Archive for May 2nd, 2010
I was walking with one of my grandsons moments before it decided to rain, looking for pictures. I would show him something then take the photo which we would then both look at; then he would point out something and I would look at it before creating another photograph. Needless to say, the process kept us outside and active for as long as the rain held off. Once back in the house, we shared “our” photo treasures with his dad. This was the ultimate test for my grandson. His dad is his number one authority, the greatest of all.
Watching the interplay between my grandson and his father, I got to see what likely was the same dynamic in the life of my own son as he grew up. Looking at it at a distance reflected in others creates a sense of humbleness and almost shame. The “father” swells with pride in the adoration, a worship that brings the child as much pain as it does joy.
The “son” mimics all that he senses in hopes of becoming his “father.” And when the father doesn’t know his role, when he gets caught up too much in his “greatness,” it doesn’t take long before the son can’t support the weight of that hubris. The slender branch holding this illusion snaps and the father falls.
It is painful for all of us when our heroes fall and become human again. I know that my first reaction was anger, anger that my hero became as ordinary as I was. His greatness was not all that spectacular in the history of humankind. And, this coloured my view of those heroes of history as well as those heroes in the modern times. Somehow I knew that underneath the mantles of hero status, these heroes were conflicted humans who suffered as much, if not more, than I suffered.
In thinking about what CG Jung had said in my quotation that began this post, I realise that he was talking about something bigger than what I have said here. But perhaps this is an appropriate interpretation for what happens in the dynamic of the nuclear family, the roots of most of our complexes.