I started sketching this hip hop song about the recent Florida shooting. And it’s good. It’s got kick and chops and memory. Then this morning I looked at the lyrics with fresh eyes and part of me is like ugh preach preach preach, politics man. Am I so afraid to write about myself? The right here reality that I know and inhabit? My personal body fears, mind insecurities, cycling ups and downs? I’m so desperate and pathetic that I need to resort to the last big thing I saw on CNN?
My friend Clark the psychologist lives in the woods. Last night I asked if he could explain Carl Jung to me. Wherever people discuss psychedelics, Jung and synchronicity and archetypes and dreams are not far behind. Clark mentioned Jung a few weeks ago. And I’ve heard his name for as long as I can remember. Clark said he understood Jung’s work. And since there are no truly free audiobooks online because the free week trial requires your credit card number and since I’m a cheap and nervous kind of guy and also impatient and ADD/ADHD and I-want-Jung-now-dammit, I asked Clark if he could give me the quick and dirty on Jung. Lol how’d you spend your Friday night?
Some are dubbing the Parkland, Florida shooting the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Even if I catch it entirely from CNN or Reddit, this shooting is a ripple that touches me. News becomes personal, the moment you become aware of it. I talked to my college classes about it, and then I start piecing together the facts, looping hip hop beats over and over again, trying to make mantras out of the madness. And the CNN sediment settles into my skin. It becomes a thing I carry. And yet still, I’m the snake looking at the shooting story that begins at 2:19pm with an Uber and a duffel bag and I say man this is politics this isn’t me. I’m shedding, but it’s not my skin. But it is me. It is a part of me. It has to be. And yet also it’s not.
Based on my hour-long crash course, which was more helpful than my high school and college coverage of psychology, here’s my crack at how Jung would juggle the Valentine’s Day Massacre. First, it matters that the shooting piqued my attention or seized my fear. Something about this massacre, taking place now, as opposed to the 52 other mass shootings that took place in the first 34 days of 2018—grabbed my throat. Jung would argue, I think, that it’s not stupid happenstance or naked chance—it’s synchronicity. Which is chance plus the glow of intelligence. Sounds like new age bullshit? Admittedly, a little. But it’s nice to suspend our curmudgeon adult disbelief and believe…. Second, Jung would say that perhaps what fascinates me or terrifies me about the shooting doesn’t rely on the details of this particular tragedy. Maybe what’s grabbed me by my skinny little neck is something that’s been in the collective unconscious from the very beginning—the fear of death. And not the fear of slow dying on a deathbed of flowers, but fear of sudden death. Because humans have been facing the prospect of death forever, and since the fear of the tiger jumping out from the shadow in the jungle has been imprinted early on, maybe that’s the mental program that got activated upon seeing CNN. Or third, maybe it’s more basic and even more ancient. Maybe it’s fear (or fascination) with The Shadow. The dark side that everyone has. The yin. This beast that’s in us, and consequently in both the collective unconscious and therefore my unconscious. And maybe if it’s the shadow that’s got me, maybe this is the time in my life for me to confront and wrestle with the shadow side and ultimately, perhaps, befriend the inner wolf. The inner Nikolas Cruz.
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