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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Defacing the world

grafitti I don’t like to be thought of as an angry person. I’ve always regarded anger, quite rightly, as a negative emotion, something to be avoided, but I believe my assessment of what anger is has been clouded by how I’ve seen anger expressed by others. It’s not a word I use and I’d like to think it would take a lot to make me angry but what I mean when I say that is, of course, to make me express my anger – there is a difference.

I’m a writer and, as I’ve said many times, I define a writer as someone whose natural response to life is to write about it, so when I’m in love I’ve written love poems and when I’ve lost love ones I’ve written elegies. When I read over my poems one thing I don’t see any immediate evidence of is anger. After thirty years of writing don’t you find that a bit strange?

I went to see a psychotherapist a while back when I was sick and not for the first time. This particular lady brought up anger quite a bit but I always resisted going there. I would admit to often being frustrated but not angry. Allowing myself to be angry felt like a losing of self-control. The fact of the matter is I was angry. But what is anger? Potted definition time:

Anger is a negative feeling which often happens when a person thinks that someone or something has done something wrong, bad or which puts them in danger, and they want to stop the risk, or punish the person for what they have done. – Wikipedia

In the olden days ‘danger’ was probably at the top of that list. Wild animals would attack you without any provocation and try to kill you. I guess that’s a decent enough reason for feeling angry. Although even there I still struggle with anger as a natural response to a threat like that. Why? Because the animal is not doing anything bad per se. It has no concept of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and is working purely on its instincts. It’s hungry, I’m food – where’s the problem? Yes, by all means I want to stop it killing me and I would go as far as killing it if I had to but I’m not sure being angry with the beast would do any good. Of course there are physiological effects that come into play when one is angry making defending oneself against a wild animal – or fleeing one – that bit easier but I find equating the survival instinct with anger a bit hard to swallow.

Now, if a foreign power decided to send men over here to hurt or kill me then that might get my dander up. What right have they? But that doesn’t happen very often. I don’t think anyone has ever seriously threatened my life. They’ve said the words but I would expect you’d know when someone meant, “I’m going to kill you,” and when it was just words especially if they say something like, “I’m going to absolutely kill you.” I mean, what’s the difference between killing someone and absolutely killing them?

So what threats do we have to face in the real world that might make us angry? On the Cambridge University Counselling Site they put it very simply:

For 'life threatening', substitute 'identity threatening'. In today's society some of the things that make people feel angry and stimulate aggressive thoughts are:

  • Perceived disrespectful treatment: Of thoughts, beliefs, feelings and needs
  • Perceived threat: To the continuation, or success of something to which we are strongly committed, e.g. one's partner, university course, lifestyle
  • Perceived unfairness
  • Perceived provocation or suspicion and hostility: "They" did that on purpose, just to "wind me up". The best form of defence is to attack before they do.

For example: Peter says, “My anger came from a frontal assault on my concept of myself as a teacher;” Kathy says, “My anger came from a false belief;” Eli says “My anger came from my preferring to blame the world for my dislike of myself” and Ruth says “My anger came from everyday injustice.” There are a lot of things out there ready to make us angry. It’s a wonder we’re not all fizzing all the time.

AAHN001229 What prompted me to start thinking about anger was a comment made by Joan Didion. She argued that writing by its nature is…

…an aggressive, even a hostile act [that] the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind…setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the readers most private space.

What is interesting is that I wrote up to this point without having double-checked that quote. In my head she was talking about “anger” and, as you can see, she doesn’t mention it at all.

So what is aggression? Aggression is predatory behaviour. Lions are aggressive. But are they angry? Probably not since anger is a response whereas aggression can just as easily be proactive or reactive. Anger often results in aggression but it can also be passive and I think that’s where I get confused over anger. Because I don’t express my anger through hostility I talk myself into thinking it’s not there. I don’t want it to be there. I don’t want to live in a house, a society or a world where things or people exist that might make me angry – like that’s going to happen soon.

Since I can’t change the world or society nor can I do much to change my house as I’m a writer would it not be natural to attack the issues that trouble me – by that I mean the things that make me angry – through my writing? Well, here is, I think, a good example:


I took sick this morning
but I was not surprised.

When I saw you there so ill
I knew then I was helpless
and there being no one to punish
I turned on myself in frustration
dragging my love with me
screaming, "This is not the way!
This is not constructive."

And I said, "No,
but it is something."

(For B.)

17 October 1989

The B. in question was a young woman I had a terrible crush on. I was married at the time and did nothing about it although I think at the end she’d added two and two together. I know my wife had despite my protestations. I don’t remember the exact details behind the poem but I know what the illness would have been. B. suffered from terrible migraines. If she was with us and felt one coming on she’d up and leave and take to her bed. They would knock her out for days on end. She couldn’t hold down a job or anything because of them either. I was angry. I was angry that she was ill. I was angry that I couldn’t do anything to help. I was angry that I couldn’t at least be with her. And so I did what I do. I internalised my anger and grew an ulcer wrote a poem.

Of course I didn’t feel as if I felt angry. There was no one to be angry with apart from God who I was trying to believe in at the time and failing badly. I felt frustrated. If there was anyone I should have been angry with it should actually have been me for losing perspective.

When I look objectively at the body of my writing a lot of the time I’m responding to a feeling of powerlessness, the inability to do something, change something, understand something. I suppose my poems are often the voodoo dolls I stick my pins in. It bothers me . . . no, it actually embarrasses me to write something like that because no matter how much justification I might have I still believe that expressing anger, even in a poem, is bad. No one taught me that. My parents were often given cause by us kids to be angry and they always rose to that challenge. So it’s not as if I grew up in an overly passive environment because I didn’t. My brother I have to tell you was a very angry young man, always just under the boil.

Writing a poem is something to do when there is nothing to do. This is especially true in the case of ‘The Empath’ but I think that’s the case more often than it’s not. Writing is not living. I write often because I can’t live. I didn’t want to write about B. I wrote because I couldn’t be with her. This is only one of a great many poems I wrote for her. I wrote this one three weeks before ‘The Empath’:


Love is not a thing you fall into
but an experience you go through
like a long tunnel.

Sometimes I just like to sit
in the dark in ours and pretend
I don't see the light at the end.

26 September 1989

Think Cover small It’s one of the poems in my collection This Is Not About What You Think but I can’t honestly remember now if the love in question was the love I felt for my wife or the love I felt for B. not that it matters. You could read it either way. Am I lashing out in this poem? If I am it’s very half-hearted clawing at air, a gesture, nothing more.

Poems can’t change my world. But they can deface it. The writing is on the wall.

I’m not the only one who has come round to this way of thinking. On her blog Nicole Fuentes wrote this:

When I wrote Keeping Her in the Light, I was in a state of confusion, followed by a state of anger. It was either self-destruct or do something useful with that powerful yet dangerous anger. The result of my decision was Keeping Her in the Light. Just like the darkness Hector speaks of, anger can be bent too into something that won’t hurt us. I’ve done push-ups and sit ups when frustrated, because of the restless energy. It’s like converting that energy into something more useful–something productive. Some would tell us not to do anything when angry or else we might do something we’ll regret later on. With writing, it can be similar, but if you can mask that anger through analogies and allegories, why not vent through writing, through dialogue, through characters, through a story?

I’ve always acknowledged how I’m affected by negative emotions like sadness but I’ve shied away from admitting that one of those negative emotions might be anger. I’d use any other synonym under the sun rather that admitting to the a-word but ‘frustration’ would be my first choice I think. The poet John Trudell had this to say about how he coped with the loss of his family:

The poetry, the writing kept me alive. Anger kept me alive. Anger is a healthy thing, although we live in a society that tells us to manage our anger, to suppress it. If you accept your anger, if you understand that it's OK to be angry, you won't go mad. The madness would have destroyed me. There's no coherency to madness.

It’s semantics I know but I think what he did and what I did are actually forms of anger management. Anger is a directionless force racing around inside you looking for release. It’s looking for a crack. The trick is to use that force constructively, productively. It surprises me I don’t write more poetry that I do to be honest. But it also probably explains the dearth of ‘happy’ poetry in my collection.

I found this interesting article called The Four Faces of Anger which I have to say has made me think. In it Mark Gorkin proposes a broader definition of anger:

Is your anger expression "purposeful" or "spontaneous"? Is your anger expression "constructive" or "destructive"? Let me briefly and loosely define my terms:

  • "Purposeful" - when anger expression is intentional, with a significant degree of consideration or calculation; there is also a significant degree of self-control
  • "Spontaneous" - when anger expression is immediate with little premeditation or planning; there is little-moderate self-control
  • "Constructive" - when anger expression affirms and acknowledges one's integrity and boundary without objectively intending to threaten or violate another's integrity or appropriate boundary
  • "Destructive" - when anger expression defensively projects and rigidly fortifies one's vulnerable identity and boundary by intending to threaten or violate another's integrity and appropriate boundary (whether the intention is conscious or not)

This he says can be summarised as:

Purposeful and
Constructive Anger

Purposeful and
Destructive Anger

Spontaneous and
Constructive Anger

Spontaneous and
Destructive Anger

which he argues can be reduced to:









all of which makes me realise that perhaps I’m a lot angrier person that I have been willing to admit. I’ve just managed to avoid expressing it in destructive ways. It still bothers me that there are things that can make me angry but we don’t live in a perfect world. It would actually be unnatural not to be angry a lot of the time. I’m still more comfortable to say that something had offended or upset or frustrated me but they’re just words and words may be quite good at capturing meanings but they don’t do so well with feelings. And that makes me…


Sangu Mandanna said...

The boxes at the end are so apt! The relation between the spontaneous/purposeful and constructive/destructive is something I never really thought about before, but it's so true. Thanks for discussing this today, Jim!

And I absolutely love 'The Empath'!

Conda Douglas said...

I've been reading about sociopaths lately, Jim (apparently there are a lot more of them than previously thought and possibly they can't help it, their brains are different). And this post reminded me of the difference between us and them--you have passion, whether it be anger or empathy or love.

Sociopaths are never creative.

Nida said...

i love this Poem….!!!
its is so awesum…….i ws lost in a trance while i ws readin it……
gr8 wrk !!!!

source: Love Poems

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I've learned not to ask my husband why he's angry - he's NOT ANGRY!!!! Um, then, I notice, you seem, um, not yourself. Frustrated! Upset, maybe. NEVER ANGRY!

OK. I don't get that myself. I've been angry lots. There have even been times I've gotten angry at a poem as I'm working on it. It's one of the few ways I've found anger helpful. I bash away at the poem, pushing it around, breaking it here or there, until finally I get past the worthless parts and stomp my way into fresh territory.

By the way, "Tunnel of Love" is great. A simple metaphor that combines two trite ones - the tunnel of love & the light at the end of the tunnel - and brings both back to life, that is, giving them both back significance. Fresh & surprising. And funny, in a rueful way.

Jim Murdoch said...

Thanks, Sangu. I think the simple fact is that everything has the potential for good and bad and anger is no different. It’s how you vent it. I suppose in that respect a poem is a pressure value, a safe way of releasing the pressure within rather than blowing your top.

Interesting point, Conda. I’ve also been reading up on personality disorders of late – schizoid personality disorder in my case. Part of me likes ticking off these wee lists but it’s like any form of self-diagnosis (not that that was why I was doing the research) you can end up thinking you have everything. I have known three individuals in my life I would have no problems classifying as sociopaths and frankly they were more to be pitied than scolded once you got to know them. As for whether they were creative all I can say there is that that was not their natural recourse when stressed; it was far easier to be destructive.

Nida, you never said which poem but thank you anyway.

And, Glenn, I can see how that might work. I was watching an artist on TV a couple of days ago – Peter Howson, great painter – and watching him work was fascinating. He was working on a commissioned work which he painted and then basically attacked and almost obliterated not once but several times leaving little bar the main figure intact which he finally scrapped too and after using up what his assistant estimated as some £30,000 in paint began afresh. The thing was each time the work looked finished it was fine. I couldn’t see what dissatisfied him but clearly something did.

Glad you liked ‘Tunnel of Love’ – nice, straightforward piece. I certainly didn’t muck around with that for months to get it right.

Art Durkee said...

I grew up having been taught by my tribe (the Norwegian-American Lutherans) that expressing ANY strong emotion, much less anger, was forbidden. Even expressing too much joy was looked down on as aberrant. The ideal was laconic and stoic. But I was always a passionate person, with very strong feelings, who had a problem with conforming to those expectations. I bottled a lot of anger in my youth, which came out very badly.

As an adult, I learned and still believe that expressing strong feelings is not only good, it's healthy, as long as they are expressed in appropriate ways. There are appropriate ways to express anger, and inappropriate ways. Most people, it seems to me, get tangled up about how to express their feelings, not whether they have them or not.

These days, I express my anger in the moment, and then it's done. I have ways to do that. And all of my friends have mutual understanding and agreements about venting. Sometimes you just have to vent, to get it out of your self, and blow off some steam.

Of course one can do that with one's art, and I occasionally do so. But I'd hate to think that art-making was only therapeutic; and I in fact I don't think that.

I have no problem with the occasional poem being used for deflecting anger, or blowing off steam, such as my own (controversial) poem "Kenosis." But I don't think it's something one can build an entire poetics on, no more than one could build on any other form of purely therapeutic behavior. Poetry has to express ALL of the conditions and experiences of life, or it becomes too simplistic, even reductionist.Of course, this is exactly what many who practice the poetics of the post-confessional lyric believe that poetry's function is. But this turns poetry into just another tool of (therapeutic) self-expression, and that narrows and limits its scope unnecessarily. I think Robert Lowell was unable to make the leap out of pure self-expression; although I think Philip Larkin started from a similarly splenetic place, he occasionally did make the leap past the purely confessional into something more universal. I'm not a big fan of Larkin, although I know you are, but I do appreciate his ability to take nasty bits of life and make art from them.

Sociopaths are a specific kind of personality trait and set of behaviors. It's not yet known if there's an organic component; there may be, but childhood environment also contributes. I've known a few sociopaths in my time. To a sociopath, other people are not really real. They know that it's not right to hurt other people, but they can't really see other people as real. Only their own emotions and needs are real; other people aren't perceived as having similarly real feelings. A sociopath is perfectly capable of being creative, and more than one artist-sociopath has become famous or considered a great artist. What sociopaths seem incapable of feeling is empathy, even sympathy, for others, and unable to really understand others' feelings and needs. A sociopath still knows right from wrong, however, which is something a genuine psychopath cannot understand. It's a matter of degrees.

P.S. "Nida" is a spambot. The exact same post with the same commercial links attached appeared in a comments thread on my blog earlier. I delete all such commercial spambot "comments" with extreme prejudice. They're free to advertise their wares elsewhere, but not on my blog, using up my bandwidth.

Marion McCready said...

I'm puzzled why you associate expressing anger as wrong/bad, especially if you were never raised to think that. Is it wrong because of how it would affect those around you or do you see it as a sign of weakness or does expressing anger make you a 'bad' person?

rraine said...

i have read, and heard it said, that anger is a secondary emotion, the underlying emotion being fear. the more i watch myself, and others, the more this seems to be accurate. and the physiological effects are the same as well. so perhaps the question to ask is not "why are you/am i angry?, but "what am i/are you afraid of?

Jim Murdoch said...

If God can, and has been, angry – and we are created in his image – then, Art, I’m not sure how anyone who knows their Bible can suggest that being angry is wrong. The one I remember most clearly is Ezekiel 38:18, “And it shall come to pass in that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up into my nostrils.” I just discovered that the Hebrew word for anger is ‘aph’ is also the Hebrew word for ‘nose.’ I suppose that’s where we get the idea of flaring nostrils. And just in case someone suggests that God maybe holds back a bit: “They have felt the full anger of the Lord and have heard God’s angry shout.” (Isaiah 51:20) As you say there are appropriate ways and inappropriate and I’m sure sending a global flood to wipe out all civilisation bar one family and a box full of animals was totally justified.

Interesting comments about sociopaths. We like terms like this, labels, but really there aren’t enough labels to cover all the shades of personalities out there. I said I was researching schizoid personality disorder for my book and what I’m learning is that ‘schizoid’ covers a broad range of characteristics some more debilitating than others. I have no intention of saying what the personality types of any of my characters’ personality types are but I need to compile a short list so that I know when they’re acting out of character and can decide whether to let it ride or feel it needs some kind of explanation.

Thanks for the note on ‘Nida’ by the way. That’ll be their first and last appearance on my site.

Marion, I decided that expressing anger was bad all on my own. I based that decision on empirical evidence: I never saw anger expressed and any good come out of it, invariably the opposite. That doesn’t mean there are not loads of reasons for people to be angered but expressing themselves angrily usually doesn’t do any good. You can’t have a rational discussion riding on the back of a wild horse. Calm the beast down or better still get off him altogether and then discuss your grievances. The child in me still equates being angry with being bad: it’s wrong to let yourself lose control. This doesn’t mean I’ve never lost my temper in my life but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times (actually I can only think of two occasions).

And, yes, standing on my head, I’ve heard that too. It seems reasonable. What prompts people to be angry? Is it not lack of (or, worse still, loss of) control? Is that simplistic? I just googled ‘causes of anger’ and got this: “According to the Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, introduced in 1955 by Albert Ellis, irrational evaluative beliefs such as "Things must be the way I want”, or "Others must do what I tell them to do”, combined with a low-frustration tolerance (LFT) (e.g. "if they don’t do it I can't stand it”) cause anger and lead to aggressive behaviour.” Boiled down it does smack of control issues.

What puzzles me is why God, who granted Man free will, would get angry because the whole point was that people should serve him because they wanted to and if they didn’t want to then he should have just shrugged his shoulders and not rained down fire and sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah.

Art Durkee said...

Jung devoted some serious thought to the Old Testament God, the vengeful and angry God, etc.. He wrote "Answer to Job" on the topic. He wrote a famous letter on theodicy to a woman asking why bad things happen to good people.

Jung's basic position was that the Old Testament God was—and this IS Biblical, and Jung's father was a preacher, so he oughta know—one God competing among many in the region. The jealous aspect was part of that.

But the main point is that God evolves along with us. The New Testament God is a loving God, not a vengeful one—who loved humans enough, as the story goes, to sacrifice his only son. So God evolves at the same time we do. God needs us in order to grow up, too.

This is all very well discussed, in case anyone wants to pursue the topic, in Janet O. Dalleet's masterful book "The Not-Yet-Transformed God," which also includes the relevant excerpts from Jung's writings, including the aforementioned letter on theodicy.

Logically you're right about anger being in the Bible, Jim. But Northern European culture has traditionally been a stoic culture, with its violence channelled only in certain ways, and otherwise repressed. One reason I think Norwegian Lutherans tend to be repressed these days is because it's a cultural backlash against their own uninhibited, pre-Christian, pagan Viking days. The missionaries "tamed" them, as it were. And it's also stoic immigrant culture in the US, in the Upper midwest, which also has a general component of this repression.

Terry Heath said...

Part of being healthy is finding ways to process our emotions. As a writer, wanting to dig beneath the surface is natural. We try to understand our own back stories.

When I was in the U.S. Army I visited a counselor because I thought professional advice might help me sort out some internal conflict. After a few tests, her professional advice was simply, "You show the intelligence to work these things out on your own." Even though that was a compliment, and I already knew I could probably figure everything out in time, that "advice" was frustrating. I had hoped someone else could figure things out for me for once, give me some simple way to sort out a complex and sometimes out-of-control mind, but that wasn't to be.

It isn't my natural response to write about things to sort them out, but that is a process I am trying to cultivate. Otherwise, the thoughts just float around in my head and often collide with each other. My thought is, if I write them down I'll gain control of them; that may or may not be true, but my point is writing is a discipline that doesn't come naturally to me. It does come naturally for you, and you seem to be using it well.

Marion McCready said...

"But the main point is that God evolves along with us. The New Testament God is a loving God, not a vengeful one" - not convinced on this one, I've heard it said that Jesus refers to hell more times in the gospels than heaven (though I've not checked myself), plus Jesus was quite happy to quote from and endorse the God of the OT.

Art Durkee said...

Well, Marion, you can check the Bible for the language, and you can check the book(s) I mentioned. Skepticism is certainly wise at times, because there have always been people who take a spiritual message and twist it because of the hate in their own hearts.

Marion McCready said...

Art, I've been meaning to read more Jung, I only know some of his basic theories. And although there are plenty instances that justify the perceived difference between the old and new testament God, there are also plenty OT stories that reveal that God to be loving and merciful also, though I can't pretend it's not an area I don't struggle with.

Jim Murdoch said...

To some extent, Terry, that’s how I’ve felt about the various mental health practitioners I’ve spoken to over the years, that they weren’t saying anything that a reasonably intelligent person couldn’t work out for himself. I think most people know what their problems are: admitting them out loud is another thing and also realising that most of them cannot be solved only put into perspective so when my therapist says, “Tell me about your mother…” – seriously I nearly burst out laughing when she did – I knew that the problems with our relationship were actually caused by both our problems with my father and it was him we should be discussing but anyone capable of reading in between the lines of the dedication to my first novel will realise that part of my problem has always been trying to live up to my father’s expectations and yet still hang onto a semblance of self.

I think one of the most common ways to write about things (for people who aren’t writers) are lists, pros and cons. I do think it helps to be able to stand apart from a problem. If you can distil (as oppose to reduce – fine distinction I know) a problem down to a few lines suddenly it puts it into perspective. That may be enough to solve it even.

Art and Marion, I know I started all this off by quoting scripture (can’t unlearn all that stuff so may as well use it) but I’m not going to get involved in a debate over the nature of God and our relationship to him. I will say this: I was brought up to believe the Bible as we have it today is a unified whole – what God wanted to be preserved was - and that, although penned by men it is the word of God. That being the case the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New; he simply changed his approach in dealing with people not that he ever dealt directly with humans, he always used a mediator.

Just because Jung’s father was a preacher doesn’t mean anything. I’ve spoken to ministers who have some very unscriptural views and who simply don’t know their bibles. Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” and since he is the Word of God, God’s spokesman (who became flesh – John 1:1), it’s fair to reason that God doesn’t evolve. Also James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (Also Malachi 3:6 – “I the LORD do not change.”) Remember 2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that, “All Scripture is inspired of God” etc etc and so that’s God himself telling us that he does not change, it’s not simply some bloke’s opinion. And, of course, God assures us that he cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18) but we only have his word for that.

Like I said that’s what I was taught and it’s pretty ingrained in me. I don’t care about any of it any more. People can squabble all they like about it (please don’t, it just depresses me) and that’s fine by me. As I’ve said before I’m neither an agnostic or an atheist: the only stand I’m taking is one of total indifference to the whole thing. But misquote a scripture and I can’t help but quote the party line; simply can’t help myself. Which, to get back on topic, makes me angry. I really would like to let go of all that and use the space it’s taking up in my brain for stuff that I care about now. I’ve forgotten so much useful stuff hanging onto all this religious crap.

Art Durkee said...

I mentioned Jung's father was a preacher only to point out that Jung knew his scripture, too, and had thought long and hard about it. Jung came from a deeply religious background, and one of his breaks away from Freud, after deeply investing himself in the mode of psychology, was that Freud was a rationalist-materialistic who made no allowances for spirituality except to dismiss it as neurosis. Jung found a way to incorporate spiritual beliefs into the psychological matrix without explaining them away or dismissing them; indeed, Jung's approach to religion was to emphasize its relevance in psychology.

You may have been raised to view the Bible as a unified whole, but it isn't, and never was. It was a compilation of disparate literary texts assembled (by St. Jerome) rather late in the day. Prior to that, there were a lot of competing books, most of which got left out, including a few other Gospels that didn't make it in, some of which we now have because of archaeological discoveries in the past century.

The literary and textual history of the Bible is a complicated thing, and does in my opinion does have some relevance to the discussion. Really, the Old Testament is already tripartite: the Pentateuch, the prophetic Histories, and the Wisdom Books.

The Wisdom Books are where the OT God is seen as most loving and merciful. The books of the prophets tend to be where God is seen as most harsh, angry, and judgmental. (Not that the Pentateuch misses out on this aspect, though.) The Wisdom Books are where the Mystery is emphasized, but also where praising and lovingkindness are emphasized. It's no surprise that Jesus himself pointed to the Wisdom Books as his precursor, as a way of establishing his prophetic credentials.

Marion, if you really want to get into Jung, don't start with the hard books ("Aion") first. Start with "Answer to Job," or "Synchronicity" or "Mandala Symbolism," or "Dreams," and work you way in from there. Once you get a taste for jung's writing style and method, the rest gets easier to read later.

Jim Murdoch said...

As I said, Art, I was just spouting the party line for old time's sake. There was a time I could discuss this for hours on end (and have done) but I'm tired of it now so I'm going to drawn a discreet line under the conversation there. My wife used to do this all the time, set up a subject and watch me worry it like a little dog refusing to let go. Conditioning - there's no other word for it - is a hard thing to break.

Marion McCready said...

Art - thanks for the Jung pointers, I'll keep them in mind.

Jim - I'd noticed before that the bible was a bit of a sore point for you which was why I responded to Art's points and not yours, but if it makes you uncomfortable I won't in future.

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