Gulliver's Travels in Visual Culture-or-Yahoos in the Global Village
Scatological History -or- Jung's Archetypal Excremental Vision
In "Memories, Dreams, Reflections", Carl Jung discusses a childhood fantasy about God. Jung tells us; "I saw before me the cathedral, the blue sky. God sits on His golden throne, high above the world-and from under the throne an enormous turd falls upon the sparkling new roof, shatters it and breaks the walls of the cathedral asunder."
Scatology is the biological and medical study of "feces". From a literary perspective, Western scatological humor, "off color humor", "ribaldry" and the "grotesque body" have a long history that can be traced to the ancient Greek comic playwright Aristophanes and further back to Aesop and Homer.
During the French Renaissance, Rabalais related political conflicts to the anatomy of the body and much like his predecessor Aristophanes, he criticized the ruling "body politic". The psychological schisms of visual culture in the form of the lower grotesque body and the upper political or aristocratic body lives under the status quo rule of grotesque realism, which represents a political house (of mind and body) divided. In everyday dreams sent to the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) this psychological schism can be seen in such dreams as "Health Care Reform in the Global Village".
For Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels" the scatological became a literary art form in the guise of his literary characters the "Yahoo's" whose filthy habits of finding "pretty stones" in the mud, is "Juvenalian" satirical political proxy for the distasteful, disgusting, excremental, and "anal" aspects of "human nature", such as misanthropy, misogyny, misandry, necrophilia, cruelty, social vice, vanity, and more generally the revolting dark horrific side of humanity and the human condition. This misanthropic vision of the excremental dark side constitutes the apocalyptic fountainhead of the archetypal human destructive imagination. Swift satirically dissects the carcass of what he perceives to be the archetypal "Yahoo" in human nature.
The chapter entitled "The Excemental Vision" in Norman Brown's "Life Against Death" is a social inquiry into the scatological imagery and character structure of Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Brown believes that; "The anal character of civilization is a topic which requires sociological and historical as well as psychological treatment." In Swift's hands, or more specifically, in his writing hand, the anal power of the pen assumes a scatological and sewer function of the English language which is used as a satirical weapon to write a clear imaginary grotesque vision of what Erich Fromm would centuries later term "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness". We can again turn to Carl Jung's "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" where he informs the reader about having a grotesque vision prior to WW I of the human destructiveness welling up in the collective unconscious of Europeans. Read the IIDR dream interpretation "The Wasteland of WW I".
On a final note, it is interesting to see the archetypal literary connection between Jung's childhood scatological fantasy of God and Swift's Yahoos who collect "pretty stones". Here is what Jung tells the reader; "With the experience of God and the cathedral I at last had something tangible that was part of the great secret-as if I had always talked of stones falling from heaven and now had one in my pocket." Jung's stones came from heaven, while the Yahoo's came from the earthly mud.
Many IIDR dream interpretations speak about the psychological spectrum of the scatological, the ribald, and the grotesque. Some of these include;
- A Novel without a Hero
- Black Comedy
- Confessions of a Porn Addict
- Cultural Milieu of Disgust
- The European Car Industry
- Hiding from Humanity
- Holy Prostitute
- I've Got You Under My Skin
- Mysteries of Dallas
- Nine Dirty Words in Dreams
- Off Color Humor
- Theatre of Cruelty
- The Wasteland of WWI