Beyond battles over its UK news content, the BBC gets on with bringing complex inner and outer worlds to you


A strange beast, the BBC. Its news operation is regularly assaulted from many sides for implicit bias and framing. Scottish independence campaigners believe they were poorly covered in the 2014 referendum; Remain campaigners are convinced that the BBC is also operating in the current government’s Brexit interests (see this recent Channel Four report, or Andrew Adonis’s takes). BBC newsmakers, of course, robustly defend themselves.

But beyond the frontline of British political reality-management, the BBC has a vast hinterland of UK and global content, which casts a generous and curious eye over the human condition. All levels of the “I - We - World” framework that we apply for a full and rich human citizenship are often covered in these stories - often emphasizing the internal realms that shape our social and global agency. Two great examples below

A story from the now-online channel BBC Three, about intergenerational friendship: “A chance meeting between two strangers, 50 years apart in age, led to this beautiful friendship forming between 25 year-old Gavin and his "Aunty" Julie.”

Jung lovers: BTS delve into psychology on their album, Map Of The Soul

Extract from feature:

Almost 30 years ago, in a classroom in the Jung Institute of Evanston, Illinois, Dr Murray Stein delivered a series of lectures that have had an unexpected impact on pop history.

The topic was Carl Jung, the founding father of analytic psychology, who proposed and developed the concepts of extravert and introvert personalities, and the power of the unconscious.

Dr Stein had condensed Jung's theories, originally scattered across 18 volumes of his collected works, into an accessible primer for students and trainee psychoanalysts. 

His course became a book - Jung's Map Of The Soul - which is now recognised as one of the best introductions to the concepts of analytical psychology, reprinted 15 times in English, and translated into dozens of languages. 

Much to Dr Stein's surprise, it is also the basis of the latest album by South Korean pop phenomena BTS - set to go to number one on both sides of the Atlantic this week.

"A couple of months ago, a Japanese student told me he'd discovered that the BTS website was recommending my book," he tells the BBC from International School of Analytical Psychology in Zurich.

"I said, 'What is BTS?' and he told me, so I looked them up online, read a little bit about them and left it at that.

"Then about a month ago, the same student told me they were coming out with a new album titled Map Of The Soul: Persona.

"I was floored."

It's not just the album title, though: BTS's lyrics delve into Jungian concepts of the psyche, ego and collective unconscious - with a particular focus on the idea of Persona.

"Persona is a reference to the theatre," explains Dr Stein. "It's the Latin word for the masks that actors wore on the stage - and we all put on masks, in a sense, when we go out into public. 

"It's part of being a social animal: Our need to get along with other people, our need to be polite, our need to be part of a group. 

"In some cultures this is more important than others, and I must say in the Asian cultures of Korea and Japan, where BTS originate, persona is an extremely important part of their lives. 

"How you present yourself, how you address other people, how you locate yourself in the social world - as a younger brother, or a student, or a professor - all of this is really very prominent in their consciousness and their functioning as people in their society."

BTS plunge straight into this concept on Map of the Soul's opening track.

"'Who am I?' is the question I've had all my life / And I'll probably never find the answer," raps Kim Nam-joon, discussing how praise for his on-stage persona stops him addressing his flaws and getting to know his true self.

In the video, Kim confronts a giant version of himself, illustrating how his persona has overshadowed his ego; and performs in a room filled with mirrors, each reflecting a suppressed aspect of his personality..

More here.