It’s not often that one sees psychology and K-Pop cross over, but BTS is making sure that the two worlds collide in the best way possible. In naming their upcoming album Map Of The Soul: Persona, BTS is shouting out Dr. Murray Stein’s research and writings on Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. Stein himself is an analyst at the International School of Analytical Psychology in Switzerland and he recently opened up about BTS during an interview. Dr. Murray Stein’s comments about BTS’ Map Of The Soul: Persona offer a lot of insight into why BTS gave that name to their highly anticipated next album.
Before I jump into Stein’s comments, it’s important to know that he wrote a book called Jung’s Map of the Soul: An Introduction way back in 1998 (when Jungkook was literally, like, 1 year old). The boys' recommended the book on their website, which helped the book shoot up to the #1 spot on Amazon's psychoanalysis bestsellers list.
In episode 42 of Speaking of Jung, a podcast that interviews Jungian analysts, host Laura London addressed the Jungian themes in BTS' forthcoming comeback with Stein, at which point, the esteemed doctor actually shouted out RM for his amazing "Generations Unlimited" speech at the United Nations, which, according to him, incorporated Jungian themes. Considering this speech went down all the way back in September 2018 — long before we knew about the concept of BTS' next album — the level of care and effort RM, Jungkook, Jimin, V, Suga, J-Hope, and Jin put into conceptualizing their albums becomes all the more impressive.
Here’s what Stein had to say:
I was quite impressed with Kim Nam-joon, RM as he’s called — I guess he’s the leader of the BTS group — when he spoke at the United Nations. What impressed me about that was that he kept the distinction, carefully, between who he was a boy growing up in a small village outside of Seoul, Korea and who he is publicly and famously now. You know, a star in the firmament of the entertainment world. If he were to identify with that role totally, he would lose contact with himself, with the boy he was, with the human being that he is. He would be ungrounded.
You can check out RM's United Nations speech down below:
After explaining how the process of being “ungrounded” can be connected to losing contact with one's self, Stein took fan questions and revealed how he learned about BTS naming their album after his book:
Suddenly I was told, I guess a week or so ago, that their new album was titled Map Of The Soul: Persona. And of course, that floored me. Then I was contacted by ARMY— the fan group — who discussed the lyrics and I got a little more familiar with them.
But Stein didn’t just leave it at that. He actually elaborated on why he was so happy to hear that BTS was spreading Jung’s message and how influential that can be. Here’s what he said:
I must say I’m thrilled that they are taking an interest in Jung and my book, that Jung’s message and Jung’s vision is being transmitted to people who otherwise would never hear about him or pay attention to what he has to offer. Because I think what Jung has to offer in this century is a vision of wholeness and a vision of integrity and human rights that, you know, it would be so valuable for people all over the world to come into contact with and to study and to integrate into their daily life. Jung’s message is a very hopeful one: that our conscious is a spark of light. It has much to offer us if we pay attention to it. It gives us inner guidance and, really, it has emphasis on the sacredness of the individual and the importance of the individual to take responsibility for the planet and for the world.
You can listen to Stein's full interview over on the Speaking of Jung website.
It certainly looks like BTS has very specific ideas and intentions for this album. But who's surprised? BTS has always been extremely thoughtful when it comes to making music. And it looks like they've got a brand new ARMY in Dr. Murray Stein.