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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Brief Interlude:Written in Stone? An Allegorical Tale Alluding to Method.

When first learning about the different research methodologies I imagined a three-way dialogue between the methodologies, a mélange a trois, as it were. I imagined them to be three different people: Hermen Neutic, Phen Nomenology, and Heu Ristic. Now with bricolage, we have a fourth imaginal representative: Bri Colage, making this perhaps an appropriately Jungian mélange a quatre. This scene is reminiscent of the Mad Hatter’s tea party and let’s see how it plays out. Imagine them all, sitting at a table, perhaps over a potluck dinner, discussing how each of them might appear or be alluded to on the stone. Hermen can’t help talking in circles, Phen is gesturing wildly, while all Heu does is talk about himself.

Bri: The stone itself is a bricolage, you know. The three different sentences on it come from three different sources (Jung, 1961/1989). It is made up of bits and pieces of all different things: astrological glyphs and all sorts of other symbols are alluded to. And bricolage is all about bits and pieces. We have the squared circle, the Axiom of Maria and the Telesphoros, made of Mercury or Hermes, who Jung shows (Jaffé, 1977/1979) is himself made up of all the other symbols. And as you know, Hermes himself was a bricoleur. So I feel very comfortably represented.

This is all too much for Hermen who is spinning about in circles.

Hermen: Well what about me, I’m there too, right smack there in the middle of things. It’s like a hermeneutic circle, you know, we’re really always in one, but the big question is where do you jump in and how do you know when to jump out?

Heu: Oh that’s easy, that’s where I come in, you just use a bit of personal or tacit knowing (Polanyi, 1966), a bit of complex knowledge (Romanyshyn, 1991), if you will.

Hermen: Not so fast Heu, I wasn’t finished. You know this parts/whole thing is rather an odd business, kind of reminds me of Romanyshyn’s discussion of tangled hierarchy, and the whole observer having an effect on the observed thing in quantum physics (Romanyshyn, 2000b, lecture).

Heu: You realize don’t you, that this whole stone circle thing looks like a big eye, Jung (1961/1989) himself said so when he talked about the pupilla, the reflection of yourself that you see in the eye of another. Personally I see me! It really is all about me! If you think about it, the glyphs could in a way suggest a person’s birth chart, which could be one way of saying its your personal way of seeing, the planetary relations suggesting complexes that might be influential in complex knowing—a very personal kind of knowing, fueled by what Polanyi (1963) calls intellectual passions.

Phen cannot contain himself anymore and jumps into the action

Phen: Speaking of passion, Romanyshyn (1992, cassette) says that phenomenology is a love affair with the things of the world, it’s all very erotic you know. Also, did you know that phenomenology “plays the things” of the world too, so it really is a good methodology for studying play. And let’s not forget, that the first thing that Jung carved was the little figure in the center, the Telesphoros, which etymologically comes from the same root as the Greek phainestha word that my name comes from (Palmer, 1969). They both mean to shine through and that’s what phenomenology does, and that’s why I’m in the center

Heu interrupts again: I wasn’t finished, but if we’re playing the etymology card, my name comes from the Greek word—eureka which means “I found it” (Moustakas, 1990). Discovery, excitement, the moment of insight. I . . .

Phen’s gestures knock Heu aside

Phen: Please don’t interrupt. Phanes, the god of the Orphics was a shining god dismembered and found everywhere, also those Orphics were pretty tricky how they inserted Phanes before and after the Olympians so as not to upset the established order . . . (Ulansey, 2003, lecture). Did you know that Eros, Hermes, and Phanes all share certain qualities? Christine Downing (1976) writes about them. Actually, now that I think about it, Heidegger, too, saw the light when he put phenomenology and hermeneutics together.

Hermen: My name, too, comes from hermeneuin, “to understand” and is associated with Hermes (Palmer, 1969).

Heu: Do you realize that Jung told Maud Oakes (1987) that volumes could be written about the stone, and that the only proper way to discuss the stone was to have your own experience of it: “Your method to realize its contents through your subjective experience of it is unexceptionable, as a matter of fact the only correct way of reading its message” (p. 17).

Bri: Well, it seems to me, that we are all represented on the stone, so maybe we better move on to other things. I think that you boys are a bit too rambunctious to continue this discussion, although it has been a fruitful one, giving us lots of food for thought. Perhaps we can look at the three zigzag lines as you boys, the formal methodologies, and myself as the curvier line that all of you flow into and contribute to.

Heu: We’re like the three musketeers, all for one and one for all.

Hermen: Let me try to understand this. We’re sort of like three roads meeting, a crossroads, and you know who the god of those is, don’t you—Hermes strikes again!

Phen: It all seems rather trivial to me.

Bri: Exactly, you know that Slattery (1995, cassette), when talking about Greek tragedy, pointed out that trivia is Latin and means “three roads.” Slattery notes that in Greek Tragedy, the place where three roads meet and little things happen, turn out to be the most important.

Phen: Maybe that will be the case here. I hope that people don’t get the wrong idea about our discussion and see only superficially. I’m all about surfaces and the depths shining through, but this is a partly theoretical dissertation, you know.

Bri: Okay, point well taken. Onto a more rigorous discussion of the tri-via that make up this bricolage methodology.


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