This episode, inspired by the new album by the Korean band BTS, explains and amplifies the Jungian concept of the persona. Like the cornea of the eye, persona both shields us and makes opening up to the world possible. In ancient Greek theater, the actors wore masks that identified their roles, or personae. Similarly, we adjust our outward presentation to others according to the appropriate roles we play in the workplace, with neighbors, or close friends and family. A persona that is too rigid can give one a center that is too determined by outside values and influences; a persona that is not solid enough can result in poor adaptation to the outer world or one that can be swept away by incursions from the unconscious. Altogether the persona is the social archetype and represents a compromise between adaption to social realities and individuality.
Here’s the dream we discuss:
“My wife and I are in a kitchen, or someplace with wooden cabinets and soffits, and wooden counters. It might not be a kitchen. There’s this large wooden head standing on the counter. It’s larger than a human head, elongated, and stylized like an Easter Island head but more handsome, no huge ears, and carved in more detail. The head says things. Periodically, not like a conversation. I notice that the things it’s saying are very articulate, and it’s very charming. My wife is making something out of plastic. It’s a rigid container or sheath that fits the head exactly. We try to distract the head so that it doesn’t object, but he doesn’t notice as we lower him gently into the plastic casing. It just keeps talking, on and off. Finally, we screw the lid on top. We can still hear a muffled talking. I worry if he can breathe.”