6 June 2011
[Frith and I saw the stage production of Dr Zhivago recently, courtesy of her father. Thanks, Lew!]
While Dr Zhivago is largely remembered as a love story, I feel there is a deeper story that speaks to all of us, beyond love stories, as monumentally significant as they can sometimes be.
The deeper significance is in the way we choose to live our life. Dr Zhivago offers a marked contrast between the two main characters in the story – Yuri Zhivago (the Doctor) and Lara’s husband Pasha Antipov.
Yuri (from a privileged background) wants to live a life which has room for his feelings, and to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the natural world, and natural relationships. He wants to live the ‘private life’ to the full, and, as a poet, express his responses in writing.
Pasha has decided on a course of shaping the world to his own ideals. He is a revolutionary, in a brutal revolutionary era of Russia’s history. He is devoted to the public life, to a commitment to the collective.
Astrologically, we could see themes of Taurus versus Aquarius in these two persons, one inspired by the here-and-now, the other deriving their meaning from a sense of brotherhood with ‘the cause’ and those affiliated with it.
In reality, Yuri and Pasha have much more in common than we might expect at first glance. For a start, they are connected by their love for the same woman, Lara.
‘Lara’s Theme’ from Dr Zhivago later had lyrics added to it. Beginning with ‘Somewhere, my Love…’ to the deep yearning of ‘someday, we’ll meet again, my Love’, these lyrics speak of a person, a place and a state that is eternally unreachable.
So we might ask ‘What do Taurus and Aquarius yearn for?’
The real surprise is that Yuri discovers that his choice of the private life resonates with the collective just as much, if not more, than Pasha’s public revolutionary life. Through his published poetry, his deeply felt, experienced and expressed life is as revolutionary as any. This is evidenced in the vast number of people who attend his funeral, paying tribute to a beloved countryman.
One of Jung’s key concepts and teachings was the drive toward individuation, which I’ll (perhaps simplistically here) interpret as the drive of an individual to make their own authentic life choices and ‘become all of who they are’, as suggested in their horoscope.
Both Yuri Zhivago and Pasha Antipov made their authentic choices. In essence, I believe, this carries with it a certain degree of becoming a revolutionary – for what you stand for, and, by definition, against what you leave behind.
To have the strength of character to make this stand means to be able to stand independently of a collective or a group.
With Uranus in Aries, this is very much the era of the individual.
In many ways Yuri and Pasha’s choices were in opposite directions, and therefore they are linked, and become a study on this theme of individuation, and individuality, and the price of individuality against the collective backdrop of society.
Yes, the love story is something that captures our imagination, but the deeper significance of Dr Zhivago, (which, in my opinion the stage production effectively brought to the fore, and for which I commend it) is of the revolutionary nature and potential influence of authentic individual life choices.
© Rainer Rollfink, 2011