DARK SIDE OF OZ:
Coincidence, Apophenia, or Synchronicity?

               

 
Dark Side of the Moon + The Wizard of Oz = DSotR

dsotm+Margaret Hamilton as wicked witch of the west=dsotr

COINCIDENCE

Coincidence: A remarkable concurrence of events, ideas, etc., apparently by mere chance. (Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary)

For those who have not already heard, Pink Floyd's DSotM (Dark Side of the Moon) can serve as an alternative soundtrack to the MGM movie The Wizard of Oz (1939), in a phenomenon often referred to as DSotR (Dark Side of the Rainbow), or Dark Side of Oz. As all evidence seems to point to this apparent synchronization NOT having been designed intentionally, the question for examination today is whether this phenomenon should be regarded as mere coincidence, a trick of the mind (apophenia), or an example of Carl Jung's synchronicity.

At the very least, we ought to consider DSotR an example of some very unusual coincidences. Even if we should decide that it is the result of one's mind playing tricks on itself (as in apophenia), then there first has to be a minimum threshold of events in the movie corresponding to some audio signal from the album, before the experience can start to resemble what we would call "synchronization". It might be easy to dismiss DSotR as mere coincidence, except for the way that the number of these coincidences seems to go on and on, not only for the duration of the album, but these coincidences seem to go on and on again, when the album is restarted. For many people, this effect could not be the result of mere chance, and they prefer to think that it must have been done intentionally, or they rely on some other explanation.

APOPHENIA:

Apophenia: The experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data (From Wikipedia)

Some have argued that the DSotR phenomenon is just the mind "playing tricks on itself" -an example of apophenia. With apophenia, the observer focuses on events in the movie that are accompanied by a change in tempo, or sudden shift in the intensity of the music, while ignoring events in the movie and changes in tempo on the album that do not correspond to anything.

Modern rock music incorporates syncopation into its style. Movies like The Wizard of Oz have these characters, like scarecrow, who seem to bounce around on the screen like they just drank a whole pot of extra strong coffee. Movies are "motion pictures" -there has to be something constantly "going on", or audiences are going to get bored. This is especially true if it's a movie that kids are going to watch. So, naturally, whenever something happens on the album, there is a good chance something will be happening in the movie. This is probably the case, even more so, when one watches an animated film to a rock album. Many have reported an apparent synchronization between Disney's Alice in Wonderland and Pink Floyd's The Wall. The trouble here, of course, is that most animated characters are so lively that they make even The Wizard of Oz' scarecrow look kind of sluggish. So, whenever there is a syncopation in the music, there's almost always something happening in the movie. DSotR, Alice on the Wall, and other movie-album pairings, owe much of their effect to this apophenia effect.

A good question here is why, if this apparent synchronization is all just a trick of the mind, do we think we see an apparent synchronization between some movies and some albums, but not between other movies and albums. Almost any random audio-visual pairing will work to some extent, but from my own experience, some obviously work better than others. There are many other audio /visual synchronicities besides Dark Side of Oz. Pink Floyd happens to be one of the most popular bands for searching for these audio visual synchronicities. (See Pink Floyd audio/visual synchronicities database) There just might be something about Pink Floyd's particular style of music that makes it well suited to use as an alternative score for motion pictures. Pink Floyd has been regarded as a progressive rock band. This type of music was the synthesis of rock music with more traditional types of music. On their album Atom Heart Mother, Pink Floyd even had a full orchestra and choir backing them up, which is very unusual for a rock band. We all know that the soft ambient sounds of most traditional music makes for a good score for most any motion picture, so long as song changes correspond to scene changes, etc. The salient rythyms of rock music can be distracting, when played alongside a motion oicture, especially when those syncopations don't mesh up with anything significant in the movie. It may be that the progressive rock rythyms of bands like Pink Floyd are just the right combination of modern rock and more traditional styles of music. All that is necessary for one of these progressive rock albums to work is to match it with a movie where significant events in the movie correspond to significant events on the album. The question, therefore, is what exactly is it that people expect to hear when they see certain things in a movie.

One of the big things people like to see in these a/v syncs is scene changes corresponding to song changes, or some other sudden transformation in the melody. Moreover, in every movie, there are certain key events which determine a movie's plot. Again, people like to hear something happening in the music when they see one of these events in the movie. For example, In Dark Side of Oz, there are several scene changes that correspond to a song change. Then again, there are song changes that don't correspond to a scene change, and vice versa. Another thing people like to see is the mood of the music matching the mood of the story. When we have a good action sequence, people expect the music to be lively and upbeat. When there is a romantic scene, people want to hear something more mellow. An added bonus is when these music changes occur precisely when there is a change in the mood of the story. For example, in Dark Side of Oz, there is a scene where Dorothy is walking casually along the pig-pen enclosure, when she suddenly tumbles in, and causes a bit of a comotion. On the album, this is one of the places where you have a song change, but no corresponding scene change in the movie. What we do get, however, is a change in the music, as the mood in the movie goes from relatively calm to relatively anxious. In other parts of Dark Side of Oz, we see examples where there is a mood change, but the music does not accomodate this mood change.

Perhaps the most unusual thing about Dark Side of Oz, compared with other audio/visual synchronicities, is the way the lyrics seem to relate to events in the movie, often in an ironic sort of way. There are many excellent a/v syncs where the mesh-up between audio and video is absolutely stunning. For example, Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother serves as a very impressive alternative soundtrack for the 1998 movie What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams as a doctor who is killed and then journeys into an afterlife. As wonderful a sync as this particular one is, one can find little more than a superficial connection between the lyrics of Atom Heart Mother and events in the movie. In contrast, the lyrics in Dark Side of the Moon almost seem to provide a kind of commentary for The Wizard of Oz, that seems to grow more significant, as one contemplates the connection between lyrics and events in the movie. (See Dark Side of Oz -Coincidences list) However, this may not be so surprising when we consider that both the album and the movie, while addressing very different subjects, are both addressing universal themes. Dark Side of the Moon is a concept album that deals with, among other things, mental illness. This concept album takes the course of a kind of narrative about a youth spent idling his time away, quite leisurely, while pressures kept gradually building, until this person just went insane. And so we hear lyrics like "You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today /And then one day you find ten years have got behind you." In short, the first part of this album is about the maturing process of a young person -a theme similar to what we see in The Wizard of Oz. It is, nevertheless, interesting that these lyrics are heard just as Dorothy is deciding to run away, but again, according to the principle of apophenia, people would tend to focus on these unusual coincidences.

In conclusion, the argument that synchronicities like Dark Side of Oz are all just a trick of the mind is supported by the fact that in some parts of the sync we do indeed see events in the movie corresponding to events on the album, while other events, both on the album and in the movie, do not have a corresponding event. The fact that certain audio/visual synchronicities, like Dark Side of Oz, have an unusually high number of concurrences in them is simply a product of the laws of probability. When one pairs enough videos with enough audios, one will inevitably stumble upon certain combinations that will seem almost as though they were meant for each other.

SYNCHRONICITY

To be clear about what we mean by synchronicity, we should distinguish it from synchronization. By synchronization, for purposes of this essay, I mean, as an example, when we see a person in a movie knock on a door, each thump we hear should correspond to the actor's hand actually hitting the door. As sound effects like raps on a door are often added to a film afterwards, if we listen and watch closely, we'll notice that many parts of a movie's visual portion are slightly out of synchronization with the movie's soundtrack. But as long as certain actions and certain noises are reasonably close to each other, they are usually perceived as synchronized. There are many examples of apparent synchronization when one watches DSotR, and there are plenty of examples in DSotR where there is a complete lack of synchronization. As mentioned in the previous section, the mind's tendency to focus on examples of apparent synchronization, while ignoring the disharmonized bits, is what we call apophenia, and, to some extent, is responsible for what we think is synchronization.

For those who watch DSotR expecting to see perfect synchronization, they will likely be a bit disappointed. This is not to say that DSotR will not perhaps be the most amazing thing you will see in your lifetime; nevertheless, to fully appreciate DSotR, it is necessary to understand the difference between synchronization and synchronicity. To say that you don't have synchronization is not to say that you don't have synchronicity. The way many people use the term synchronicity is meant to indicate the experience of a very unlikely coincidence; and so, they likewise assume that once the probability of this thing's happening can be shown to be not all that out of the ordinary, then the argument is made that we do not have synchronicity. But if we understand the true definition of synchronicity as outlined by Carl Jung (see Carl Jung's Synchronicity), then we realize that synchronization is not necessary to have synchronicity; we also appreciate that the exact probability of the thing's happening is not as important as the significance of the event itself.

A common example used to demonstrate synchronicity is where we have a lady in a public place, when she happens to mention the name of a person she has not seen or heard from for many years. Moments later, that person seems to appear "out of nowhere". Now the exact probability of this happening, which may not be all that remote, and the exact timing of when this person shows up are not as important as the significance of the event in determining if what we have is an example of synchronicity. Whether this person shows up just as his name was being spoken, or five minutes later, does little to affect the significance of the event. So we see that synchronization is not necessary to have synchronicity.

Of course, saying synchronization is not necessary for synchronicity still does not prove that we have synchronicity. To prove that we have synchronicity, we have to look at the "significance" of the events that are concurring, as they relate to Jungian psychology. If you have already seen DSotR, you may already know that the experience is enhanced by a good knowledge of what is happening in the movie (even with the sound muted) and by comparing these events to the lyrics of the songs. Still, there are a lot more subtle coincidences that you probably missed, if you only did it once, or a few times. I myself had no appreciation for many of these connections until I started writing them out one day, and began making more careful observations. And so, in deciding if what we have is a genuine example of synchronicity, we begin with a careful examination of a list of all the most profound coincidences that occur while watching DSotR. And rather than asking ourselves how well events in the movie sync up to the moment when a given lyric is sung, or what the probability of its happening is, we analyze the significance of these connections. Various lists have been made of these connections, and I include a link below to the list that I have made. While this list contains a lot of what we would consider to be "mere synchronizations", for many of them I've offered a few notes beside them, suggesting hints as to the significance of the coincidence in question.

Dark Side of the Rainbow: Synchronization Lists, Part I & Part II

Some of you may have noticed that I did not use the usual instructions that most people give for doing the second part of DSotR. Most people will tell you to put the CD player on repeat, and just keep repeating the album until the end of the movie. My own opinion of this is that the best examples of synchronicity are to be found in the first pairing of the movie and the album, and a second pairing of the album to the movie, when the album is restarted after cowardly lion shows up. Like the pairing of Alice in Wonderland to The Wall, I have found that the method of simply repeating DSotM after the first run through results in, at best, an example of apophenia.

If you have reviewed the list which I have provided, and possibly some of the other lists which others have composed, you may now be starting to appreciate what makes DSotR so amazing. It is as though there is an intelligence behind all these connections we see between the movie and the album. Still, an even better appreciation can be had of the significance of these coincidences with a little insight into the theories of the man who originally gave us this concept of synchronicity. This calls for a brief lesson into the fundamentals of Jungian psychology.

Jungian Psychology

First Phase of Life: Emergence from Self

According to Jung, each person begins life with a complete sense of self. The first phase of the individual's life is then spent developing an individualized ego-consciousness, moving away from "Self" (the totality of the psyche), towards the "Ego" (the center of consciousness). This life journey can be characterized as an attempt to distinguish oneself from the rest of humanity.

Second Phase of Life: Return to Self

The second phase of life begins when the personality is wounded, and the individual feels the compulsion towards a conscious rediscovery of the Self. This journey of rediscovery is described as having a healing effect. During this phase, the focus shifts from distinguishing oneself from others, to finding common links between oneself and the rest of humanity.

Individuation

Individuation is the process by which the individual becomes reconnected with the Self. This is accomplished by bringing the unconscious to the "surface". There are various ways this is done, but the usual method is through dream analysis, but can also be achieved by studying art, myths or other sources of symbolism.

Carl Jung: The Self (Youtube video)
Carl Jung: Dream Analysis (Youtube video)

The Unconscious Mind and Jungian Archetypes

Jung divided the mind into the conscious and the unconscious. The unconscious mind was further sub-divided into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The personal unconscious contains experiences peculiar to the individual; the collective unconscious is shared by all members of a species, and contains what Jung referred to as "archetypes".

Carl Jung: Symbolism in dreams, the Collective Unconscious, Types, Insight (Youtube video)
 
JUNGIAN ARCHETYPES

Jung rejected theories that saw the mind as a "blank blackboard" at birth, being entirely shaped by individual experience. Jung suggested that the mind was pre-arranged with certain expectations about the world into which it was suddenly cast. Jung described these expectations as archetypes, of which the most familiar would probably be the mother archetype. While these archetypes are virtually limitless in number, Jung focused on a set of archetypes that would emerge as part of the individuation process. Important archetypes relevant to the individuation process include the Shadow, Anima/Animus and the Persona.

Shadow Archetype: Jung saw the Shadow archetype as that part of the unconscious consisting of those qualities which the individual has disowned. These disowned qualities are often "projected" onto another individual, so that one often sees in others those qualities one dislikes in oneself.
Carl Jung: Shadow Projection (Youtube video)
Anima/Animus Archetype: According to Jung, the male unconscious contains the Anima, which is the expression of a feminine inner personality. Each female unconscious contains an Animus archetype, which is the expression of a masculine inner personality.
Carl Jung: Anima Projection (Youtube video)
Persona: While the Persona is often categorized with archetypes, Jung actually described this as a "functional complex". Jung said that the Persona was a mask which we present to the world, which conceals the true nature of the individual. The danger in the Persona is in its ability to assume complete control over the conformist personality, so that the person loses his or her true identity, and becomes all Persona. But rather than saying that the Persona was a barrier to individuation, Jung suggested the Persona as necessary to function effectively in the world. So, instead of nixing the Persona altogether, Jung said that the Persona had to be recreated, in a way that did not collide with the true self.

Jungian Psychology and The Wizard of Oz:

If Carl Jung's basic principles on psychology seem to agree with certain intuitions about human nature, this is far from adequate to satisfy the requirements of empirical philosophy. For the empiricists, it was imperative that all abstract ideas be supported by tangible evidence. So, even if Jung's ideas did not seem all that far-fetched, what Jung was proposing as evidence for his theories did sound as though it was coming from "out in left-field". Jung had proposed this concept of "synchronicity", which he suggested would offer evidence for his other ideas, such as archetypes and the collective unconscious.

Now when we start analyzing DSotR as a possible example of synchronicity, the theory that sounded like it might be coming from "out in left field" suddenly looks as though it may have yielded some fruit. Looking at The Wizard of Oz as a case study in Jungian psychology, it resembles a text-book example of how Jung describes the process of "emergence from self" and then the beginning of the individuation process, along with an elaborate dream that holds the key to Dorothy's unconscious mind. Things get even more interesting when we add DSotM as our alternative soundtrack.

As stated above, the first half of the individual's life is spent carving out a distinct identity for oneself. This is Dorothy at the start of the movie. Notice that at the start of the movie, everybody is busy doing his or her own thing, and each is concerned primarily with his or her own affairs -and Dorothy in particular. Dorothy tries in vain to get the others to pay more attention to her concerns, while having little regard as to how hard everybody else is working.

A crisis is reached when Miss Gulch finally shows up with her court order allowing her to take Toto. Dorothy expects her aunt and uncle to stand up for Toto and tell Miss Gulch to go where the goblins go below. Instead, out of fear of a lawsuit, they hand Toto over to the executioner. From the dream which Dorothy later has, it is plain that Dorothy feels that her aunt and uncle failed her.

When Toto escapes his executioner, and shows up again at the Gale Farm, Dorothy decides it is time to take matters into her own hands. This time, she's not relying on an aunt or uncle or any of the farm hands to save Toto should Miss Gulch show up again. She takes Toto, packs a suitcase and heads for the open road, to make her own way in the world. Symbolically, this attempt to run away from home represents the "emergence from self". Dorothy is leaving behind everything that is a part of her, and seeking a new identity in things that are completely foreign to Nineteenth Century rural Kansas. A guy "acclaimed by the crowned heads of Europe" seems to be just what she's looking for.

This Professor Marvel, who becomes the wizard in Dorothy's dream, seems to represent Dorothy's own Persona. This hoaxer tells people whatever he thinks they want to hear; he seems to find the perfect subject with Dorothy, whom we see agreeing with everything he says. He tells Dorothy that she is running away because "she wants to see big oceans, big mountains and so on and so on." to which Dorothy replies, "It's like you can read what's inside of me." We should recall here that the only place Dorothy wanted to go to was "somewhere where there isn't any trouble" and the incident which prompted her to run away was to get away from the trouble Toto was in with Miss Gulch.

The clever Professor Marvel quickly changes Dorothy's mind about running away, and convinces her that she is already greatly missed at home, despite the fact that she has probably been gone for only about fifteen minutes. Once again, this seems to represent Dorothy's Persona: The folks at home have hardly had time to realize that she's missing, but Dorothy is already imagining how heartbroken they all must be since she left: A heartbroken Aunt Em is so grief stricken that she is about to lie down and die. Nevertheless, Dorothy's desire to please has resulted, at least symbolically, in a life-altering decision: Her journey of running away represents Jung's "emergence from self". The decision to return home symbolizes the "return to self".

And as Jung's individuation process begins with dream analysis, so it is that Dorothy's journey back to self begins with a dream. And as the dream world is really one's encounter with the unconscious mind, many of the characters in Dorothy's dream seem to fit Jung's description of archetypes.

wicked witch of the west: Jungian Shadow Archetype According to Jung, one of the first archetypes we encounter in the individuation process is the Shadow archetype. We will recall that the Shadow contains those qualities which the individual has disowned, and these qualities are often projected onto another individual. Notice that in Dorothy's dream, the first significant character she encounters is Miss Gulch, who quickly changes into a witch in black (black for shadows). The witch represents the dark side of Dorothy's own unconscious mind, being projected onto Miss Gulch. Recall that when Miss Gulch went to the Gale Farm with a complaint about Toto having bitten her, Dorothy threatened to bite Miss Gulch herself. Her hostility towards Miss Gulch gets manifested in her dream when she kills both witches by accident. Not only does this relieve Dorothy of the guilt of killing someone on purpose, but it allows her to be a celebrated hero, as Miss Gulch had transformed herself into a hated and notorious wicked witch. Killing witches by accident allows Dorothy's Shadow to gratify its aggressive impulses without the accompanying guilt we might expect, if Dorothy were to deliberately kill Miss Gulch. As part of the individuation process, a Jungian psychiatrist would tell Dorothy that she needs to recognize her own aggressive tendencies being projected onto Miss Gulch and appearing as Shadow characters in her dreams.

The next dominant archetype of the unconscious to appear (in the female psyche) is the Animus. The Animus is a set of male traits in the female unconscious. Jung divided the Animus (like the Anima in males) into four stages of development. The Animus first appears as the personification of physical power; later, as the romantic male; and then, as a great orator; finally, the Animus comes as a mediator of profound spirituality.

After Dorothy's encounter with her Shadow, on the road to the Emerald City, she meets three companions, who might be thought of as Animus archetypes. In most respects, these three characters are an exact opposite of the first three phases of Animus development: Instead of a muscle man, we have a man made of straw; instead of a romantic man, we have a guy with no heart; instead of a great orator, we have a lion with absolutely no confidence in himself, and who faints when he appears before the wizard to ask him for some courage.

The final phase of Jung's Animus is supposed to be a mediator of profound spirituality, and once again, the man Dorothy meets representing the final phase of this archetype is one who seems to be the exact opposite of a spiritual mediator. This would be the wizard, and the wizard is, besides an Animus archetype, also a devil archetype (see Dark Side of the Rainbow: Illuminating the Tragic). That our Devil archetype should be played by the same actor who played Dorothy's Persona (Professor Marvel) is no coincidence; rather, it is synchronicity. It should be recalled, from the "Story of Creation", that when the serpent (the Devil) went to trick the woman, he did so appealing to her vanity: "When you eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

In some myths and legends, the woman selected to be the mother of Satan's child is depicted as a young virgin. The first three men whom Dorothy meets, representing her Animus, represent unsuitable suitors, which, in turn, symbolizes the fact that Dorothy is supposed to be a virgin when she meets this Devil archetype. Dorothy's virginity is further reinforced by the braided pigtails, a hairstyle often worn by young girls, before they come of age. Before being presented to the wizard, Dorothy gets a new hairstyle, in which the pigtails get undone.

This may be Dorothy's dream; nevertheless, Dorothy seems to go through a kind of Anima development, as if to make up for the deficiencies of her Animus. Like the Animus, Jung also divided the Anima into four stages, and the first three to appear were an Eve (from Genesis), Helen (Helen of Troy) and then Mary (the Virgin Mary). Early on her way to see the wizard, Dorothy encounters a knowledgeable tree and steals apples from it. (Recall that in the Creation Story, Eve took forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.) In the Bible, Eve is the one who brings death (the son of the devil) into the world, by believing the lie of the serpent. In the movie, the wizard takes the role of the serpent who seduces the woman, when he says "I AM OZ!" (as opposed to God, the A and the Z). Dorothy, as the one who believes everything she has heard about the wizard and who tells everybody else about him, is at the Eve stage of Anima development -as the one who brought forth the darkness. Later in the movie, Dorothy is transformed into a Mary archetype, as the one who brings forth the light, through Toto, when she exposes the wizard.

When Dorothy goes to see the wizard, he sends her after the broomstick of the witch of the west. Recall that the witch represents an earlier stage of the individuation process (the Shadow), so the wizard's sending Dorothy backwards in her spiritual growth offers further confirmation of the wizard being a Devil archetype (one who thwarts spiritual development). When Eve believed the serpent, it brought her death, and Dorothy's believing the wizard when he sends her in pursuit of the wicked witch is like she is handed a death sentence. Despite the wizard's sending her backwards on her spiritual journey, Dorothy proves resilient by advancing to the next stage of development in the Anima -Helen. According to Jung, Helen represents the successful woman, who proves to be self-reliant. Her defeat of the wicked witch is something the wizard probably never imagined, and with her victory she takes the witch's broomstick. The broomstick, like Miss Gulch's bicycle, represents woman in "the driver's seat" -the successful woman. Notice that when Dorothy shows up again before the wizard with the broomstick, he seems astonished, as if encountering a person who has returned from the dead.

A fourth significant archetype in the process of individuation is the Wise Old Woman/Wise Old Man. Opinion is divided as to when this archetype actually appears, with some suggesting it appears after the Shadow, while others suggest it appears after the Animus. Notice that in the movie, the good witch, Glinda, first shows up between the appearance of the two wicked witches (Shadow archetypes), and at the end of the movie, just before Dorothy's returning to Kansas.

Some people find it humorous that Glinda sends Dorothy in search of a great phony, instead of telling her from the beginning that she just has to click her heals together to get back to Kansas. Once again, this "dark side" of Glinda is all very consistent with Jung's concept of archetypes. As Jung explained it, each archetype has a light and dark aspect. This first encounter with Glinda seems to represent the dark side of the Wise Old Woman. Interestingly enough, the dark side of this archetype is sometimes said to appear as a witch. It should also be noted, that in the original novel, the witch who sends Dorothy in search of the great Oz, and the witch who returns her to Kansas were two different witches.

What we have then is Dorothy arriving in Oz, and then quickly concluding that she needs to get back home to Aunt Em. At the same time, Dorothy does not truly want to go home, as the individuation process has only just begun, and to return home now would be to cut the process short. However, if she remains lost, she will have a good excuse for not hurrying home to Aunt Em. Glinda, this dark side of Dorothy's Wise Old Woman, provides Dorothy with the excuse, by offering her this "imperfect advice" as to how to get back to Kansas.

Glinda reappears near the end of the movie, this time as the bright side of the Wise Old Woman, with the true secret of finding her way back to Kansas. Up until this point, Dorothy's archetypes have been dominated by their dark aspects. Dorothy's coming to the end of this pilgrimage represents a stage where the individuation process is nearly complete, and she is ready to meet the final archetype in her development -the Self. This final stage of the individuation process involves her bringing to consciousness that which is in her unconscious. Interestingly enough, this final stage of the process is represented by Dorothy waking from her dream, and then recalling the dream, as though it were real.

Jungian Psychology and Dark Side of the Rainbow

From our analysis of Dorothy's psychological development there arises two questions: First, who is Dorothy? Second, what does The Wizard of Oz got to do with Dark Side of the Moon?

It is all well and good to do an anlysis of a fictional character, and point out her unconscious workings, and what she needs to discover to reach self-actualization, but all this is a mere academic exercise, unless the lesson we learn from Dorothy can be applied to an actual person or persons.

We can find clues as to the answer to our first question by turning to our second question: What does TWoO got to do with DSotM? As already mentioned, DSotR is often cited as an example of synchronicity. And as already mentioned, just the fact that something is an extraordinary coincidence does not make it synchronicity. It is not synchronicity unless it offers us a glimpse into that Unus Mundus, as Jung phrased it. When we can understand the significance of certain coincidences, then we are in a better position to say how and to whom these concepts apply.

And so we begin our analysis of how this album is related to this movie with an analysis of the concept behind Pink Floyd's DSotM. This was the band's first concept album: The concept behind DSotM was how the stress of modern living can lead to mental illness. While this may sound completely irrelevant to our fairytale about a man hiding behind a curtain pretending to be a great magic man, we should again recall how many people saw this story when it was first published in the year 1900. This was a time when many Americans, who grew up on the family farm, were now adjusting to city life. People of the time were comparing their own circumstance to the people of the Emerald City. The people of Emerald City were forced to wear green colored glasses just so their city would look like it was made of Emeralds. By the time the movie got made, this ridiculous law about wearing glasses was replaced with something just as ridiculous, but something more of us can probably identify with: When our pilgrims arrive at Emerald City, the gatekeeper refuses to listen to them, because they rang the bell instead of knocking. Incidentally, the sign that said the bell was out of order (which, incidentally was not out of order) had been misplaced. It's the kind of incident most any of us who have ever had to deal with government bureaucracy can relate to.

So now we have what looks like a connection between our movie and the album, and this connection gives us our first clue as to just who Dorothy might represent. If we say that Dorothy represents people from rural regions who move to big cities, and who should probably move back to a rural setting to be more at peace with the world, then this would seem to be more an issue for sociologists than for a psychologist like Carl Jung. It's true that psychiatrists often propose practical solutions to their patients inability to adjust to circumstances, but on a wholesale scale, psychiatrists cannot advise the entire population of a country like the United States to go back to the family farm -something, for most people, which doesn't even exist anymore.

The best guess as to who or what Dorothy represents is that she is not an actual person; rather, she represents a certain mentality. Dorothy represents a mentality that thrived for thousands of years on farms, in backwoods, and in isolated villages around the globe. It was a mentality that found itself at odds with the changing social realities of the Twentieth Century. If we consider Dorothy's situation at the beginning of the movie, this rural farm is not really somewhere where Dorothy feels at home. In fact, this teenage orphan feels quite out of place living on her uncle's farm, and stares wistfully up into the sky dreaming of a land "away above the chimney tops, where troubles melt like lemon drops". At the end of the movie, Dorothy returns to this same place where she had felt so out of place before, with a new appreciation for her old home. Nothing has changed about this place, except Dorothy. What has changed about Dorothy, at least symbolically, is that she has completed her process of individuation, and she is now more at peace with her surroundings.

To discover more about this ancient mentality, and just why it was so out of place in our modern world, we need to look to specific examples of synchronicity we find in DSotR, and figure out their significance. Once again, here is a list of coincidental events between the album and the movie that I have compiled:

Dark Side of the Rainbow: Synchronization Lists, Part I & Part II

Going through this list, one thing which strikes us as possibly significant is the sequence where we meet scarecrow, done to "Any Color You Like". As noted on the list, there is a comparison being drawn between scarecrow and President Lincoln. What is interesting here is that Lincoln came along when a nation was rethinking its attitude towards a minority race. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's meeting scarecrow represents a transition from Shadow archetypes to her Animus archetypes. It is even more interesting, and as noted in the list, that Dorothy meets scarecrow just as she comes to a fork in the road.

If Dorothy represents a certain mentality, then all this leads us to the next question: Who or what does the wicked witch represent? Or, more specifically, what does Dorothy's Shadow archetype represent? If scarecrow represents Lincoln, and Dorothy's meeting scarecrow symbolizes her transition from Shadow to Animus archetypes, then we might conclude that Dorothy's Shadow archetype represents some kind of prejudice.

To understand Dorothy's Shadow, we need to look at Miss Gulch, the framework for Dorothy's Shadow archetype, and Dorothy's relationship with Miss Gulch. Modern audiences have a little difficulty understanding the basis of Dorothy's animosity towards Miss Gulch. Assuming that this story is set sometime around 1900 (the year the novel was first published), modern audiences tend to forget that in those days, in most parts of the world, there was no middle-class, and the world was divided between an upper-class that owned everything, and a lower-class that owned virtually nothing. The Gale household were members of this class that owned nothing, while Miss Gulch was a member of the class that owned everything. From Miss Gulch's confrontation with the Gale household, Aunt Em makes it plain that this dispute is about much more than Toto, and is something that has been festering for many years. The only clue Aunt Em gives as to her feelings of animosity towards Miss Gulch is when she says to Miss Gulch: "Just because you own half the county doesn't give you the power to run the rest of us . . ."

As prejudice is something we normally think of when a priviliged class discriminates against a disadvantaged class, when we have the reverse situation of a member of a disadvanted group discriminating against a privileged individual, he or she may feel that this is only equity, and may feel that he or she did no injustice in acting unfairly. "Reverse-discrimination", as it is often referred to as, is just another form of prejudice. And prejudice simply means pre-judging, based on the expectations of the group to which an individual belongs, rather than on the qualities and behaviors of the individual herself.

What's important here is not who's right and who's wrong; The point here is how prejudice affects our attitudes and actions towards individuals in a given group. Most of us who see the movie will take a very unfavorable view of Miss Gulch, despite a lack of information regarding all the facts associated with her dispute with the Gale household. When we judge without facts, this is by its very definition prejudice. While most people tend to sympathize with Dorothy, not everyone sees Miss Gulch as the villain here, and many have admitted to having feelings of empathy for Miss Gulch, or the wicked witch. The success of the Broadway musical Wicked undoubtedly relies on people's Shadow traits, which try to see things from the villain's perspective. From Miss Gulch's brief confrontation with the Gale family, and from Hunk's warning Dorothy to stay away from Miss Gulch, and from Dorothy's own admission, it would seem that Dorothy is the real offendor in this dispute.

It's true that Miss Gulch comes off as a rather nasty person, but considering the circumstances of this dispute, I think many people, rich or poor, would have been as irritated with Dorothy as Miss Gulch was. I know that if this had been my grandfather, who was a working man and who was born in the same general era as when this story is set, he likely would have taken a gun and shot the dog himself, and few of his neighbors at the time would likely have criticized him for it. As to just why Dorothy lets her dog run loose in Miss Gulch's garden and chase her cat, I think it boils down to prejudice. From the moment Miss Gulch shows up at the Gale farm, it is obvious that neither Uncle Henry nor Aunt Em is fond of Miss Gulch. Our best guess as to why they are not fond of her, again, comes when Aunt Em says, "Just because you own half the county . . ." Another possible clue comes from a movie released that same year, which, incidentally, was also directed by Victor Fleming. In Gone with the Wind, we have two very shrewd business persons: Rhett Butler, a man, is admired and respected for his unsavory wheelings and dealings; Scarlett O'Hara, a woman, is hated and despised for her unethical business practices, which includes using forced labor to run her lumber mill. Deciding what types of activities are appropriate for a man, and which are appropriate for a woman, rather than on the qualities of the individuals, is another form of prejudice.

Prejudice is something that often develops between different social classes, as probably happened here, and prejudice is something that is passed on from generation to generation. The reason Dorothy dislikes Miss Gulch probably has to do with the fact that her aunt and uncle dislike her. Children learn their likes, dislikes and various attitudes from their primary caregivers, and when those caregivers are guilty of prejudice, the children are prone to develop these same attitudes.

As further evidence that Dorothy's dispute with Miss Gulch boils down to class conflict, again referring to the synchronization list, we see that when Miss Gulch becomes the witch in Dorothy's dream, she has green skin, as do all the Winky's who reside in the west. In DSotR, the wicked witch first appears during the song "Us and Them" (a song about rivalries) at the line: "Black and blue." Differences in physical appearances, and in particular skin color, is the most common basis of prejudice, as it is a fairly easy method of grouping people.

At the end of the movie, when asked by Glinda what she has learned, Dorothy replies that the next time she goes looking for her heart's desire, she won't look any further than her own backyard, because if it isn't there, then she never lost it to begin with. In a way, Dorothy's quest to "see the world" was all a prevarication, agreed to by Dorothy when Professor Marvel was supposedly "reading her mind". Dorothy was simply telling the professor what she thought he wanted to hear, and her finding her way back to her "heart's desire" is all about being honest with herself and with others.

One reason Professor Marvel/the wizard is such a prominent figure in all this is that he represents Dorothy's Persona archetype. Jung considered the kind of conformist mindset we associate with the Persona to be a barrier to the individuation process. Dorothy hates Miss Gulch because other people in her social class hate her. When you are "poor folk", resenting "rich folk" is just the thing to do, if you want to be accepted by your own peers. Racism, a form of prejudice, is a mentality which many people subscribe to just to fit in with members of their own race.

DSotM was a concept album whose subject dealt with the "insanity" of modern living. This insanity is probably best described in the song "Us and Them": a song about the tendency of members of groups to want to draw "circles" around themselves, and exclude certain persons from their little circles. It's the kind of mentality that ultimately leads to racism, nationalism, and wars between peoples. On a society wide basis, what we see happen with communities can be compared to the "Emergence from Self" we see in the individual. We see groups trying to set themselves apart, just as the individual does during "Emergence from Self". As communities grow in size and number, there comes a point where contact with people who are "different" is happening more and more on a regular basis. This process was greatly accelerated in the Twentieth Century with advances in transportation, communication and broadcasting etc. It was a world in which many people often found themselves in a hodgepodge of people of various backgrounds. The old mentality of only associating with persons of one's own group, in a way, became dysfunctional, as this often led to isolating oneself from the community at large.

So, on a societal scale, the world had reached a crisis stage. There was this realization that the "Us and Them" mentality was leading the world into chaos. This realization actually began in the 1960s, and was reflected in movies like Failsafe, Dr. Strangelove and The Manchurian Candidate. There was this recognition by some that the world was on the brink of destroying itself, either through global nuclear war, or as a result of its own paranoia. And so it was that the counterculture movement of the 1960s was born.

On a societal scale, this counterculture movement was the beginning of the individuation process. As to just how this counterculture movement relates to The Wizard of Oz, what we see in the movie, as Dorothy begins her individuation process, is Dorothy meeting a lot of different people, and seeing ways of life quite different than what she is accustomed to. Dorothy is opening up her mind to the possibility that people who are different are not always bad.

With DSotM, we also see the counterculture movement. Psychadelic rock, for which Pink Floyd had become associated, was the music of choice for this movement. DSotM, although not encouraging of people tearing up their draft cards, doing illegal drugs and other activities associated with the counterculture movement, was offering a commentary on the general ill health of mainstream culture. But if we want to find a deeper connection between The Wizard of Oz and DSotM, then I think it is necessary to look closely at the lyrics of DSotM. At first glance, it seems that the lyrics of DSotM would have little to do with Oz. If we go through our list again, we can find many examples of coincidences, but the lyrics of DSotM still seem to be about something completely different than Dorothy in the Land of Oz.

If we are willing to take this concept of synchronicity to its extreme, then there is the possibility that the lyrics of DSotM actually do form a kind of commentary on the experiences of Dorothy, as they relate to the experiences of a much larger society, but the key to understanding this commentary is found in another work outside anything related to Oz. In 1998, the Canadian television series Emily of New Moon began a four season run. As with The Wizard of Oz, this series was based on a novel about the adventures of a young orphan farm girl. The funny part is that if we take the lyrics of DSotM and apply them to EoNM, each of the songs from DSotM sounds as though it could be a ballad to one of the characters from the TV series. At first, this may not sound all that extraordinary, given the ambiguity of the lyrics and how we might interpret them as applying to any fictional character. But what is extraordinary is that when the characters of EoNM are contrasted against the storyline of The Wizard of Oz, DSotR suddenly takes on a whole new deeper meaning. (see DSotR: Illuminating the Tragic)

Just as DSotM adds to our understanding of TWoO, so too does EoNM add to our understanding. As already stated, one of the main obstacles to Dorothy's individuation process is this Persona, symbolized by Professor Marvel. Dorothy's eventually unveiling of the wizard, in turn, symbolizes a break with this Persona. But the problem we see is that Dorothy's break with her Persona really comes about through "dumb luck". Just as one spell is broken, another spell is quickly cast, as we see the wizard bamboozling our pilgrims once again, no sooner than after he is exposed, and we see Dorothy and the others mesmerized by the wizard's smooth talking. Even when Dorothy finally finds what is really in her heart, it comes only at Glinda's prompting, as Dorothy has to ask, "Is that right?" after giving the correct response to Glinda's question. The fact that Dorothy still has to ask, "Is that right?" shows us that she is still just saying what she thinks other people want to hear.

What Emily Byrd Starr of EoNM represents is the non-conformist attitude that would allow Dorothy to reshape her Persona into something that better reflects her true Self, and not something that is just trying to give others what it thinks they want. Emily comes into the world of late Nineteenth Century Prince Edward Island -it's a world of racism, religious intolerance, class snobbery, and a place where a physical deformity can make one an embassy of the Devil. Into this bigoted world, Emily is born into one of the proudest families of Blair Water, but not as one who has been accepted; rather, to a mother who has been disowned by her relations. She is the daughter of a rebel -a man who got fired from his job for defending Emily, after Emily had defended one of her classmates, who was being persecuted simply for being an Indian. After her father dies, she goes to live at New Moon with her Aunt Laura, Cousin Jimmy, Uncle Malcolm, and where she meets her good friend Ilse, who, in their own way, are all rebels, fighting against the tyranny of prejudice.

In the end, for Jung, it was all about balance. If we could imagine the wicked witch as a more developed character, she might look something like Elphaba in Gregory Maquire's Wicked. As Dorothy's Shadow archetype, the non-conformist Alphaba could give her personality the balance it needs against her very forceful Persona. The same is true of Emily of New Moon. Actually, these two orphans' personalities could balance each other's. Emily's strength is that she refuses to conform, which leads her to reject the bigotry of the people around her. Emily's weakness is her pride, which never lets her miss an opportunity to boast about what a great writer she is going to be someday. When the oppressed become proud themselves, it is then that they can become, in a way, as unpleasant as the very ones whom they are rebelling against, as we see with Emily's final words to her Aunt Elizabeth, when she calls her an "old buzzard", for not letting her wear a swimming suit to a public beach. To be fair to Emily, Elizabeth had already called Emily a trollop; nevertheless, Emily's quick temper and sharp tongue usually have a way of making an unpleasant situation even more unpleasant. Dorothy's weakness was that she was too eager to please, and she ended up doing and saying things just because it was what others expected of her. Dorothy's strength was that she was a simple farm girl, and she wasn't ashamed of being just a common farm girl. Dorothy's lack of respect for Miss Gulch did not stem from pride, but was something she picked up from her aunt and uncle, and which she had accepted as somehow being justified, if her aunt and uncle thought that Miss Gulch was undeserving of common courtesies due most people.

Getting back to how all this relates to society at large, consider the movie Gone with the Wind. As noted in the synchronization list, Victor Fleming directed this movie the same year he did TWoO, and the American Civil War actually serves as a good starting point, if we want to use TWoO as a kind of allegory about the individuation process as applied to a nation like the United States. The period from the end of the war up to the 1939 release of Gone with the Wind and TWoO would represent that nation's "emergence from self". The period from 1939 to the release of DSotM in 1973 would serve as a kind of dream stage, much like Dorothy's quest to find the wizard was all a dream. This period was actually the beginning of the individuation process for a nation, and events of that period would serve as keys to the "collective unconscious of a nation". (see DSotR: Illuminating the Tragic)

As The Wizard of Oz ends with Dorothy awakening from her dream, so too does DSotM end with the song "Eclipse", symbolizing the bringing to consciousness that which is unconscious. The moon can actually serve as a very good illustration of this division between the conscios and unconscious mind: The bright side of the moon would represent the conscious mind; the dark side of the moon would reprsent the unconscious mind. Normally the dark side of the moon is invisible, except during an eclipse, when the moon's dark side passes in front of the sun.

When Pink Floyd released DSotM in January of 1973, NASA had just finished its three year program of exploring the bright side of the moon, using the manned space flights of the Apollo space program. In a way, the dark side of the moon, symbolizing the unconscious mind, remained cloaked in mystery. So the line from the album, "I'll see you on the dark side of the moon", although it sounds very macabre, almost ominous, it in fact symbolizes hope for the future, if we take exploring the dark side of the moon as a symbol for the healing process, in which the unconscious is brought into consciousness. The album, therefore, offers a "ray of hope" as in the ray of light passing through the refracting prism on the album cover, and exiting as the colors of the rainbow. In TWoO, the rainbow was Dorothy's symbol for hope for the future.

Again, in the final lyrics of the album (Everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon), we hear what sounds like something very ominous. But, if we take an eclipse as symbolizing the final stage of the individuation process, where the conscious meets the unconscious, then once again, this is about healing. It is interesting that DSotM should be released in 1973, as this was the time when the events portended to symbolically in the movie were coming to completion, and this would have represented a time when the workings of a national collective unconscious had been brought into the light of day. And like Dorothy, after awakeniing from her dream, the people would not understand right away, but in time they would gradually come to "see the dark" -the workings of the unconscious.

 

For more on Dark Side of the Rainbow, including interpretation and analysis, click HOME (below):

* * *
<< HOME >>

Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved