If you read the actual book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, you realize the richness and meaning that is abandoned in the popular Frankenstein movies. A prophetic writer, she addresses man’s grappling with God’s power that can be related to our most modern times of technological advancement. We will discuss the following:
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Mary Shelley and Frankenstein - Humans and the God Complex
Debra Maldonado, Robert Maldonado
Debra Maldonado 00:00
Welcome to Creative Mind Soul Sessions with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado, founders of Creative Mind. Explore personal growth with us through Jungian psychology, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience in a deep, but practical way. Let's begin.
Debra Maldonado 00:25
Hello, welcome. It is time for another Soul Session. Wonderful Friday afternoon. And we are talking today about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and the God complex. And we have been doing a series on archetypes, and how they show up in modern culture and literature and movies and Netflix series. And so today we're talking about the book Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley, not the actual Frankenstein movies. And I remember reading that book, and it just was such incredible writing. But it really made— it had just such a deep meaning for me, when I read it, it made me question a lot of things about humanity and God and the creator and our relationship with God. So very, very cool. And so, yeah, I am excited about this conversation.
Robert Maldonado 01:22
Yeah, it's a beautiful book. You know, when I read it, I was anticipating the story, the monster, of course. But it's so much more than that. Just the writing is so incredible and so deep and profound. Of course, Mary Shelley, a young woman, coming kind of from the romantic philosophy. And her husband, Percy Shelley, the poet, then she was hanging out with the Lord Byron, those guys were like the rock stars of that time. You know, they were just living on the edge, living the bohemian lifestyle.
Debra Maldonado 02:07
And they were telling ghost stories at a mansion. And they were kind of bohemian [Sara — inaudible] and her husband, and they had this idea that everyone should write a ghost story. And so she wrote the first draft of Frankenstein in that weekend, little retreat. And that's where the story came. And it really talks about an older story of Prometheus.
Robert Maldonado 02:32
Yeah, even the title, of course, is Frankenstein, and then the modern Prometheus. So she was very much aware that she was tapping into mythological themes.
Debra Maldonado 02:49
And when we look at culture, we look at monoculture, even the myths, they come from the archetypal themes, and it just makes reading literature and watching movies so much more interesting when you see the thread of what's the deeper meaning behind this. And all great writers have that ability to harness those big archetypal ideas in, that's why it feels so familiar to us. We feel like we can relate to it because unconsciously we are all part of that dynamic and the unconscious. So let's talk about the story first.
Robert Maldonado 03:29
Yeah, so the story. The basic outline is simple. You have this mad scientist, Victor. Oh, I always laugh because I think of Young Frankenstein, but—
Debra Maldonado 03:47
Oh, yes. Gene Wilder?
Robert Maldonado 03:51
Yeah. So Frankenstein. Frankenstein is the doctor, not the monster. A lot of people think Frankenstein is the monster. But it's really pointing to—
Debra Maldonado 04:03
It’s Frankenstein, isn't it?
Robert Maldonado 04:05
— to Victor as Dr. Frankenstein. So he's looking for the secret to life. Now this sounds familiar, right? It's like this is what we're up to in the way we use science nowadays. We're looking at genetics and artificial intelligence. But he's a philosophy student, a student of natural philosophies and chemistry. So that combination of what is life made out of and what is the philosophy of science, meaning how do human beings use this knowledge of chemistry, of how things work, and what life is made up of to— well, in his case he wanted to create life, to reanimate life or to bring to man which is the title of our talk, that God complex. Meaning how do we create life ourselves. So he manages to do this by putting together this monster, this human being from spare parts. He gathered these parts not only from funeral homes, but also from slaughterhouses. So there was animal parts in this body—
Debra Maldonado 05:35
He was half animal, half human. And basically, he was building— he was becoming God by creating the human being, basically his concept was humans can create other humans, like put them back together.
Robert Maldonado 05:51
Yeah, so definitely relevant to our age. And we'll talk about that a little bit later. But so in the story, he's horrified essentially, when he manages to do this, to bring this creature to life, and begins to wander aimlessly in a way to run away from his own creation. But meanwhile, he abandons this new life that he brought forth. He abandons it and runs away in guilt and shame and horror.
Debra Maldonado 06:27
And he was— he created this creature, and the creature thinks of him as the creator, and then the creator abandons him.
Robert Maldonado 06:36
Very much so, rejected him. You know, the monster feels rejected and abandoned. And so the monster then wants to take revenge on Victor.
Debra Maldonado 06:48
But at first, he’s sad, and he's kind of lost a little bit in trying to question his— why did I get abandon and am I that horrific, and who am I, and these deep philosophical question. And then he gets angry.
Robert Maldonado 07:03
Yeah, the monster is not the monster that we think of him from the movies, stumbling around on with these big shoes and kind of like a zombie. He's very philosophical, very articulate. Very self reflecting. In other words, he's an intellectual.
Debra Maldonado 07:25
Well, yeah, which is— when I read the book, I was surprised because in the movies he's like this dumb— like an ogre. And, you know, kind of simple. More animalistic, in the book, he's intelligent, and he has a mind and self-reflection and all the things that humans have. So a lot different than what they play in the movies, this terrible, you know—
Robert Maldonado 07:52
So the story continues, and Victor's brother, his younger brother is murdered. And he's called to— he’s called home, right, to kind of attend the funeral and all that. And as he's passing by the woods, where his brother was strangled, he sees the monster hiding in the woods, kind of still lurking around. And so he starts to see that the monster was probably the one that killed his brother. Then to top it off, a young woman is accused of the murder, and then sentenced to death. So now he's got blood on his hands, because of his own creation, his own meddling with the life force. Then later on, he gets the sense that the monster is out for more revenge. And the monster ends up killing his bride.
Debra Maldonado 09:06
On the wedding night or something.
Robert Maldonado 09:07
Something like that, yes. So it's very much a story of revenge and these very powerful feelings that are evoked and the dynamics between the creator, Victor Frankenstein, and his creation, and the dynamics that evolved from there.
Debra Maldonado 09:31
And the rejection of the creation. Interesting, the word they use is the creator. But he ends up becoming the monster, Victor ends up becoming the monster actually.
Robert Maldonado 09:48
And then towards the end they're off in the North Pole, kind of in these nether regions. Victor is looking for the monster in a way for him to take revenge now for the killings of the monster and to destroy him, I guess. But he dies in the process. And then the monster himself kind of— the sense is that he commits suicide in a way by going off into the ice as well. So there's a lot of layers of meaning to the story, of course, but for our purposes, we look at it from the Jungian perspective, you know, how can we see this in a mythological sense? What are the lessons that we can derive from the story about individuation, about our own relationship with the things that we create, especially technology? And then kind of what are the personal meanings, you know, because these stories come through human beings like ourselves. What does that mean about how we create stories and how we relate to them?
Debra Maldonado 11:14
And I think, you know, for me, what stands out is that what I see a lot of people, they want personal growth, and they do Jungian work, or they do any kind of personal growth. They want to harness the power, that there's some kind of power to create their life. And so we all want to play with that power and change our life. But there's always that hesitation of “Can I handle that power?” It is because we innately know there's a destructive part of that power, and that we hesitate, like our ego hesitates to move toward it. And that's why a lot of people repeat the patterns they do, because they're afraid of becoming like God, you know, becoming the creator of their life. And because this story is like a warning of how it can go wrong. And so the ego, I think, would hesitate or create that resistance for us really owning our own power. And we see this in everything — people are afraid of their own power versus they're afraid of just staying the same, they're actually more afraid of their own power.
Robert Maldonado 12:31
Absolutely. And, of course, the link to the myth of Prometheus, which there's many versions of it, but in a simplified way Prometheus is one of the Titans who kind of sides with Gods in the battle between humans and the gods. But then feels sorry for humans, you know, the nights are cold, and we have to kind of scrounge around for food and those kind of things. So he steals fire from Mount Olympus, and gives it to humans as an act of mercy, also as a kind of trickster, so he's kind of a trickster God, who always is playing around with these powerful forces.
Debra Maldonado 13:24
Blending the elements, like the world of the gods is now part of the world of the humans.
Robert Maldonado 13:29
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Robert Maldonado 14:22
Yeah, and this power that is given to us to create, right, to create technology — it’s an incredible power that if misused or if used blindly can have dire consequences, and that's the central theme of the myth also, that you have to be careful with this power.
Debra Maldonado 14:50
The message is be careful what you ask for, like, think things through, don't just— like, he was driven by obsession almost to create, and he wasn't really thinking with his logical, what we call the divine intellect, that higher level of thinking versus ego thinking, where he just recklessly went toward his emotional desires of wanting to do this for his own almost like ego fulfillment. And when we do things for our ego fulfillment, we end up hurting others, we end up making a wreck of our lives, cutting ourselves off from true happiness.
Robert Maldonado 15:31
Yeah, I mean, you know, you see this romantic idea of merging and kind of the birth of the Industrial Revolution again, where humans were starting to really transform the planet without thought. You can think of it this way — before the Industrial Revolution and in traditional culture still, nature was seen as a presence, as a life force.
Debra Maldonado 16:04
A partner almost right. Humans worked in conjunction with the moon cycles, and the rain, and it was like a cohesive one with everything.
Robert Maldonado 16:19
Yeah, that's right. There was this sense of relating to the divine through nature, or even nature being itself the divine somehow, whereas in the modern ethos of science, nature was reduced to “it”, to an object, to “this is raw material that we can use and transform it in any way we want.” And of course, they found justification in the Bible, and those kind of things by saying, “Oh, God told us we could use anything we want in any way we want it to.” So you see this kind of reduction of nature to material.
Debra Maldonado 17:04
At least natural resource, dig for oil.
Robert Maldonado 17:10
And that's part of what the book is talking about, or this mythological story. It's saying, you're going to create a monster in a sense by treating nature as an object, just kind of putting stuff together and manipulating it for your own ego purposes.
Debra Maldonado 17:34
Yeah, you know what I noticed, I grew up in New Jersey, and there's not a lot of nature in New Jersey. I worked in Manhattan for five years before I moved to Colorado, and I remember going to Colorado. And it was really the first time I enjoyed— I really had a lot of experience, because we would hike every weekend, and everything was very outdoorsy. And it was just— when you're talking about nature, many of us live in cities, and maybe we have the parks but we don't really get that raw nature of that connection. And I remember that one thing I loved about living in Denver is to go for hikes and see the water and see these mountain peaks and be a part of that natural world, and it's really has been taken away from most people. So anyway, I just was thinking of that even if you're not having a destructive force, we know a lot of us don't take for granted that there's nature.
Robert Maldonado 18:35
Right, but when we apply, let's say, the Jungian model to the story, we see that nature doesn't just mean the trees and the mountains. It means our own body. It's reducing it down to how are we relating to our bodies.
Debra Maldonado 18:54
Because we're made up of nature.
Robert Maldonado 18:55
That's right, and our psyche. So Jung emphasizes this idea over and over. When you're dealing with your psyche, you're dealing with nature. It is the true nature and our ego is the one, he says, that kind of fools itself into thinking “I am above nature, and nature is separate from me. And therefore I can treat it like an object.”
Debra Maldonado 19:24
Even in modern medicine. It's that treating the body like an object, and a bunch of chemicals and throw you know, cut a piece out and stitch it together, give it some drugs. Also with food. We worry about our health. You know, a lot of people worry about their health. They want to be healthier, especially this time. But we don't think of how do we feed our psyche? What do we feed in our soul? Like how do we feed our soul? How do we nourish this natural construction of our psyche? Do we feed it negativity? Do we surround ourselves with people that bring us down? You know that? Is that what you're saying too?
Robert Maldonado 20:08
Well, absolutely. But also, how do we see our own dreams and our own thoughts? And, let’s say, the ego is almost like an artificial construct. And when we start to believe we are the ego, then it makes us very egotistical in the sense that we feel, if my ego has this power of thought, and emotion and creativity, then I should be able to manipulate the world in any way I want. Without understanding that when I see the world, I'm actually seeing an extension of me.
Debra Maldonado 20:51
Trying to get objects, the ego is trying to get objects and disconnected from the world, not seeing that it's connected to it.
Robert Maldonado 21:00
That's right. So this pre-spiritual, biological form of life creates a sense of ego, of “I am separate from the world.” But that's not the ultimate state for humankind, it's essentially to transcend that through individuation, or through this transformation, through realizing what is my place in this bigger cosmos, what is the nature of this external reality, then perceive. And ultimately, what that teaches is that it is you, you are those things, and if you mistreat those things, you're essentially mistreating your own body. That's why you see in the myth— this myth, again, is arising from the collective unconscious spontaneously, that the monster is kind of cut up into parts and put together from different elements, different pieces, then the consciousness in that monster, the awareness is angry in a sense, it's resentful of its own creation, or being created.
Debra Maldonado 22:15
So it's sort of like when people think they're separate, they think they're the ego, they haven't done their Shadow Work. And they basically are still on the surface, thinking they're an object in the world. And there's other objects, and they're moving around. And then they're kind of like, I know, you had said this once, I loved it, you said, we’re trying to take pieces of the world and pull them in, you know, we see them as all separate. And we're basically putting our monster together, I got this relationship, and I got this job, and I got this thing. And it's like creating this creature of our identity based on where we feel they're disjointed, they're not really— we’re not really connected, they don't flow into a deeper philosophy or a deeper understanding of what we're really creating. It's almost like accumulating things or experiences. “I've been to this country, and I've traveled here, and I have this jewelry, and I have this purse, and I have this car, and this relationship, this job, this title, this degree.” And it's all kind of like a Frankenstein, sewn together. And we're just— it's still coming from the ego place. Is that what you're saying? It’s kind of a metaphor for how we live, our life is sewing the different pieces together and not seeing the big picture.
Robert Maldonado 23:30
That's right. And it's so unsatisfactory that it creates like a resentment in us when we live from the ego. We're always trying to fill ourselves with these external objects. But it creates a resentment because we feel like it's never enough. It's like the Buddhist idea of the hungry ghost. We're given everything but we can't swallow it fast enough and fast enough to feed ourselves.
Debra Maldonado 23:57
And it doesn't always fit together either. Sometimes it’s like “I bring this relationship in, and then this other piece is gonna have to suffer. Or if I bring a career in, the relationship is going to suffer, the children are going to suffer, I'm gonna have to give up certain people in my family or my life.” And it's this sort of, like I always say, rearranging the furniture in your life and putting together this collection of ego possessions that aren't really satisfying.
Robert Maldonado 24:26
Yeah, that's a good way to see it. Ego possessions. And that resentment then turns into that destructiveness because it's a sense of powerlessness, “I can't get my fill in, I’m never satisfied no matter how much I have.” Therefore, it creates this resentment against the creator.
Debra Maldonado 24:49
I'm just gonna mess my life up. We sabotage is that what you’re talking about?
Robert Maldonado 24:52
In a way, right? You see that self destructiveness very much at play in these bohemian lives that wrote these stories, right? That they're trying to get their fill, but they're never satisfied.
Debra Maldonado 25:08
And they don't want to commit to something too long. It's very pleasure based. As long as it feels good, I'm going to do it. And then if it doesn't feel good, I'm gonna move away. And that's very ego. It's disguised in this “I'm a free spirit.” But really, you're afraid of real challenges, real commitment.
Robert Maldonado 25:28
That's right. And you see this metaphor playing out also in the consciousness that we're given, the awareness that we're given as human beings, this self-reflective awareness, it's a burden to us. From the ego point of view, you know, it's a great burden, because it burns you with this deeper awareness of your own mortality, and your own— let’s say, your own connectedness with the world. At the same time, you don't want to accept it because the ego wants to stay in its comfort zone of “I'm only this little person, what responsibility should I take for taking care of the world? That's not my job, that's beyond my control”, the ego says, but the awareness is always there that, no, you're responsible.
Debra Maldonado 26:25
This is like the burden of consciousness.
Robert Maldonado 26:28
The burden of consciousness, yes. And the unwillingness to grow up. So Jung says that this ego stage is very much like remaining like a child. We want to remain in our innocence, we want to stay in the garden and be taken care of. But at the same time, we want all the goodies that adults have without the responsibility of it. And consciousness is always pushing us to be responsible. You know, when we talked about The Hobbit last time, that life in the Shire, that's our innocence. But if we never accept responsibility for what's going on outside the Shire, those dark elements, that bigger cosmos—
Debra Maldonado 27:17
That’s not my problem, I'm not a part of that, that's their problem.
Robert Maldonado 27:21
Then we give it more power, then it comes in as a destructive force, as war, as pollution, as destruction of nature. All the things that we're facing right now — the climate crisis, all those things are our own making, and the planet didn't force it upon us.
Debra Maldonado 27:43
The animals must be thinking, what the heck are you doing for us? What are you doing? So when we talk about the god complex, it's that idea that ego is basically taking on, like inflating itself, thinking it is God in a way but not seeing— I don't know more the power and the good stuff versus the responsibility.
Robert Maldonado 28:14
Very much so. I mean, if you look at human beings, and our addiction to energy, through fossil fuels, and all kinds of energy, we're very much like addicts. Like we can't quit, we know we need to change.
Debra Maldonado 28:31
Stop driving gasoline cars.
Robert Maldonado 28:32
Yeah, but at same time, we're very destructive. Like we'll trade in anything we have just to get the next fix, and get the next economy going, and get the next thing, you know, up and running. And that's an addict basically, you cannot quit your maladaptive destructive behavior. And the solution is always that you connect with something bigger in you, right, like those 12 step programs that talk about, you know, getting to that point, is very— and Jung inspired those programs.
Debra Maldonado 29:08
John Smith? Bob Smith? I can't remember.
Robert Maldonado 29:13
One of those Smiths.
Debra Maldonado 29:14
One of those Smiths went to Jung and did the individuation with him and understood the concept of the higher power, taking on the higher power, or like the handing it over to a higher power instead of letting the ego drive your life.
Robert Maldonado 29:29
Yes, that's right. And then we see this argument from the scientific community that say, well, you know, mythology are just stories and they're like, you know, primitive cultures or in the infancy of our humanity. But they don't understand the deeper meaning of these stories, that the wisdom of the unconscious is coming through these stories and therefore we dismiss them, we’re missing the opportunity to reconnect our technological power, our scientific power with that deeper wisdom. And that's really that transcendent function that Jung talks about. If we want to balance our technological power and scientific mindset with our soul, with our deeper human psyche, that has that natural wisdom to it, then it has to come through this understanding that mythology, religion, spirituality has to go hand in hand with technology and science.
Debra Maldonado 30:49
So what you're really talking about is the merging of matter and spirit, Schottky and Shiva, the yin and the yang, the unseen and the seen. But we as egos, if we're in the ego realm, we just see everything as material and solid and separate, and as chunks of content that we put together like Frankenstein, and then think we have this power to change our lives. And it's very arrogant for us to take that on. And so with the God complex, there's a God image that Jung talks about as an archetype. And that archetype — we talked about this in the class on the podcast on The Crown — is this kind of people that are in leadership roles, politicians, celebrities, we project that God complex onto them. And a lot of them are in the power of basically changing culture, changing how people live, changing the direction of a country, and the projection of that power. And then if they're not conscious, an ego gets inflated, and then they become actually very destructive. And so that God image, they take it as they’re the God instead of the God concept.
Robert Maldonado 32:14
That's always the problem with the ego and the over-identification with the ego, that when it starts to sense this power that we're given, through the imagination and the intellect, it begins to think “That's my power.” And that's narcissism, that is that corruptive element of “It's all about me.” And you see, again, that kind of these people that have all the wealth and it's never enough, you know, they want more and more and more, the job then for them is simply to accumulate more.
Debra Maldonado 32:58
And they feel separate from people that have less, and they feel like they don’t— so know that they're part of the people that are in poverty, actually put them to the— everyone's a reflection of yourself. And so when you're in the ego, you think “mine and theirs”, and it's a very selfish place to be and you're very disconnected from nature, from your own body, from your heart. I remember, you know, just when I was doing one on one work very early in my career, a lot of people when I would talk about emotion, most people didn't even know— I was like “Where do you feel that in your body?” and they were like “Oh, I feel like here.” Like most people aren't even connected to their body, they feel like there's this mental, you know, idea maybe in their head and this face that goes around, and just even start with reconnecting with the natural element of this beautiful vessel that our soul gets to live in temporarily. And then connect to feel— that's what I love about Jung’s work, because it helps us feel connected to everything and everyone and seeing it as an extension of our own mind. And these myths on a deeper level help us understand the greatness of who we are. This whole idea, I think, when I first started doing personal development work, I would think that this God or this divine power that we have, it was like all good and all just light and just powerful. But there's so much more to it. It's that understanding that collective unconsciousness, collection of archetypal patterns and symbols and— I don't know, it's just so much richer. And originally I thought it was like “Oh, just go to the lights and just be happy.” There's this other fantastic realm of our psyche that we have access to. And that we see it in the physical world is more of a reflection of that and they come up in stories and stuff. So that's what we're really talking about is reconnecting to our psychic power.
Robert Maldonado 35:04
Through the power of myth, as Joseph Campbell would say. But the power of myths has to be connected to real spiritual knowledge, so at the end of the day is like this, we're destroying the planet needlessly because we could have essentially everything that technology gives us but in a more balanced way, if we simply took what we know from science and merged it with a higher knowledge that is in the Upanishads, in the ancient teachings, because it teaches you about consciousness, about the nature of reality, then you would be able to use the tools of science and the power that science gives you in a much more measured way. But right now, what's happening is the power of science has been hijacked by the ego, which simply wants to create, like that consumer society, right—
Debra Maldonado 36:08
The body has become the commodity and the medical model now is getting sick is actually a revenue generator. So feed people bad fast food and fatty foods, and then they have to go to a doctor and they have to get high blood pressure pills or getting insulin for diabetes. And it's let's just make it— I don't think it's like one person deciding that with the evil genius, but it's almost like the evil of the dark side of the ego is this kind of “how can I make more money on this?” and not really think things through, like creating this monster of terrible food, processed foods that are really hurting not only our natural resources, because creating those foods actually destroyed the crops in the culture, but also destroy our body. I mean, just sugar alone is so destructive.
Robert Maldonado 37:04
Yeah. And so back to the story, I don't think Mary Shelley was saying that all science and all technology is evil and is going to lead to that. But she's definitely saying — be careful with this. These are powerful forces that arise through the mind, through the intellect, and through the imagination. But they're also coming from deeper parts of the psyche that if we do not understand them, if we just kind of like Victor, go headlong into “Because we can do something, let's just do it.” Yeah, that's a mistake that's going to lead to a lot of suffering.
Debra Maldonado 37:48
Well, this whole idea of cloning, as another element to what is a human being, and what are we doing here. And then the genetic changes. Like I want to— the ideal race, you know, to find the— I want to pick it— what do they call it?
Robert Maldonado 38:09
Debra Maldonado 38:12
That baby see? Like you have fashion babies, and you can say “I want a baby with blue eyes, I want a boy or I want a girl.” And it can lead us down a dark road. And it may seem like “Oh, this is a good idea.” But conscious human beings don't make rational choices. So that's really the message in Frankenstein is that we may not be able to change the whole world today. But think about in your life that you're dedicating yourself to wake up, to move beyond the ego. Because most of us aren't making rational choices in our life. And if we're suffering, that's why.
Robert Maldonado 38:51
Yeah, and right now you see people like Elon Musk and other people in leadership positions, warning us about artificial intelligence, which is really at our doorstep. It's here already, but it's going to be a lot bigger in the next 10-15 years. And it's going to catch a lot of people by surprise, because it's going to amplify what we know and are doing in genetics, in robotics. And it's going to change the nature of work and the nature of science in so many ways that we're not going to be able to catch up with the changes, they are going to happen so fast that human beings are going to be kind of left behind by this artificial intelligence, which is the monster, again. So it's time to really take these myths and understand them in this new way. Not to reject them and say “oh, they're from our past, just stories.” They are the way we as human beings make sense of our universe. And we structure our lives, our sense, our connection with nature through these myths, the mythology gives us a way to relate to these deeper or bigger forces around us.
Debra Maldonado 40:23
Now, someone just asked mythology and working with dreams. And we were talking about this, one of the things that we could start doing today is ask your dreams for information, then start paying attention to them and seeing them not just as some brain dump at the end of the day in your mind, your brain’s reshuffling ideas, but really say “This is like a sacred message and myths that I'm living through, that the dream is presenting to me” and you honor them. And then the more you read mythology and really understand— you know, Jung had just a beautiful way of talking about the psyche and how it's really laid out and understand layers of ourself and how they work, and why these myths are so powerful. And that I think starting with yourself, your self understanding is going to change the world in a ripple effect. Because the more of us go inside and get beyond the ego, the more chance the world has to survive and human beings to survive in a harmonious way.
Robert Maldonado 41:37
Yeah, absolutely, start with the individual. Because if you think, what is society? Well, you know, what is this thing we call the nations in the world? It's a collection of you and me and other human beings like ourselves. It's not a big mystery. But if you notice, nobody wants to take responsibility for things. They always say “Well, I'm just following your orders. I'm just doing things as they've always been done, or I'm simply doing my job.”
Debra Maldonado 42:10
Well, think about the whole idea with the Purdue people with the oxycontin, they knew it was addictive, and they knew people were gonna destroy their lives from it. But then no one wanted— it wasn't like one person's decision. And it was just kind of the corporation can hide behind, and then the corporation is being sued and all those things, but it's like that lack of responsibility, personal responsibility for anything, because you can hide behind a corporation.
Robert Maldonado 42:40
And that's the characteristic of the unindividuated person, they don't see their work having an impact on culture and other people, they think “Well, if I'm just the ego, I'm just one little person acting and doing my job, what harm can there be?” But the collection of that is very harmful, right? The collection of human beings living out from their ego is extremely harmful and destructive. And so waking ourselves up through individuation, we take that responsibility, we say “No, my life matters. And what I do for work, and for a living, and the way I behave towards others, is very important, I can see its impact.”
Debra Maldonado 43:33
And if one person's suffering in the world, that's my suffering. It's not separate from you, but a lot of people, I think, I don't know if it's in the West, but I think a lot of us don’t want to watch the news, don't want to pay attention to the negative news, just like “I don't want to, you know, put myself in— look at the suffering of others.” That's bad and feels almost like covering, living in a bubble away from understanding what's happening collectively as a whole, as humans and not have compassion. “It's not my problem, that's not happening here.” We have to all look at the events of the world and say “This is humanity. And I'm part of it. And it's a an extension of a part of my psyche.” The collective is that we're all one and I think, if we realize that we're all one and we’re, first of all, individually, we're one with everything, and then everyone else is one with us. I think we would treat each other more kindly. And I think the world would be more generous. I think that there wouldn't be poverty because people would be “Oh, you're hungry here. You're me. You're suffering. Let me speak a kind word to you.” And the projections that we see in the world are really from our own psyche.
Robert Maldonado 44:53
Yeah, one of the few people that we see giving that message to people is the Dalai Lama. And we see him continuously kind of talking about this idea that the only problem humans have is that they believe they're the ego. And the ego is the source of all suffering, all human suffering because of that misunderstanding that they think “I'm just a little person, what can I do?” But in that unconsciousness, in that misperception of who you are lies the seed of human destruction or the destructiveness of human nature, but in the awareness that no, you're responsible to be compassionate, to wake yourself up, to be a light in unto yourself like the Buddha says, then you are your understanding the true power of your life.
Debra Maldonado 45:57
And how you could make an impact, how you can change the world, right? They want to— I want to change the world, I want to make an impact, I want to put my imprint, so I'm going to leave behind my legacy. And the best thing you can do is individuate, that's the first step.
Robert Maldonado 46:16
Yes. So thanks to Mary Shelley for her great work, bringing this monster to life.
Debra Maldonado 46:26
Yes. There's another question: as an idea, the great mother archetype has deep roots anthropologically, so to speak, soul casts under its shadow. I don't know what that means “soul casts under its shadow.” Well, the soul is the world. The Anima is the mother. So the soul— but the material world covers over the true spiritual nature. I think that's what you're saying? I'm not sure. But what do you think?
Robert Maldonado 47:03
I mean, the mother archetype, if we think in the bigger terms, right, as Mother Nature and the cosmos, right, the material world, or the material universe. Then this relationship that we have with nature is very much our relationship with the mother archetype.
Debra Maldonado 47:30
And our body, I always say, is our mother, because it's nurturing us. It's letting us live and experience this life.
Robert Maldonado 47:37
Yes. And we see this resentment playing out. Why would we destroy the very sustenance, the very things that help us survive?
Debra Maldonado 47:50
Let's just smoke and drink and eat well.
Robert Maldonado 47:52
Not only our bodies, right, but rivers and trees and air.
Debra Maldonado 48:01
They say animals don’t poop in their own food.
Robert Maldonado 48:04
Yeah, exactly. Unless there was a psychological unconscious resentment against the mother.
Debra Maldonado 48:11
Ah, so it's the reason— it's the anger of the Creator for “Why did you bring me here?” I mean, this is actually really interesting is “Why did you bring me here? Now I'm conscious of myself, I have this ego. And it sucks. I'm worried all the time. I'm anxious all the time. I'm chasing things, and I don't know where I belong.” Right? So that's how we have that anger toward the Creator. So then we want to destroy its creation.
Robert Maldonado 48:39
Yeah. And you see that in the story, the monster is resentful against Victor for bringing him into the world, and then kind of leaving him to his own devices, which is how we feel as human beings that while we're given this incredible consciousness, but we don't know what to do with it, right?
Debra Maldonado 49:01
So even in the first Bible section, the Genesis, where we're kicked out of the garden, it's almost like God— we have this beautiful place where we don't have to really think, and then we're thrown out into this, you know, out of the beautiful garden, and there must be that the myth really talks about that resentment toward God, for giving us this burden of consciousness.
Robert Maldonado 49:29
Oh, yes. I mean, you see human beings always had this love-hate relationship with the Creator or the creative power, because a lot of religions were designed to appease those powerful forces through sacrifice. Like, I have to pay this ransom or this money, give the best of my work as sacrifice to the divine, so that it keeps me alive and keeps me, you know, keeps my work going. So you see it in Aztec societies, in the Native American cultures, a lot of the work was about appeasing these cosmic forces so that they don't destroy us, they don't cut us off from our life sources.
Debra Maldonado 50:30
So basically, it's a warning if we reject God or we are angry at God that we can be very lonely, isolated, destructive. And I love what Jung’s work does is he actually helps us bridge that connection, reconnecting us basically. So the first half of life we're totally building it up, separated. And we have maybe an intellectual concept of God through religion and stories. But then the second half of life is really reconnecting and going inward and connecting to God and building a partnership with our divine self versus resenting it and feeling like it's a burden.
Robert Maldonado 51:11
Yeah, I mean, he set out to essentially build a psychology that would account for that split that we feel from nature. That separateness that humans have from the creative powers. How do you, let's say, bridge that gap? His idea was simply this. In our conscious waking life and experience we feel ourselves to be ego, persona. And we over-identify with that persona. In the unconscious, he says, is that creative power, the nature, the divine, the God, you know, whatever you want to call it — it’s us. But we're unconscious of it. We're disconnected from it because we over-identify with the ego. So he says the answer’s to begin to merge the two, begin that dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious, that he called the transcendent function. The transcendent function leads us on the individuation process.
Debra Maldonado 52:30
It is that relationship, and if we have a real inner— we always say that really everything is a relationship, that relationship with ourselves, and the relationship with others, relationship with the divine, all connected. And so that’s why we're social conscious creatures because we want to relate, right? So how do we build those relationships that are open, that are loving, that are supportive, that are listening, that are giving and sharing, and that's really the process. So anyway, great conversation, we can talk about this for a long time. I was thinking even just one last kind of idea is when I first started doing a lot of this work, personal development work on myself, there was a point where I was really resentful of having to do the work or having to look inward, almost like it felt like work, like I have to work on myself. And when I discovered the Jungian model, Jungian coaching, you know, kind of philosophy that we built, it doesn't feel like work anymore, it doesn't feel like a burden. Like I got to do some more workshops and fix myself. It's more an expansive discovery and journey and it doesn't feel like a job, or something that I have to kind of work at. I mean, it is something you have to be committed to for yourself, but you fall in love with the process versus you resent it. Does that make sense to you? Like, people would always— when I first did a lot of love coaching people would say “I'm so tired of working on myself.” And it's like, why are you working on yourself? This should be— you should love to discover yourself and want to know more of yourself and want to know more of God, like show me who you are, I want to know more. That is really inviting the divine into your life is to be open to that versus thinking “This is something I have to do in order to find a man, or find money, or to find the right career or purpose in my life.” It's like now this is the goal to take that journey. It's not the finish line, the actual journey is the reward.
Robert Maldonado 54:48
Yeah, because we're designed for that, we're the happiest when we're creating through that process of being in touch with our deeper unconscious power. And it's just what makes us happy.
Debra Maldonado 55:04
And then a lot of times people are trying to use building themselves up to get things and it actually feels like a burden, because then you're feeling “I have to fix something in order to have the things I love” versus seeing that “Everything I see in my life is a reflection of myself, and then I have the power.” It's such a different approach. And we're not taking and zipping up and sewing together different aspects of our life to make this life. Ours means something really great. We're actually seeing that we're all connected to it already. It's not this disjointed collection of Frankenstein objects, and people in our life, and how we hang on to them.
Robert Maldonado 55:48
Yeah, I think we use the metaphor as much as possible.
Debra Maldonado 55:52
So create a divine image of yourself and express that in the world, that is connected to nature and your true nature.
Robert Maldonado 56:03
Yes, well said.
Debra Maldonado 56:04
Yes. So thank you, everyone, for joining us. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. If you're listening to the replay, make sure you make a comment. We'd love to hear what you thought, deep thoughts today. And we'll see you next week for next Soul Session where we are going to talk about Rob's favorite movie.
Robert Maldonado 56:23
Well, it's actually a book, my favorite book.
Debra Maldonado 56:26
You don’t know if it's your favorite movie yet.
Robert Maldonado 56:28
We haven't seen it yet.
Debra Maldonado 56:29
So the movie Dune is coming out on HBO Max, I think, because there's no theater releases. And yeah, we're interested to see the translation of the 70s version versus the 2021-2020 version. Interesting, a lot of archetypes in that story. And so we're going to be talking about that next week.
Robert Maldonado 56:54
Yeah, see you guys next time.
Debra Maldonado 56:55
Take care, everyone.
Robert Maldonado 56:56
Debra Maldonado 56:59
Thank you for joining us. And don't forget to subscribe to Creative Mind Soul Sessions. And join us next week as we explore another deep topic where you can consciously create your life with Creative Mind Soul Session. See you next time.