UFOs and Carl Jung

Jul 11, 2016 / Photography / how to be creative / Influences / carl jung

man with his back turned looking at three mysterious points of light representing suns
Three Suns. Toned Cyanotype Print, 2011. Two print sizes. © Jonah Calinawan

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“You should stop tweeting quotes from Carl Jung,” my partner says to me this past weekend.

“Why?” I ask. “I think it’s great. My work is about self-discovery, so it’s fine to tweet about what I’m learning right now.”

“Still, nobody’s interested in that. Do something else.”

I sometimes wish that I took liberal arts courses in university. Then I wouldn’t have to learn about Carl Jung later in life. I would already know these things. But I was too focused on things that were practical then. Like accounting

I try hard not to regret my past choices. Back in my 30s, I used to, but now that I’m in my late 40s, I see the usefulness of the path that I’ve chosen. For example, I can talk about retiring when I’m 50 to focus on my art. If I had chosen another career path, that option wouldn’t be a possibility. I’m just doing things a bit differently. It’s made me who I am. Someone interested in Carl Jung.

Besides, Carl Jung has had a pervasive influence on our culture; people don’t realize it. Jung is as influential as Freud in the realm of analytical psychology. He originated the collective unconscious, projection, introvert vs. extrovert, synchronicity, and active imagination. He influenced the creation of the Meyer’s Briggs personality type tests. This last one is fascinating. I just found out that I’m an INFP (an Introvert-Intuitive-Feeling-Prospecting personality). The generalized description of this personality type fits me to a T. It’s uncanny. I’m always skeptical, though (like any good accountant), I read all the personality types to see if I could recognize myself in them. No. I find this interesting. If you’re curious about your personality type, you can take the personality type test here

Do you know that Carl Jung was interested in astrology? I’ve always thought that was a stupid thing even to contemplate. Astrology is such an old practice that Jung thought it contained archetypes instructive to modern psychology. Archetypes are “primitive mental images inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.” I like the idea of studying the past to create a model of how something works. Accountants do this a lot. We take historical data to create models that predict future data. I’m fascinated with this integrator or consolidator role that pulls things from many different sources to create something new. Artists do this. Carl Jung was an artist.

Carl Jung was also interested in the UFO phenomenon. When I was a kid, I read many books about UFOs, like Erich Von Daniken’s Chariot of the Gods Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. I cringe when looking at this book now. It looks stupid. But that’s what I read when I was a kid! As Jean Luc Picard said in the Star Trek episode Encounter at Farpoint, “If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for what we really are.”

Decades later, all of this childhood reading shows up in my artwork.

In the image above, those unexplained lights in the sky? They’re UFOs. What do these lights mean in the plotline of A Million Suns? It will come together in Part III; I know it will.

So I’m going to continue posting Carl Jung quotes on Twitter. There’s a lot to be learned from him, one quote at a time.

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