In this month’s Connecting You with Erica Piebiak Publicity Coordinator for the Calgary Jung Society, she talks with Dr. John Todd a diplomate Jungian analyst based in Evergreen, Colorado. He is our guest speaker on September 11th and 12th, 2015: His lecture is titled: Exploring Archetypes Through Film. For more details please see our events page.
ERICA: Thank you John for being willing to speak with me and provide our membership with a better understanding of what they can learn from your lecture, Exploring Archetypes Through Film and what they may experience by engaging in a deeper exploration in the workshop. I find these Q and A’s help our members to know how they may apply what they learn to themselves and their lives more directly.
Q. Would you be able to show us a shift in consciousness of the collective from lets say 10 years ago to the present? And can you show us how the archetypes are seen differently from the past vs today?
A. A good example of this can be found in the image of the dragon. One example can be found when considering the Jurassic Park films. (I am looking at dinosaurs as being a version of the dragon) We in the West have a long history of slaying dragons and are often proud to have slayed a psychological dragon within ourselves. Of course, there are some “dragons” that need to be played, but do they ALL really need to be slayed? I sincerely doubt it.
In the first 3 Jurassic Park films one the most ferocious and terrifying dinosaur is the velociraptor. They actively hunt the humans and are a force to be reckoned with. In the newest film, Jurassic World, the protagonist is trying to train these same dinosaurs by establishing a relationship based on trust with them. So, the thing that once hunted us is now the thing that we are trying to establish a relationship with.
Q.What dynamic does this reflect in our psyches? What does it say about the collective?
A.The answer of course, depends on our interpretation of the dragon. (I will discuss this in-depth when I speak to your group on Sept 11.) The short answer is that while there is clearly a time to take up arms and slay an inner dragon, I would suspect that there are just as many times that forming a relationship with the part of ourselves that we might otherwise slay would be more fruitful. Another good example would be the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard Oz. She is certainly feared by human and dog alike. However, we see her redemption in recent years within the play Wicked. I’m fascinated by such compensatory movements within film as they are reflective of similar dynamics within our psyches.
Q. Myself being a movie and comic book lover, noticed this huge influx of movies in that genre. The Avengers, Iron Man, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, etc. Why do you think there is this draw to these comic hero based movies?
A. Yes, I too am a life long fan of comic books. In fact, I wrote my thesis on the image of the bat (and its redemption) which, of course, ended with a discussion of Batman. Even though I see film in general as being our modern day mythos, it seems that superheroes are a step closer to being mythic or archetypal. Sometimes we are actually watching goddess’ and gods on the screen! (Thor, Wonder Woman, Superman, etc.) I believe that a well done Superhero film can be exactly what we as culture are looking for, a mythology that we can reflect on as individuals, share with each other, and that above all can bring us closer to ourselves. It seems that so many people are starved for something that can bring depth to their lives. Unfortunately, many see the genre as being childish and lacking depth. While at its worst that can be true, the opposite is also true if we take the time to take a deeper look.
Q. You spoke about how movies are “dream work on a grand scale” and that they can be a ‘portal’ as are our dreams. I love these analogies! Would you expand on this a little more for us.
A.Movies can be a portal to the unconscious. In other words, it can serve as a dream does in that it connects us the unconscious. Sometimes it does so by reflecting our experience back to us and often times in doing so tapping into feelings, thoughts, memories, etc. So, the movie/dream acts as a bridge between conscious and unconscious.
Q.How does one begin to relate to a film they have just seen? Is it similar to how you would begin with a dream?
A.One can capitalize on this relationship by paying attention to our responses to films. Is there a film you have seen multiple times and even feel pulled to watch it again? Is there a film makes you cry, angry, etc. every time you see it? Are the characters from films showing up in your dreams? If so, the film most likely holds something for you. I often wonder about huge blockbuster films that break box-office records. What is it about this film that is speaking to the collective? What is this film reflecting back to us that we need to be more conscious of?
ERICA: Thank you John, for speaking with me and we look forward to exploring and discussing this fascinating subject with you further when we meet in a few days time.
John Todd – Exploring Archetypes Through Film
11 September 2015
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Parkdale United Church
John Todd – Films and Archetypes: A Deeper Exploration
12 September 2015
10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Parkdale United Church