Archetype meets an Australian Cricketer – Phillip Hughes

“Love is a force of destiny whose power reaches from heaven to hell. We must, I think, understand love in this way if we are to do any sort of justice to the problems it involves. They are of immense scope and complexity, not confined to any particular province but covering every aspect of human life.” C.G. Jung, CW 10 para. 198

“Psychologically … the archetype as an image of instinct is a spiritual goal toward which the whole nature of man strives; it is the sea to which all rivers wend their way, the prize which the hero wrests from the fight with the dragon.” C.G. Jung, CW 8

This week Australia came together like no other time I have seen in the 7 years I have lived here; united in the love for a young cricketer Phillip Hughes who died after being hit in the neck by a “bouncer”. Not only has Australia been in mourning but we have witnessed a collective outpouring of love and compassion across the globe. I ask why has this singularly tragic event touched so many and resulted in grown men verbalizing the vulnerable words, “I love you”, as a farewell.  

In the late 17th century an English philosopher John Locke put forward a theory about the human mind. He postulated that, at birth, the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa and that through each experiential sensation the mind developed. This theory was to find some lasting application amongst later economists and philosophers, Hume and Kant but flew in the face of my boy Plato.   

Plato’s theory of forms or ideas asserts, and I quote from Wikipedia, “that non-material abstract forms, and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.” 

In the 20th century C.G. Jung was to build further on Plato’s theory of form in his discovery of the collective unconscious as represented by the archetypal image. In the case of the death of Phillip Hughes this past week, the ancient archetypal form of love has connected with the collective psychic energy of millions of people at home and around the world. One cannot explain this phenomenan in conscious rational terms, this is a far greater force tapping into the collective unconscious sea of thousands of years of civilization.

The reason I bring this up in a letter to traders, is that this seamingly irrational, overpowering force is often expressed in the market place when we experience the archetypal force-field of greed and envy. It is amazing how the great ideas of our intellectual hero’s formulated 100’s and sometimes 1000’s of years ago still play a direct meaningful role in our lives. As King Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” For those of you interested in this line of thinking, I have started writing a book called, The Market Complex, which is a Jungian approach to analyzing the markets where I go into much greater detail as to how this all works on a practical level and how it can be applied by the market practitioner. 

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