Sympathists

Posts Tagged ‘Jung’

Fan Letter and New Blog

In Free Floating on January 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm
M. Standfast, Kyoto

Sympathies, as a project, has been in remission, and yet during its dormancy the site lives on, with a small but beautiful life of its own.  Last month Sympathies received a fan letter from one Chris De La Cruz, a young man working his way through the first stages of what will surely be a lifelong wrestling with “My Dinner With Andre.”  Chris’s lovely note planted a seed in Sympathies’ curator, M. Standfast, which has borne fruit in the inauguration of a new blog, Jungian Intimations.  The new blog, now in its glorious infancy, can be found here: http://jungianintimations.com/

Intimations will cover all things Jung, as well as allowing the “clown called I” to riff on matters autobiographical.  Thanks in advance are due to Mr. Dean Williams, who suggested long ago that we should open a site dedicated to explorations in psychology.

Here is Mr. De La Cruz’s letter:

Hi Matthew,

Today I stumbled upon your website when looking for different essays about My Dinner with Andre which has, over the past year, become one of my favorite films (tied with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). I was reading both Part I and II of your blog posts on My Dinner with Andre and found them both really insightful. I especially enjoyed the sections on impulse in Part II. I think that is something I really struggle with in my understanding of the film. You put it so clearly when you say:

“The trouble with authenticity and living on impulse is, simply, that one person’s authenticity is another’s callousness; one person’s impulse is another’s betrayal; one person’s honesty is another’s arrogance.”

It’s so true what you say. I mean where is the consideration of others if I am going on impulse all the time? Is it that deep inside me there is always this compassionate core where my impulse will react from? This whole past semester, I have really been trying to find a way in which “each day would become an incredible, monumental creative task.” I think I find it most difficult in terms of my relationships. I find such a struggle in understanding when there is a point where you can truly be with someone. I feel like the institution of marriage is counter to the idea of acting on impulse. Andre says that he questioned whether he could spend the rest of his life with Chiquita and he realized he didn’t want to be anywhere else, but when does someone reach that point? Is it after you have traveled the world and realizing that you can create this intentional, authentic experience within your own home?

Essentially, all this message comes down to is to let you know that you should really consider continuing with your analysis of My Dinner with Andre. It’s relieving to read someone else’s well-constructed thoughts on the film so that I can take a break from listening to the incessant monologue in my head. I don’t know what your reasons were for giving up – but I hope it wasn’t because you didn’t think anyone really cared.

Chris

Incidentally, Chris participates in a series of videos concerning Public Safety.  Be careful out there kids.

A Post-Leftist in Genre Drag: On Ownership Part I

In 20th c. Literature, Genre Fiction, Questions for the Panel on February 2, 2009 at 10:39 pm

ess_ambler_1M. Standfast, Kyoto

Puritano has beaten me to the punch by offering us a highly ambitious answer to the ownership question.  He narrows down his list of masters to two, Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson, and explains why he thinks these two will outlast even such established masters such as Faulkner.  My own list is longer, and my efforts to address the ownership question will likewise be at once longer and less ambitious than Puritano’s.  Apologies in advance.

My Authors

Eric Ambler, Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, Erving Goffman, Anthony Powell, Paul Theroux.  For each of these writers, I have read both deeply and widely from their ouvre, and I feel on pretty strong ground when speaking about them. Interestingly, I have not read everything by any one writer; the closest would be Powell, but even here I have not read his first novel, Afternoon Men in its entirety.

My Authors To Be

The second list is perhaps more interesting; it contains writers about whom I am working toward a sense of ownership but don’t yet have the expertise on to confidently put a claim on.  These include: Peter Berger, Elizabeth Bishop, Maurice Halbwachs, Herodotus, Machiavelli, William of Occam, Edward Said, Sun Tzu.

Eric Ambler

Ambler comes first for two reasons; he is both first alphabetically and arguably the oddest inclusion.  Ambler is generally remembered, if at all, as a writer of spy novels, and those with longer memories will recall that he was in fact a forerunner of the modern spy thriller.  While it is true that the Ambler books form a bridge between the more patriotic, almost 19th century style of John Buchan (1875-1940) and the prototypically “modern” (by which of course I date myself by still meaning 20th century), disillusioned overtones of LeCarre, Ambler himself wrote very few true “spy” stories.  Instead, most of Ambler’s protagonists come in one of three varieties: i) the small time petty thief, menial, or flat-out loser who is thrust into and manages to come through a dangerous situation in which he is apparently overmatched by relying on an innate cunning and instinct for survival; ii) men of middling status who, because of hubris or a kind of arrogant naivety, get into dangerous situations in which they are very definitely overmatched; iii) a cross between i) and ii). Continue Reading