Archive for July 9th, 2010
“The shadow is a direct consequence of light. Whatever is illuminated casts a shadow. The higher the sun moves in the sky, the shorter is the shadow – but it has more definition. Light and sun are metaphors for consciousness.” (Sharp, The Survival Papers, p. 82)
I have been having a discussion with one of my sons-in-law about my little book “Sol and Luna” and about how it potentially reduces women to a “less than” status in a man’s world. It took quite a bit of time to have him realise that there is no man/woman distinction at work, but a look at consciousness and unconsciousness. Once that was in place, it took even a bit more time to accept the idea that the unconscious is not all bad. He got how when one becomes aware of something that was unknown, that a light turns on since that is a collective image accepted and used in our western world. Light symbolises awareness.
Working on the idea of the unconscious as simply being a state of non-awareness was more difficult. So, I began where the book began, with Genesis, “In the beginning God . . . ” As he had a Christian/Catholic background, it was important to establish the idea of “God” as being without boundaries as being he whole of whatever didn’t or did exist. He agreed that “God” is/was indeed ALL. Of course, this ALL had to include whatever “God” would then create including the light and the resultant darkness where light didn’t reach. It was only with the “beginning” of light that “God” was able to find a voice to proclaim the light as “good.” But what about the darkness beyond the edges of light?
What is in darkness is simply “in darkness.” The fact that no light has shone upon the darkness does not mean that what lies within the darkness is “not good.” What is in darkness is simply unknown, one is unconscious of what is in darkness. What is in light isn’t necessarily “good.” What is good is that one is able to discern and become aware of the exposed contents. The truth is, we are conscious of a lot of “not good” contents. One can see evil at work. One can participate in that evil. Or, one can choose otherwise. The light is simply a means of becoming aware of our “self,” “others” and the world at large. The light isn’t either good or evil – it only can expose good and evil. In the same vein, what is in darkness contains both good and evil.
It is at this point that I begin to chafe with Jung and his differentiation between men and women and the characterisation that light is masculine represented by the sun and darkness is feminine represented by the moon. I do understand that he wrote from a time when there was almost no quarrel with these ideas, a time when patriarchy was unquestioned. I also realise that he borrowed on ideas of alchemy that held to the “gender” of darkness and light where darkness was equated with evil. Yet, simply because this is how Jung understood his world is no excuse for my simply accepting this understanding as “truth.” If anything, Jung would protest this truth, should he have been in my world. I am a father of a son and two daughters. I live in a world where the distinctions between masculine and feminine are constantly shifting. What does hold “true” in spite of all of this shifting, is the fact that both consciousness and unconsciousness are still present – light and darkness.
And so, I will allow the metaphors to change to “fit” with my view of the world. The sun, light is a metaphor of consciousness – and leave it at that. No more “father” in the guise of a sun.