Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Carl Jung

Words ~ They Can Harm or Heal ~ Why?


Whether you’re reading a novel  on the beach or the side-panel on a box of cereal, words are out to get you

Right where it matters most—in your mind and heart.

Of course, the way words get you (or, get to you) can range from euphoria to horror and understanding their power would seem to be something we all could afford to appreciate more.

In an essay you can download from the left side-bar, What Are Words?, I gave a simple example of the power of words that brought up parts of our mind we don’t often pay attention to:

“Let’s say the word-symbols on the screen/page are: ‘John walked down the dirt road, happy that he had no idea where he was going’.

“’John walked down the dirt road…’, will more than likely call up images stored in the personal unconscious, though, if you asked a thousand readers to describe that dirt road, you’d have a thousand different dirt roads, depending on the individual reader’s experience. {imagine for a second a reader who had never seen or read about a dirt road…}

“Of course, if a reader had been down some dirt roads, the image would be colored with some blend of those experiences. If they’d had a scare while on a dirt road, that feeling-image may come to mind and they may worry about John.

“If they’d been on a dirt road as a child and had an adult molest them, as well as having consigned that memory to their Shadow, they may break out in a sweat and have an anxiety attack

So, the human mind seems to work in tandem with the bare words to cause the often-surprising reactions we have to these written or verbal symbols.

Have you ever had a surprising or shocking reaction to a set of words?

Do you think it helps to know more about the workings of the mind in order to protect yourself from words?

Do we need protection from words?

What about folks who are rigid about never using certain words?

What about the effects of words that don’t obviously cause consternation but still wield great power we’re not consciously considering?

And, the ultimate question about words, one we may never have a complete answer for: Why do words have such power?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

This Page Intentionally Blank


This Page Intentionally Blank is the name of a blog that has a recent post called, Making Characters Real. I saw the title and immediately thought of two posts I’d written: Very Special CharactersVery Special Characters ~ Revisited. I touched on minor, significant, major, very special, and meta characters. But, all characters need a rationale for their being–some underlying psychology that helps the author create them and justifies their actions in the story.

So, up steps Bill Jones, with his blog post on making characters real

Ever feel surprised by something that immediately reminds you of a pleasurable time in your life? Kind of like being swept up and back at the same time.

Bill did that for me by bringing up a personality test I’d studied and used extensively back in the 90s–the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators. That’s the “official page” but you can find a use-it-right-now version by checking out Bill’s blog post.

He sketches-out the way he uses the personality types in the Myers-Briggs system to give substance to his characters as well as find fascinating personality combinations for character interactions.

Bill gives a hint of the usefulness of the personality types by showing his own profile:

“ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts of challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are ‘take charge’ people.”

I hadn’t answered the profile questions in quite awhile (yes, your profile can change over time) so I took the test again. Here’s my profile:

“To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of ‘definiteness’, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t  know.”

So, I hadn’t changed from the last time I took the test but then I’m 65 and rather settled in my ways :-)

Do check out Bill’s post and, if you take the personality test (it’s relative short), it would be great if you came back and let me know how well it captured your basic nature.

I’d also be intensely interested if you shared how you think this method of sketching out personality could be used in character creation!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)

Take Part In Our Reader Survey

Get A Free Copy of the book, Notes from An Alien

How The Words Get On The Screen/Page ~ Part One


Even though my theories of word creation and transmission are my own conceptions, they are based on years of study–with Carl Jung, my Muse, other psychologists, various spiritual mentors, arguments with myself, and conversations with other writers.

I find Jung’s ideas of the Mind the most useful because they’ve proven their practical value.

Let’s start with a word-symbol formula of the full process, from word-creation to word use, by showing the various areas of mind/body involved, in the order they’re activated:

Collective Unconscious–>Personal Unconscious–>Shadow–>Conscious Mind–>Brain–>Body–>Screen/Paper

Collective Unconscious: This is where all the Archetypes hang out and have sex with each other. The CU is full of Psychological Energy Patterns like Mother, Father, Child, Lover, Murder, Transmutation, Hero, Wise Old Person, and tons more. For more background knowledge check out this entry in Wikipedia.

These metaphysical entities are called Psychological Energy Patterns because they have no specific conscious form. For instance, the Mother Archetype is no ones’ particular mother and has no particular traits or personality–She belongs to all of us since this is the Collective Unconscious. In a way, she contains all the possible traits and powers of all possible mothers. She’s also the source of the word, “mother”.

All these Energy Patterns are always blending and interacting–having “Sex”. This constant creative activity, deep within us, is the ultimate source of all our thoughts since it’s believed the Collective Unconscious gives birth to the Conscious Mind.

The qualities of the main, person-like Archetypes are what give birth to the characters of a story; their interactions are what produces the plot.

But, we don’t just peer into the CU with our ego-mind and snatch plot, character, and word.

By the way, it’s the intense, creative interactions of all the Archetypes that produce what I’ve been calling Real Words. The Words that hold the complete Meanings. For example, not the mere word-symbol, “tree”, or the various forms of the personal word, “Tree”, that each of us has packed with slightly different Meanings, but the Real Word, “TREE”, that contains all of whatever can be considered Tree-ness

Personal Unconscious:

This is where the broad, ultra-creative, endlessly active Words produced by the Interactions of the Archetypes become more like what most people call “words”.

The PU is where we can get a first glimpse of an image of a mother or a tree or a murderer.

The PU also has a lively interaction with the Conscious Mind and stores memories and concepts and words that the Conscious Mind has labored over. But it uses the infusion of creativity from the Collective Unconscious to massage the memories/concepts/words so that, even though the word “tree” is there in the Personal Unconscious all the time, it’s being “worked-on” by both the Collective and Conscious Mind–it’s evolving

Also, the words in the Personal Unconscious are the ones that have the normal “word-histories” that an etymology dictionary contains.

This mutual interaction of Collective Unconscious with Personal Unconscious and Personal Unconscious with Conscious Mind aren’t the only instances of creative “loops” in that schematic, straight-line formula I proposed earlier:

Collective Unconscious–>Personal Unconscious–>Shadow–>Conscious Mind–>Brain–>Body–>Screen/Paper

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story :-)

Read The Other Posts In This Series
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)

Take Part In Our Reader Survey

Get A Free Copy of Notes from An Alien

When The Muse Speaks . . .


Any of you remember the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the nine muses of myth? Here are their respective fields of museness: epic poetry, history, love poetry and lyric art, music, tragedy, hymns, dance, comedy, and astronomy.

Are you a person who creates in one of those areas?

Do you think there are muses for other creative activities?

What about the muse of Fatherhood?

How about a muse for bricklayers?

Perhaps each person has a muse specialized for whatever they choose to do with their life?

I’ll vote for that last one without denying all the other possibilities :-)

It’s been said the muse is a shape-shifter. Which could mean, for a creative writer, the muse plays the part of all the characters inhabiting the author’s head.

Then there’s the issue of whether the muse is really “in” the head. Can’t the heart abide a muse’s process? Couldn’t a muse hang out on one’s shoulder?

My muse has been with me since I was born. She made me do things as a child that my mother wondered at and my father abhorred.

I worked hard in my twenties to make her proactively real. It’s a process called Active Imagination

She’s changed her name many times and she usually, of late, speaks to me without using words.

Her latest command was to be more attentive to this blog–make it shine

Since I know the task isn’t just on my shoulders–she doesn’t issue commands that she doesn’t help me with–I feel I can make the effort.

I do hope that small percentage of my readers who leave comments will let me, and her, know how we’re doing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)

Take Part In Our Reader Survey

AND, Get A Free Copy of Notes from An Alien

The Different Flavors of Reality ~ Where Do Creative Ideas Come From?


I may lose a few folks with these opening comments but to really “get” this post you should first read this one and then read this one. They’ll open in new windows so you can pop right back here… I totally recommend you read the comments on those posts, too. Seems our regulars are getting into the spirit of things :-)

For those who haven’t read those other posts, I’ll face the challenge of writing a synopsis:

Writers seem like strange creatures, always coming up with make-believes that seem real, talking to characters in their heads, spending lots of time absolutely alone…

Seems we writers are actually like other people but more so…

Writers use something everyone has but they use it more.

I’m going to insert an image, but first want to credit the man from whom it was adapted, William S. Hatcher. I found the diagram in his book, Logic & Logos. I should mention, mostly because the image implies it, that the theories of Carl Jung support Hatcher’s ideas.

MAP of REALITY

First, notice that Unconscious Reality and Conscious Reality are both Subjective: they are what each individual has “within” them…

Then, Visible Reality and Invisible Reality are both Objective: “outside” the individual…

Now, a little explanation of each flavor of Reality:

Conscious Reality: This is what far too many people think is the only reality. It’s the Ego-consciousness, the part of the mind that sees objects, the place where we do our thinking and shout in silence…

Visible Reality: This is the world-out-there. Again, far too many people think this is the only reality that’s outside their mind–if ya can’t see it, it ain’t real…

Invisible Reality: This flavor of Reality might sound totally strange but contemplate gravity–can’t see it but you definitely know it’s there. Magnetism is another part of Invisible Reality. And, if you really want to grasp this aspect of Reality, realize that most of what we call Social Reality–institutions, corporations, various civic offices–are also part of Invisible Reality. Sure there are Visible buildings and corporate headquarters and mayors but the concepts of institution, corporation, and office are truly invisible. There may be a President in the White House but you can’t actually see The Presidency…

Unconscious Reality: Now we’re into the area of Reality that writers (and any creative person) use so much. This is internal to a person. Most people don’t pay conscious attention to this part of their mind. It makes itself known, whether a person wishes it or not, in dreams, day-dreams, sudden speech we often wish hadn’t left our mouths, and other interesting manifestations.

The Unconscious Mind of each individual is also, apparently, connected at its deepest levels with what might be called the Memory of Humanity–the Collective Unconscious–but this memory isn’t passive; it has energy and purpose and has powered many a fine conscious idea…

For more info on this rich reservoir of creative potential, read this.

So, to summarize:

There are, at least, four realms of Reality and two of them are inside us. Most people cling to their Conscious Reality and shun the Unconscious. They leave themselves open to bad dreams, embarrassing social gaffs, troublesome relationships, and even increased illness…

Writers (and other creative types) take advantage of their Unconscious Reality. It either flows up to the conscious mind without bidding and is accepted as a resource for creativity or they work to make it manifest its images and energies.

I hope you read those two earlier posts I recommended and it would be just fantastic if you’ve checked out the other links. Now, I will eagerly anticipate the continuation of the conversation from the earlier posts’ Comments………
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
On Facebook
On Twitter
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book