The past few years have been charged with intense anxiety and great distress, accompanied by the uncanny sense that we have been living through a collective nightmare in which the political and cultural conflicts that have surfaced are like so many psychic as well as physical manifestations of that waking bad dream. The chaos and violence that have erupted in our body politic are like the hallucinations that often accompany fevers—whether the fever originates in viral infection or psychic contagion. Following the wisdom of the Talmud which tells us that a dream uninterpreted is like a letter unread, it remains our ongoing task to try to understand what the political/cultural hallucinations as unread collective nightmares are trying to tell us.
I have been part of two different groups that have tried to stay in tune with the interface of psyche and polis—which is where the living symbol is often a mediator. This special edition of ARAS Connections features the work of these two groups: The Analysis and Activism/Presidency group and the Mind of State podcast team. I have worried about featuring the work of these two groups in this special edition of ARAS Connections as their primary focus has not been exclusively or even primarily the symbol—which is the natural habitat of ARAS. But, I remind myself that many chapters of Jung’s groundbreaking collection, Man and His Symbols, focused on social and political movements as the arena in which symbols can be most potent and dangerous, even when they seem to be in the background. ARAS’ own contemporary contribution to this exploration of the symbol in the cultural and political life of the nation was best expressed in our video On Taking a Knee that revered journalist Bill Moyers featured on his website.
This special edition of ARAS Connections challenges you with an extraordinary range of unique offerings from the Analysis and Activism/Presidency conference and the Mind of State podcast course which, taken together, can be imagined as a contemporary extension of Man and His Symbols.