Wednesday, 13 April 2016

A prolegomenon to Jungian archaeology: part five

Leonard Woolley (left) and T. E. Lawrence at
their archaeological dig at Carchemish, Syria
"In the actual work he was curiously erratic. It all depended on how far he was interested, and not everything in field archaeology did interest him or appeal to his sense of values. He could take very full and careful notes, not always in a form easy for others to follow, but giving all the gist of the matter, and at other times he would take no notes at all. ... His impatience of the written record might have been due in part to his prodigious memory. He would look at a small fragment of a Hittite inscription which had just come to light and remark that it fitted on to an equally small piece found twelve months before, and although there were many hundreds of such in our store room he was always right; or he would quote from memory a particular potsherd that had been found in a former season and could describe its stratum and associations, although I and not he had excavated the piece and written the notes about it. His mind was indeed entirely set on the work he was doing, but he did it in his own way. He would make brilliant suggestions but would seldom argue in support of them; they were based on sound enough arguments, but he expected you to see these for yourself, and if you did not agree he would relapse into silence and smile."

Leonard Woolley speaking of T. E. Lawrence, an excerpt from his entry in T. E. Lawrence by his Friends, ed. A. W. Lawrence, Jonathan Cape, London, 1937, p. 86f

"Woolley has brought out a deal of money to speculate in antiquities; and he is in fair way of making about 300 percent. ... I have still scruples about engaging in trade!" "I was offered a huge silver chalice. ... I was really tempted to throw away my salary of this year upon it". T. E. Lawrence speaking of Leonard Woolley in letters of 1912 and 1913, quoted by Harold Orlans, T. E. Lawrence: Biography of a Broken Hero, McFarland, 2002, p. 19.

This glimpse into an archaeological team of two (plus Arab day labourers) shows the very different sorts of personalities that have been brought together without regard for the nature of such personalities. It also shows (perhaps surprisingly to some): complex characters. You would be hard-pressed to find a modern example because now, more than then, the personalities are disregarded and only the results of an archaeological dig are spoken of. We have, thus, a less complete record on which to base our judgements of the work. We also find today, that archaeology is not only more political, but far more subject to mythologizing: All professional archaeologists are this; All non-archaeologists are that. Attacks against any aspect of archaeology  become attacks against archaeology itself with both archaeologists and non-archaeologists. This mythologizing is indicative of the end of analytical thought: first something is practical, then it becomes myth or religion, and the practical aspects are then assigned numinosity. In earlier religions, the stories were understood as metaphor, eventually, under materialistic fundamentalism, they have to be physical truths that are also religious dogma.

We cannot thus build practically-designed teams at the moment because the mythology is all that is important, and it has its priestly hierarchy the nature of which and its very identity is entirely repressed and within the personal unconscious and the collective consciousness where it is expressed as memes.

Supposing that the situation should change before the extinction of the pure subject, what sort of teams should we put together? We would have to be careful not to include extreme opposites, say of pathologically extreme introverts and extraverts because (tongue in cheek) most of the introverts would not even show up and any who did might be in danger of being killed by a sociopathic extravert. Yet both extraverts and introverts have very valuable skills that are not shared with each other. Soem of the best collaborations have been between introverts and extraverts who are both very close to the middle of the scale and can thus communicate with each other very well. I, like Lawrence, am an introvert: INF.. but I have a numismatist friend who is a moderate extravert. It is often amazing what we can come up with during our many discussions. Carl Jung was an INFJ; (introvert) Wolfgang Pauli was an ENTP (extravert).Together, they broke many of the boundaries between psychology and physics. Even more extreme opposites on a team could exist providing there is an allowance for intermediaries who can translate. e. g. a moderate introvert communicating with a less moderate introvert and then communicating such with a moderate extravert and so forth.

Even within the introvert and extravert categories, the different specific personality types also have different strengths and weaknesses, and of course, varied personal experiences will also play an important role for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary purposes.

More tomorrow.

John's Coydog Community page


  1. I am so sorry this happened to you. How did you survive, John? I was listening to the John Lennon song "Imagine" wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could just listen to each other. This world of ours would be a better place to live with everyone looking after each other. In one of the Gladwell books I read, he wrote about a group of people who came from Italy and settled in the USA , who had a long life expectancy… of course they did a study. Guess what they found they ate the wrong foods, smoked and did a normal amount of exercise. The key was a sense of community where they were cared for and loved.

    1. You are going to confuse people who find this page on Google as the conversation is on yesterday's blog!, Well, not anymore as I have just explained it.

      I'm not sure I know what you mean when you ask how I survive. Literally, or with the knowledge? I got through the ordeal (physically) with only a mild heart attack. Carrie was not so fortunate. No matter what the disease, stress is the big killer, and you mentioned the positive corollary.

  2. Ii was referring to the court case and Carie's illness. I can see why you are so interested in T.E. Lawrence, is fascinating person. Also enjoyed your discussion of the interactions that can occur between extroverts and introverts.

  3. It was like living through a war; so many emotions; endurance. Then shock, grief and more endurance. Three years after Carrie died, I thought that I was pretty well through it. Remembering that year one year later, I realized I was not. We hide such things from ourselves. Gradually, though, it calmed and my memories are filled with all the good things and can talk of the bad without getting dragged back into them.It's been nearly thirteen years since Carrie died, I think it take about as long to get over such a loss as it did to really properly get to know someone in the first place. Now I am content with my life.