We live in a world where cultural conceptions of psychology and mythology are increasingly overlapping, thanks to a centralized system of information sharing. The common thread responsible for this synthesis of ideas is a globally shared popular culture. Regardless of who we are and how we’re raised, we consume the same media or, at least in large part, we all have access to it. As information technology rapidly evolves, the alarmingly escalated rate at which we are able to consume this media is changing not just the way we communicate, but the way we think. Our very consciousness is being altered as a result. But this is how it has always been. Whether we study this phenomenon through the lens of personal psychology, cultural anthropology, philosophy, or philology, we can see that ever since man was first able to construct metaphor, the means with which he did so determined how he perceived both his external reality and his internal identity. The focus of this book will not be to analyze how our cultural and personal sense of identity are changing, but to emphasize the ways in which they have always remained relatively the same. The primary classical works I will use as a reference will be CG Jung’s study of the collective unconscious and its archetypes. I have drawn from the original German texts wherever possible, but the English translations of the works I’ll most often consult are The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Psychology of the Unconscious, and Modern Man in Search of a Soul. My earnest effort will be to honestly present Jung’s ideas alongside my own, though this risks re-interpreting his original text in a way that suggests more of a collaboration than is really possible. It is not my intention to in any way appropriate or distort the meaning of these ideas, only to present them in a fun new way for those who have not had the pleasure of studying Jung’s work before. In order to harness Jung’s ideas and hitch them to a familiar metaphor, I mean to analyze them in reference to the story structure of the STAR WARS films. The STAR WARS mythology has on many levels already attempted to introduce us to the concepts of the collective unconscious and the archetypes, but I fear we’ve gotten so caught up in the metaphor that we may have missed what it can teach us about ourselves. While STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI met with some unexpected criticism for its deconstruction of its own internal mythology, I think it might be one of the best modern examples of what the Jungian archetypes can teach us about the psychology of the unconscious and how our interpretation of unconscious thought has helped us form and cultivate our shared mythology. As Jung identifies the more relevant forms of the archetypes, we can examine their appropriate analogs in the STAR WARS mythology. This book presupposes that you may not have a working knowledge of the conscious and unconscious psyche or of cultural representations in mythology, so I’ll attempt to explore the requisite works that provide the foundation for that understanding. The philosophical writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer (among others) will also play a necessary part in this exploration. Because I will be discussing the nature of consciousness as well as the unconscious, I will also be examining speculations on primitive consciousness offered up by the likes of Carl Sagan and Julian Jaynes. And because this is an exercise in comparative mythology, it would be incomplete without some analysis of Joseph Campbell’s work on that subject as well. My last book, The Myth Awakens, was mainly preoccupied with the influences of various mythologies on the STAR WARS story. This book will be much more concerned with how those motifs were influenced by shared psychology and the narrative thread that will hopefully allow it to maintain that focus will be the plot structure of THE LAST JEDI in particular.
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