A Man
Overboard

 

 

 

An interview with Robert Moore


No writer was more influential to me immediately following my initiation into MKP in February of 1995 (Sunrise Ranch/San Diego) than Robert Moore. His book (with co-author Doug Gillette) King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, published by Harper San Francisco, has been the primer for my subsequent studies of men’s work. Moore also introduced me to the mastery of the great grandfather of psychology - C.G. Jung.

In his newest book, Facing The Dragon – Confronting Personal and Spiritual Grandiosity, published by Chiron Publications, Moore digs deeper through personal shadow and reveals more of the power that affects us from the archetypal dragon.

I had seven pages of notes prepared before I sat down with this professor of psychoanalysis at The Chicago Theological Seminary and training analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His soft-spoken approach belies the intensity of the subject matter. After years of research in many psychological disciplines, Moore considers himself Neo-Jungian.

Having been supportive of MKP for years, he was finally initiated into the organization in Chicago after deciding to “deal with some grief” around his parents. He refers to the time leading up to his initiation as “a difficult stretch.”

Moore has known about MKP and had numerous New Warrior friends, including Don Jones, MKP Elder and Leader. (See June issue of www.amanoverboard.net for interview.)

“I have deep admiration and affection for Don,” Moore acknowledged. “He’s an important figure in this work.”

Moore said he “wants to see more Jungian influence in MKP.”

“We’ve been too dependent on theories that are influenced by Gestalt Psychology,” he continued. “It’s not as spiritually deep as Carl Jung’s psychology. It doesn’t reduce everything to ego.”

Moore began his career as a Freudian analyst. He is both lyrical and scientific in his approach to discovering the meaning of archetypal energies

“A lot of people are fascinated with archetypal patterns, and speak of archetypes … but as you get deeply into Jung’s tradition or Edward Edinger, author of Ego & Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche [published by Random House] or my Neo-Jungian tradition, you get into the sense of the incredible majesty and the enormity it affords us. The image of archetypes is the only way you can understand why human beings are having such a terrible time staying sane and are acting out personally, socially, and globally.”

Archetypal energy is “not simply a theoretical pattern,” he added, “it’s an energy force.”

Moore said the enormous size of the archetypal dragon is often underestimated.

“We have to get a sense of how huge this spiritual energy, or God energy, is,” he stated. “It’s a very big being.”

The scholar said people tend to keep these “transpersonal energies” in shadow.

Shadow is “anything that the ego is not aware of … any important psychological pattern, or energy, or tendency that the ego consciousness has not matured in its capacity to discern and deal with.”

“Some think of shadow as negative energy,” he explained. “There is a great deal of heroic energy and mature royal energy in there, including mature warrior, lover and magician energy. Shadow contains a lot of gold.”

The “gold” stays in the shadow if it is not accessed and stewarded in a mature way, he added.

“The dragon is not the shadow,” Moore instructed. “It lives in the shadow when we, without knowing it, force it into the shadows. Any time a person wakes up in the morning and feels alone, they are forcing this incredible majestic being into the shadows; one is never without the close proximity of this ‘other’ - this great other with a capital O - it’s always awake, always aware of us even if we aren't aware of it. If we force it into shadow, as Jung and Edinger point out, it begins to be adversarial toward our ego consciousness. A lot of the negative thoughts and feelings we have, I believe, are coming from the archetype itself, or the dragon, which has been disrespected.”

Moore said he has tried to carry the awareness of the dragon “forward into a more delineated place.”

The dragon energy, or archetypal gold, comes into any given personality through the four different mythic portals of King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover - usually in an imbalanced way, he noted.

“The first task is to ask yourself where am I experiencing dragon energy,” he said, “or if I am experiencing dragon energy, and if not, why not? Who am I displacing it with? Who am I idealizing it with? This is a defense mechanism.”

The author said a “defense mechanism” means the ego is displacing this archetypal primal energy and projecting it onto someone else to avoid facing it directly. The image of the dragon is a universal symbol throughout history, he said. Recently the New York Times Science Section summarized a study that placed dragons as the pre-eminent symbol in the world. This fact is proof of Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious, Moore noted.

“It is the human species intuiting grandiose energies within,” he said. “They are huge and they can be dangerous … and yet they can be wonderful sources of creativity and prosperity.”

Robert Moore then addressed me, personally, calling me by name.

“Your creativity is fueled by this dragon energy,” he explained. “Your ego, Reid Baer’s ‘I’ doesn’t have any energy of its own. The energy Reid Baer has comes from transpersonal sources.”

It’s important for all of us to stay in touch with dragon energy, he noted.

“I’m trying to lift up the task of every one of us human beings,” he said, “to image the optimal connection with the dragon. I say optimal – not perfect.”

Jung’s vision was that a human being – who is inexorably connected to this enormous thing – must find a way to access the creative energy of the dragon without getting too close to it.

“Personal fulfillment depends on maintaining a connection in such a way that one becomes as complete and full as possible without becoming psychotic,” Moore declared. “That is an artistic challenge - the challenge of creating a human sculpture. It is an ongoing and artistic task right at the heart of who we are.”

Moore said he was indebted to Robert Bly and other poets for their contributions to the dialogue, adding that “the deepest roots of poetry are shamanic.” Any poet with depth is open to the world of positive and negative spirits, he added. “It is very dangerous to be a poet or on a spiritual path. When you get into an attempt to optimize your potentials in a really full way, you’re exposing yourself to these great dragon energies.”

The writer cautioned artists to be conscious of the “ethical side,” because the energies are “so seductive.”

“You’ve got to make sure you have the right intentionality, or as the Buddhists say ‘the right mind,’” he noted. “Artists have to have an ethical commitment to a morally mature stewardship. If you do not, the great thing will swallow you. Too often artists think they are ‘It.’”

Moore said he admired the spiritual maturity of Rumi, who is representative of a certain level of spiritual development. “A person like Rumi gets so far into being a realized human being that the boundaries between human and divine are diminished. He begins to glisten and shine with an uncanny radiance.”

Mature poets have a “deep fierceness and rightness” with the dragon, he continued.

The innate tension, or conflict, in the creative process is the key to unveiling the energy of the dragon.

“The task is not and never was about eliminating the tension,” Moore revealed. “The task is creating an inner mature human being like the Holy Grail, the chalice of the Roman Catholic Church. Think about that as an inner tension field that is created by the person who is developing within themselves spiritually and psychologically. It’s kind of a container, an inner temple, that develops. Outer temples are only symbolic.”

Moore said an artist “balanced within the elements” can enhance the tension and allow more dragon energy to be received, channeled into acts of creativity, leadership, compassion, and spirituality.

In Moore’s book, The Archetype of Initiation: Sacred Space, Ritual Process, and Personal Transformation, published by Xlibris Corporation, he addresses the importance of spiritual rituals in developmental growth.

“There’s a rule, either you do spiritual practices, or the unconscious will force you to act them out in pseudo-ritual ways,” the author stated. “I really believe that a lot of the addictions and compulsive behaviors are unconscious rituals.”

Moore is scheduled to speak in May at a holistic medical seminar in Albuquerque, New Mexico to a gathering of MDs.

“What we’ve got to understand is … human beings are made up as a multi-dimensional unit,” he said. “Everything is organized as complex-systems. We are incredibly sophisticated natural systems. All of the functioning we do from neuro-biological, bio-chemical, bio-psychological, psycho-social, and even our spiritual experiences have a bodily incarnation – it’s all incarnate here embodied in these physical vessels.”

The goal, as Moore sees it, is to work toward an “optimum organization of the complex systems that comprise our human existential existence.”

“If you understand that we are comprised of interlocking systems, than any disorder of any system within us, including personal family relations, will prevent us from going to the ‘Great Other,’ or to God, or the Buddha Nature. Wherever there’s no process of creative organization going on, for whatever reason including inherited physical flaws, it makes the fine tuning more difficult.”

Moore encourages people in the creative process to have an integrated partnership with science, psychology and spirituality. Human beings need to utilize as many resources as possible in their developmental growth.

According to Moore, the book The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience, by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and published by Guilford Press in New York, is a “tour de force” in demonstrating how all kinds of resources have to be brought to bear on the optimum development of the brain’s function.

Moore said he believes that “human beings who commit themselves to achieving an optimal vision of themselves can move toward the goal of personal growth … no matter how traumatized they were as a youth, or how comprised by physical defects.”

Too many people sell themselves short “and don’t let themselves envision what they are capable of achieving,” he added.

It seems like it’s either too little or too much of the dragon.

One of the best remedies for too much spiritual grandiosity is for people to have meaningful relationships with each other, Moore said.

“Organizations such as MKP, and other forward looking communities representing various spiritual tribes, have a contribution to make,” he said. “We can help each other as people of good will and like values.”

Author Paul Tillig spoke of an “authentic spiritual community,” Moore continued.

“There is the actual existence of authentic spiritual community made up of people from different tribes, and many don’t even know they’re a part of it.” Jung’s collective unconscious comes to us in our DNA, the author said, but the potential has to be invoked to develop this kind of “connected spiritual community.”

“We have to have enough wise elders and communities that develop and nurture us,” Moore said. “Communities exist for the purpose of initiation, invoking the best in the human psyche and spirit. The ManKind Project is truly radical. It’s the only men’s organization in the world that is attempting to be inclusive, truly inclusive with all spiritual tribes, and class lines; inclusive across sexual preference lines, inclusive across political lines, so as to have an initiatory brotherhood which is seeking to facilitate the evoking of human potentials in a loving vessel. We’re trying to give a kind of a catalyst to help us human beings get beyond malignant tribalism.”

Does MKP have any group shadows?

u have an organization, it’s always as dangerous in terms of an organization as it is with individuals,” he declared, “maybe even more so!”

Organizations can always become self absorbed and cliquish, as well as “narcissistic in a group way.”

“I’m committed to try and help that not happen in MKP,” he stated. “ Men are in deep need of vessels to help them and this organization can help, but I don’t idealize MKP. I see shadow and shortcomings and flaws. But I’m too old to be a perfectionist and to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, so I see the glass half full. I want to invite men of good will and varying constituencies and tribes to join MKP and try to help us with this avante guarde vessel.”

Moore referred to what he called the “fancy words” of “species identification” which means we have a genocidal tendency.

“There’s even evidence that it is part of our coding in evolutionary development … our tendency to objectify and dehumanize other members of our species,” he instructed. “Thereby we are able to destroy them. We generate hate. Hate is one of the most malignant and demonic aspects of our species. The challenge is to get past the demonization of the “out” group. It’s one of the biggest impediments to our evolution as a species.”

Moore said he is hoping MKP can generate more mature spiritual leaders that do not identify too closely with the tribe and are able to transcend tribal narcissism. The mature King and Queen don’t leave anyone out.

“I spend a great deal of time thinking about radical evil and its reality and have taken a committed stance against it,” he said. “Any time people identify with this dragon energy they become “Monster Boys” and “Monster Girls.” There are a lot of real enemies to our human species and all our relations. Most people don’t realize how malignant these forces are. They’re grandiose energies. The most dangerous forms are from the people who don’t realize they are grandiose.”

In Moore’s eyes, all of us carry the shadow of personal and spiritual grandiosity.

“You can see the hate mongering going on in the East with the increasing war between civilizations,” he observed. “We must be determined not to become a part of it. We don’t have to hate as we stand resolutely against radical evil. Jesus said love your enemies. Buddha said we will not go to Nirvana until all the demons are released. We have to have compassion for those possessed by evil.”

As men, we must do everything we can not to be seduced by the temptation to hate, he said emphatically.

“Hating anyone is a narcissistic phenomenon,” he declared, “and it’s always splitting in our personality.”

Moore assures us that we can be mighty warriors against evil and do it out of love and firmness. A kind of “tough love.”

“One should never allow oneself to go into hate,” he warned. “It’s not always easy. That’s why we have to have transpersonal help because no one can do this by themselves.” And yet, we don’t all have to believe the same way.

“There’s a tendency among some folks to get into a new age form of theosophy and reduce everything to one integrated mythic system,” Moore said. “That’s not the way the mystic mind works.”

In his upcoming new book, The Last Rite: Fundamentalism, Secularism, and the Future of Spirituality, with writing partner, Doug Gillette, Moore said he’s trying to “lift up the importance of multiplicity and diversion in spiritual imagery.”

“It’s grandiose to think all truth can be gotten into one spiritual symbolism with only one way,” he said. “The idea is for everyone to steward their tradition forward with all their symbolic riches. Everyone brings their offering with authenticity and depth.”

With Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church dismantled practices that were historically important to the faith.

“Even though they were trying to bring some real reforms, I am one who feels there was too much secularization from Vatican II,” he said. “I can appreciate those who want to return to pre-Vatican II days.”

Moore said he does not sanction fundamentalism of any kind. He equates it with grandiosity when any church or tribe claims to know more than anyone else.

“The key to success is to value the entire spiritual tribe,” he concluded, “to bring that offering to the species without beating other human beings to death with it … to bring it as beauty and see it as something that transforms our lives.”

Moore ended with a blessing for the ManKind Project and all men of “good will around the planet living authentic and accountable lives.”

Look for a reprinting of Dr. Robert Moore’s quartet series (originally released in the 1990s) of The King Within, The Warrior Within, The Magician Within, and The Lover Within.

Contact Dr. Moore at his website www.robertmoore-phd.com

© 2006, Reid Baer

*     *     *

The fame you earn has a different taste from the fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria Vanderbilt

Reid Baer, an award-winning playwright for “A Lyon’s Tale” is also a newspaper journalist, a poet with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide, and a novelist with his first book released this month entitled Kill The Story. Baer has been a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and currently edits The New Warrior Journal for The ManKind Project www.mkp.org . He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.



Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement
Menstuff® Directory
Menstuff® is a registered trademark of Gordon Clay
©1996-2017, Gordon Clay