Archive for the ‘masks’ tag
I took a walk in the late yesterday afternoon once I had arrived in Canmore. I am in Canmore because one of my sister’s sons is getting married. On my walk, I came across this elk who was interested, but not afraid of my presence. In spite of my best efforts I made a lot of noise walking through the trees trying to get closer to him in hopes of getting a better photo. In spite of all that noise, he continued to munch on the leaves of the bushes and occasionally look up at me. Obviously, my noise was not considered a threat. Wildlife living on the edges of towns get used to the presence of people who for the most part get used to them and in turn ignore them as well.
It’s amazing what we get used to when one thinks about it. We get used to lies, we get used to being abused, we get used to being ignored are just a few of the negative things that when seen rarely and in isolation, shock us. Since my return to Canada, I have noticed that the leaders of both Canada and the U.S.A., as well as their rivals for political power, have no qualms about lying and don’t seem to mind even being caught in their lies as long as they get the intended results. Because of the frequency of their lies, we stop listening and soon begin to accept lies as the new “truths.”
We cease to recognise lies as deep breaches of trust and learn to accept that lying has value, positive value. Learning these lessons, we lie to our children, our parents, our employers, our employees, even to strangers who know nothing about us during those chance meetings while travelling. We “know” that we are lying at some level, but deny that knowing so that we come to believe our own lies.
What lies do I tell myself? Most of them are lies of self-depreciation. I don’t know if anyone, including myself, can truly tell the truth of our own histories as we have created those histories through lenses of infancy, of childhood and youth. Time has altered and coloured those created histories to make the early versions disappear. It seems all of us have this built-in “golden years” lens that turns the past into something so much better than it was, giving it an aura rather than letting real colours show through.
I look in the mirror as if I am staring at a stranger and wonder: “I can see you. Can you see me?” I am left wondering about the stranger in the mirror and if I will ever know him, know the truth of his past and his present. What lies of my own creation will continue to serve as a mask in the mirror?
“The finest of all symbols of the libido is the human figure, conceived as a demon or hero. Here the symbolism leaves the objective, material realm of astral and meteorological images and takes on human form, changing into a figure who passes from joy to sorrow, from sorrow to joy, and, like the sun, now stands high at the zenith and now is plunged into darkest night, only to rise again in new splendor.” (Jung, CW Vol. 5, Symbols of Transformation, par. 251)
I took this quote out of a smaller book called C,G. Jung: Aspects of the Masculine, published by the same folks who publish the Collected Works. Bollingen has a series of smaller books based on themes which make it easier to follow Jung’s thoughts on these themes across the huge body of Jung’s published works. For those who haven’t invested in the Collected Works, these smaller books make for a less daunting foray into the larger books.
The photo above is reflective of the last post on storms and on some of the comments made by some of the readers here. I took this photo shortly before the arrival of a storm. I knew it was coming and I wanted to capture reflected light as well as the foreboding background of darkness. What I particularly liked about this image was the inclusion of the directional arrow which suggests that there is a safe path through the storm that is coming.
Storms are a fact of nature – human nature and that of the planet. In many ways, nature mirrors the psyche. However there is a difference that is notable – nature is authentic in both its periods of calm and storm. What one sees is what “is.” With the human, it isn’t quite that simple. We have learned the art of creating masks and mirrors so that what we see isn’t often what is the truth. We hide the self as a way of protecting the self. And in the process, we often lose ourselves.
The journey to rediscover the self is one that appears too threatening for most. Rather than take the risk only to find that one is meaningless, most build even stronger masks and do all in their power to silence the inner voices that now become monstrous threatening our very sanity. We have taken a wrong turn and flee. We flee from the inner self who has become the ultimate stranger, the dark and dangerous “other” that takes on the visage of a demon.
Perhaps it would be best to listen to the inner voices, which, like the sign above, show us a path through the storms.
The morning horizon on a cloudy day. Why even bother with such a photo when there are so many colourful aspects of Mexico to capture with a camera?
As you can see, the separation between sky and sea is barely there. It reminded me of when I was struggling with my “self”. At times it was messy as I drifted from inner to outer worlds, not sure where I was. The unconscious spilled into my outer world bouncing off relationships at home and at work, disturbing the pond of my world.
With no effort at all, carefully constructed masks cracked and fell away. But rather than revealing a purer aspect of self, it only revealed the repressed shadows. And in doing so, those I loved were buffetted and tested.
It would be easy to get lost in the spaces where inner and outer meet but can’t be differentiated.