Cosmicplay.net is my artistic dissertation for a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, in Carpinteria, California [www.pacifica.edu ].
My dissertation is about cosmic play, the way the universe plays, and what the Hindus called lila— the universe as a play of the gods. This is play at its most universal or archetypal level, which seems to be bricolage—forming, reforming, and transforming in an endless cycle of death and rebirth.
Bricolage is Lévi-Strauss’s term to describe the mythical thinking of primitive people, who used a fixed set of ideas that they combined and recombined in different ways. Lévi-Strauss got this idea from surrealist collage artist, Max Ernst. This dissertation fittingly uses a bricolage method, which combines three other methods and has an artistic method as well that combines depth psychological essays with hypertext and pictures, while it analyzes various cultural creations.
We will be exploring cosmic play in two ways in this dissertation: through the "Cosmic Game" and the "Kaleidoscope of Culture." The "Cosmic Game" shows us how the gods play, in particular the myth of Shiva’s game of dice. We find that from cosmology to Grof’s cartography of the psyche, this ancient eternally recurring pattern of death-rebirth is everpresent. The "Kaleidoscope of Culture," explores three different cultural pieces: Chicago (Marshall, 2002), Disneyland, and MaryPoppins (Stevenson, 1964), viewing this eternally returning cosmic play pattern through archetypal eyes, as explicated by Grof’s cartography of the psyche. We will use astrology and van den Bergian phenomenology to look at these patterns in relation to the pieces themselves and in the context of the times that they were created and portray. Each cultural piece shows different archetypal aspects of play and many tangents are taken along the way. In Chicago, the shadowy side of play, its perils, and pitfalls are reflected; in Disneyland, we see the promise of play revealed; while in MaryPoppins, play’s transformative power takes center stage.