witch doctor

explain Nazism
as mass psychosis (thank you
Jung) — what in that case
is our mass denial of
climate change? — mass suicide?

The witch doctor of the title is Jung hinmself of course. The term sounds quite archaic these days, but was common as I was growing up, usually referring to African traditional healers. It was what sprang to mind as I tried to think of a neat summing up of that pose Jung adopts in his writings when he turns his attention to humanity as a whole and tries to psychoanalyse (or in other words, to ‘doctor’) his contemporary society. Simultaneously there popped into my mind the memory of Herman Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game, where roughly a third of the novel, from what I remember, is set in a ‘primitive’ society, exploring a past life of the novel’s hero, when he was the village witch doctor. I dreamed last night of the opening sequence of the movie Dr Strangelove which (in the dream) consisted of various shots of a nuclear mushroom cloud. I felt apprehensive because there was heat radiating from the screen, and I wondered if I would suffer radiation burns. I don’t know whether Jung’s ‘doctoring’ of the human race is anything better than a pose. But the problem of climate change is so unthinkable. Any strategy, even playing the doctor, must be valid, faced with the possibility (or indeed likelihood) that humanity is committing mass suicide by business as usual despite rising carbon emissions.


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