Shadow Warriors - Pt 7
Sunday, June 5, 2005, 03:55 PM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination

Photo taken September 27, 1962, Oxford, Mississippi.

Left to right: Sheriff John Henry Spencer, Pittsboro. Sheriff James Ira Grimsley, Pascagoula. Sheriff Bob Waller, Hattiesburg. Sheriff Billy Ferrell, Natchez (holding club). Sheriff Jimmy Middleton, Port Gibson. Deputy Sheriff James Wesley Garrison, Oxford. Sheriff John Ed Cothran, Greenwood.

James Meredith, the first African American to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1962, reflecting on this photo some four decades after it was taken: "It wasn't this element that truly terrified me when I integrated Ole Miss. It was the element below this element. It was the element that wanted to be this element. First of all, every one of these men is what you'd call a leading citizen in Missississippi, My knowledge of this is what enabled me to defeat Mississippi in 1962. I knew these people better than they knew themselves." (Qtd. Paul Hendrickson, Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy [2003])

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10

Facing the Demon
Sunday, June 5, 2005, 11:42 AM - Combat as Metaphor


But besides the achievement of this functional and corporate aim, the rote-learning and repetitive form and the categorical, reductive quality of officer-training has an important and intended--if subordinate--psychological effect. Anti-militarists would call it de-personalizing and even de-humanizing. But given--even if they would not give--that battles are going to happen, it is powerfully beneficial. For by teaching the young officer to organize his intake of sensations, to reduce the events of combat to as few and as easily recognizable a set of elements as possible, to categorize under manageable headings the noise, blast, passage of missiles and confusion of human movement which will assail him on the battlefield, so that they can be described--to his men, to his superiors, to himself--as "incoming fire, "outgoing fire," "airstrike," "company-strength attack," one is helping him to avert the onset of fear or, worse, of panic and to perceive a face of battle which, if not familiar, need not, in the event, prove wholly petrifying.

-- John Keegan, The Face of Battle

Diagnostic Criteria for Major Depressive Episode

For a diagnosis of a major depressive episode, these are the signs and symptoms doctors are looking for:

A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations.

1. depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful) Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.

2. markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others)

3. significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: in children, consider failure to make expected weight gains.

4. insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.

5. psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness of being slowed down)

6. fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

7. feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)

8. diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)

9. recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

B. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode [i.e., a Mixed Bipolar Episode in which manic and depressive features are simultaneously present].

C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).

E. The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

Reference: These criteria are excerpts from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV, p. 327, © 1994, American Psychiatric Association.

Adapted from HealthyPlace.com


National Public Radio interview with Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (you'll need RealPlayer to access; it's worth it)

The Few. The Proud. The Powerpoint Proficient.
Sunday, June 5, 2005, 06:54 AM - The World After September 11

Son, we live in a world that has powerpoint. And those slides need to be produced by men with bars. Whoís gonna do it? You? You with an oak leaf? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for my briefings and you curse my formatting. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that my briefings, while drawn out, probably save lives. . . You donít want the truth. Because deep down, in places you donít talk about at meetings, you want my presentations. You need my presentations.

We use words like diagram gallery, paste special, clipboard . . . we use these words as the backbone of a job spent briefing something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain why I formatted an object to a man who briefs and gets promoted by the very presentation I make, then questions the way in which I format it! Iíd rather you just said Thank You and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you make your own slide, and give a briefing. Either way, I donít give a damn what you think the slide should say.

(Hat tip to MAJ Robert Bateman)
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Things Bigger Than We
Wednesday, May 25, 2005, 12:18 PM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination

The Dunker Church, Antietam Battlefield


The bigger the material mass, the more easily it entraps us: mass graves and pyramids bring history closer while they make us feel small. A castle, a fort, a battlefield, a church, all these things bigger than we that we infuse with the reality of past lives, seem to speak of an immensity of which we know little except that we are part of it. Too solid to be unmarked, too conspicuous to be candid, they embody the ambiguities of history. They give us the power to touch it, but not to hold it firmly in our hands--hence the mystery of their battered walls. We suspect that their concreteness hides secrets so deep that no revelation may fully dissipate their silences. We imagine the lives under the mortar, but how do we recognize the end of a bottomless silence?

-- Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995)

Photograph by Will Burnham
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A Good Day to Die - Pt 9
Tuesday, May 24, 2005, 08:48 AM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination









Hero's Journey in the Film Platoon, as interpreted by screenwriter and teacher Stuart Voytilla

Interview with Stuart Voytilla concerning Myth and the Movies

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10
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A Good Day to Die - Pt 8
Monday, May 23, 2005, 08:44 AM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination

Warrior


Warrior


Warrior


Shadow Hero (Grandstander Bully)


Shadow Hero (Coward)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10

A Good Day to Die - Pt 7
Monday, May 23, 2005, 05:12 AM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination
From Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine :
There is much confusion about the archetype of the Hero. It is generally assumed that the heroic approach to life, or to a task, is the noblest, but this is only partly true. The Hero is, in fact, only an advanced form of Boy psychology--the most advanced form, the peak, actually, of the masculine energies of the boy, the archetype that characterizes the best in the adolescent stage of development. Yet it is immature, and when it is carried over into adulthood as the governing archetype, it blocks men from full maturity. (p. 37)

The two dysfunctional or "shadow" aspects of the Hero are the "Grandstander Bully" and the "Coward."
The boy (or man) under the power of the Bully intends to impress others. His strategies are designed to proclaim his superiority and his right to dominate those around him. He claims center stage as his birthright. If ever his claims to special status are challenged, watch the ensuing rageful displays! He will assault those who question what they 'smell' as his inflation with vicious verbal and often physical abuse. These attacks against others are aimed at staving off recognition of his underlying cowardice and his deep insecurity. (p. 37)

The boy possessed by the Coward, the other pole of the Hero's bipolar Shadow, shows an extreme reluctance to stand up for himself in physical confrontations. . . . It is not only physical fights he will avoid, however. He will tend to allow himself to be bullied emotionally and intellectually as well. . . . When he has had enough of this, however, the hidden grandiosity of the Grandstander Bully within him will erupt and launch a violent verbal and/or physical assault on the other, an assault for which the other is totally unprepared. (p. 40)

Nevertheless, the Hero embodies in archetypal form a necessary stage in a boy's development:
The Hero throws the boy up against the limits, against the seemingly intractable. It encourages him to dream the impossible dream that just might be possible after all, if he has enough courage. Ir empowers him to fight the unbeatable foe that, if he is not possessed by the Hero, he might just be able to defeat." (p. 40)

What is the end of the Hero? Almost universally, in legend and myth, he "dies," is transformed into a god, and translated into heaven. . . . The "death" of the Hero is the "death" of boyhood, of Boy psychology. And it is the birth of manhood and Man psychology. The "death" of the Hero in the life of a boy (or a man) really means that he has finally encountered his limitations. He has met the enemy, and the enemy is himself. He has met his own dark side, his very unheroic side. He has fought the dragon and been burned by it; he has fought the revolution and drunk the dregs of his own inhumanity. He has overcome the Mother and then realized his incapacity to love the Princess. The death of the Hero signals a boy's or man's encounter with true humility. It is the end of his heroic consciousness.

True humility, we believe, consists of two things. The first is knowing our limitations. And the second is getting the help we need. (p. 41)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10
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"Little Mac" Fauntleroy
Sunday, May 22, 2005, 12:45 AM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination


A couple of weeks ago I bought McClellan's War: The Struggle for Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, by Ethan S. Rafuse. In recent days I've begun dipping into it to see how Ethan handles the various issues concerned with McClellan's generalship. I can tell already that it is the best study of the subject that I have ever seen.

Even so, I'll be curious to see whether the book manages to have any impact on the standard interpretation of McClellan as arrogant but timid to the point of incompetence: in the formulation of historian Kenneth P. Williams, "a vain and unstable man, with considerable military knowledge, who sat a horse well and wanted to be President." This interpretation has so far defied pretty much every attempt to take McClellan seriously as a commander, including my own The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865.

This is partly because there's enough to the standard portrayal to make it plausible, and it certainly does not help McClellan's case that he had a stormy relationship with the most beloved president in American history. (Few who disliked Lincoln have come off well in the history books.) But I suspect that the principal reason the standard interpretation has been so durable is because it perfectly fits a mythic archetype that Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, in their book on the archetypes of the mature maculine (see Shadow Warriors, Pt 2), call "the High Chair Tyrant."

Adopting a Jungian framework, Moore and Gillette argue that there are four mature male archetypes--the King (the energy of just and creative ordering), the Warrior (the energy of self-disciplined, aggressive action), the Magician (the energy of initiation and transformation), and the Lover (the energy that connects men to others and the world). Real men--real in the sense of being actual human beings--embody all four of these archetypes, or energies, to some extent, though depending on their temperament, stage of life, etc., they usually embody some of them more than others. McClellan, in his role as commander of the Army of the Potomac and given his universally acknowledged skill at organizing that army in the first place and then revitalizing it after its setbacks in the Peninsula and Second Manassas campaigns, arguably most embodied the King and Magician archetypes. But in mythical terms, his King archetype was deeply flawed.



Each archetype has a three-part structure which Moore and Gillette convey in the form of two triangles. At the pinnacle of the mature King archetype, shown above, is the "king in his fullness." At the base of the archetype are two dysfunctional, or "shadow" forms: the Tyrant King and the Weakling King. The mature King archetype springs from an earlier childhood archetype called the Divine Child. It is the first and most primal of the immature masculine energies: His Majesty the Baby, beautiful, innocent, redolent of omnipotentiality, and surrounded by adoring parents and family. Think Jesus in the manger--or just visit the maternity ward of most hospitals.

The Divine Child also has two dysfunctional or shadow forms: the High Chair Tyrant and the Weakling Prince:
The High Chair Tyrant is epitomized by the image of Little Lord Fauntleroy sitting in his high chair, banging his spoon on the tray, and screaming for his mother to feed him, kiss him, and attend him. Like a dark version of the Christ child, he is the center of the universe; others exist to meet his powerful needs and desires. . . .

The High Chair Tyrant, through the Shadow King, may continue to be a ruling archetypal influence in adulthood. We all know the story of the promising leader, the CEO, or the presidential candidate, who starts to rise to great prominence and then shoots himself in the foot. He sabotages his success, and crashes to the earth.



I do not say that this description applies to the real McClellan. I do say that as Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Moore and Gillette, and many others have demonstrated, these mythical archetypes are universal and quite powerful and therefore, to anyone crafting a historical narrative, quite seductive. They are like ruts in a well-traveled road. The wheels of one's narrative wagon are bound to fall into them. Can they be avoided? I'm not sure it's possible, any more than it's possible to avoid the narrative tropes and modes famously laid out in Hayden White's Metahistory. But one can at least become aware of these mythical archetypes and employ them consciously--to put them in the service of one's narrative rather than let the archetypes hijack it.
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A Good Day to Die - Pt 6
Saturday, May 21, 2005, 08:29 AM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination


From Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845).
Note: The original contains very long paragraphs, often running to one or more full pages. I have divided these into shorter paragraphs for ease of reading.

--

I began, with the commencement of the year, to prepare myself for a final struggle, which should decide my fate one way or the other. My tendency was upward. I was fast approaching manhood, and year after year had passed, and I was still a slave. These thoughts roused me -- I must do something. I therefore resolved that 1835 should not pass without witnessing an attempt, on my part, to secure my liberty. But I was not willing to cherish this determination alone. My fellow-slaves were dear to me. I was anxious to have them participate with me in this, my life-giving determination.

I therefore, though with great prudence, commenced early to ascertain their views and feelings in regard to their condition, and to imbue their minds with thoughts of freedom. I bent myself to devising ways and means for our escape, and meanwhile strove, on all fitting occasions, to impress them with the gross fraud and inhumanity of slavery. I went first to Henry, next to John, then to the others. I found, in them all, warm hearts and noble spirits. They were ready to hear, and ready to act when a feasible plan should be proposed. This was what I wanted.

I talked to them of our want of manhood, if we submitted to our enslavement without at least one noble effort to be free. We met often, and consulted frequently, and told our hopes and fears, recounted the difficulties, real and imagined, which we should be called on to meet. At times were were almost disposed to give up, and try to content ourselves with our wretched lot; at others, we were firm and unbending in our determination to go.

Whenever we suggested any plan, there was shrinking -- the odds were fearful. Our path was beset with the greatest obstacles; and if we succeeded in gaining the end of it, our right to be free was yet questionable -- we were yet liable to be returned to bondage. We could see no spot, this side of the ocean, where we could be free. We knew nothing about Canada. Our knowledge of the north did not extend farther than New York; and to go there, and be forever harassed with the frightful liability of being returned to slavery -- with the certainty of being treated tenfold worse than before -- the thought was truly a horrible one, and one which it was not easy to overcome.

The case sometimes stood thus: At every gate through which we were to pass, we saw a watchman -- at every ferry a guard -- on every bridge a sentinel -- and in every wood a patrol. We were hemmed in upon every side. Here were the difficulties, real or imagined -- the good to be sought, and the evil to be shunned. On the one hand, there stood slavery, a stern reality, glaring frightfully upon us, -- its robes already crimsoned with the blood of millions, and even now feasting itself greedily upon our own flesh. On the other hand, away back in the dim distance, under the flickering light of the north star, behind some craggy hill or snow-covered mountain, stood a doubtful freedom -- half frozen -- beckoning us to come and share its hospitality.

This in itself was sometimes enough to stagger us; but when we permitted ourselves to survey the road, we were frequently appalled. Upon either side we saw grim death, assuming the most horrid shapes. Now it was starvation, causing us to eat our own flesh; -- now we were contending with the waves, and were drowned; -- now we were overtaken, and torn to pieces by the fangs of the terrible bloodhound. We were stung by scorpions, chased by wild beasts, bitten by snakes, and finally, after having nearly reached the desired spot, -- after swimming rivers, encountering wild beasts, sleeping in the woods, suffering hunger and nakedness, -- we were overtaken by our pursuers, and, in our resistance, we were shot dead upon the spot!

I say, this picture sometimes appalled us, and made us

"rather bear those ills we had,
Than fly to others, that we knew not of."

In coming to a fixed determination to run away, we did more than Patrick Henry, when he resolved upon liberty or death. With us it was a doubtful liberty at most, and almost certain death if we failed. For my part, I should prefer death to hopeless bondage.

--

The attempt of Douglass and his friends to escape was discovered and blocked before it even began. It would be three more years until he finally made it to freedom, alone, not knowing if he would ever see any of his friends again.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10

A Good Day to Die - Pt 5
Friday, May 20, 2005, 05:16 AM - Memory, Myth, and Imagination
Unbar the door!
You think me reckless, desperate and mad.
You argue by results, as this world does,
To settle if an act be good or bad.
You defer to the fact. For every life and every act
Consequence of good and evil can be shown.
And as in time results of many deeds are blended
So good and evil in the end become confounded.
It is not in time that my death shall be known;
It is out of time that my decision is taken
If you call that decision
To which my whole being gives entire consent.
I give my life
To the Law of God above the Law of Man.
Those who do not the same
How should they know what I do?
How should you know what I do? Yet how much more
Should you know than these madmen beating on the door.
Unbar the door! unbar the door!
We are not here to triumph by fighting, by stratagem, or by resistance.
Not to fight with beasts as men. We have fought the beast
And have conquered. We have only to conquer
Now, by suffering. This is the easier victory.
Now is the triumph of the Cross, now
Open the door! I command it. OPEN THE DOOR!

-- Thomas Š Becket, in T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10


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