George Elsasser: American Psyche

The Big

Despite the ideals Whitman portrayed with stunning perfection in his poem “America,” the “great experiment” of America is increasingly faced with unraveling.

Without a critical mass of clear-thinking individuals, we will continue on a shaky path. It is the unseen part of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. A similar fate looms for us when our egos run amok, blaming and criticizing everything outside while refusing any deep glances inside ourselves.

The Small

I was driving through a dark tunnel and noticed a lone headlight behind me. I realized a motorcycle was approaching faster than I was comfortable with. It quickly gained on me, and as it did, my fear rose. Suddenly it was close enough that in my rear view mirror I could glimpse the rider’s face, which was painted dark olive green. As fear gripped me, I pressed the gas pedal harder, but to no avail. The cycle had caught me, tapping my rear bumper. And now I could clearly see the rider’s face—it was mine.

I was reading Carl Jung at the time and was fascinated by his ideas and concepts. The dream described above has never left me. It happened about five years before my true nightmare began.

In my twenty-ninth year, as my father lay dying, my coping skills broke. I had seemingly crashed into something, or maybe something rose up to stop me. I experienced crippling and unbearable levels of anxiety. Just as I entered this place of indescribable fear, a phenomenon that Carl Jung refers to as “synchronicity” also entered. Events occurred that seemed like pointers, or guides in the darkness, letting me know I was on course.

These pointers revealed my father’s knowledge of future events unknown to me. A friend I had not seen in over a decade, who held experiential knowledge that I needed, made a perfectly timed coincidental appearance. I have experienced many more of these kinds of events than I could ever list.

As time passed, what evolved was a less tribal, softer, less judgmental, and better balanced being who brought more harmony and a less destructive nature to the world, saving friends, loved ones, and even strangers from collateral damage.

George Elsasser

George Elsasser, who had been drawing since childhood, discovered photography at twenty-one and found that, unmoored from traditional uses, it was perfect for his artistic intuitions. He's been included in shows at the Chrysler Museum of Art and New York University (NYU). In 1997 he received a 20-year Retrospective at the Hermitage Museum, Norfolk, VA. Elsasser received his degree in art in 1984, has taught various photography classes at The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). He has done both advertising and institutional photography in addition to 12 years of journalistic style weddings.