INFLUENCE: Connection or Contagion?

Sep 16, 2021

Photo Credit: Devin Avery via Unsplash

We have always been subject to the influence of others—it’s how we learn language, become socialized, cooperate and collaborate. It’s also how we exclude, denigrate, and assault others. Today, we are subject to unprecedented social influences. Multiplicities of media shape our ideas, identities, beliefs, and values–and foster connections and communities around the world. If tulip mania took hold in 17th century Holland – perhaps the original speculative bubble – today we have non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrencies. “Heretics” are now exiled via “cancel culture.” Cultural contagions and psychic epidemics are not new—they just come dressed in the flashy new garb of social media and telecommunication. Amid so many influences, it is newly necessary to engage in the discernment and differentiation crucial to individuation, the fulfillment of our innate potential. Consciousness cannot be held hostage to intellectual simplifications or emotional reactivity. Each of us can uphold social norms that rest on foundations of fact, reflection, and spaciousness.   

 Here’s the dream we analyze:

“It’s nighttime, and I’ve traveled to France with my immediate family and also a woman I’ve known who has a lot of money involved in the fashion industry. We arrive at where we are supposed to stay for the night– a very run-down part of town. We come to a pink house with bars on the windows. My company, used to five-star accommodations, hesitatingly agrees to stay at these dodgy houses. The next scene: I’m in a twin bed, with my brother asleep in the twin bed next to mine. I know my parents are asleep in the room next to ours. All the lights are out, and it’s dark. A darkly figured shadow man enters the room, an intruder. I’m at once frightened and also intrigued. I gasp, and he notices I’m there and turns to leave. As he leaves, I ask, “who are you?” He turns for a moment from the door, and I feel his gaze. I’m overcome by a sense of longing for him and he leaves. My father enters the room moments later and tells me he saw him, too.”


Stop That! It’s Not Tourrette’s But a New Type of Mass Sociogenic Illness


From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era, by Edward Shorter. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0029286670/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_SCTDD834KQH02VXCS5DY


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

1 Comment

  1. Paul

    I wonder if the words to “Jesus Christ Superstar” (or other pop tunes) influenced listeners to think that they are the super star.


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