but to emphasize the reality of both the training process undergone by the recruits and the war situation in which they found themselves. A crucial aspect of this process is the use of language to dehumanise the young men. This had to be presented in a totally truthful way otherwise I would have compromised the reality of the story.

I make no apology for taking such an approach. It is what attracted me to the project from the beginning: it’s sense of uncompromising truth. “Full Metal Jacket” offers no easy moral or political answers.

I think you should know that Sweden has classified the film, 15, New Zealand has a 13 age restriction, Finland has given it a 16 age restriction, as has Germany. These ratings were applied without any cuts.

I believe that all the people should be given the opportunity to see things the way they are.

Yours sincerely,


Stanley Kubrick

cc: Dott.ssa Rosa Alba de Gaetano Leardi
Mr Bernard Weinreich, Warner Bros Italia

via Letters of Note | Archivio Kubrick | L’ascensore per il secondo piano

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He Pored Over Dante Hallucinations


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.

And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.

Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.

Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom — “There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely,” she wrote — while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.

So for the better part of the past century, despite the fact that it is thought to be the pivotal work of one of the era’s great thinkers, the book has existed mostly just as a rumor, cosseted behind the skeins of its own legend — revered and puzzled over only from a great distance.

Which is why one rainy November night in 2007, I boarded a flight in Boston and rode the clouds until I woke up in Zurich, pulling up to the airport gate at about the same hour that the main branch of the Union Bank of Switzerland, located on the city’s swanky Bahnhofstrasse, across from Tommy Hilfiger and close to Cartier, was opening its doors for the day. A change was under way: the book, which had spent the past 23 years locked inside a safe deposit box in one of the bank’s underground vaults, was just then being wrapped in black cloth and loaded into a discreet-looking padded suitcase on wheels. It was then rolled past the guards, out into the sunlight and clear, cold air, where it was loaded into a waiting car and whisked away.

For about six years, Jung worked to prevent his conscious mind from blocking out what his unconscious mind wanted to show him. Between appointments with patients, after dinner with his wife and children, whenever there was a spare hour or two, Jung sat in a book-lined office on the second floor of his home and actually induced hallucinations — what he called “active imaginations.” In order to grasp the fantasies which were stirring in me ‘underground,’ ” Jung wrote later in his book “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” “I knew that I had to let myself plummet down into them.” He found himself in a liminal place, as full of creative abundance as it was of potential ruin, believing it to be the same borderlands traveled by both lunatics and great artists.

A big man with wire-rimmed glasses, a booming laugh and a penchant for the experimental, Jung was interested in the psychological aspects of séances, of astrology, of witchcraft. He could be jocular and also impatient. He was a dynamic speaker, an empathic listener. He had a famously magnetic appeal with women. Working at Zurich’s Burghölzli psychiatric hospital, Jung listened intently to the ravings of schizophrenics, believing they held clues to both personal and universal truths. At home, in his spare time, he pored over Dante, Goethe, Swedenborg and Nietzsche. He began to study mythology and world cultures, applying what he learned to the live feed from the unconscious — claiming that dreams offered a rich and symbolic narrative coming from the depths of the psyche. Somewhere along the way, he started to view the human soul — not just the mind and the body — as requiring specific care and development, an idea that pushed him into a province long occupied by poets and priests but not so much by medical doctors and empirical scientists.

from The Holy Grail of the Unconscious

by Sara Corbett | The New York Times

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Chris Hedges on Michael Jackson & Celeb Culture


Chris Hedges on Michael Jackson & Celeb Culture

Man in the MirrorThe fame of celebrities masks the identities of those who possess true power—corporations and the oligarchic elite. And as we sink into an economic and political morass, as we barrel toward a crisis that will create more misery than the Great Depression, we are controlled, manipulated and distracted by the celluloid shadows on the wall of Plato’s cave. The fantasy of celebrity culture is not designed simply to entertain. It is designed to drain us emotionally, confuse us about our identity, make us blame ourselves for our predicament, condition us to chase illusions of fame and happiness and keep us from fighting back. And in the end, that is all the Jackson coverage was really about, another tawdry and tasteless spectacle to divert a dying culture from the howling wolf at the gate.

Read The Man in the Mirror

via | source: mirabile dictu 
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