our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


mad men

"Individual consciousness is only the flower and the fruit of a season, sprung from the perennial rhizome beneath the earth; and it would find itself in better accord with the truth if it took the existence of the rhizome into its calculations. For the root matter is the mother of all things." ~CGJung, Symbols of Transformation 

 Michael Ginsberg, shaman:

The Monolith
So there's Ginsberg, crouched in the hallway, watching the new post-Don Corp handlers' lips. The scene is a recreation of HAL the computer in 2001 (the movie) watching the astronauts as they plot to turn him off. So it is with Ginsburg, who sees himself as the human Creative that's now in the process of being destroyed by the HAL AI: the computer and its minions.

And just as Van Gogh presents his ear to his beloved, Ginsberg gives his nipple.
 desire is holy ~DHLawrence

We're mammals, after all.

The stakes have changed, grown beyond the personal to the collective. In the world Ginsberg is born into (a concentration camp), the monsters were mechanized warfare and genocide, and its father, Hitler, a Vader-like half machine. Its ideology was a perverted self-serving "creative" reverting back to the omnipotent bachelor Father ubergod archetype the Nazis loved so well.

The crisis is the realm of the Mothers, the true creative -- the feminine--

and Don is coming to the same conclusion.

2001 was the 60's take on the future, a movie projecting growth as cosmic transformation. And now, (monolith!) we have Transcendence... where the feminine is restored to the garden/godhead. (Asherah and Yahweh, together again, Michael Ginsberg! You were heard!* )

lead------------> gold
alchemy is about transformation

(* extra credit: Behind the figure of Aphrodite there clearly stands the ancient Semitic goddess of love, Ishtar-Astarte:
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9633666&fileId=S0009838814000822 )

Never lose sight of Don's monumentally abusive childhood. Given an escape, he becomes the glistering success publicly celebrated by our winner-take-all Patriarchy. He finds it wanting. Empty. Empty of the feminine force, the source of the creative.
Feel the pain, the growth (often born of failure), the hope as we stand on the cusp of change with him.
How brilliant, his many female psychopomps. They are the keys here. Anna, like a fairy godmother. Diana, escaping the same hell-bent hate-feeding flames of fundamentalist religion that Don knew. Hard, dealing with a god who lets us die.
This is the hero's journey, eternal and always changing. A mitotic dance, the opposites as they pull apart, re-partner, create the next stage. The all important and unappreciated creative.

We don't need Freud here, so much as Jung and Joseph Campbell:
Madmen even included a subtle, oblique homage to Campbell a few seasons back when the main character, Don Draper, started journaling, swimming at the New York Athletic Club – Campbell did 44 laps in the pool there every day – and moved into an apartment at 6th and Waverly, the building where Joseph Campbell and Jean Erdman lived for over four decades ~on Joseph Campbell, via facebook

Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual," points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others, The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.
It’s a magnificent idea – an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended. ~Joseph Campbell - The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers