Monday February 23 | Why Good People Do Bad Things

February 20, 2009 at 10:00 am | Posted in Coming Up | 4 Comments

A Jungian analyst joins us with his theory on understanding our “darker” selves in answering the question– why do good people do bad things? He asserts that our psyche is divided and “the shadow” is responsible for repression, slavery, murder, war and greed throughout history.
Dr. James Hollis
– Jungian Analyst and Author of Why Good People Do Bad Things

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  1. Has there been any research put to the question of why people generally considered bad or evil or with generally bad or evil dispositions do good things?

  2. Much of Jung’s philosophy was based on the I Ching.
    Much of Feng Shui is based on the I Ching.
    Are Jungians more likely to create a garden-world than, say, Freudians?
    And if there is a Freudian Slip…why isn’t there a Jungian Pettycoat? Is not this the very underwear of evil?

  3. I confess I began reading Jungian psychology intensely when I was 16. I have referred to it for clarification and inspiration periodically since then. I now see it as a clever system of labeling of psychological phenomenon and configurations of life perception. It helped me overcome the foibles of religious training early on, understand that I could have many more than two parents (some adopted), and develop humility and self-effacement as a means to my chosen career: political critic. I will leave it to others to decide whether I contribute or whether I am self-integrated but outwardly erratic.

    Psychological founders like Jung are master storytellers and offer doubters and sufferers a role in a common narrative. I doubt the collective unconscious as an adequate explanation for cultural and societal structure and activity. Jungianism itself is submerged in a highly materialistic and commercial environment, and as such is a product to be advertised and purchased in the form of therapy and books. As such, it fails to acknowledge much about the realities of differential power and wealth, and therefore about the proscribed range of choice most people encounter. Its ventures into multi-culturalism have been selective and furtive. It may have value for those in western nations who can afford luxuries, but is in itself sometimes an armor that allows people to persist in banal evil (Hannah Ahrendt) while feeling enlightened and liberated. By judging the dark personality as a utilitarian relativism Jung mistakenly accepts politically fatal weakness. Freud is more flawed and crude in his personality theory but has greater ambition in the area of self-control and cultural critique. In the end the customer decides the application because he has purchased the product. Early psychological systems probably should have had a “purchase by date” because much history has contradicted their accuracy and efficacy since their inception. They are but hints for seekers of meaning and purpose today. This makes Dr. Hollis more an artifact than an historian. (He may be an excellent practitioner and instructor.) You should count to twenty and decide whether you really need Jung’s stories at this point in life. Look for better answers.

    Mike: Your matured and empathetic gifts were evident today, and this was worthy subject matter for Charlotte Talks. For those who listened it raised important issues and in effect lifted the perceptions of our community. This show should be earmarked as a standard (despite a book and events being marketed).

  4. This interviewer is completely uninformed. Ludicrously silly interview. My advice: If you can’t speak intelligently or interview intelligently on a subject, don’t. If you don’t even know what questions to ask, don’t. If you can’t be bothered to do your homework, don’t waste the interviewee or listeners time. My favorite part is how Mr. Hollis actually steers the conversation toward reasonable discussion. Seriously, astoundingly bad interview.

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