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Thomson, J. (2006). Singer, Thomas & Kimbles, Samuel L. (EDS.). The Cultural Complex. Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society. Hove & New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2004. Pp. xiv+279. Pbk. £ 18.99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 51(2):307-309.

(2006). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 51(2):307-309

Singer, Thomas & Kimbles, Samuel L. (EDS.). The Cultural Complex. Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society. Hove & New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2004. Pp. xiv+279. Pbk. £ 18.99.

Review by:
Jean Thomson

Edited by:
David Hewison and Mark Kuras

Caucasian Thomas Singer heads the creative and innovative San Francisco Institute in the USA. His co-editor, an African American, Sam Kimbles, is a Jungian analyst in private practice in San Francisco. In their collection of vivid essays, their joint work illustrates a key theme about collaboration between opposites when individuals and their cultures can deal with splitting and projective identifications. The contributors have varied cultural backgrounds; they show how archetypes form the base for the evolution of cultures by means of oppositional factors which dictate roles, such as gender, sexuality and leadership and, indeed, oppose imagination to science. This review will concentrate on the political implications which reverberate through the book and show our contemporary world as split into ‘East’ and ‘West’. Singer mentions President Bush's ‘axis of evil’ reaction to 9/II as an externalization which demanded a Christian crusade and which ruled out dialogue with inner conflicts. He hopes the book will demonstrate ‘alternatives to the axis of evil’ (p. 28).

In his Introduction and Chapter One, Singer defines the ‘cultural complex’ as a numinous aspect of cultural identity or ‘national character’ (p. 5). He calls his introduction an ‘intuitive flight’ or a ‘preliminary drawing of a work in progress’. This modest statement leaves the way open for the reader to have his or her own speculations about links from archetype theory to neuroscience via Greek myths and the work of Donald Kalsched (1996).

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