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The Shadows and Gifts of American Narcissism
November 12, 2010 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm PST
The American psyche has typically been seen as narcissistic. Indeed, we readily identify with the heroic, the good, and the brave. However, these noble portraits cast a long shadow. In this Friday evening lecture, Dr. West will supplement a Jungian exploration of this complex reality with slides and discussion about the works of a contemporary European artist, Anselm Kiefer. In Kiefer’s work, we experience an active engagement with the tension between destruction and creation. The ability to embody a union of opposites emerges from a strong and flexible consciousness that can hold such a paradoxical position. Consciousness that has developed this strength and flexibility is supported as one works through the dynamics of exhibitionism and grandiosity, ultimately forging a healthy narcissism: an embodied self-esteem, a rooted sense of values, and a capacity to tolerate vulnerability and limits. We witness these dynamics and developments within Kiefer’s work. With these developments, an individual – and a community or nation – can work to engage in an effective dialogue with primal forces that carry the potential for both apocalypse and epiphany. With these strengths, we deepen our capacity to confront and suffer the tragic personal and historical realities in which we participate.
Related Workshop: The Shadows and Gifts of American Narcissism
Jacqueline J. West, Ph.D. is a Jungian Analyst practicing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a member and Training Analyst in the New Mexico Society of Jungian Analysts as well as in the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. She has served as both President and Training Director of the New Mexico Society and also as President of the Council of North American Societies of Jungian Analysts (CNASJA). She is co-author, along with Jungian Analyst Nancy Dougherty, of The Matrix and Meaning of Character: An Archetypal and Developmental Perspective Searching for the Wellsprings of Spirit. She lectures widely on the dynamics of archetypally inspired character structures and their interplay with art and politics.