This is one of the scenes I met with yesterday at WuZhen in ZheJiang province which is just south of JiangSu province where I live in China. Taking photos of water and boats is something I am drawn towards, something that isn’t necessarily planned consciously. And as usual, there is nothing about these kind of photographs that are about recording an event such as the event of yesterday which involved five foreign teachers being shown an ancient water city. Of course, I did take event photos as well as the photos that were simply moments of communion with unconsciousness, the collective unconscious as well as my personal unconscious.
I use Twitter and Facebook, two forms of social media, in order to connect with a larger world as well as reading a number of online newspapers. The words are sometimes overwhelming and confusing. It is easy to get lost in the words, in the constant flow of data that by its expression assumes a legitimacy. Yet I find the truths that run rampant do not fit together well, more often than not, they contradict each other. Images, words, sources, voices – - – all proclaim their truths. How can they all be truths? Wading through the flood of words, I hear voices that proclaim themselves to be masters, gurus, and leaders. I also here voices in panic as they echo the voices of the experts whom they come to trust. ”God is punishing Japan!” is a chant taken up by many fundamentalist Christians talking to other fundamentalist Christians. ”The world is coming to an end!” proclaims another group who study the stars and planets. I just shrug my shoulders and shake my head at these pronouncements and move on to search for something more rational to read. Yet, the echoes of these leaders found in others almost desperate to find something to hold onto is troubling. Words are powerful.
And so again, I look for other words to find something that resonates, something that will bring balance back for me. And, I find words from C.G. Jung, words spoken in 1959:
“. . . the danger that faces us today is that the whole of reality will be replaced by words. This accounts for the terrible lack of instinct in modern man, particularly the city-dweller. He lacks all contact with the life and breath of nature. He knows a rabbit or a cow only from the illustrated paper, the dictionary or the movies, and thinks he knows what it is really like – and is then amazed that cowsheds “smell,” . . . (Jung, CW 10, par. 882)
Words and voices and images that are not experienced in context are dangerous. I think of what is occurring in Libya knowing that there is a rebellion, even a revolution that has now engaged many nations. The planes, the bombs, the fear are real. Death is real. I felt the anger of the world on Twitter, an anger that is polarized with no one sitting in the middle. No one knows where the middle is anymore, a middle ground for the psyche and spirit of a people connected by culture, language and history. Outsiders rant, take sides, supply military weapons to the side of their choice and the encourage their team to kick ass.
All of the noise lets me know that consciousness is missing, that darkness assaults darkness breeding even more darkness. And we look at each other with the belief that we are more conscious than ever because of media, because of words. Personally, I need to be immersed into nature, into the numinous where babble is silent. I sense that it is only there that I can find a reality that isn’t so easily contained and explained, a fuller reality/