At heart I am a scientist. I advocate reason, scientific observation and data over dogma and superstition. I have many misgivings about this last election, but one of the most upsetting ones is the sense of triumph of religious and emotional clap-trap over facts. Science and knowledge are not cherished in this country. Indeed, they are looked upon as an object of suspicion, something to shout down when Truth threatens conviction.
I also have a panache for fantasy. A world run by Gradgrinds would be a dismal one indeed. As a Jungian I know the Wisdom to periodically put down the calculator and go out roller-skating surmounted by a Viking helmet.
I recently heard an interview with Terry Gilliam, a director who made many marvelous movies, most of them with the leitmotif fantasy versus reality. I remember a scene from “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen”. For Spo-fans unfamiliar with The Baron Munchhausen, he was a real person who would boast fantastical and outlandish tales he allegedly experienced. His name is now synonymous with outlandish unreality. In Medicine “Munchhausen syndrome” is a mental illness where the patient takes on fake illnesses for medical attention. Not good. But from a Jungian point of view, it is vital to be in touch with The Baron.
In the Mr. Gilliam’s movie there is a scene where the Baron, Fantasy incarnate, lies dejected. A little girl named Polly wants to know is he really The Baron and why he wants to die. It is a marvelous archetypal scene: The Child (innocent and curious) trying to get in touch with The Baron (fantasy and adventure):
The Baron and Polly go on marvelous adventures to defeat the enemy. Fascinating: the Enemy is ultimately not the Turk outside the city walls they are forbidden to cross, but the oppressive government within the walls stifling the people and perpetuating continuous war – ironically set “In the Age of Reason”
We need cucumber trees and three-legged cyclops more than ever. I worry all too soon Kim Jong-Trump and his henchmen will demand us to think in one way only and believe false facts. What may keep us sane is challenging authority via Truth and Fantasy. The Scientist and The Baron, arm in arm, make a formidable team against Ignorance and Authority. Keep learning, stay curious, and plant some cucumber trees.