Here are some random thoughts to consider about some eye-opening similarities between the writings of Carl Jung and our character “S”.
- In Jung’s Red Book, he uses a technique called active imagination to attempt to confront and descend into his own unconscious self. While there, he is visited often by an elusive figure named Salome that he refers to as his soul.
- In October of 1913, Jung had a vision of a “sea of blood over the Northern lands” that deeply disturbed him. Less than one year later, Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, launching World War I. Jung was convinced his vision related to this upheaval. “S” was a contemporary to Jung and this upheaval, and the book makes several references to the Archduke’s assassination. The “sea of red” resembles an encounter with Maelstrom’s maps.
- “S” is experiencing a fugue state (toccata and fugue!), a dissociative identity disorder, that gives him amnesia about his identity. Carl Jung pioneered work in dissociative disorders.
- The Ship of Theseus is a paradox that attempts to resolve the singular identity of something that seems to have changed so much that it can’t possibly be the same thing. In “S”, the ship can somehow undergo partial or even seemingly complete destruction and yet still return, rebuilt in all the right places. Does this mean it is the same ship? Carl Jung believed that the true self is largely lost after childhood to the deceptions and demands of society and eventually must be deconstructed and rebuilt to return to its original state to find what we might call enlightenment.
- Carl Jung called on humans to look within to fight the battle of good and evil versus society’s typical demands to fight it without by targeting an enemy for war or assassination. “S” faces this very struggle himself, initially fighting it without and in the climax realizing that his efforts are useless.
- Jung believed that “water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious.” What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin.
- Carl Jung first described the concept of synchronicity, a phenomenon where two events that are scientifically unrelated, but to your mind they seem to have some sort of meaningful connection. “S” repeatedly experiences moments of synchronicity with the symbol “S” appearing in places it seems otherwise impossible.
- Eric and Jen attempt to discover the true identity of “S,” and they go back and forth from seeing “S” as an individual or some sort of collective, as they call it. Carl Jung developed the concept of the collective unconscious, or those parts of the unconscious that all humans have.
I sense that there are many more connections, but these are the ones that the amateur psychologist inside of me could find. If you find more, or if you think any of the connections I have made bear further discussion, please share!