Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for January 20, 2012

[Beneath the Surface] -- Last weekend, I attended an introductory session on Jungian Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology. Carl Gustav Jung was something of a Renaissance man. His interests ranged far and wide, from mythology and dreams to science and medicine. He turned his keen intellect first on his own psyche, and used what he found to help his patients. During his journey, he helped to found and establish the field of psychoanalysis. In doing so, he invented the concepts of collective unconscious, synchronicity, introversion, extroversion, and even developed the association word test. Jung fully believed that symbols are the language of the unconscious, and he advanced the use of archetypes to illuminate both personality as well as literature. Well, not all 80s song lyrics make for great literature, but I would wager all of our favorite artists were drawing, in one way or another, from the "collective unconscious." Let's briefly look at these Jungian concepts in Jung's own words.

Jung on the collective unconscious: 
The collective unconscious - so far as we can say anything about it at all  - appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious... We can therefore study the collective unconscious in two ways, either in mythology or in the analysis of the individual. (From The Structure of the Psyche, CW 8, par. 325.)

Jung on the archetypes: 
The archetype concept derives from the often repeated observation that myths and universal literature stories contain well defined themes which appear every time and everywhere. We often meet these themes in the fantasies, dreams, delirious ideas and illusions of persons living nowadays. (From Carl Jung Resources.

Jung on Synchronicity: 
The philosophical principle that underlies our conception of natural law iscausality. But if the connection between cause and effect turns out to be onlystatistically valid and only relatively true, then the causal principle is only of relative use for explaining natural processes and therefore presupposes the existence of one or more other factors which would be necessary for anexplanation. This is as much as to say that the connection of events may in certaincircumstances be other than causal, and requires another principle of explanation.
We shall naturally look round in vain in the macrophysical world for acausalevents, for the simple reason that we cannot imagine events that are connected non-causally and are capable of a non-causal explanation. But that does not mean that such events do not exist. Their existence- or at least their possibility- follows logically from the premise of statistical truth. (From Synchronicity — An Acausal Connecting Principle.)

Hopefully, you're as fascinated by these ideas as I am. Maybe you're even wondering what 80s tunes have obvious -- or not so obvious -- ties to Jungian concepts. But even if you're not, you can still enjoy some great 80s selections after the break.

Flashback #1"Robin ... the Hooded Man."

As this week's theme is a bit different than usual, I decided to throw something of a curve ball to start the flashbacks. We will start with Robin Hood. Now, most folks are familiar with the basics of Robin Hood, or at least they think they are. But we do not even need to trifle with specifics about Robin Hood or his legend. What we want to address here is the mythic aspect of what Robin Hood represents. He is a hero. He is a shrouded and shadowy figure. In 1984, British television attempted to portray a Robin Hood informed both by history and pagan myth. Clannad, the Irish folk group that is perhaps better known for giving the world Enya, composed and composed the series' soundtrack. This soundtrack was released as Legend (1984) and won a BAFTA award for Best Original Television Music. Our first flashback of the week is the series' title theme: "Robin (The Hooded Man)." Lyrically quite simple, but musically lush, the song is practically a meditation on the hero of Sherwood Forest.

Flashback #2"Fly. On your wings. Like an eagle. Fly. Touch the Sun."

In 1983, British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden, released the first single from Piece of Mind, their fourth studio album. Although it was their eighth single overall, "Flight of Icarus" was their very first single to be released in the United States. It did well on both sides of the pond, reaching #11 on the UK Singles Chart and and #8 the US Billboard Top Album Tracks Chart. An obvious nod to Greek mythology with its main character (Icarus) and notions of flying too close to the sun, "Flight of Icarus" is also an allegory of teenage rebellion against adult authority. Because all myth is built upon the archetypes that arise from the collective unconscious, this song definitely deserves a place in this week's flashback.  

Flashback #3"
If we share this nightmare | 
Then we can dream | 
Spiritus mundi."

At least once this week, you or one of your colleagues likely referred to a moment in which synchronicity was experienced. Whether you actually believe that there are no coincidences in life, you probably accept "synchronicity" as age-old aspect of the human experience. However, prior to the 1920s, the concept of seemingly unrelated events having an underlying and meaningful connection just was not part of the vernacular. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung introduced this notion in the early 1920s, but did not publish on it until his 1952 paper: Synchronizität als ein Prinzip akausaler Zusammenhänge (Synchronicity — An Acausal Connecting Principle). Now, if that is surprising to you, it should be of no surprise that no less a lyricist than Sting crafted not one but two songs dedicated to this powerful principle. Both of them appeared on The Police's fifth studio album titled (again, no surprise): Synchronicity (1983). Only the second of the two songs, "Synchronicity II," was released as a single, but I already addressed that tune in last May's retrospective on The Police. So, this week's flashback ends with the song that kicks off Synchronicity with a repeating sequencer line and terse, hypnotic lyrics: "Synchronicity I."

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

No comments: