Archive for the ‘Sony’ tag
I went for a walk in a different park yesterday, the Qing Feng Park in the ZhongLou district of the city. It took a bit of extra effort in locating the park, especially since I can’t read Mandarin characters. The park is much different from the central park in ChangZhou, Hong Mei Park. It’s more about trees, water and walking. Of course, like everywhere in ChangZhou, there are flowers. The first of the season’s roses are now beginning to bloom. And so, I found this one which is for you, my readers.
This rose is symbolic to me of relationship. I gave my wife three roses for a wedding bouquet almost forty years ago. For me, the rose is also symbolic of the feminine. The blossom reminds me of the pull that the feminine has upon the masculine, how one is drawn into the blossom in order to both find completion and to find extinction.
Like all healthy men, I get pulled into relationship with an “other” with the belief that the “other” compliments me, fulfills me, completes me. I fall in love. Like other men, I found that the “other” does not fulfill or compliment or complete. Rather, the “other” is just that, another human doing the same thing. We can only fulfill our “self”. Only we can be responsible for our psyche, for our soul. We cannot lay the responsibility for that on another person and use “love” as the excuse for not being self-responsible.
Relationship then takes on a different agenda, one that is more like the rose – a dance of budding and ripening and then hibernating in mock death only to be rekindles with the warmth of a new season’s sun.
Today’s image was taken at Hong Mei Park here in ChangZhou, China. The plum blossom is one of the symbols of the Chinese New Year, a symbol of new life. As one site notes about these plum blossoms: “The plum blossoms burst forth at the end of winter on seemingly lifeless branches. They stand for courage and hope.” As I walked through the park, fittingly named Red Plum Park (Hong Mei Gong Yuan), the thousands of plum trees were in various stages of coming to life with red, pink and white blossoms. The park was busy with people and their cameras. For me, the visual symbol of China is a scene which features leafless branches alive with vivid red plum blossoms. I have this scene displayed on my living room wall, the only art work I have bought in China. The walk through the park was enjoyable because of the blossoms and also because of the hint of warmth to come. I left the park knowing that in a few more weeks, when warmer weather arrives, I will return to take more photos and to relax and sit still with the warmth and the scenes.
It’s interesting to see how I am responding to the symbols of hope and courage. There is a lightness of spirit, a lifting of shadows with the approach of spring. I see this lightening of spirit happening to those in my life as well as to the world at large. What is happening around the globe, whether in Egypt or Libya or Wisconscin, U.S.A., is a surge of hope and demonstrations of courage. The darkness hasn’t disappeared, but the flames have been rekindled to lift depression.
I stopped at Hoi Van Pass en route to Hue from Da Nang this morning. There is no question in my mind that the clouds and darkness of the morning well suited the scene that met my eyes and heart. This image shows one of the defensive emplacements used by the forces of “good” versus the forces of “evil,” at least as it was experienced by those who manned this and similar bunkers during the Vietnam War, or as it is called in Vietnam, the American War. Seeing the terrain, I could almost feel the terror and the fear that must have been experienced by those waiting for the enemy, an enemy that didn’t want to play by the same rules of war.
“With no human consciousness to reflect themselves in, good and evil simply happen, or rather, there is no good and evil, but only a sequence of neutral events . . . ” (Jung, cited in Jung on Evil, p. 7)
Both sides seeing the other as enemy, as forces of evil. Both sides following orders trusting in their leadership. Both sides fighting with their god(s) on their side. There is no room for consciousness in a war.
Taken on an individual level, this image becomes more about how an single person feels surrounded by enemies, surrounded by the vast unknown that is, for the most part, out to get you. Each of us gains just enough consciousness to know that death lies around some corner in our future. We grasp at anything or anyone who promises us life. We huddle in collectives rather than venture into the dark unknown regions. We make ourselves victims of our own fear. And so, we remain unconscious of our own acts of unconscious, acts where we hurt others and hurt ourselves.
While at the family reunion taking photos to be part of the official record of the event, I took time for a few extra photos such as this one and the one from the last post. As usual, a sunset scene fills a spiritual need for me and reminds me that I am but a small part of something so much larger. And for me, this spiritual resonance alerts me to something beyond what I can hold within my limited consciousness, something I can only approach and often only obliquely.
It must be my age, but I think often of good and evil. The problem is that I only think I know what good and evil are. I am hearing a lot of frantic voices foretelling the end of the world and of rewards and or punishments for those who have either lived good lives or else lived lives filled with sin. Some people I know believe in a Rapture in which they feel the chosen good people will be taken directly to heaven while the rest of the world will have one final chance to choose goodness over evil. Others are adamant that on December 21st the world is coming to an end as predicted by the Mayan calendar (actually not predicted, but that is another story). Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, wars, famine and flood – all these things are waved as proofs of the coming end when and where good shall triumph while evil perishes. But what is this good and evil?
“When someone speaks of good or evil, it is of what he calls good or evil, or what he feels as good or evil.” (Jung, CW 10, par 858)
This jumps out at me as I hear about American and Canadians fighting for good with God on their (our) side as they fight the evil Taliban. I also see how problematical all of this is when I hear of the radical Islamic groups fighting for Allah against the evil American empire. Good and evil are held as different things by different people. What I might see as evil, another might see as an act of bravery and holiness, an act that will gain immediate entrance into some version of heaven.
“Principles, when reduced to their ultimates, are simply aspects of God. Good and evil are principles of our ethical judgments, but, reduced to their ontological roots, they are “beginnings,” aspects of God, names for God. Wherever, therefore, in an excess of affect, in an emotionally excessive situation, I come up against a paradoxical fact or happening, I am in the last resort encountering an aspect of God, which I cannot judge logically and cannot conquer because it is stronger than me – because, in other words, it has a numinous quality . . .” (Jung, CW 10, par 864)