Archive for August 3rd, 2009
I have finished the tasks that I’ve set for myself at my middle child’s home. The last of the subflooring is done and the stairs recovered with vinyl. Having finished reading the one book I brought with me, I am reading one that I gave to my son-in-law, a book by Stephen R. Donaldson, the first book in the Gap series called The Real Story.
The book isn’t as good as I thought it might be as I remembered the old Thomas Covenant series as being powerful. Still, the book is better than nothing. Imagine my surprise when I found this in the book:
He’d never had much to do with women. In fact, he’d never doubted that he could live perfectly well without them altogether. But now his brain teemed with lust. Perversions which had nvere occurred to him before now seemed exciting, even compulsory. The more he saw of her helpless beauty, and the more he excercised himself on her flesh, the greater her hold on his imagination became – the more power she seemed to have over him. (Stephen R. Donaldson, The Real Story, 1991, p. 95)
The above quotation captures a human living in the grip of an archetype. The barriers between consciousness and unconsciousness have almost completely disappeared. The unconscious world, a huge and dark expanse of repressed evil as well as repressed positive aspects of what is possible, finds its way into the outer world through a weak ego which has somehow become too enamoured by the images that flood from the unconscious.
In a way, this is what lies at the root of most of our dysfunctional behaviours. The story of Mark Mocha is but one of many who have cracks in the ego that allow the unconscious to emerge. Each of us is a saint and a sinner. The more saintly we become, the more the sinner wants out of the closet so as to be recognized. It needs a strong ego to meet the shadow, and take on the awareness that this darkness is as much “self” as the good stuff. The work of the first half of life is to build this strong ego in order that when the second half of life enters and makes its demands toward wholeness, that one is ready. If one isn’t ready, one either retreats into rigidity, depression and dysfunction – or, one breaks down. Thank god for breakdowns. It is when one is broken that one is forced into dealing, finally, with the work of self-healing.
If science is an end in itself, man’s raison d’être lies in being a mere intellect. If art is an end in itself, then his sole value lies inthe imaginative faculty, and the intellect is consigned to the lumberoom. If making money is an end in itself, both science and art can quietly shut up shop. No one can deny that our modern consciousness, in pursuing these mutually exclusive ends, has become hopelessly fragmented. The consequence is that people are trained to develop one quality only; they become tools themselves. (Carl Jung, CW 16, paragraph 731)
The trouble with developing one faculty, of course, is all about creating an imbalance in the human psyche. And like all “moderns,” I worked hard to do just that, to become a “professional” educational administrator. It was a work that engaged me and held value for me as I saw it as way to live a meaningful life. Looking back, I made the right choices along the way. However, in crossing the bridge of midlife, being so “one-sided” plunged me into a depression. My psyche had its own agenda, that of healing the soul, the work of moving from one-sidedness into some semblence of wholeness.
And so this journey continues into wholeness. I do know now that it isn’t the destination of wholeness that is vital to me, it is the journey itself.