Depth Psych
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Depth Psych
Pioneered by William James, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Gustav Jung, Depth Psychology is the study of how we dialogue with the Unconscious via symbols, dreams, myth, art, nature. By paying attention to the messages that show up from beyond our conscious egos, we can be guided to greater understanding, transformation, and integration with the world around us, inner and outer. Join the conversation in community at www.DepthPsychologyAlliance.com
Curated by Bonnie Bright
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Culture Collapse Disorder: Can Depth Psychology Help Us Cope?

Culture Collapse Disorder: Can Depth Psychology Help Us Cope? | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Earth’s inhabitants are in peril largely of our own making. We are, consciously or unconsciously, systematically destroying the our homeplaces, habitats, ecosystems, and above all, the only home we collectively know: Earth.

 

Reports are emerging daily about the implications of human impact on our environment, presenting dire warnings about pollution, urban development, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, natural disasters, and displacement. The tally of global losses grows daily as we perpetrate ecological destruction through our relentless consumption of the earth’s dwindling resources; through rampant use of toxins, chemicals, and pesticides; and through deforestation, erosion, and devastation of natural ecosystems, wetlands, rivers, and oceans.

 

The unchecked demands of a burgeoning human population on the planet are initiating conditions that are simply not sustainable. Combined with what might be called our cultural “modern mindset,” an ongoing belief...(click title to keep reading)

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Nature, Psyche, Climate Change, and the Psychology of Place

Nature, Psyche, Climate Change, and the Psychology of Place | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

"I am an orphan, alone, nevertheless I am found everywhere, I am one, but opposed to myself. I am youth and old man at one and the same time. I have known neither father nor mother, because I have had to be fetched out of the deep like a fish, or fell like a white stone from heaven. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man. I am mortal for every one, yet I am not touched by the cycle of aeons."

 

Jung’s words allude to our connectivity to nature and to each other as human beings embedded in a culture which leaves us feeling separate and disconnected on the surface. Globalization, industrialization, ecocide, and environmental issues seem to be dividing us more and more rapidly, leading to increased feelings of isolation, alienation and to a very real echo of these archetypal aspects in the physical world as people in environmentally stressed areas, feeling abandoned, desperately begin to move in search of food, water, shelter, and... (click title to read more)

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Carl Jung: The Main Differences between Freud and Jung

Carl Jung: The Main Differences between Freud and Jung | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Our way of looking at things is conditioned by what we are. And since other people are differently constituted, they see things differently and express themselves differently. Adler, one of Freud's earliest pupils, is a case in point. Working with the same empirical material as Freud, he approached it from a totally different standpoint. His way of looking at things is at least as convincing as Freud's, because he also represents a well-known type. I know that the followers of both schools flatly assert that I am in the wrong, but I may hope that history and all fair-minded persons will bear me out.

 

Both schools, to my way of thinking, deserve reproach for over-emphasizing the pathological aspect of life and for interpreting man too exclusively in the light of his defects. A convincing example of this in Freud's case is his inability...(click title to continue)

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"Psyche Under Siege: Patterns We Live By" with Dr Michael Conforti

"Psyche Under Siege: Patterns We Live By" with Dr Michael Conforti | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

After giving a lecture where I discussed the Holocaust, an elderly man approached me.  I could see a genuine kindness and compassion in his face, and also sensed that his soul had seen far too much in his lifetime. He wanted me to re-consider my comment that we could never understand what created the Holocaust and ongoing acts of genocide.

 

Gently, yet firmly he explained that when we stop trying to understand, we open the door open for future occurrences.  I immediately realized that I had made a terrible mistake, and apologized to him and to the memory of all the past, present and future victims of these crimes against humanity whose tragic fate... (Click title to keep reading)

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Patterns at Work, Patterns We Live By

Patterns at Work, Patterns We Live By | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

In looking at patterns, we see an incarnation and expression of archetypes and spirit within the internal and external world. The specific form and design of these patterns gives voice to the reality of these underlying shapers of experience.
 

From the moment a dancer steps onto the stage, to the lyrical musings of a poet, and even to our most intimate of relationships, we find these highly stylized, patterns in our life.   Joseph Campbell allowed us to see that one’s life is an unfolding of a mythic tale, and that our behaviors, choices and desires are expressions of these eternal traditions. It is through the recognition of the patterns we live by that reveals the nature of our particular relationship to spirit, soul and psyche.
 

Virtually everyone can identify patterns in their own life, and in many instances, we have to admit…(Click title to read full post).

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Some quotes from Jung that offer insight into the Newtown tragedy and our collective American shadow

Some quotes from Jung that offer insight into the Newtown tragedy and our collective American shadow | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

In the aftermath of the Newtown horror I searched for some quotes from Carl Jung that offer some insight into the existential darkness of this tragedy. Depth psychology offers us an important perspective rarely considered in our mainstream discourse—which is that our collective life is a reflection of unconscious dynamics.

 

What is not tended to in our inner world is projected outward as fate, tragedy, and catastrophe. Forensic psychologists will offer us a retrospective analysis of Adam Lanza’s mental health; government will consider policies regulating the ownership of assault weapons; and educators will revisit school safety. These are critical elements of... (Click title to continue reading)

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Image, Language, and the Lived Body in the Depth Psychology of the Self

Image, Language, and the Lived Body in the Depth Psychology of the Self | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

In 1994 in the Ardeche region of France, three explorers pulled rocks away from a tiny opening at the base of a cliff and opened the door to another world. Inside the deepest recesses of what turned out to be a 1300-foot long cave were remarkable images of animals painted there by humans living 30,000 years ago (Herzog, 2010).

 

The images are remarkable in their style and beauty, virtually perfectly preserved in the near airtight conditions of the cave. Lions, bears, bison, reindeer, mammoth, rhinoceroses and other beings line the walls in almost three-dimensional form, many captured in dynamic action--hooves raised, mouths, open, legs bent midstride--as if they were living beings.

 

Today, it is easy to take language for granted. The majority of the civilized world both reads and writes, allowing communication in very specific topic and form.  But what is it to “have language”--be linguistic creatures? What would life... (Click title to continue reading)

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Our Modern Cultural Mindset and the Forward Thinking of Carl Jung

Our Modern Cultural Mindset and the Forward Thinking of Carl Jung | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

One of my favorite quotes is this from Carl Jung, which addresses the reality of nature and our loss of contact with it. It also identifies a deep and burgeoning issue for humankind:

 

“Man feels isolated in the cosmos. He is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional participation in natural events, which hitherto had symbolic meaning for him. Thunder is no longer the voice of a god, nor is lightning his avenging missile. No river contains a spirit, no tree makes a man's life, no snake is the embodiment of wisdom and no mountain still harbours a great demon. Neither do things speak to him nor can he speak to things, like stones, springs, plants and animals" (The Earth Has a Soul, Sabini, 2005, p. 79-80)

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The disconnect I experience between the ancient, primal knowing carried over from two million years of unity between spirit and matter, the concept that (Click title to continue reading)

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The Society of Analytical Psychology (SAP) - Jung and Addiction

The Society of Analytical Psychology (SAP) - Jung and Addiction | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Jung wrote little about addiction.  He claimed that he was afraid of being misunderstood by the scientific community of his day. However, he has had a profound influence on one source of help available to people with problems of addiction. This is his link, indirect though it was, with the founding andphilosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous.


This “Fellowship”, as A.A. members call it, has spread all over the world and has not only helped millions of people struggling with their addiction to alcohol, but in turn has spawned various other self-help groups for those with addictions of other sorts as well as groups for their family members and friends.  Because of the anonymity factor, the numbers are never precisely known, but judging by the conventions of members held from time to time... (click title to continue reading)

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Myth and Body: Pandora's Legacy in a Post-Modern World

Myth and Body: Pandora's Legacy in a Post-Modern World | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Being a Jungian analyst at this time in history is not particularly comfortable in most psychological or intellectual circles. Jungians are supposed to believe in universal human characteristics called "archetypes" and to support the theory that we all share a collective unconscious. Although Jung's work has some popular appeal, his ideas now seem antiquated in the light of current philosophical and scientific approaches. Mostly his work is not taught in college psychology departments, medical schools, or other places where it could have a broad impact on the way psychotherapy is practiced in the US today.

 

 Because Jung's psychology is grounded in a theory of universals, what all human beings have in common, it appears to be in conflict with many fashionable poll-modern theories. In the past two decades, any belief in universal truths or characteristics has come under close scrutiny and often been dismissed, at least in academic circles. Post-modernism is a broad cultural critique that has challenged theories of self, coherence, and almost all and any claims to truth. These are hard times for a Jungian who is supposed to believe in a universal Self, not only in characteristics that are shared among... (Click title to continue reading)

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Objectification and the Archetype of the Zombie

Objectification and the Archetype of the Zombie | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

In my last post, I focused on the idea of "watching without seeing" and alluded to how we collectively tend to objectify in our culture and resort to passive bystanding rather than engaged witnessing--that is, bringing our hearts into what we see happening around us rather than treating it as something that serves to entertain or simply shock us. 

French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre explores this theme--and its relationship to Medusa the Gorgon of myth--in Being and Nothingness.


He sets the scene by urging the reader to imagine looking through a keyhole. In this scenario, from my vantage point behind the door with the keyhole, whatever I see outside becomes the object of my attention. In this position, I am the center of consciousness, the “doer”, the subject who wields the power by directing my gaze to theobjects of my regard. There is no need or call to reflect on myself. Then, however... (Click title to continue reading)

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Poetry Education as "Soul-Making" Method

Poetry Education as "Soul-Making" Method | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

When I tell people that I am a poet and poetry teacher with a depth psychological perspective, someone inevitably asks, “Did you say depth? What is depth psychology?” Without getting into a lengthy academic discussion about the theories of Freud, Jung, and Hillman, this isn’t an easy question to answer.


Yet, like everyone who practices in this rewarding field, I try, usually by offering the following: “Depth psychology is the study of the unconscious, the world of dreams, archetypes, complexes, and imagination that exists below the surface of our lives, and which informs and influences our surface experiences.


Through my work over the last two years as a teacher and facilitator of poetry discussion groups, however, I’ve come to understand that depth psychology isn’t only about depth--the mostly unseen and mysterious realms of psyche. Rather, depth psychological... (click title to continue reading)

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James Hillman obituary (2011)

James Hillman obituary (2011) | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

James Hillman, who has died aged 85 from the complications of cancer, has been hailed as the most important US psychologist since WilliamJames. He was a dedicated subversive – witty and original – and an heir to the Jungian tradition, which he reimagined with unceasing brilliance.


Fiercely critical of America's dedication to the pursuit of happiness,Hillman focused on the darkest and most difficult human experiences – illness, depression, failure and suicide – not merely as abnormal pathologies that should be avoided or cured...(click title to read on...)

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Men Are From Earth, And So Are Women: Marion Woodman: On The Inner Marriage Of The True Masculine And The True Feminine

Men Are From Earth, And So Are Women: Marion Woodman: On The Inner Marriage Of The True Masculine And The True Feminine | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

I’d never danced in church before I took a workshop with Marion Woodman. Being in the chapel of New York City’s Union Theological Seminary was a sort of homecoming for me: five years earlier I had stridden down the middle aisle of that chapel with a newly minted master of divinity degree in my hand.


Now a series of seemingly disconnected incidents had brought me back, as if by design, to attend Woodman’s workshop. The psychologist Carl Jung might have chalked it all up to “synchronicity” — a meaningful link between otherwise unrelated events. Woodman, a Jungian analyst herself, would no doubt... (click title to continue reading)

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Eva Rider's curator insight, November 18, 2014 1:15 AM

This is a wonderful article exemplifying the brilliance, wisdom and humour of Marion Woodman...

Michael Goodman's curator insight, November 18, 2014 11:58 AM

Thank you Bonnie for this piece on Marion Woodman. I had the opportunity to see her several years ago in Santa Barbara....she is a gift and her "body" of work is amazing.

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Ensoulment and Synchronicity: Concepts from Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas

Ensoulment and Synchronicity: Concepts from Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

In his 2006 book Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, Rick Tarnas suggests that the western mind has catapulted us away from a fundamental cosmos where everything was ensouled, alive, and animated by meaning and archetype.


Our modern mindset is, instead, to attempt to control and manipulate our environment, making us the active subject in any interaction, and the things we see around us the passive object. Tarnas suggests “disenchantment” refers to the way the world is objectified, thereby denying subjectivity.


“Objectification,” he contends, “denies to the world a subject’s capacity to intend, to signify intelligently, to express it's meaning, to embody and communicate humanly relevant purposes and ... (Click title to keep reading)

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A Rosemont Journey's curator insight, June 28, 2013 2:04 PM

Here's a belief very simple clear and true; if you want love, then be love.
Ultimately you are a reservoir for all you know and experience.

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Rediscovering the Authentic Self: Jung's Concept of Individuation in Depth Psychology

Rediscovering the Authentic Self: Jung's Concept of Individuation in Depth Psychology | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

In his fascinating book, Coming to our Senses, historian and social critic Morris Berman introduces the terms alienation or confiscation as a “rupture in the continuum of life.” Alienation is experienced as the feeling of an abyss where a sense of self or self-identity is missing or where the self does not feel safe. Many psychologists have speculated that this abyss or gap in the experience of the self may be increased or intensified by a lack of positive mirroring in the infancy stage.

 

Mirroring, which Berman defines as “the growth of self-recognition through the medium of other people” includes both the touch and gaze of others. Donald Winnicott, a British psychoanalyst, pediatrician, and pioneer in the clinical research of mirroring, developed object relations, the understanding of our separate self, or ego self, in relation to other objects or people around us. He suggested it starts at the time of birth because the infant develops his sense of identity based on what he sees... (click title to keep reading)

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psychology, mirroring, children, child development, Winnicott, Morris Berman, ego, ego development, Carl Jung, CG Jung, jungian, depth psychology, individuation

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Hillman: Wounds and the Wounded Healer

Hillman: Wounds and the Wounded Healer | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

“Building the psychic vessel of containment, which is another way of speaking of soul-making, seems to require bleeding and leaking as its precondition. Why else go through that work unless we are driven by the despair of our unstoppered condition?

 

The shift  from anima-mess to anima-vessel shows in various ways: as a shift from weakness and suffering to humility and sensitivity; from bitterness and complaint to a tastefor salt and blood; from focus upon the emotional pain of the wound – its causes, perimeters, cures – to its imaginal depths; from displacements of the womb onto women and “femininity” to its locus in ones own bodily rhythm…

 

We have said that each symptom brings the archetypal condition of woundedness. Although the wound may be experienced through a symptom, they are not the same. A symptom belongs to diagnosis, pointing to something else underlying. But the wound, as we have (Click title to keep reading)


Via Maxwell Purrington
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On Magic, Shamanism, and Listening: The Collective Unconscious of C.G. Jung

On Magic, Shamanism, and Listening: The Collective Unconscious of C.G. Jung | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

“If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, will find that this world is a magical place. It is magical not because it tricks us or changes unexpectedly into something else, but because it can be so vividly and brilliantly.”--Chogyam Trungpa


When I was a child, I longed for magic: actively, forcefully, wistfully. I spent thousands of hours reading books about witches and wizards and fairies and everyday objects endowed with supernatural powers, I read about kids who time-traveled or fell into other dimensions or discovered secret portals to other lives. I always wanted to be one of those characters from the story, happening on magic that would transport me from my problems, my boredom, my malaise (French translation: being poorly-at-ease) with life. As I grew older, I stopped believing...

 

Our ancestors had far more contact with magic. They lived life closer to nature, a force larger than life. They saw themselves as an intrinsic part of a pattern that happened around them and to them and in them and through them, an ongoing dialogue with equals. Rather than placing themselves above the objects we see as inanimate, everything they saw and experienced in the physical world was a endowed with the life force... (Click title to read full post)

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Are We Implicated?--A Depth Psychological and Cultural Take on the Fall of Lance Armstrong

Are We Implicated?--A Depth Psychological and Cultural Take on the Fall of Lance Armstrong | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

I was out of town for a conference the weekend the two-part Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah broke and missed it entirely, but the fall-out is hard to miss. Normally I am a bit of a media addict, fascinated and equally reactive to what I consider to be a culture in decline, symptomatic even, of impending collapse.

 

Our priorities seem so out of whack; our values in tatters, our goals absurd. I’m speaking for myself as well as the collective of course. Each of us is quite embedded in our values, beliefs, and behaviors--a result of our upbringing, education, religious ties, political views, social status, and so much more that we tend to take for granted. As a whole, we shore up the culture, buying into the “way things are,” enabling practices that are less than generative.

 

Regarding the “Lance” story, though--as one of my peers in the Depth Psychology Alliance community recently pointed out--nobody does the kind of thing Lance has done in a vacuum. Our fallen heroes are...(Click title to keep reading)

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Shape-Shifting Through Darkness

Shape-Shifting Through Darkness | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Three separate clients came to me recently in very dark places. One had just lost her job and felt trapped--she described herself as being in a “coffin.” The second one was a single mother with a 2-month old baby who was living in a foreign country with no support system. I saw her life as she had known it disintegrating and an image appeared of her “melting” into the earth. And the image that showed up with the third client’s story was of being caught inside a black bag, desperately trying to get out. For all of them of course, the rational choice would be to get the heck out of that dark place, clawing oneself--by whatever means available--back into the “light.”

 

As humans, our normal mode is to be in the light--working, connecting, building things, and busily interacting with other humans. When life as we know it disintegrates, we may find ourselves being... (Click title to continue reading)

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Myth, Image and Depth-Oriented Psychotherapy

Myth, Image and Depth-Oriented Psychotherapy | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

The study of mythology and mythic imagery has long been the province of comparative religion, anthropology, literature and art. In the early 20th century, the scholarly study of mythology was appropriated by psychology, specifically the depth psychology of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, to investigate the psychological and structural implications of myth. The study of myth and its relation to dreams and psychopathology has contributed to a paradigm shift in the field of psychology, in which the symbolic contents of the unconscious, as distinguished from the rational mind and the sensational body, suggest a third realm of human influence and experience.

 

The analysis of myth has been an integral part of some of depth psychology’s most significant theories. Modern depth psychology interprets myth as symbolizing an inner, psychological experience. Yet, while Freud’s development of the Oedipus Complex and Jung’s use of mythic symbolism in dream interpretation have been widely studied, and Joseph Campbell’s work in... (Click title to keep reading)

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What Is Jungian Analysis?

What Is Jungian Analysis? | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

 Jungian analysis is the form of psychotherapy developed by Carl Gustav Jung, one of the leading pioneers of modern depth psychology.  From the Jungian viewpoint, analysis is essentially a dialogue between two people - the analyst and the analysand.  Its aim is to help the analysand get in touch with his/her own inner sources of healing and growth, and thus to arrive at individual answers and solutions.

        Because Jungian analysis is adapted to the needs and goals of the individual, it may in practice be any number of things: short-term counseling on a specific problem; sympathetic support through a difficult period; help in resolving conflicts and eliminating symptoms; guidance in developing creative potentials or discovering new life possibilities.

       Although Jung’s “analytical psychology” has its own distinctive viewpoint, it is, in the final analysis, less a school of psychology alongside others than a... (click title to continue reading)

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Addictive Disorders and Contemplative Practice

It would be appropriate to begin in the customary manner by presenting the statistics that define the extent and cost of addictive disorders – the percentage of population addicted to alcohol and drugs and the related economic burden to society. Wherever one draws the line in defining addiction the numbers are staggering. Let us leave it there.


Why, because it is not my intent to define addiction in the usual way as an involuntary, repetitive, compulsive behavior that is dysfunctional to the individual and others. Rather, I shall define it here as a disturbance of consciousness. From this viewpoint, the problem of addiction is the result of an undeveloped consciousness – a problem whose scope extends to and includes what culture considers normal behavior.

The modern day perspective asserts that addiction is primarily a psychological and physiological disorder. There are psychological triggers, circumstances, and patterns of behavior that initiate and re-enforce addictive behavior as well as physiological correlates of addiction that further ... (Click title to continue)

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Watching without Seeing: A Pathological Cultural Disorder?

Watching without Seeing: A Pathological Cultural Disorder? | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Most of us have had the experience of feeling stopped, stuck, or paralyzed in our lives, unable to progress, to access creativity, meet deadlines, sometimes even to manage basic obligations. Being immobilized is hardly pleasant, but it is absolutely a hallmark of impending change, and it behooves us to understand both the problem and the power of paralysis.


Years ago, I did some meaningful research into the myth of Medusa, the legendary Gorgon who turned people to stone when they looked at her. What I ultimately realized is that the irony of regarding Medusa is that being turned to stone makes one an object of disregard. Disregard may be defined as a turning away from something one doesn’t want to see; an avoiding or a dismissal. It implies a choice, conscious or not, to devalue, deny, or relegate something to total...(Click title to continue reading)

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Key Images & Their Impact

Key Images & Their Impact | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

The French writer Albert Camus wrote, "A man's life is nothing but a slow trek to rediscover through the detours…those one or two images in whose presence his heart first opened.” The poet Stanley Kunitz believed that writers have key images that captivated them as children, and they keep working these images over and over again in their writings. The mythologist Michael Meade says that at the core of each of our lives is an image that first “moved us” into the world. And Walt Whitman poetically wrote, “There was a child went forth, and the first thing he looked upon, that object he became.”

Is it possible, as the writers above suggest, that as children looking at the world with fresh eyes, certain key visual impressions make an impact on our hearts? Perhaps giving us a “ground” to ... (click title to continue reading...)

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Jane Brody's curator insight, January 1, 2013 3:56 PM

I have taught actors to look for key images to open a role for them.  These images are partially personal and partially cultural.  The main objective in locating such images is to open a reliable emotional channel to action.