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Hi All,

I was recently reminded of this fundamental principle derived from Heraclitus via Jung, the theory that everything is running towards its opposite. Here it was embodied in a recording of the same name by a 30ish woman named Azita. She was born into a family of Iranian physicians forced to flee Tehran for Maryland upon the fall of the Shah. Sent to elite schools where her classmates treated her as an enemy alien, she finally ended up at the Art Institute of Chicago in the early 90's and went on to play bass and sing (well shriek really) in a couple of confrontational art punk bands, The Scissor Girls and Bride of No No (the latter performing always in white burkhas). Tiring of the bass she recalled her childhood piano lessons and began writing songs. Thus comes this recording Enantiodromia. The reviews mention Carol King and Steely Dan, but I hear more Laura Nyro maybe with defiance in place of resignation. Disturbing stripped down mid tempo, minor key ballads built on angular piano work favoring a heavy left hand bass, with a crisp rhythm section that includes her boy friend John McEntire on drums. It's the vocals though that are the most arresting feature, and probably where the Steely Dan comparisons stem from. In her phrasing words are annunciated as if the mixing desk was drunk but it's just the way she sings, unlikely syllables drawn out or emphasized by turns, melodies plummeting to the bottom of her range and then with little warning swooping back to the top of it, with a knack for making ordinary syntax sound arrestingly alien. On first listen the voice drove me to distraction. I went back to it the second day and the mating of emotion to lyric began to get under my skin. I listened through it four times that second day and each time marveled more at how much she conveys while holding her own feelings at arms length.

"I am waiting on a contact today
It's the most important one
Been winding like a snake in the grasses
Just out of line of the sun
I hear the children sing along as if to say
Ain't youth a waste on the young

When you're idling in the woods or the basement
Rifling through a stack of souvenirs
That's the moment when the holy man appears
The question is would it rhyme
The next sentence had better end in time"

from Better End in Time - Azita Youssefi

Diana Price writes of enantiodromia:

"Jung also believed one of the causes of neuroses was a lack of balance in one's personality. Enantiodromia refers to the emergence of the unconscious opposite when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life. Enantiodromia is typically experienced in conjunction with symptoms associated with acute neurosis. This explains why many of the most hardcore submissives and masochists usually carry great responsibility and power in their everyday life and careers. Masochism is their counterbalance that prevents enantiodromia and the development of neuroses."

According to Heraclitus though it is tantamount to the intended purpose of conscious extremes to bring about their unconscious opposite, first through the inhibition of the conscious and then in breaking through it. From this it's not surprising that neocons were once Trotskyites, that evangelists sound more sociopathic the longer their careers continue. I guess we should hope that there is a countervaling force in the lives of certain public figures as without imagination and a rich fantasy life no transcendence is possible for synthesizing the conscious and shadow selves. Enneagram Types suggest which qualities are needed in order to balance the dominant persona and create a whole individual. This in turn tells us why the Bush, Ashcroft, Rumsfelds of the world are so dangerous, lacking as they do the capacity to recognize or balance their narcissistic personality disorders.

Jung wrote:

"The only person who escapes the grim law of enantiodromia is the man who knows how to separate himself from the unconscious, not by repressing it – for then it simply attacks him from the rear – but by putting it clearly before him as that which he is not."

Finally from Sylvia Swain:

"In Western mythology, enantiodromia is the province of Nemesis, the goddess responsible for seeing that order is maintained. Clearly this law is a necessary last ditch safetynet for the preservation of balance and of boundaries between order and chaos. It is therefore necessary to find ways of recognizing those perilous borderline states, and the Buddhist methods for bringing them into awareness and under control, thus enabling us to avoid the divine anger of Nemesis or, if we prefer, to avert painful Karma.

We need to identify that danger area in consciousness which pushes us towards the edge, and for want of a better phrase, I call it psychological sensuality. The physical senses have their own built-in safeguards which can set sharp limits to our over-indulgences, but our hankering for pleasure has no safeguards, nor does the lust for power. Instead of being sickened by a sense of having too much, this craving only gets worse. The tragedy of the ego is that, once started, it can go on expanding to accommodate any amount of flattery or power with no warning that it is inflating until Nemesis strikes. The ego has to learn to set its own limits."

She describes what I would call hubris, believing oneself is untouchable which the ancient Greeks saw as daring the gods to smack you down, would that our leaders could recognize these truths.


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Subject Views Written By Posted
Enantiodromia 774 Briffits 30-Mar-04 12:50
Re: Enantiodromia 193 Lee McGiffen 31-Mar-04 13:08
Re: Enantiodromia 174 Nolondil 31-Mar-04 21:22
Re: Enantiodromia 189 Briffits 31-Mar-04 23:50
Re: Enantiodromia 214 Nolondil 31-Mar-04 22:09
Re: Enantiodromia 203 Briffits 01-Apr-04 00:50
Re: Enantiodromia 179 jameske 06-Apr-04 06:46
Re: Enantiodromia 191 Briffits 06-Apr-04 07:28
Re: Enantiodromia 192 jameske 06-Apr-04 07:36
Re: Enantiodromia 281 Briffits 06-Apr-04 08:46

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