Mythopoesis and Jung’s creative psyche

Week 5

Mythopoesis defined as the creation of myth but is more known as an identifier for a genre and an approach to creativity. William Blake forged his own myth in creating his own deity; Urizen, the satanic embodiment of reason. He challenged religious belief and doctrine. Alistair Crowley an occultist who reworked western occultism into a mythical system called Thelema; also redesigned the Tarot deck. These two men created their own myths and traditions have now passed on from their creations. New age & self-help culture has a “pick and choose” attitude to belief, this waters down the mythic and spiritual elements of belief and brings it more close to individualism which in turn links directly to consumerism because people will buy things that they believe represents them. (Spoors, 2012)

Mythopoesis is a part of popular culture as J. R. R. Tolkien created middle earth & The Lord of the Rings as a mythical past to our world. It is a coherent world and the myth has people believing and investing time and money into it. Other creators like C. S. Lewis’s Narnia and H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu have all done very similar things in their creation of myth. The first few popular creations led to Mythopoesis informing pop culture today a few examples of this are RPG’s, Star Wars and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. (Spoors, 2012) Mythopoesis informs more than just our cultural material but is also invested in certain symbols as meanings. All individuals invest meaning into these symbols and the draw on existing myths, pop culture and their own personal life.

Sigmund Freud was Psychoanalyst his theory of the psyche had great influence on a range of understandings of culture and art; the surrealism movement was heavily influenced by Freud. (Spoors, 2012) Freud looks at creativity as driven by individual desires that are being socially repressed and thus the individual stages their desire in a more socially acceptable form. However this theory with Freud usually centred on sexual repression, he argued that it was one of roots of the many problems in western society. (Hey, N.D.)

Carl Gustav Jung was another psychoanalyst who broke away from Freud’s emphasis on sexuality. He argued that humans have a “collective unconscious comprised of a core of archetypes. These archetypes are Self (Ego), Persona (Mask over the ego), Shadow (Hidden aspects of ego), anima (The Feminine) and the animus (The masculine).

There are also cultural Archetypes, the King (Father-figure/protector), Great Mother (Goddess/creator), Warrior (disciplined aggressor), Sage (wise mentor) and Lover (Carer/compassion) these archetypes are formed from cultural conditioning and are reinforced through their use in popular culture, stories, mythology and personal life. The archetypes can even be used to describe different personalities that appear in someone’s dream. (Pettifor, 1995)

Jung also presents the idea of the ‘Active Imagination’ it is split into 3 parts the Individuation whereby the ego integrates its shadow and after cohering in itself it seeks out union with others and society. The Projection where the hidden aspects in one’s own ego are perceived in others and finally the Active Imagination where one actively confronts one’s unconscious mind and shadow. The prospect of the Active imagination brings thought into how a person will subjugate themselves to fit in with society by hiding away their feelings and only opening up when they believe there are projected elements of themselves in another person.

Hey, W. (N.D.). Sigmund Freud: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Repression. Retrieved June 1, 2012, from Vision: http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=597

Pettifor, E. (1995). Major Archetypes and the Process of Individuation. Retrieved June 1, 2012, from pandc: http://pandc.ca/?cat=carl_jung&page=major_archetypes_and_individuation

Spoors, G. (2012). Creativity History and Practice: Week 5 Mythopoesis. Retrieved June 1, 2012, from http://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-2156736-dt-content-rid-279869_1/courses/CCA1103.2012.1.METRO/Week%205%20LectureNew.pdf

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