Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a complex, abstract, and challenging guy. A disciple of Freud, this father of analytical psychology split the mind into the conscious and the unconscious, cooked up the introvert-extrovert concept, spun out engaging interpretations of myths and symbols, and -- as if to bring these theories down to earth -- linked them all to aspects of popular culture: fads, slang, mass media. For all his book-learnin', if Jung were alive today, he'd be watching E! Entertainment Television religiously.
In this spirit of application, fans of Jung find themselves extrapolating on the meaning of Princess Diana's death. Or parsing the power of the feminine hero in the film The Silence of the Lambs. Or attempting to figure out the phenomenon of O.J. Simpson.
All of those subjects are fodder for the Center For Jungian Studies of South Florida, a 150-member group that's been wrestling with the good doctor's ideas since Miami psychoanalyst Fred Fleisher founded it 12 years ago.
"We offer a variety of activities designed to bring the work of Jung into the public eye," offers James Kraut, a Coral Springs psychotherapist and center spokesperson. Among those activities are lectures, classes, and a series of brunch talks at Fort Lauderdale's Riverside Hotel. "A Jungian analyst leads a discussion about a current movie," Kraut explains of the latter. "Right now we're talking about Being John Malkovich. Then it'll be American Beauty."
This weekend the center sponsors a lecture and workshop devoted to the theme "Discovering, Uncovering America Through Its Popular Culture." Marita Digney, a Jungian analyst from Minnesota who contributed three essays to the anthology The Soul of Popular Culture, gives the lecture Friday.
Hard-core Jungians will reconvene Saturday for a six-hour workshop. "Usually the Friday night event is more for the informed general public," says Kraut. "Saturday's workshop is more for people with a Jungian background."