Archive for the ‘leadership’ tag
I took this photo in Hong Mei Gong Yuan, or Red Plum Park in ChangZhou, two days ago. Of course, it didn’t actually look like this, so cold almost lifeless. As I was cropping and trying to have the lanterns stand out with a bit of toggling of various editing options this version of reality appeared. As I played with the editing features, I realised that what was appearing before my eyes was also reality through a different lens, but reality none-the-less. Readers here might remember that I have commented about this idea of what is seen, in my August 24, 2010 post which talked about the lens through which we see the world. This post is about dreaming, a different world or reality.
I have been dreaming a lot recently. The trip to IndoChina in January and early February seems to have awakened something within that continues to give voice as well as images to the unconscious. The outer world seems to be mimicking the inner world as small voices are protesting their enforced silence. Even in Canada, the effort going into “silencing” has taken on an autocratic tone as if to deny the very existence of another way of knowing, another point of view.
Leaders are heroes to someone – and that part is sometimes hard to understand, especially when some of these leaders distort, lie, and manufacture realities that even a bit of consciousness would immediately recognise as false. How does the world ever allow a Hitler, a Gadhafi, a bin Laden, a Bush or minor league leaders such as Harper to have leadership? Fear is the first reason. These men all prey on the fears of the unwashed, the fear of the others who are the carriers of both personal and collective shadow. Here, I want to add Jung’s words to my post in hopes that you will understand what I am thinking/feeling at this time:
“Apart from the moral difficulty there is another danger which is not inconsiderable and may lead to complications, particularly with individuals who are pathologically inclined. This is the fact that the contents of the personal unconscious (i.e. the shadow) are indistinguishably merged with the archetypal contents of the collective unconscious and drag the latter with them when the shadow is brought into consciousness. This may exert an uncanny influence on the conscious mind; for activated archetypes have a disagreeable effect even – or should I say, particularly – on the most cold-blooded rationalist.” (Jung, CW 12, par. 38)
As I look at what is occurring around the world, where many ordinary people have somehow fallen out of the webs woven to keep them silent to the point of of refusing to hear their own conscience, their own souls, I see my own culpability. I see that I have also been a leader acting out of shadow – the leader of a classroom, the leader of a sports team, the leader of a family, the leader of a school – I see that rather than leading, I was being lead and that I believed I was a hero. Yes, there is a question of degree, but when one goes into the mind of each of those we now label as infamous, each of these men see themselves as heroes. At what point does one “wake up” from the delusions and reclaim “self” from the shadow?
This is what this image today is asking me. When will I wake up and acknowledge the shadow that is being denied? Of course, I don’t consciously know what I am denying, but at least I now have an idea that something is being blocked, something is feeling banished to an inner Dachau. Yes, this photo evokes the same response as when I watched Schindler’s List. Will I deny and watch the small signs of life be silenced? I hope not. It’s time for me to listen to the inner voice of self. It’s time for all of us to listen to the inner voice within each of us that is self and wake up and leave the power of the collective shadow, the belief in a leader that will save us, that will be our hero.
I am continuing to draw on the photographs taken at Angkor Wat. Though built by man, this is a place that can best be described as a place of the gods and spirits of a time long past. But of course, these gods and spirits didn’t exist, nor did they make Angkor Wat their home. Angkor Wat was a place built by man, for a man, for his throne and his tomb. It was built as a Hindu temple with the thought that all would associate this man with the Hindu god, Vishnu. Temples such as Angkor Wat are vivid expressions of a human living and acting out of the unconscious. The self becomes consumed by a larger, darker thing, the collective unconscious.
“The world of gods and spirits is truly ‘nothing but’ the collective unconscious inside me.” (Jung, CW 12, par. 857)
There is a wonder within me about those men who managed to have their societies accept them as more than human, as beings who are the gods revealed as men. Many modern men have no problem believing in the gods (or a singular god); nor do modern men have a problem positioning themselves as superlative beings in comparison to the people of their country and generation in order to accept the public acclaim and rewards of being godlings. Riches, fame and adoration are theirs and the ordinary man who sits under the skin of these modern day godlings have been usurped by the collective shadow. There is no way that they could have ascended to the thrones as godlings without the willingness of the collective to have them as holders of their projections, their need to have the gods revealed.
One has to live in the dark, with a low level of consciousness, to both give their power to another and for that other to hold that power. When consciousness begins to grow and the projections of collective and personal unconsciousness begin to be withdrawn, there is a sense of dis-ease with the reality that had grown out of living unconsciously. We see this today in Arab world. Projections are being withdrawn and personal power is being reclaimed. Yet, this is just the first steps. Will those who are reclaiming their personal power give it up to a new godling, even if that godling is an idea?
I want to draw on the situation in my own country, Canada. It seems to be a quiet place where there appears to be fewer projections running unchecked. A democratic form of government enables personal power to be exercised with some regularity. Yet, all is not what it appears on the outside. The leader of government has unfortunately begun to believe that he is above those whom he leads. What is more disquieting is the fact that many have given up their power of thought and discrimination and now believe all that he says without question. Canada is not a big country in terms of people, nor does it have significant power in the affairs of a global society. Thankfully, the majority of Canadians haven’t given up their power to this new face of the collective unconscious, at least not yet.
My point in making these comments isn’t to make a political statement about Canada and its leader, or about the Arab world and the unrest there as people rise and say they have had enough of living in a shadow world of the collective unconscious. The point I am trying to highlight is that Angkor Wat, the Great Wall, the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal and any other man-made marvel; as well as the religions and governance systems that feed on people giving up personal authority, exist because of unconsciousness, projected collective unconsciousness.
Withdrawing the projections, one must become responsible, self responsible. In this state of being, there is no “other” to blame, to carry the scapegoat, to carry the shadow. One must own it all. When this happens, tyranny cannot exist within the community, for no one will follow.
For the next series of photos, I will be using photos taken in Northern Saskatchewan when I lived on a Dene Reserve and served as the Education Manager for the reserve. This photo was taken in August, 2005 using an HP Photosmart camera with 5.1 MP rating. The camera has long gone though the photos remain.
This photo features wild raspberries against a backdrop of Canadian Shield granite along the shores of Lake Athabasca. For a brief time, the raspberry vibrates with a brightness as though ready to change the world of water and stone. Swelled with its fruit, it lives as though it was more than one small moment of brightness.
When I took the job as Education Manager, a job that was a combination of school principal, Directer of Education, and Post-Secondary administrator, I had thought that my recent retirement from the provincial system was leading me into a way to provide needed service for the north.
I had begun my teaching career not too distant from this Dene reserve in September, 1974. At that time, I had promised myself that I would return when I retired, hopefully to stay. I didn’t know then that staying was not really an option as I was an outsider in too many ways. I was an outsider in 1974, but by 2005 I had become even more different. And that difference resulted in my hopes for being an agent of positive change for the reserve, being crushed.
After all of my life experience and my training in human psychology, I had allowed hubris to distort the lens through which I saw this reserve community. I heard and understood the words of the reserve leaders, words that I resonated with and supported. In making decisions based on the dreams and hopes of these leaders, I began to experience a huge disconnect from what was hoped for and what was actually possible. I pushed too fast and too hard to bring their vision to life. I forgot that I wasn’t the leader, I was supposed to simply follow, listening carefully and then clear the path through the arts of administrivia – no more. To do more was to be blind to reality. To attempt to do more was simply an act of hubris.