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Spitzer: What Was He Thinking?

Apr 13, 2008
That's the big question these days. From astrologists to therapists to historians to politicians, we are trying to figure out why - why did he do this? Even how COULD he do this?

One explanation is Jung's concept of enantiodromia, one of those $1000 words. It is from the Greek "enantios" for opposite and "dromos," running course". Jung meant it as the super abundance of any force inevitably producing its opposite. Note: inevitably.

You may recognize this concept from the field of physics and equilibrium. Any extreme is opposed by the system in order to restore balance, or equilibrium. i.e., what goes up must (MUST) come down.

It's equally true of emotions - why 12 steppers are taught to stay in the middle, emotionally; because if you go too high, INEVITABLY you will go too low. The physical system seeks equilibrium, to re-stabilize.

Jung was referring to the unconscious acting against the wishes of the conscious mind. We now know about the triune brain and a more palatable explanation is a war among the brains, in which the reptilian wins. If you think you are ever "above" the reptilian brain, think again! Just learn about it so it doesn't sneak up on you. (See THE EQ COURSE.)

In Jung's sense, enantiodromia was "running counter to" - he felt that the unconscious opposite would emerge over the course of time. The "unconscious" is the salient part.

To quote from wiki: "This characteristic phenomenon practically always occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up, which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control." It would cause a complete change in behavior, and this can go either way. For instance, a recent report from the Council of Europe stated that "It is even proved that the incidence of domestic violence seems to increase with incomes and level of education ... almost half of all those who commit violence against women hold university degrees."

The example is sometimes cited of Cantat killing his lover Marie Trintignant. She died after he beat her in an argument. "We lived an extraordinary moment," he said. "I loved Marie with all my being. I loved her and I'll always love her. I think of her each second and I'll always think of her. I can't erase her from my memory."

But on the other hand, as the concept was treated in the film "The Lives of Others," it can go the other way - when a person devoted to fascism change completely and became a humanist ... or the story of "Amazing Grace." However, these stories are not quite as exciting or as "newsworthy" as the falls are.

Likewise "Fast" Eddie Felson in "The Huslter" -- he has a lot of talent but a huge flaw - an ego, an arrogance he's not acquainted with, so it attacks him from the rear, so to speak. What we are not aware of, is not under our control. He has the notion that he can beat any situation and vanquish any opponent. Not unlike Spitzer, he felt he was "above the law." This notion that what we are not aware or, i.e., what is not under our conscious control, can do us in, is well treated in Shakespeare's OTHELLO and Verdi's OTELLO.

Spitzer was particularly devoted to going after powerful men, as if he could do this without consequence. Now this word "unconscious" - we might as well say "mindful", or "self-aware" - - aware of the nature of reality, and of oneself, and one's emotions. Or did he fly so high, so to speak, that he had to bring himself down, hard.

Without being mindful (clueless) we can do things that harm ourselves and others, including self-sabotage. Emotional Intelligence begins with self-awareness. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, who was talking about war, if something can be used against you, it's good to study it as well, including the forces within you which can be used against you.
About the Author
Susan Dunn,Life Coach,EQ, http://www.susandunn.cc, sdunn@susandunn.cc. Susan is the creator of THE EQ COURSE ( http://www.susandunn.cc/EQcourse.htm She offers individual coaching,business consulting,and she trains and certifies coaches internationally. See her Ebooks at http://www.webstrategies.cc/ebooklibrary.html
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