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Wojtkowski, S. (2006). Hauke, Christopher. Human Being Human: Culture and the Soul. London & New York: Routledge, 2005. Pp. xviii + 217. Hbk. £40.00; Pbk. £i2.99/$22.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 51(5):721-723.

(2006). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 51(5):721-723

Hauke, Christopher. Human Being Human: Culture and the Soul. London & New York: Routledge, 2005. Pp. xviii + 217. Hbk. £40.00; Pbk. £i2.99/$22.95.

Review by:
Sylvester Wojtkowski

Edited by:
David Hewison and Linda Carter

In his 2003 semi-documentary The Five Obstructions, a maverick Danish director, Lars van Trier, convinces Jorgen Leth, another Danish filmmaker of an older generation, to remake his stylized black and white avant-garde short film from the sixties, Perfect Human, five times, under progressively more constrained conditions. In the process of an increasingly domineering artistic dialogue, van Trier attempts to ‘humanize’ or as he calls it to ‘banalize’ the ‘perfect human’ in both the movie and its ‘perfect’ director. The movie becomes a highly entertaining multi-layered postmodern essay on a manifold of topics including: the sado-masochistic dynamics of artistic dialogue and creation (as played out between van Trier and Leth); the integrity of art; the tension of original and copy; the essence of representations; the experience of lived and artistically rendered time, and the nature of being human. The viewer of the Perfect Human is pulled into co-creating a movie experience amplified by the engaging exchange between the two artists and punctuated by the recurring refrain spoken by the title character who says: T am doing things that I hope to understand in the future’. The absurdity of the context in which these words are uttered raises questions about the nature of human behaviour. This film came to mind when I read Chris Hauke's new book which is a fresh take on old existential themes. Hauke, one of a few Jungians writing on cinema today, utilizes a metaphoric understanding of the cinema conceived by an accomplished film editor, Walter Murch, whose idea is that the attention of the movie audience supplies the powerful but unorganized énergie current and that the film images provide narrative and psychological coherence. This conjunction leads to a profound, meaningful, emergent experience which is what you can expect from reading Human Being Human, as you provide your interest and let the author guide you through its internal logic towards an inspiring engagement.

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