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Improvisation, Individuation, and Immanence: Thelonius Monk

Improvisation, Individuation, and Immanence: Thelonius Monk lmprorisolion, lndividuolion, ond lmmonenee: n.elonius Monk Hugh f. Roberts C. G. Jung believes that the exceptional individual is the one im­ pelled by the God-within to seek a path that departs from the confor­ mity of church and societal conventions, and leads along the spiri­ tual journey of individuation.1 One such exceptional individual was Thelonius Monk, a jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader (1917- 1982). Monk's spiritual journey outside the institution of the church was representative of many blues and jazz musicians before and after him, and is therefore worth examining in order to gain a better appreciation of the religious awareness of these musical pioneers. For Jung, to be an "in-dividual" means to be a separate, indivisible, whole person.2 And to be "whole" means more than becoming well­ adapted to the social conventions of the times. It means moving beyond adaptation toward the complete development and full real­ ization of one's personality.3 The process by which an individual strives to achieve this unattainable ultimate is individuation, and it arises out of the conflict between the two incongruous halves of the psyche-the conscious and the unconscious-that should (but usu- 1. Anthony Storr, The Essential Jung (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

Improvisation, Individuation, and Immanence: Thelonius Monk

Black Sacred Music , Volume 3 (2) – Sep 1, 1989

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Copyright
Copyright © 1989 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-3.2.50
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

lmprorisolion, lndividuolion, ond lmmonenee: n.elonius Monk Hugh f. Roberts C. G. Jung believes that the exceptional individual is the one im­ pelled by the God-within to seek a path that departs from the confor­ mity of church and societal conventions, and leads along the spiri­ tual journey of individuation.1 One such exceptional individual was Thelonius Monk, a jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader (1917- 1982). Monk's spiritual journey outside the institution of the church was representative of many blues and jazz musicians before and after him, and is therefore worth examining in order to gain a better appreciation of the religious awareness of these musical pioneers. For Jung, to be an "in-dividual" means to be a separate, indivisible, whole person.2 And to be "whole" means more than becoming well­ adapted to the social conventions of the times. It means moving beyond adaptation toward the complete development and full real­ ization of one's personality.3 The process by which an individual strives to achieve this unattainable ultimate is individuation, and it arises out of the conflict between the two incongruous halves of the psyche-the conscious and the unconscious-that should (but usu- 1. Anthony Storr, The Essential Jung (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press,

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1989

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