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Friday, February 27

the aspirational self

We begin today's little homily with a large, slightly modified graphic (a "derivative work" on several fronts, you could say) from the homepage of Joie de Vivre Hotels. That by way of introduction to its CEO, Chip Conley (pictured), and this extremely interesting thing he said...
The customer sees the product as an extension of themselves. Then you've created an identity refreshment. You've refreshed the identity of the customer because they feel that by using your product they're becoming more of that aspirational self.
He says this in a video recap of some of the exciting marketing events at LOHAS 12, a conference that took place last year right here in Boulder, Colorado. And hearing the guy say that, how could I not think once again of that seminal work of pop psychology, Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities? In fact, allow me to recycle a bit from a 2005 Mystic B post on that very subject...
So let me see if I've got the gist of this... If I'd prefer to be a fairy princess, say, instead of someone whose life has been derailed by a personality disorder arising from childhood trauma -- some combination of physical, emotional, sexual and/or psychological abuse -- then I could rework my "narrative" to where I was really born with a magic wand and a tiara? Or let's say I was spooked by all this postmodern confusion of optional selves and shifting histories. I could what? Morph myself into some arcane magus from the 15th century?


I wrote about the market research outfit LOHAS in November 2005 in The Discreet Charm of the Mystic Bourgeoisie. The group says of itself...
LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, a market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.
But who are they really? On the LOHAS Means Business page, we learn a bit more...
Anthropologist and sociologist Paul Ray, Ph.D., executive vice president of American LIVES, a research firm in Oakland, Calif., in 1994 began a lengthy and complicated national study of American values. Ray's research reshaped theories about American culture and revealed an emerging cultural phenomenon called the "Cultural Creatives" -- a slice of the American population comprising 50 million persons or 26 percent of American adults.
Ah, so we're back to that again. One of these days I'll learn that I can save a lot of time by going to Wikipedia first. Had I done that a couple years ago, I might have gotten the connection between LOHAS and the "Cultural Creatives" meme a whole lot sooner (though who knows if it was even there then). The following is from the Wikipedia page for LOHAS...
Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) is a demographic defining a particular market segment related to sustainable living, "green" ecological initiatives, and generally composed of a relatively upscale and well-educated population segment.... Author Paul H. Ray, who coined the term Cultural Creatives in his book by the same name, explains that "What you're seeing is a demand for products of equal quality that are also virtuous."[4][5] Included in the cultural creative demographic are consumers of "new age" goods and services.[6][1]
Those inline references go to...

A kid named Max Simon appears in the video Next-Gen LOHAS Leaders - Part 3. I kick myself for missing this pow-wow last June, as it took place not three miles from where I live. You really must catch Max's act, as it's impossible to do it justice with mere words. The logo from his site might give you a clue though...

Max, as it transpires, is the son of Deepak Chopra's sidekick, David Simon -- a man I have always thought the phrase "pencil-necked geek" might have been invented for.

like father like son

On the page where that exuberant picture came from, Max includes some laudatory blurbs, starting with...

"I believe Max is the perfect example of a leader for the next generation." Deepak Chopra M.D., the pioneer of mind-body medicine

But all was not entirely well in paradise it seems, reading between the lines of Max's somewhat embarrassing Un-edited thoughts post, which begins...

It's 6 am and I am in my hotel room at the Westin in Colorado after finishing my last Chopra Center course (in the foreseeable future). We (my father and I) decided that it would be better to have me stop teaching at their courses so that I could focus my full time and attention on selfcentered and so that it wouldn't distract from The Chopra Center's programs.
It would appear that the exuberance got a bit much even for the far-famed equanimity of Deepak Chopra. Ayurvedic healing is apparently no match for the terminal irritation that can be caused by self-centered enfants terribles.

Steve Case of AOL fame (pictured right) spoke at the LOHAS 10 conference in 2006. From his remarks there I learned about Lime ("healthy living with a twist™"), which I'd never run across until today. Don't miss their...

...where you can choose amongst:

  • the spaceroom
  • the winterroom
  • the floralroom
  • the forestroom
  • the waterroom
  • the zenroom
But if you go to any of them, turn down your speakers first. The zenroom almost blew me off my zafu! Actually, the various rooms are not trademarked. Yet. I added the ™ symbols in a spirit of preemptive branding. There is clearly big money behind Lime, and it seems to be nailing down everything in sight. Lime itself, for example, is not just plain vanilla Lime, but rather...

And Gaiam -- "Gaia" + "I am" -- is not simply Gaiam, but...

Unsurprisingly at this juncture, Gaiam's 2000 annual report informs us...

"Cultural Creatives," a term coined by sociologist Paul Ray in a demographic study on American values, refers to a distinct segment of the population who value personal development and wellness and who support the health of the planet. This group comprises 26% of the population or 50 million adult Americans according to Ray. Gaiam caters to these consumers by supporting "conscious commerce," a term we use to describe our customer's evolving practice of making purchasing decisions based on lifestyle and values.
Giam's Personal Growth section facilitates, for instance... other words: selling shit. But hey, it's...

Continuing a trend we saw above with LOHAS, the following is from Gaiam's current Corporate Officers page.

Paul H. Ray - Director since October 1999. Mr. Ray is the Chief Executive Officer of Integral Partnerships LLC, a consulting firm specializing in Cultural Creative topics. From November 1986 until December 2000, he was Executive Vice President of American LIVES, Inc., a market research and opinion-polling firm. From 1981 to 1983, prior to joining American LIVES, Mr. Ray was Chief of Policy Research on Energy Conservation at the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources of the Government of Canada. From 1973 to 1981, Mr. Ray was Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. He is the author of "The Integral Culture Survey," which first identified the Cultural Creatives subculture.
And the Integral Partnerships What's New page contains the following...
In association with Wisdom University and the Institute on Emerging Wisdom Culture, Dr. Paul H. Ray is conducting a major new study on America's Cultural Creatives. The findings of the study will be released in the Summer of 2008.
In addition to Paul "Cultural Creatives" Ray, the Wisdom University Faculty page includes the following luminaries and their associated "fields." This is a veritable Who's Who of the Mystic Bourgeoisie. I encourage you to explore their respective pages -- if you can stomach them.

Let me end this on the same note I came in on, by quoting the words of wisdom delivered to that LOHAS confab last year by Joie de Vivre Hotels' CEO Chip Conley...

The customer sees the product as an extension of themselves. Then you've created an identity refreshment. You've refreshed the identity of the customer because they feel that by using your product they're becoming more of that aspirational self.
Yes, this is how Pod People procreate.

Well, refresh your identity with this: If you are buying any of the products or services hawked by these fucking LOHAS vampires, you are supporting some of the most twisted, irrational psychos currently inhabiting planet Earth. Or if you prefer, Gaia.

an important message from the Gaiam > Eco Home & Outdoor > Bedroom page

Sunday, February 22

the cultural creatives

I used to think that every little thing I did was crazy
but now I think the karma cops are comin' after you.
aerosmith ~ full circle

I've given all I can but were still on the payroll.
radiohead ~ karma police

For a minute there, I lost myself. Several posts ago, in You've Come a Long Way, Baby, I wrote, "Hints in the sidebar: compare and contrast." The big hint was the second item -- here it's the first. The big hint was actually not so big. The big hint was actually pretty hidden, as it's next to impossible to read the title. So I'll tell you the title. It's The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson.

But why is The Feminine Face of God also back again this time? Easy: because it too was co-authored by Sherry Ruth Anderson. I had to wait till Amazon sent me a cheap-ass copy before I could continue this thread. And I had to first post about Jean Shinoda Bolen, as I did last night, because she comes into the story too. In fact, she wrote the foreword to Sherry Ruth Anderson's book. There, for instance, Shinola Bolen says...

The feminine face of God is an aspect of divinity and an approach to the sacred that is not exclusively of women, but women will naturally lead the way because women's receptivity, commitment to relationships, and biological experience provide greater opportunities for this kind of revelation.
Right. But let me ask my women readers -- of whom there are many more than some might suspect, given that my subject matter often edges on territory that could invite speculation re possible misogyny; but that's only because so many chicks go in for this kind of bullshit. Let's try that again. Let me ask, just because you have an innie and I have an outtie, does that really make me less:

  • receptive?
  • committed to relationships?
  • biologically experienced?

...whatever those things might actually mean, which isn't exactly crystal clear. But that's just something to think about. Just a MacGuffin on the way to looking at the kind of bullshit the boys go in for every bit as much as the girls. No Goddess necessary. Batteries not included.

So there I was seven or eight years ago, sitting on the floor in the back of Boulder Book Store -- where I hardly ever go anymore because of a) the parking, and b) the clientele -- looking at this book called The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World. Yes, the very one by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson. Keep these names in mind, as they will be important to our story as it unfolds. And oh baby, is it ever gonna unfold!

Also keep in mind that when lots of things come together unexpectedly, it's not necessarily synchronicity. It is just as possible -- in this case, far more possible -- that you have stepped into the magic circle jerk of mutual self-admiration.

It wasn't that the premise of the book didn't interest me. It did. But 50 million people? C'mon! I didn't think there were 50 million people in America who could read, much less create anything that might be called "culture." Of course, this was before blogging took off. Now there are 50 million bloggers, easy. They still can't read, but they can type.

This was in the days when I had tons of money -- from Cluetrain and (mostly) Gonzo Marketing -- and I would buy books on the merest whim. Nonetheless, I left The Cultural Creatives sitting on the shelf. There was something deeply bogus about the book, but I couldn't say what it was, couldn't put my finger on it.

Last week I ran into the book again in a local used bookstore. I picked it up and started casually flipping through it. And I was thunderstruck! All my obsessive research in the intervening years had finally prepared me to grasp the awful truth:

cultural creatives = mystic bourgeoisie

OMG! OMG! I didn't have the... (what can I call it? Receptivity? Biological experience?) to see what I was looking at back in 2001. But now it jumped out at me from nearly every page. Strap in and prepare for examples. Amazon's own review offers a decent precis for starters...

Cultural Creative is a term coined by Ray and Anderson to describe people whose values embrace a curiosity and concern for the world, its ecosystem, and its peoples; an awareness of and activism for peace and social justice; and an openness to self-actualization through spirituality, psychotherapy, and holistic practices.
That last bit is the kicker, of course. You can care all you want to about the ruination of the physical world and the slow starvation of billions of poor bastards under fascist regimes propped up by vampiric global capital and the CIA. But if you don't filter that concern through a finely cultivated miasma of ayhuasca tourism, Maslovian needs-meeting, esoteric shiatsu Reiki Qi Gong biodynamic bodywork, and archetypically Jungian evolutionary dream trance shaman goddess consciousness, then all bets are off: you suck.

Let's look at a couple blurbs.

There is no way to overestimate the contribution that Ray and Anderson have made to our understanding of the times in which we live. They have put their finger on the pulse of an entire generation. Just knowing who we are, having a name as it were, gives Cultural Creatives more power to affect the world.  

~ Marianne Williamson

That would be the same Marianne Williamson who introduced the world to A Course in Miracles in her book, A Return to Love. And those would be the Miracles described by Jesus-channeler Helen Schucman, who, at the end of her life "cursed, in the coarsest barroom language you could imagine, 'that book, that goddamn book'," and whose life-partner sidekick, William Thetford, was oh-btw concurrently doing research on "Personality Theory" funded via the CIA's then-secret MK-ULTRA mind control program. Weird, I know. But hey, I'm just saying.

Here's another one in run-on-sentence mode...

"Hallelujah! The Cultural Creatives brings us spectacular, inspiring good news: our long-desired sea change has occurred, each of us 'cultural creatives' is not alone, together we now amount to a critical mass sufficient to transform America!"        

~ John Vasconcellos

And that would be the same John Vasconcellos who as a California state senator was responsible for pushing through one of the biggest boondoggles in that state's much-boondoggled history, to wit, the disastrously failed (though worthless from the get-go) project to promote "Self-Esteem" in the classroom (hey teacher, leave those kids alone!), based in part, as he so embarrassingly divulges, on "my own painful personal struggle - despite repeated successes and achievements in my life - to develop my own self-esteem." In aid of which, he wrote: "It is time to plumb the reaches and mysteries of inner space." Excuse me, John, but what an asshole!

Am I suggesting guilt-by-association here? You bet I am. And let's lay on a little more! The Cultural Creatives was based on a multi-year marketing study by American Lives, Inc. Does the following chart look vaguely familiar? Like say, the same sort of slice-em-and-dice-em routine applied by every huckster target-marketing outfit that ever centered its cross-hairs on your Third Eye?

click graphic for full-size image on American LIVES site

If you go to that LIVES Analysis page, right under the graphic, you'll find this...

Paul H. Ray, Ph.D., Executive Vice-President of American LIVES, has extensively researched how the subcultures of values permeate all aspects of American life. In this research, he discovered the emergence of a new values subculture of Americans that he named the Cultural Creatives, which includes 1 out of every 4 American adults. This led to more research about the Cultural Creatives, a group that Dr. Ray identifies as being on the cutting edge of social change. They have a different set of values than the subcultures that have dominated America's past. They are interested in new kinds of products and services, and often respond to marketing and advertising in unexpected ways. They represent valuable new market opportunities if their needs can be met and addressed.
But this was not just any old market research study. Oh no. I here reproduce the end of the LIVES Analysis page verbatim, including the links and graphic...
The Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Fetzer Institute have both been key sponsors of research on the Cultural Creatives. The Integral Culture Survey: A Study of the Emergence of Transformational Values in America, a longer description of the American LIVES Typology and its historic context, is for sale by contacting the Institute of Noetic Sciences at 415.331.5650.

For a more exhaustive analysis, look for Dr. Ray's new book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, by Harmony Books. He and his co-author, Sherry Anderson Ph.D, offer an evocative portrayal of the Cultural Creatives: who they are, how they are affecting society and culture, and why we should care. You can also visit Cultural Creatives for more information.

First off, The Fetzer Institute -- maaan, you learn something new every day -- was founded by one John Earl Fetzer, who, according to his official bio...
had an intense intellectual curiosity about the "unseen elements" of life. He studied various forms of meditation, prayer, philosophy, and positive thinking, and explored other ways of healing.... The interests that shaped John Fetzer's life can be seen as the seedbed for the questions that define the work of the Fetzer Institute: How can the secular and sacred elements of life be better integrated? How can the insights of science and the powers of technological innovation be utilized to explore the capacities of the mind and spirit? How can the wisdom and insight gained through inner exploration be used to better our individual and collective health? And how can the entrepreneurial spirit and financial resources gained from the American business sector be used in the service of creating a better world?
Well, isn't that special? Wikipedia adds: "Approximate endowment = $400,000,000 in 2006," and the Dalai Lama is featured on the site's front page -- so you know you're in good hands here. But wait, that's not all! In June, you can attend the "Nature and Mystical Experience" event.
In this workshop, we will deepen our mystical rapport with Earth through ceremony and mystical practice. We will immerse ourselves in the wind, rain, sun, and fields at GilChrist, making time for solitude and community.
In case you're getting confused, we're still talking about backers of the Cultural Creatives market research study. Right? Still with me? And the other backer is the biggie: the aforementioned Institute of Noetic Sciences. One of my favorites! IONS, as it is affectionately known to not-really-New-Agers everywhere, was founded by ex-astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who, while orbiting in his Apollo 14 capsule, "conducted private ESP experiments with his friends on Earth." Wikipedia, which is where that quote comes from, adds a footnote to Private Lunar ESP: An Interview with Edgar Mitchell. Well, OK!
Interviewer: Were you already interested in ESP?

Mitchell: Oh yes. I had a religious upbringing, and was always interested in science; the two seemed to have different answers, which bothered me. When the chance to go to the moon came up, it re-raised the questions about what kind of world we live in, because nobody had been outside the atmosphere. I had been reading the literature for several years and had become convinced. Science says it can't work but laboratory experiments show that it does.

No, Edgar, they don't. Not scientific laboratory experiments. And people even weirder than you have been trying for well over a century.

You can read more about all this in Mitchell's book, The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds. But let's push on to some of the other focal interests of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. These include, as the site puts it, Three Principal Program Areas:

  1. Extended Human Capacities
    • Creativity
    • Meditation
    • Psi Studies
    • Wisdom Capacities
    • Subtle Energies
    • States of Consciousness
    • Death, Dying, and Beyond

  2. Integral Health and Healing
    • Biofields
    • Distant Healing
    • Global Medicine
    • Integral Medicine
    • Mind Body Medicine
    • Extended Survival
    • Placebo Expectancy Effects

  3. Emerging Worldviews
    • Integral Intelligence
    • Science of Wisdom
    • Gaia Theory
    • Transformative Practices
    • Cultivating Spiritual Awareness
    • East/West/Indigenous Practices

Are we getting the drift, class? I hope you're starting to share my road-to-Damascus flash (so to speak) that

cultural creatives = mystic bourgeoisie

btw, Patricia Hopkins, Sherry Ruth Anderson's co-author in The Feminine Face of God (and remember: Sherry Ruth Anderson was Paul Hays' co-author [not to mention wife] on The Cultural Creatives; head ache yet?), also thanks The Institute of Noetic Sciences. It's a tight little group. But actually not so little. If you believe Hay and Anderson, the number is 50,000,000.

And that should be that, as this has already gone on far too long. But remember that mention of synchronicity back at the start of all this? Well, the reason for that was an Amazon recommendation I got this morning (hell, you know the kind of weird stuff I read) for a new book by Daniel Pinchbeck et al called Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age. Being a big fan of 2012 (do not miss the trailer!), I poked around inside the book -- and found an article I simply had to read RIGHT NOW NO WAITING: "Transforming Repression of The Divine Feminine" by Wahkeena Sitka Tidepool Ripple. No lie. So I googled about and, mirabile dictu, found it on Reality Sandwich! I also found another article by Ms. Sitka Tidepool Ripple on Alternatives magazine. It's called Can Sex Work Be Shamanic? And since we've been chatting lately about Tantric Sex and whatnot here on Mystic B, I took a closer look. But what really caught my eye there was the site banner...

And you just know I did my best Keanu Reeves "Whoa, dude!" Because, are you kidding? "Cultural Creativity"? This just has to be related to the post I was, even then, thinking I had to post today (this is it). And naturally, but of course, I dig a little deeper and find The Cultural Creatives: We Are Everywhere - The "InnerView" with Paul Ray. They sure as shit are everywhere! But seeing as this was from the Summer 2001 issue, where have I been all my life? Surrounded by fucking Cultural Creatives -- a demographic to be proud of! -- and here I didn't even know it.

The Cultural Creatives was published in 2000. And oh look, it was also blurbed by the ubiquitous Jean Shinola Bolen...

When people identify themselves as cultural creatives through reading this book, the transformation of society will be accelerated. The book itself will be a force for change.

Well gosh, I guess so. Because whatever rough beast this is, it's not slouching. It's galloping, kids. It's got a nine-year lead. And something tells me it's not headed for Bethlehem.

Saturday, February 21

on not knowing shit from shinoda

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them.
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

~ tolkien

Confused by my title slug? Ever eager to help, Wikipedia comes to the rescue in its admirably complete entry on a particular brand of shoe polish -- specifically in the subsection titled You don't know shit from Shinola.

Shinola was immortalized in colloquial English by the phrase You don't (or he/she doesn't) know shit from Shinola which first became widely popular during World War II. Aside from being an amusing bit of alliteration, the phrase implies that the person being referred to is stupid or woefully ignorant. Shit and Shinola, while superficially similar in appearance, are entirely distinct in their function; only one is good for polishing shoes, and anyone who fails to distinguish one from the other must be ignorant or of low acuity.
Such ignorant low-acuity types should, for instance, never polish their footwear in the bathroom, lest they be overcome with confusion and wind up in the plight described in this tune by the Rolling Stones...
Come on, come on down Sweet Virginia,
Come on, honey child, I beg of you.
Come on, come on down, you got it in ya.
Got to scrape the shit right off your shoes.

(emphasis added)

Granted, this is perhaps an overlong introduction to the work, such as it is, of Jean SHINODA Bolen, but I thought it would get us more quickly into the spirit, the marrow and substance, the archetypal essence of her oeuvre. For make no mistake, Ms. Shinoda Bolen is, and I quote, "an internationally known Jungian analyst." Which means, as we have come to understand by this self-labeling, that she can make up any sort of fatuous nonsense and, by attributing it to some hypothetical and impossible to substantiate "collective unconscious" make it seem not only reasonable, but indeed, profound.

While she is best known for Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives, I am more interested here in her longwindedly titled Ring of Power: Symbols and Themes, Love vs. Power in Wagner's Ring Cycle and in Us: A Jungian-Feminist Perspective. Actually, I ran across an older edition of this in a used bookstore last week and was amused to see that it was no less prolixly titled Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine: A Jungian Understanding of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Clearly, the publisher -- which puts out all manner of similar crap -- decided that love and power trump abandoned children and sexual politics in these latter days. So hard to keep up with what's hip.

That's the Arthur Rackham illustration that graces the cover of my edition. The publisher's synopsis says...

Bolen shows how Wagner's ever-popular Ring Cycle articulates universal experiences and deep-seated longings by offering a mythology of the dysfunctional family and the patriarchal society in which the quest for power distorts personalities and relationships. We respond to the Ring because we recognize ourselves and our relationships in the Cycle's stern father, disempowered mother, abandoned children, and brave truth-tellers. Bolen vividly relates the events of the four operas and spotlights characters in ways that evoke the reader's identifications, memories, and healing emotions.
Brave truth tellers: hold that thought.

What most of us know about Wagner (if I'm any example) comes from the Ride of the Valkyries being blasted from helicopter gunships in Apocalypse Now. Yet even I, in my woeful state of ignorant endarkenment, had heard there was something fishy about Wagner. Something about the Jews, wasn't it? Google google. Oh that's right! For the painless short form, you can read the Wikipedia entry about the maestro's racist rantery in Das Judenthum in der Musik.

And OK, I admit it, I know more about Wagner's antisemitism than I'm letting on, but only because I happened onto an insanely cheap copy of Twilight of the Wagners: The Unveiling of a Family's Legacy in a Barnes & Noble cutout bin several years ago, and for about a year it was sitting on the bookshelf in my downstairs bathroom, which is where a lot of my knowledge acquisition activities take place, and yes, I did idly page through it on occasion. While it appears that many Amazon reader/reviewers were put off by the book, the Publishers Weekly review does contain some highly pertinent information that goes beyond issues of writing style and ideological bias.

According to Greek myth, the sins of a father are visited upon his sons for three generations. Born in 1947, Gottfried Wagner is the third generation of operatic genius Richard Wagner's offspring, and it is clear in this prickly memoir that he does continue to carry the burden of his great-grandfather's infamous anti-Semitism. Though Wagner (1813-1883) died six years before Hitler was born, Gottfried demonstrates that the composer's virulent essays, which call for Jews to "redeem" themselves through "destruction," exercised a powerful influence on Hitler. More importantly, Gottfried shows that Wagner's descendants -- especially his daughter-in-law Winifred -- were ardent supporters and close friends of Hitler. Furthermore, Gottfried contends that his father, Wolfgang, now the director of the annual Wagner festival in Bayreuth, continues to obfuscate the family's and the festival's Nazi connections.
And it's not exactly as if the Wagner/Nazi connection is arcane, hidden, difficult to find information. A desultory search of Amazon brings up in a flash...

...the last of which is sitting on a bookshelf across the room from me, along with its three sister volumes (sisterhood is powerful).

Of all this, Jean Shinoda Bolen seems not only ignorant, not just "of low acuity," but positively deaf, dumb and blind. The only significant (being generous) mention she makes of the Hitler connection in her book on Wagner is this embarrassing bit of exculpatory twaddle.

As I became familiar with The Ring of the Niebelung, the psychiatrist in me became intrigued by my knowledge that Hitler was fascinated by the Ring cycle and identified with it in some way. I knew that he was a major patron, that he had insisted that SS officers attend, and required that schoolchildren be exposed to these operas; all of which had caused me to be biased against Wagner and the Ring. I had assumed that it extolled Nazi goals and reflected Hitler's dreams of triumph and was surprised that to the contrary, Valhalla and Wotan go up in flames in the last act of Twilight of the Gods, reflecting the fate of the Third Reich and Hitler's own end; his charred remains were found in a burnt-out bunker.
That last bit in case you hadn't read the comic book. The book's index includes entries for alchemy, anima, archetypes, codependency, courage, darkness, dragon, empathy, father god, feminine aspect, funeral pyre, grief, Hades, humiliation, integrity, intuition, Odin, magic horses, ravens... well, you get the idea. And of course lots about Joseph Campbell and C.G. Jung.

Not included are any references to Jews, antisemitism, fascism, or Nazis. The one substantive reference to Hitler I have quoted in full above. For someone writing an entire book about Wagner, this passing over in silence is not just a -- whoops! -- "oversight." It is clear and simple intellectual dishonesty.

And this sort of willful blindness is endemic in the Jungian community (with one significant exception that I know of), perhaps in part because too close an examination of Jung's own ideas along such lines would reveal his theories to be inherently racialist, if not, in places, outright racist. His stated views on "Negroes" and Jews in Civilization in Transition (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 10) are hair-raising. Here's a relatively tame example...

Just as every Jew has a Christ complex, so every Negro has a white complex and every [white] American a Negro complex. As a rule the colored man would give anything to change his skin, and the white man hates to admit that he has been touched by the black. 

CW 10, par. 963

And why? Because the beauty of the White Aryan woman must not perish from the earth. That's why. Doesn't it sorta have that certain Ring of Power?

got to scrape the shit right off your shoes

Postscript: As I mentioned above, I bought my copy of Ring of Power in a used bookstore here in Boulder, and the previous owner's name was written on the flyleaf. I won't tell you who it was, but I found her easily on Google, in a very lovely PDF for a Colorado arts center. She (or perhaps it was someone else) left a note in the book, on a 3x5 card. Here, verbatim, is what it says:



Right. So say we all. God bless America.