The White Monkey

Posted 11 years ago by Evan Tishuk

So I ran across the top 100 videos of all time yesterday. Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey" caught my eye even though I've probably seen it ten times before. The video is scary, creepy, black-and-white-ish, intense, and (not surprisingly) somewhat shocking.

This time though, about three minutes before watching the video, I was reading Carl Jung's 1968 classic Man and His Symbols. The book discusses dream interpretation and symbolism and psychological analysis. What's remarkable is that the last passage I read went something like:

The dreamer himself could offer no personal association that could explain why the monkey was white. But from our knowledge of primitive symbolism we can conjecture that whiteness lends a special quality of godlikeness to this otherwise banal creature ... Thus it seems the white monkey symbolizes, for the dreamer, the positive qualities of childhood playfulness which he had insufficiently accepted at the time and which he now feels called upon to exalt ... It is, for the adult man, a symbol of creative experimentalism ... Once again in this phase of the dream the patient is acknowledging his failure to experience to the full an important aspect of childhood and early adolescence. He missed out on the payfulness of the child ... and he is seeking ways in which those lost experiences and personal qualities can be rehabilitated.

Next comes a curious change in the dream, the young man in black appears, and for a moment the dreamer feels that this is the true hero ... This introduces a profound importance a theme that occurs frequently in dream, this is the concept of the shadow... Dr. Jung has pointed out that the shadow cast by the conscious mind of the individual contains the hidden repressed and unfavorable or nefarious aspects of the personaltiy.

If you haven't watched Shock the Monkey yet you're proabably lost. Go watch it. Anyway, I was stunned by the random coincidence, so I dug a little deeper and headed over to Wikipedia and pulled up the entry on Peter Gabriel's 1982 album, Security:

The songs on the album cover a wide variety of subject matter. "The Rhythm of the Heat" is based on Carl Jung’s experience while observing a group of African drummers. ... "Shock the Monkey" a meditation on jealousy, evokes the imagery of a primate in which to describe base emotional reaction to personal anxieties.

It appears there's more to monkey-shocking than "a meditation on jealousy."

Connecting the dots

Ok, so, yesterday afternoon there was an obvious coincidental overlap of Peter Gabriel, Carl Jung, a white monkey, and myself. That's not too weird. What is weird is that Carl Jung actually invented the word for this: synchronicity. It "implies not just a happenstance, but an underlying pattern or dynamic that is being expressed through meaningful relationships or events."

What are the chances? It's like experiencing deja vu with the French guy who coined the phrase. (cue Twilight Zone music)


C-Twon ~ 11 years ago


olivier blanchard ~ 11 years ago

Synchronicity happens between 6:42 and 6:44, for the most part.

Aku ~ 8 years ago

Looks like a solid video. This sites layout is just great. Love that brown style.

Visitor ~ 8 years ago

Woke up - had a vision of being guided into a room then a series of doors by a white monkey that then ate me as he was chattering in some chipmunk language. Woke up and looked up "white monkey man dream" - came to this site. Read about Junge, who I am reading now. Hmm..Last night had talk with website, his logo says synchronicity - first time I ehard the word. Now here it is in the over?

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