The morning sun is borne in the shadow of midnight.
In this chaotic, ultra-important election year, Jungian analyst Bud Harris has stepped beyond his role as psychotherapist to speak in this book to our national heart and soul. Culling through his many years of political observation, he muses on the sources of our American discontent, proclaims that we must stop treating each other as enemies, and challenges each citizen to personally invest in a hopeful future. We owe this to our children and grandchildren, and, yes, to our founding fathers, he says.
He considers the 2016 election to be a wake-up call for America. Perhaps more than any other, it has brought forth our national angst, forcing us to deal with shadows in our social psyche. Harris’s experience as a trained Jungian analyst helps shine a light on those shadows, reports on how they have negatively affected many citizens’ lives, including his own, and challenges us to face up to the transformative power that chaos can, in fact, provide.
This is a book that lays the ground work with reference to historic political moments when leaders led us through uncertainty to wholesome strength. The American Revolution, the Depression, the civil rights movement … all reflect national moments of chaos and shadow. Yet, through our democratic process – laid out in the Constitution – we have worked together as a nation, not only to thrive, but to lead the world. Our current era seems as uncertain and fearful as those historic episodes.
However, once again, we Americans can muddle through the thrown darts and hurled animosities of today’s political climate to step forward with clear vision and resolve. But we must face and examine our historical shadows and learn from them. The transformative power that can come from today’s chaos is within reach.
Read this book if you want to
- examine and understand the chaotic political period we are experiencing as a nation,
- explore the effect our political choices today will have on our future, and
- earn how personal and political ideals are tightly bound in American society.
Blending the psychoanalytical and the political, Harris segues between transformational experiences in his personal life and relevant observations regarding the American body politic, scolding politicians regardless of party. He employs the recurring motif of “shadow,” an element of Jungian psychoanalytic theory, to explore the concept of a crisis of empathy within a fractured and factionalized America. Harris also includes literary and social science perspectives that bolster his case for the need to recreate a nexus of citizenship and shared humanity.
Some readers might benefit from a few introductory paragraphs on the basics of Jungian analysis, but the text is mostly accessible to a general readership. Harris’s considerations are timely, relevant, and incisive. He’s unafraid to describe himself as “full of rage and pain and heartbreak” while maintaining compassion for others, and he clearly renders some potentially complex concepts, such as the individual responsibility to create a better collective society. This memoir provides a graceful yet challenging vehicle for the positing of some pointed observations and difficult questions regarding the meaning and responsibilities of American citizenship and membership in the human race.
Takeaway: Readers craving meaningful civic engagement within a well-functioning American democracy will value this insightful and challenging call for empathy.
Great for fans of Sahar Ghumkhor’s The Political Psychology of the Veil: The Impossible Body, James Hollis.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A