In case you live under a rock or manage to not follow a single ARMY on Twitter, I’ll catch you up on BTS’ long-awaited comeback album Map of Soul: Persona and M/V “Boy With Luv” which was released today.
In preparation for the album, I read Jung’s Map of Soul (An Introduction) by Murrai Stein, the book this comeback’s concept is based on. (Well, I read up to Chapter 7). Map Of Soul: Persona marks a new series possibly a trilogy like their last album in the BTS discography. There is speculation among ARMY that this will be a trilogy like their last album.
In a Press Release BTS says:
We find strength and happiness in every moment. You’ve given us some much love , and now we want to get to know our fans more. We filled our album with our genuine feelings and the messages that we want to share with you.
Boy With Luv
First, the lead single “Boy With Luv“. This song is a “parallel” to their 2014 song, “Boy In Luv”.
Some might argue this song (read: M/V) is from their public “persona”. And then Halsey is playing the role of “anima”. Persona and anima/us are concepts from Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. In Map of Soul: An Introduction, Stein explains Jung’s theory: “anima/us is a psychic structure that is complementary to the persona” (p. 117). To clarify, amina is the feminine psychic structure in men, while animus is the masculine psychic structure in women.
The next song that could arguably have some relation to Jung’s work is “Jamais Vu” sung by Jin, J-hope and Jung Kook. Jamais vu is the opposite of deja vu. As Danny from DKDKTV explains on his live stream it’s basically saying, “every time this thing happens to me… but it kills me every time.” So how does this loose concept of reincarnation relate to Jung?
In Chapter 6, Stein states “one of Jung’s favorite illustrations of the power of the anima was Rider Haggard’s She, a novel that depicts an immortal femme fatale… She is an eternally dying and resurrecting goddess who leads men into the flames of passion and finally to their destruction.” (p. 132) To Jung, if one could endure this pain, there is a possibility for transformation. In the song, they’re talking about a love interest (the power of anima) and they’re trying not to lose it. They don’t want to give up. They keep pushing, even though the pain is being inflicted on them during this pursuit is familiar. “So give me a remedy”, “Please give me a remedy” and “remedy” is repeated several times throughout the track. This could easily symbolize the men who are lead into the flames of passion. Before they reach their final destruction one can presume they sought out relief or remedy.
ARMY already knew that Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and ecstasy (read: party) but did you know Jung briefly mentioned Dionysus? In the book, it says “Dionysian animus draw[s] [women] toward ecstasy and promises of fulfillment.” (p. 132) Dionysian simply means something relating to the god Dionysus. Its no surprise the track turns out to be a party song. BTS probably researched Dionysus after reading this chapter.
Saving the best reference for last, “Intro: Persona”. Out of all the tracks on the album, this one is the most straightforward when bringing it back to Jung’s Map of Soul concept. In the track, RM references his “shadow”, “map of soul” and poses the question “Who the hell am I?” He didn’t beat around the bush when connecting his lyrics to Jung’s theories. The term “persona” is a reference to Jung’s archetype. It is not a reference to pop culture’s understanding of the term. Rather, “it means the person-as presented, not the person-as-real.” (p. 103) This is why RM asks “Who am I?'” Persona is just “the psychic skin between ego and world.” (p.110) Lack of differentiation between the two causes internal conflict. Then shadow is the opposite of persona (and isn’t necessarily always evil) and Map of Soul is all of Jung’s theory on the psyche. Genius does a great job of explaining the latter two.
This was written by a dedicated ARMY at 4 AM local time. Please be kind. Watch for edits and updates.
Update: Some grammatical and punctuation edits have been made to improve readability.
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Self-proclaimed polymath. Debbie is a writer, podcast host, style blogger, graphic designer, stylist, aspiring polyglot and then some. You can find her working on her blog, sipping on some green tea, self-studying Japanese and Korean or spending way too much time on the internet. 🌸 For more K-pop thoughts and other things, check out my Medium blog: https://medium.com/@debutante