Sunday, March 20, 2011

From here on out, referencing "Star Wars" will be a "Jungian Slip." (Star Wars References)

High society literati, it seems, are not immune the the siren song of the Star Wars reference in order to draw attention to themselves... not, at least, judging by an article in this week's The New Yorker magazine. Titled Hollywood Shadows, the article is about a therapist who uses Jungian techniques (note: I do not actually know what the phrase "Jungian techniques" means, even after reading the article) to help writers, actors, and other show-biz types get over their insecurities.

As I mentioned, there, I don't know what Jungian techniques are. Not knowing that would hamper the ability to read an article about a therapist who applies Jung's ideas to help Hollywood types, so author Dana Goodyear helpfully supplies some background:

Jung’s school of thought, particularly his belief that universal archetypes—the Mother, the Father, the Hero, the Maiden—play a role in humanity’s collective imagination, found purchase with the industry’s storytelling class.

Got it: Jung used archetypes to help people work through problems, and Hollywood liked that. But can you give me a concrete example, just to drive the point home? I mean, there are thousands of storytellers out there, right? So how about giving me one person who might have liked Jung's ideas?

Goodyear's on it:

The assumption that a universal archetype will hold universal appeal has been proved at the box office: George Lucas famously credited “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” by Joseph Campbell, a follower of Jung, as an inspiration for the “Star Wars” franchise.
It's not as though there wasn't something else Goodyear could have highlighted; that sentence is immediately followed by this:

The allure of Jung’s ideas persists. To celebrate the recent publication of Jung’s “Red Book,” an illuminated manuscript full of paintings of mandalas and snakes in which Jung recorded his investigation of the archetypes inherent in his own psyche—a document so bizarre that his heirs kept it in a bank vault for twenty-three years, perhaps for fear it would damage his reputation—the Hammer Museum held a series of talks. Helen Hunt and Miranda July were among the featured speakers.

The article is rife with actors and writers who were helped by the therapist, and out of that entire bunch of people, Goodyear opted to highlight a non-patient as the ultimate example of Jungian techniques... a person who just happened to write Star Wars.

By the way, since now, officially, Star Wars and Jung have been linked, how long until we have explicitly-Star Wars-based therapy? Like this:

1 comment:

Rogue Mutt said...

Someone needs to open a therapy office where the therapist is a green puppet who spouts fortune cookie sayings backwards.