There Is A Fundamentalist Nazi In All Of Us

“[What] we do not know about ourselves persists and subtly infiltrates our values and choices . . . one of the sure signs of our defense against our shadow is our ready rationalizations that surface to justify our position on any subject.” pp 10-11

As I hear these words, I hear echoes of fundamentalist thinking I have heard in the voices of others, and to be honest, in myself. Though I have long ago learned that truth is relative, and by that I mean in terms of how each of us sense the world and interpret what we sense. Any police officer will tell you that given any number of witnesses, there will be as many versions of what had happened at a witnessed scene as there are witnesses. And each of those witnesses, will believe firmly their version which they would take with them to any trial where they would swear an oath. Why? Why so many versions of reality? Shouldn’t there be a simple, uncomplicated version? Well, regardless, it is what it is as we all are unique with unique histories, abilities, sensory organs and psychological filters.

I have tried more times than can be counted to have discussions on any number of topics, discussions that didn’t require depth. Typically I am confounded by the apparent inability of others to actually hear and understand what I have said. What happened while I was talking was the activation of some trigger with the listener who then begins to deliver his or her truth. It is as though there is a knee-jerk response that has as its motivation a rationalisation of an opinion that is held tightly as a truth.

I am guilty as much as anyone else of justifying my opinion as a truth. “There should be a law!” often escapes my mouth when I react to a situation involving another person who is somehow offending me. I don’t realise at the time that the other really isn’t offending me at all but simply living their own version of truth and reality. I create the sense of being offended within myself and it is expressed unconsciously as a projection of that which I deny about the shadows within myself. Do I dare, do you dare to confront all those things we do or say for which we justify as being the fault of others? If we are ever to become more conscious or ourselves, more responsible as humans, the answer is “Yes!”

“The complexity of the universe, and the complexity of our own souls, is so immense that the fantasy of truly knowing ourselves is like standing on the mountain at dusk and believing that we are encompassing all the stars that wheel in their sidereal orbits through the limitless spaces above us. . . . So, the ego seldom really knows enough to know that it does not know much.” pp 11-12

There is an old saying that many of us have learned, “the more we learn, it seems the less we know.” Applies to the word written here by James Hollis. As parents we have seen our children, as teenagers, grow to become “know-it-alls” who think parents are not all that intelligent. Yet somehow when our children become young adults they wonder how fast their parents have been learning. It seems funny for us as we see this development. It is part of our developmental cycle to be in the stage of being certain, or “know-it-alls.”

As adults, it seems that it becomes less funny when we are confronted by other adults who are self-proclaimed experts who have an answer for every question, even the questions we haven’t asked. Yet, we are not much different as we hold onto certainties of who we are thinking that what you see is all there is. When confronted by others about our moods, attitudes, biases, fundamentalism, and even our actions; we often regard these others with surprise as we are adamant that we are anything but what they claim. We know that we are in control and reasonable people. If we have an opinion, we are more than justified because of the evidence others present.

We can’t see or admit our biases, we are blissfully unaware that we have projected our stuff onto others, blaming them for what we have yet to know about what is going on within our own psyche. If we could just come to understand that anything for which we have a strong, even unmoveable opinion, is indicative of something beneath ego consciousness being activated. If we are lucky enough, maybe we will get to the point of realising that the more we learn about our “self,” the more we will realise remains to be learned.

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Shadow As A Darker Drift of Society

Low-lying clouds in Cypress Hills Provincial Park

Low-lying clouds in Cypress Hills Provincial Park

Now, to continue with looking at James Hollis’ book and how it has resonated with me.

“The “personal Shadow” is unique to each of us, although we may share many features with others around us. The “collective Shadow” is the darker drift of the culture, the unacknowledged, often rationalized, interactions of time, place, and our tribal practices. Each of us carries a personal Shadow, and each of us participates in varying proportion in a collective Shadow.” p. 10

It’s interesting to me how the collective Shadow is painted darker than the personal Shadow. I would have thought that light the personal Shadow, the collective Shadow would also contain the unlived potential that we would characterise as perhaps the opposite of evil. In communities it is easy to see how the collective comes together for positive outcomes such as when a community rallies around an individual or family that is in need. But then again, mob mentality is all about darkness and the display of behaviour that would otherwise rarely put in an appearance. With mob mentality we revert to brutality and action without reason, following along in the hunt energised so to speak by the smell of blood. Somehow, the collective has a particular energy to pull in anyone who doesn’t remain alert, those who question and demand answers that can be understood by their own level of consciousness.

But what about the collective unconscious of small groups? I think of staff rooms and how they can become toxic environments where otherwise good people become nasty and surly and perpetually negative within the staff room. Yet, once they are out of the work environment, they revert back to the pleasant and good people of the community.

When we turn to larger groups such as the military, the dark shadow is magnified. How else could we ever explain why good young men willingly shoot unarmed people including children, or drop bombs knowing that the results often demolish schools, homes and hospitals? Somehow, the mindset of fighting against an opposing darkness allows us to visit horror and sometimes death on other ordinary communities. For make no mistake about it, all those villages in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, any other place in the past or conflict place of the future, are filled with mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, the mentally or physically helpless, and ordinary good people. Yes, out of those villages and towns emerge forces that are bent on destruction of their enemies – on both sides of any conflict.

When the bodies are brought back home, heroes every one, our beliefs about the others are reinforced. They are the enemy, forces of darkness. And, our anger is increased. We have no thought that we have journeyed into another country carrying weapons, uninvited. We have threatened with violence, followed through those threats with death and destruction fighting the beliefs of dark evil that we have nursed within us. Month after month, year after year we follow our crusade to bring freedom from evil to those we have convinced ourselves need us to show them the way, even if we have to kill so many of them in the process. We have become the foreign devils, the dark shadow of strangers who come to destroy homes, communities and families. Our inner darkness is projected upon the other and there seems to be no way of bringing this to a good end. It does nothing to lay blame or to ask who fired the first shot, for that first shot was a stone or spear thrown by ancestors too many thousands of years ago before we thought to chronicle our collective insanity.

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Why Good People Do Bad Things – Part 2

“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the Shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real.” C. G. Jung, CW 9ii, para. 14

“What is not made conscious will continue to haunt our lives – and the world. In our short transit on this earth, there is more within each of us than we can ever make conscious and assimilate And yet our quality of life is a direct function of the level of awareness we bring to our daily choices.” Hollis, p. 5

It took a long time for me to eventually realise that I had a shadow that was actively making my life miserable. I blamed all the things that haunted my life on my parents and the abuse they unwittingly visited upon me and my siblings. There was more than enough abuse to last several lifetimes of hauntings and I believed that I didn’t have to look any further than to my childhood and youth. I worked with myself using self-psychology, self-analysis only to find that things weren’t getting all that much better. So I got professional counselling help. However, it seemed that with even more help, I was still finding myself haunted more than ever.

Turning in desperation to a Jungian analyst, things began to improve. It wasn’t so much that the analyst did some magic, rather it was the analyst’s ability to tap into my intellectual understandings of psychology and bring them home to my heart. I had learned so much theory, but it had remained lodged in my ego which had built defenses against my own inner world. Knowing facts does not equate with consciousness. It was a shift into art that finally broke down my defenses and allowed me to see a reflection of my own shadow. At that point, I had little choice in what I had to do. It was my own shadow that was haunting me. It then became my moral duty to become more aware of that shadow and thus not be a victim of that shadow. By moral duty, I don’t mean moral as in church, law or social conventions. I mean it in terms of personal honesty and avoiding dumping my shadow onto others in my family, in my community or even upon those who are strangers, different from me.

“Expressed in its most functional way, the Shadow is composed of all those aspects of ourselves that have a tendency to make us uncomfortable with ourselves. The shadow is not just what is unconscious, it is what discomforts the sense of self we wish to have. It is not synonymous with evil, thought it may contain elements that the ego or culture considers evil.” p. 9

This was the hardest lesson for me to learn, that my shadow wasn’t just my personal unconscious. It also contains some of my ego self, the self I know, those things I don’t like about myself. I don’t know anyone who is fully content and satisfied with who they are. Everyone wants to be a better person in some manner though many would never admit it to others. As I listen to other people I often am presented with the fact that some of these people have a wonderful life with great kids who are the best at everything they do including being at the top of their respective classes. I get to hear how their lives are exemplary with them being pillars of their communities and extremely well respected and liked. Yet, for all of their perfection and perfect lives, they are miserable people who need reassuring, constant reassurance from others about these carefully constructed beliefs. They live outwardly with certainty about who they are and with pride about who they are. Yet, inwardly certainty is missing.

When the cracks appear in out carefully crafted bubbles of identity, we all engage in diversionary tactics so that others don’t see the cracks. We hope that we can somehow cover up the cracks so that life once again becomes the way we want it to be.

I will be back with more thoughts on James Hollis’ book.

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Becoming Conscious Of One’s Personal Shadow

Why Good People Do Bad Things

Why Good People Do Bad Things

I am reading James Hollis’ book, Why Good People Do Bad Things. I had begun reading this book at least a year ago and then set it aside for some reason or other that I don’t remember. Likely, it made me uncomfortable. This past week I picked up the book again and continued reading from where I left off – yes, I left a book marker in the book. So much of the book all of a sudden became important for me, so I turned back to the beginning to see what had originally caught me eye. There, before the book begins with its introduction, on a page by itself was this quote from Carl Gustav Jung:

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.” [C. G. Jung, CW 13 para. 335; cited in Hollis, Why Good People Do Bad Things.]

As I understand C.G. Jung, the typical response to any darkness is some idea that serves as a vision (a light) with which a society then throws its energy and allegiance in hopes of escaping the darkness. However, history is filled with how, more often than not, that allegiance leads to a collective neurosis that allows the collective to do evil. It is a rare group of individuals to own their own darkness and thus avoid unthinkable acts of darkness.

Of course, Jung is referring here to individuals but one has to remember that all groups, all organisations are made up of individuals and the fact that no group can surpass the individuals within it. That said, groups, like individuals have a Shadow. No group has a collective consciousness for there isn’t a group that is a psychic entity like individual humans. As individuals, myself included, there is no love for having our errors pointed out to us, especially those bits of darkness in us for which we are unconscious. Rather, there is a defensive response as though one has been attacked regardless of the intention behind the critique. I know that this is how I respond when the critique cuts too deep. I deny the critique and then attack in response so as to defend myself. Of course, I lose in the process, a chance to become more conscious as a human. My best hope is that afterward I look at my own responses to the critique and that I have the courage to stare at the exposed shadow and own it, even if I am hesitant to admit it to others.

“How is it that there can be so many discrepancies between our professed values, our presumptive virtues, and our many embarrassing, often destructive behaviors?” [Hollis, p. 2]

“Who am I?” is often answered with a good number of value statements and beliefs about how we are with others. I often talk of myself as a kind, gentle and good person. I tell any and every one that I am a good listener and a dependable and capable person. For so long, I had this unspoken belief that I was better than most others in terms of my goodness. I wore my attitude of being a knight in shining armor on my sleeve with pride, believing I was holier than most everyone who went to church. In order to make sense of how all this goodness was rewarded with so much confusion, confrontation and worthlessness just  in my life just didn’t make sense. I saw myself as an almost saintly victim of a dark and basically evil world. Thankfully, I fell off my pedestal hard enough to bang my head hard against reality to wake me up to the truth of who I was, just another ordinary human. Hubris was recognised for what it was, pure egocentrism and narcissism.

For the most part, I was a good person and that was recognised by most people around me. But, I found myself not always being good. I recall too many times during my life when I was mean and vengeful. At those times I always found reasons to forgive myself for being cruel and hurtful, usually by blaming the victim(s) of my bad behavior for eliciting that bad behavior. An example that comes to mind comes from my career as a teacher. I recall one class that, for a number of reasons, always seemed to trigger a meanness within me. It didn’t take long for me to enact group punishment rather than ask myself why I was angered, or to ask what exactly had happened. As a result, students who were used to me as a kind, generous, caring and patient teacher would be attacked and punished with unreasonable demands for unnecessary work. The students were left wondering what it was they said or did to bring out this anger, believing that the fault lay with them. They began to believe that they were a bad class.

I challenge you to walk this path of beginning to wake up and become conscious of your own Shadow.

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Peering Through A Haze

A smoke haze lends colour to the early evening sky as sunset approaches on Turtle Lake.

A smoke haze colours the early evening sky as sunset approaches on Turtle Lake.

I have been relatively quiet these past weeks, perhaps it is something in the air as in the photo to the left. Usually when I find myself quiet like this, something inside is shifting. I have learned to sit with this stillness and quietness without trying to manipulate, that is control the process.

The spirit moves to its own rhythms and to its own time. It’s all about trusting that the spirit knows where, when and why about the journey that is in process. Ego is relegated to a minor role.

Ego often gets in the way of most of our life trying to micro manage everything – our relationships, our earning a living, raising a family – everything about our life outside of our head. Of course ego also works its hardest to deny that there is anything go on beneath the surface. If there is anything, any spirit or self below that surface, then ego is forced to acknowledge that it isn’t really the master of the universe, that universe of I.

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Depression, Suicide, and Robin Williams

robinYesterday, in the early afternoon, I got a Facebook update from one of my friends that falls withing what I can best describe as a Mental Health support group in which many struggle with depression that has its roots in many diverse areas such as childhood abuse, sexual abuse, isolation, drugs, alcohol – the list of “reasons” go on and on though in the end I don’t know if it matters what the reason may or may not be, it is simply enough that we managed to find each other and build bonds across the airwaves. The update was a message that Robin Williams had died – suicide. Without thinking of appropriateness, all I could write in response to this update was “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” That was it.

Lost in early morning thought. Photo by Maureen Longpré.

Lost in early morning thought. Photo by Maureen Longpré.

The response was visceral, a gut response that told me after the initial shock wore off that a “trigger” had been touched. I waited some more and finally I was able to put up my own “status” message:

Robin Williams’ suicide has shaken me more than I care to admit. Depression and denied darkness claim too many. He was two years younger than me. Perhaps it is the writing through my own denied darkness that has left me too sensitive. Thinking of My brother, Lawrence (Larry) who also lost his battle with depression.”

It was simple and direct, and it left out more than needed to be said. However, it wasn’t long before others began to post their reactions to both my status update and the news of Robin William’s suicide. There was one (well more than one, but I need to control this post or it will get to convoluted and perhaps become too much for you to read) response by Brent Alan Erwin, also known as the “Chief” whose words stuck with me even as I walked with my wife through the prairie countryside for a few hours. Along the walk we were both quiet, lost in our own moments of walking meditation with my thoughts turned towards the Chief’s words and my thoughts that grew out of them. Before I get to my response, here are the Chief’s words:

What is DEPRESSION??  I’ll tell you what it is for me. It’s like waking up in a prison, a prison with no walls, no doors, no cells, no bars, no windows, so therefore there is nothing physical to escape. It’s solitary confinement. We didn’t ask for it, it comes without warning, it turns the light into darkness, the quiet becomes deafening. Alone becomes Lonely. Your faith becomes another failure, your hope is hopeless. You feel guilt & shame because you have it. You want to be understood not stood down. Jim Morrison said it best ” Like an actor all alone, A dog without a bone, a Rider on the Storm, Crying won’t help, praying won’t do us no good. I will not bore anyone anymore with my rants,my raves, my pains, But keep in mind, when it chooses you, do not say you never knew* – CHIEF

A tunnel of light through darkness.

A tunnel of light through darkness.

Failure, hopelessness, a prison, darkness, guilt and shame – To be a father and find yourself sucked once again into the darkness, knowing that your children and spouse stand by helplessly while you spiral deeper into a dark hole, leaves you with a bitter taste that is wrapped in guilt and shame. It seems that there is no way to put on the brakes. Brakes happen only when one hits the bottom. Even then, it takes a while for the mind to register that it exists, that others exist. And with the return to awareness, begins the slow process of crawling back into the world of the living hoping that somehow in spite of the crash that bridges haven’t been burnt.

Guilt and shame. Those are two broad paintbrushes that add to the detritus that needs to be navigated in the return to some sort of mental balance and participation in the real world. Thankfully, for me, my children and my wife, as well as extended family and so many others are there for me when I make this return voyage. I cherish these moments with those who care for me, who love me in their own ways in the face-to-face world and the distant world reached through the air waves. I learn to relax and trust again and belief again and hope again. Yet, I keep an eye open, glancing just outside the peripheral edges of sight for the approach of the next dark hole.

Robin, thank you for your presence in my life from the days of Mork to last night’s viewing of the World’s Greatest Dad where you took on the challenge of bringing your voice to the issue of suicide.

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Lifting One Single Voice Out of the Silence

Call and Answer

Call and Answer

I was sifting through the Facebook feed on my family account and came across a poem written by Robert Bly in August, 2002, called “Call and Answer.” True to my usual habit, I clicked “like” and “share.” Then, I read the poem again and knew that I just had to say something more, here.

I wonder if I am “lifting” my voice in mourning about what we are losing and what we have lost because it all seems so hopeless. For me, tears are real in seeing the atrocities that are visited upon children, women, and men in the name of some “ism” that manages to convince too many of the justice in bombing and destruction. There is no right side of war when both sides fight in the name of their god. Bob Dylan’s song “With God On Our Side” was one that I sang out loudly in protest against sanctioned murder by any and all armies.

My voice was loud and clear, but who heard anything more than the sound of my voice and the guitar chords? What does it take for ears to be willing to hear the voices that risk speaking from the heart with compassion for all including those we are told are the enemy? Media tells us its lies crafted to have us distrust, to hate, and to hoard from those most in need, even those within our own communities. The volume of the medias messages drown out the individual voices of those who resist falling under the spell of the lies, parading as truths. And should a voice become too loud, a campaign of character assassination or co-opting of that voice with fame and a small fortune soon follows.

So, what is a person to do? For me, it seems relatively simple. Voice rather than silence, even if no one is listening.

I am including a link to Bly reading his poem at the bottom.

Call and Answer – by Robert Bly

Tell me why it is we don’t lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: “Go on, cry. What’s the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!”

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can’t
Escape from silence? If we don’t lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we’ve listened to the great criers—Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass—and now
We’re silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.

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Red Sky In the Morning

Red sky at morning, sailor take warning!

Red sky at morning, sailor take warning!

Yesterday was a strange day. I got up earlier than usual as I had a long drive to Estevan where I take accutherapy treatments for my allergies. The night was unkind to me as I got no more than three hours of sleep because of those allergies. As I drove out of town, I stopped almost immediately as I caught a clear view of the eastern horizon as dawn made an appearance. The red sky suggested that the day was going to be a challenge, at least according to old myths about morning and red skies.

Morning mist in the Mondau valley

Morning mist in the Mondau valley

As I got back into the car and continued down the road, I came upon low-lying mist in the valley, a mist that would continue on and off for the next hour. Out of the mist I got to see two large white-tail deer bucks with impressive racks of antlers. In a clear field of lentils, I got to see a solitary pronghorn antelope. And rising off the surface of the road, a murder of crows startled me, and unfortunately for one of the crows, meant death. He flew right into the passenger side of the windshield and was murdered.

Sunrise just before Sask Landing Provincial Park

Sunrise just before Sask Landing Provincial Park

About three-quarters of an hour away from home, I caught the sunrise. The day promised to be sunny and hot, with temperatures getting up to at least 29 C. The drive to Estevan was uneventful after this memorable beginning, and that was good in my opinion. It is a five hour drive to Estevan from our home.

With treatment done, I got back into the car and began the journey back home. I had anticipated that the drive would be long and slow as I am usually fatigued following a treatment. However, it wasn’t the case. I felt fine and was able to make good time not needing to take a rest stop every hour and a half.

As I drove, I heard a change in the weather forecast. All of a sudden I was headed towards potential storms. At about the halfway mark, I was forced to the side of the road where I joined big rigs and other cars and trucks who were also stopping. The very heavy rain and hail had effectively hidden the highway. I pulled into a big space between a semi and a car feeling that I would avoid being rear-ended. When the way forward becoming clear, we all resumed our way to the west. The temperature had dropped from 31 to 12 degrees in a matter of minutes. Now I understood the warning given in the morning’s dawn sky.

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On The Nature Of The Self – Part Two

Golf balls as representative of the collective consciousness, as a group of individuals.

Golf balls as representative of the collective consciousness, as a group of individuals.

Yes, golf balls as representations of people. Each golf ball equates with a person, more specifically, what each person believes he or she is. I used golf balls (after a group golf practice) with four of my grandsons for the express purpose of getting images for use in this post. At the same time, the activity filled in a few idle minutes and provided them with something to think about.

I had each of these grandsons take a golf ball and draw a face on it, a face that they could say was them. Once this was done, I had them position themselves (their golf ball avatars) in relation to the collective of others. The results were interesting.

The conscious self (ego) in relation to others.

The conscious self (ego) in relation to others.

It was especially interesting for me as a grandfather to see how each of them viewed themselves.

Here I am.

Here I am.

One placed himself far from the collective (blue top), another placed himself in a smaller group outside of the collective (white top and sunglasses), a third placed himself slightly away from the collective almost buried in the grass so that he wouldn’t be so visible (rainbow tee shirt), and the fourth placed himself with the collective.

Self-perceptions

Self-perceptions

I did give them an opportunity to explain and perhaps even change their location. However, they stood firm with where they stood in relation to others.

So, what was the point? Well, it simply is about how we perceive who we are. As conscious beings, most of those perceptions are in terms of how we compare ourselves to others. One thing that was quite certain as far as my grandsons were concerned, they were each individuals, each unique – it was all based on feelings and the evidence of their senses.

Of course, there is more to us than what our feelings and senses can tell us whether we are in relations with other people or sitting alone in a quiet space. Yet, for most, though we hunger for more answers, we don’t want to hear what those answers might tell us.

 

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On The Nature Of The Self – Part One

I have a few presentations to make while we are in Mexico this coming winter, presentations about Jungian psychology. Naturally, I have been wondering just what I could do given three opportunities to present. I finally have decided on the three topics.

  1. On the nature of the self
  2. On the nature of relationship
  3. The journey we call individuation

Obviously there are many other topics that could be brought to the attention of those interested in learning a bit more about Jungian psychology. However with the decision finally made, it is now for me to prepare, slowly, for these presentations. Part of that preparation will be done here as I sort through more than too much material and threads of thought to build the presentations. Perhaps for you, my steadfast readers, this might be an experience of “you’ve already said that a million times.” Yet, I hope that as I re-approach the idea of self you will find something worth hearing again. With that said, it’s time to begin gathering my thoughts and the thoughts of others who have much to say.

~

The best way to begin is to deal with the word itself – self. And, it would be most appropriate to start with the definition that most likely is held by most people, a definition found in the Oxford English Dictionary: “One’s particular nature or personality; the qualities that make one individual or unique“. It seems simple enough. We each see ourselves as separate from other people. We see others outside of own heads, or so we think, and in turn get a sense of who we are because of that contrast, that separation. This notion of separation seems straight-forward enough, however it doesn’t seem to answer all of our questions about who we are as individuals. And the problem only gets worse as we get older.

Jo-Hari Window depicting the "self".

Jo-Hari Window depicting the “self”.

As we get older, we discover the fact that we really don’t know ourselves all that well. It is with interaction with others that allows us to become aware, bit by bit, of aspects of our personality for which we had been blind as this diagram illustrates. people in our “orbit” get to “know” things about us of which we are unconscious. If all works well, these others clue us in to those unknown habits and traits. Yet in spite of our efforts and the efforts of those around us, there is so much of who we are that remains a mystery. In Jungian psychology, this is called the unconscious self.

At this point, I want to turn to how Jung describes the self: 

[The self] expresses the unity of the personality as a whole. But in so far as the total personality, on account of its unconscious component, can be only in part conscious, the concept of self is, in part, only potentially empirical . . .” [Jung CW 6, par 789]

In other words, we can only know just a part of the whole of who we are. Jung goes on to say:

“the self as psychic totality also has a conscious as well as an unconscious aspect. Empirically, the self appears in dreams, myths, and fairytales . . . the self appears as a play of light and shadow although conceived as a totality and unity in which the opposites are united . . . ” [ibid]

Unconscious and conscious aspects, dark and light aspects, and this elusive self shows up in our dreams and our stories. No matter how hard I look at this idea, this word, this essence of who I am, I can’t find anything solid to wrap my thoughts around. This is going to be a bigger task than I thought it was going to be.

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