Jani Christou

1926-1970

Jungian Aspects



"Such rituals were vital acts of re-affirmation, of participation and identification with the master-pattern. Through these "protoperformances" man related - connected - by activating a process of feed-back between the numinous and himself; not for his own benefit only, but for the benefit of the total environment in which he lived and of which he was part."


Christou's musical and artistic philosophy was essentially, if not entirely, Jungian in concept, and is detectable even in the earliest acknowledged composition Phoenix Music. The following text, written by Christou in 1968, outlines the fundamental principles and driving force behind his creative thinking.

Proto-performance


The early archetypal point of view did not know history. Instead, it looked upon everything that took place, whether processes of nature close to man, or in the environment at large; whether single activities of individual men, or the compounded activities of many men; whether the fate overtaking some single individual, or the fate overtaking the group as a whole; it looked upon all of these as repetitions of some aspect of a numinous original, an archetypal pattern - or MASTER-PATTERN, even to the point of identification.

Under such circumstances nothing had any meaning, or any proper existence, unless it could be considered as a repetition of the master-pattern, or as a component of such a pattern; of a master-pattern being and action existing both in time and in the center of every moment in time. This certainly not what history is about. But it is what myth was about.

And it is also what rituals of renewal were about. These were PROTO-PERFORMANCE - re-enactments of the original proto-pattern - the master-pattern; re-enactments in terms of corresponding mythic imagery; key-performances re-vitalising the master-pattern, when its cycle was exhausted, through forms of sacrifice, life for life, keeping it going. Because the pattern simply had to keep on renewing itself, if man and nature were to do the same.

Such rituals were vital acts of re-affirmation, of participation and identification with the master-pattern. Through these "protoperformances" man related - connected - by activating a process of feed-back between the numinous and himself; not for his own benefit only, but for the benefit of the total environment in which he lived and of which he was part.

So, with this feedback fueled by sacrifice during ritual, life continued. Life passing into the master-pattern from that which was sacrificed in ritual, and back-lashing a thousandfold as life renewed for all.

Bio-cosmic cycles did not of course depend upon man's rituals for their renewal, but something was being renewed, nevertheless: this was man's positive relationship with all that came within the range of his experience, therefore providing him with the renewed energy for life. And in this sense rituals were effective, and the renewal of life a reality.

Or, in another terminology, the feedback activated during man's proto-performances managed to activate his psychic energy: man would first invoke the symbols representing the archetypal forms of his myths, then these symbols, in their turn, by constantly exciting and attracting his attention, would mobilise his psychic energy making it abundantly available for some life-task, or for life in general. A transformation of dormant psychic energy into available power.

But man's rituals were effective only in so far as they could activate a positive feed-back between himself and the symbols drawn from the depths of his mythic experience. And I propose to use the term PROTOPERFORMANCE only in connection to such effective forms of ritual - or performance.'

At this point the text connects with THE LUNAR EXPERIENCE

Jani Christou June 1968


From Carl Jung's "The Structure of the Psyche", 1927:

"Just as some kind of analytical technique is needed to understand a dream, so a knowledge of mythology is needed in order to grasp the meaning of a content deriving from the deeper levels of the psyche... The collective unconscious -- so far as we can say anything about it at all -- appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious".