Tags: Carl Jung, Cartesian split, homeostasis, Joseph Stella, mind-body, Modern Man In Search of A Soul, psyche, unconscious
From Carl Jung’s Modern Man In Search of A Soul:
“People [have made] a very dangerous monster out of the unconscious, that really very natural thing. As if all that is good, reasonable, beautiful and worth living for had taken up its abode in consciousness! Have the horros of the World War really not opened our eyes? Are we still unable to see that man’s conscious mind is even more devilish and perverse than the unconscious?
The unconscious is not a demonic monster, but a thing of nature that is perfectly neutral as far as moral sense, aesthetic taste and intellectual judgement go. It is dangerous only when our conscious attitude towards it becomes hopelessly false. And this danger grows in the measure that we practice repressions.
But as soon as the patient begins to assimilate the contents that were previously unconscious, the danger from the side of the unconscious diminishes. As the process of assimilation goes on, it puts an end to the dissociation of the presonality and to the anxiety that attends and inspires the separation of the two realms of the psyche…
The unconscious itself does not harbour explosive materials, but it may become explosive owing to the repressions exercised by a self-sufficient, or cowardly, conscious outlook.”
It is so easy to fear the unconscious. That’s where our Shadow hides, after all. All those nasty things we don’t want to know about ourselves and instead would prefer to project onto others. It’s worth noting that the Shadow has a positive aspect, too — the unrealized creative potential that waits inside of us. If we demonize the unconscious, we demonize this as well. [check out this article for more on integrating/relating to both negative and positive aspects of the Shadow]
Just like the Cartesian split between mind and body, a split in the psyche between conscious and unconscious can have disastrous consequences, and it simply is not sustainable in the long run. Sooner or later, your being will alert you to the fact that it is what it is — not what you want it to be or what you’ve been told it should be. It is what it is.
I truly believe that the key to wellness is integration. Breaking down the barriers that our conditioning has constructed, and accepting ourselves as whole people, human beings with a continuity of existence inside us that cannot be compartmentalized.
This brings us to another concept Jung mentions in the book that I really like:
The psyche is a self-regulating system that maintains itself in equilibrium as the body does. Each process that goes too far immediately and inevitably calls forth a compensatory activity… The relation between conscious and unconscious is compensatory.
In other words homeostasis exists in both body and mind (or in the mind-body… as those of us who oppose the Cartesian split like to say!).
The artwork in this post is by Joseph Stella, an Italian immigrant to New York City who painted industrial America of the early 20th century. To me it speaks very strongly of the split created by modern, industrialized, urban life, and the bridges we must build ourselves over such divides.
And that just goes to show the subjective nature of the interpretation of art!
Turning suffering into healing 03/25/2011Posted by ALT in Philosophy/Spirituality, Quotes.
add a comment
“Violence has an energy to it. Some Traditional beliefs have it that violence is actually a spirit. Spirit can move from place to place and even across the generations. You know, unless someone with “medicine” does something about it…
If you can see how violence or anger were passed down to you from previous generations, that puts you in a very powerful place. You can heal your great grandparents, your parents, and all the way up the line. You also can heal all of your children and their children by healing yourself. You see, this is the only place that the ancestors can heal their soul wound. They didn’t have the opportunity to heal when they were alive, so the energy of the anger was passed on down. Now that you understand, you can bring a lot of “medicine” to your family…
This is an existential moment for the patient in which his personal anger and sadness are given a special power to heal what means the most to him. Therefore, we are turning suffering into healing… ”
(Eduardo Duran, Healing the Soul Wound)
On Subjectivity 03/20/2011Posted by ALT in Quotes.
Tags: Heart of Darkness, Josef Conrad, subjectivity
add a comment
No, it’s impossible; it’s impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence — that which makes its truth, its meaning — its subtle and penetrating existence. We live as we dream — alone…
(Josef Conrad, Heart of Darkness)