Saturday, January 29, 2011

Under the influence of stones.


This is your brain on stones.

People call a certain euphoric state – "getting stoned", but if it doesn't involve actually working and/or playing with stones, I think it's just a chemical substitute! Maybe the reason we don't need any kind of substitute is because we have the real thing?

The human brain doesn't look much different than this potholed lump of ocean-tumbled sandstone we found on the beach yesterday. I wonder if their chemical compositions are that much different? Probably they have all the same elements whizzing around with a few of the atoms just rearranged a bit.

I was interested to discover that the leading pioneer of psychology Carl Jung, someone so steeped in the study of the mind and human behavior, maintained a continuing 'hands-on' interest in this mysterious connection between stones and human creativity?

This is what journalist, author and BBC broadcaster Mark Lawson says about the Jung.

"Carl Jung had a drive to transmute psychic images into form and substance . It was the force behind Jung’s tower building impulse in Bollingen. Through it he participated in an ancient and archetypal urge to secure the ineffable in the permanence of stone. History is filled with the archaeology of such longing, from the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf, the stone circles of Northern Ireland, Stonehenge, and the monumental heads of Easter Island. At the center of Islam is the black stone, set in the wall of the Ka’ba at Mecca. All holy places and shrines share this human urge to meld meaning into rock so that it may endure for generations.

With each structural decision at Bollingen, Jung sculpted psyche into stone. As each stone was set, his resolve to define his own views was strengthened. Much as a castle’s tower claims its territory, Bollingen marked Jung’s emancipation from the Freudian dogma, laying stake to the ground of his own ideas: Throughout his life, whenever he got stuck, Jung “ hewed stone.” (Jung, 1963, p. 169) Stonemasonry was his therapy. After his wife’s death in 1955 he wrote, “the close of her life, the end, wrenched me violently out of myself. It cost me a great deal to regain my footing, and contact with stone helped me.”

Carl Jung working with and thinking about stone.





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