Monday, February 9, 2009

Carl Jung Action Figure

In an art supply store the other day, I encountered CARL JUNG, Action Figure. The psychologist's writings about archetypes and alchemy have been major influences in my own writing and architecture. What a thrill to see that someone had the insight and humor to honor him as a superhero. On the front of the package Jung is quoted saying, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves." How irritatingly true!

Wearing a grey suit and brown shoes, Carl Jung, the bald action figure holds a pipe in his left hand. "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe," Freud, Jung's mentor, said. In the left hand of Carl Jung Action Figure, a pipe became a samurai sword. Jung didn't use the blade to eliminate shadowy enemies. Instead, he employed his sword of insight to slice open the shadow each of us carries in our hearts and release the light trapped inside.

In Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections,he tells the story of a student who came to a rabbi and said, "In the old days there were individuals who saw the face of God. Why don't they see Him anymore?" The rabbi replied,"Because nowadays no one can stoop so low."

On the back of the Carl Jung Action Figure package it says that Jung's final words were, "Let's have a really good red wine tonight." A Jung lay on his deathbed in his house, by a lake, Switzerland there was a severe thunderstorm. Nearby stood a massive tree beneath which Jung had spent many hours meditating on the mysteries of dwelling in this world. Soon after his passing, a bolt of lightning struck the tree, splitting it in two. Maybe it was a spark from our action hero's pipe.

Jung's enthusiasm for looking passed surface appearances into the soul of things encourages me every day. Even when working on seemingly mundane stuff, I sometimes remember that every thought and action is designing and shaping matter in some way. It's alchemical work that, bit by bit, transmutes the soul and the world. I like how Van Morrison sang it, "Even my best friends, they, don't know that my job is turning lead into gold."

Who knows? Maybe Carl Jung Action Figure will appear in a troubled situation in your life. A spark from his pipe ignites the furnace in your alchemical studio. The lead of your imagination flashes into a creative work of gold that saves your corner of the world. That's an action hero I can cheer for.

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