I finished up listening to Jordan Peterson lecture on Jung last night. He spent two lectures taking apart the movie The Lion King and analyzing it for archetype and Jungian symbolism. It’s a great lecture if you have two or three hours where your hands are busy but your brain isn’t. As a matter of fact, the podcast recently has been all psychology and philosophy including a several-part analysis of Pinocchio. As a writer, I highly recommend all of them. Not that I’m going to self-consciously insert any of this into my work. However, it’s fascinating, it helps understand not only how the human mind ticks, but it helps with understanding how narrative factors in.
One of the comments Peterson made about Jung involved looking at the night sky and projecting fantasies into it. Which made me stop and think about science fiction and the enduring popularity of a genre. In some ways, we do project our fantasies into outer space. Especially in the last few decades, as the thrill and drama of the space race gave way to the increasingly risk-averse culture that seemed to make real space exploration an ever more distant possibility. And then, the doors to the stars creaked open again, pushed by the crews of the Dragon. Is it any wonder our imaginations are fired?
I don’t remember where I picked up the concept of the Children of the Mind. I’ve been listening to a lot of people while my brain needed stimulation. (can you die of boredom? I’m sure not, but I’m a lot more sympathetic to my kids whining about being bored after the last few months). I like the concept, a whole lot. I have children of the body as I just referenced. Four of them, more than replacement capacity, and they are pretty awesome people. Only one left at home, and poor Little Man misses having siblings to play with. Which means the curmudgeon and I spend a lot more time with him. Which has led to discovering that the kid has a sharp brain (none of my kids are below average intelligence. Do they choose to use it? Not always.) and a willingness to debate in something approaching a logical manner. Which we have been honing, because logic is…
Not always useful. I was reading a book meant to teach analytical, logical thought processes. In the introductory chapters, the author points out that in hunter-gatherer times, logical thought would have been a downright handicap. When something moves in your peripheral vision, you move in the other direction reflexively, and fast. You don’t stand there and analyze what it might have been, because you’ll wind up with no children, of the body or the mind. Hence, humanity has been selected and adapted toward instinctive reactions, and away from ratiocination.
It wasn’t until the rise of civilization that children of the mind could be borne. Safely clustered, where men would be able to fend off the predators that lurked in the night, the rise of the storyteller at the night’s fire began. With that, came the kernel that has grown into the modern age, where the fruits of his labors in teaching those who listened are now borne forth as novels, philosophy, in strange shapes like ebooks and podcasts and movies and even books would have amazed that man so long ago. But it’s a lineage that can trace back, as the children of his mind taught many others themselves and so on. We see this with great teachers and their students. I’m not talking about the shallow, brief relationship of the elementary school, or really any modern schools. You just don’t have the time or energy to mentor when you have a class of 30 small children, or 300 in a lecture hall. Which means that, again, this relationship of germinating ideas in another’s brain has shifted.
Me? If I had to say who my progenitors in writing were, I’d point at Sarah Hoyt and Dave Freer. They encouraged my early work, and more than anything, pointed me in the right directions, gave me some impetus to finish work and make it public, and supported me when I was a writing ball of insecurities. I don’t think I write like either of them (I could be wrong) but they mentored me and that made me what I am today. I wouldn’t be here without them, and I don’t mean just writing at the Mad Genius Club. I’d never have tried to write a novel, let alone have ten of those little monsters. The really weird thing? I have folks who come asking me for help and answers to questions now. I’m still a ball of insecurities. I’ll answer what I can, but I’m *flails* just me.