Archive for the ‘trust’ tag
Spring is a time for reflection and for finding reflections. As the snow from the recent blizzard is melting, I caught this small pool of water in my son’s back yard. What appealed was the shimmery quality of the water as well as the reflections of fence wire and fence post. It is almost as if the entrance into this world is barricaded to keep people out (or is it to keep the shady characters of the underworld from escaping into our outer world?). I took this photo in the late afternoon in order to catch the change in light that comes at that time of day, a light that paints the world with a hint of gold.
Light, the bending of light and its transformation of the world it touches makes for interesting photographs. And it symbolises the transformations we experience as humans. That shimmery golden light seems to be the boundary between the physical world as we know it and another world. This golden light becomes a boundary between day and night hinting that there might be something of value to be found in the darkness, something not otherwise accessible.
The question of boundaries goes beyond the simple division of spaces, places and states of being. Obviously there are boundaries such as exist separating private property, physical boundaries that are solid. What I want to look at here are those that are porous such as the boundary between consciousness and the unconscious. We talk of relationships (self and other) and see that there are obvious physical boundaries. Yet, there exists a zone between self and other that is porous and not influenced by conscious intention. The personal unconscious of both, as well as the collective unconscious have a way of ignoring intentional conscious boundaries, even what we could call ethical and moral boundaries.
It is easy to accept the notion of respecting the privacy of others, yet we think nothing as a society in creating and using technological tools that render privacy obsolete. We do so in the name of public safety. And, for the most part, we accept this significant erosion of privacy. On a more personal level, we are less willing to allow the boundary to be ignored. We expect the door to the bathroom to remain closed giving us privacy. We expect our diaries and journals to be kept sacred. We expect our sessions with analysts, therapists, doctors, counsellors and other institutional officials to be kept private. We even create laws for most of these expectations. Yet, for all of those laws, expectations and beliefs, most are willing to sacrifice these boundaries for reasons that they perceive as in the best interests of someone for whom they have a concern.
Parents read the journals of their children hoping to be able to deal with suicidal ideation or developing problems involving drugs. Nanny cams are set up both to monitor the baby sitters and the children. This comes about because of a lack of trust and the perceived need to know in spite of the need of others for privacy. It appears that these boundaries are for “self” but not “others.” The same can be said about married couples where one partner decides that the privacy of the partner is secondary to the need to “know” about perceived and real issues. Diaries, journals, emails and web surfing history are fair game as is the hiring of private investigators to track and even photograph the partner. Are these social and relational boundaries important enough to be sanctified and respected, or are they conditional? Who sets the conditions if conditional?
Tough questions. Any thoughts on your part with the question of boundaries?
Cattle and cattle egrets found together in a field on the outskirts of Playa Jaco somehow find a way to live together in spite of being very different. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship, providing each other something that is needed and receiving equal benefit. When I think about this, it isn’t much different in many human relationships.
Of course, I don’t think I can include most intimate relationships, most marriages in this willingness to both give and receive in spite of differences, Rather, I am speaking of many other community relationships. For example, a friend is skilled in various crafts but doesn’t have much skill with communications technology. Since the opposite friend has the skills needed in communication technology, but is lacking in working with tools, a relationship is able to grow and thrive giving each person a sense of worth in relation to the other.
In another situation, one who has a need to talk, to have someone listen compassionately is a valued friend for someone else who is grateful for friendship where there is little demand for talking, something that is a difficult task other than to offer a few pleasantries. Most of our human lives including in the workplace are filled with just this kind of symbiotic relationships. Yet, in intimate situations?
The difficulties that regularly arise between different attitude-types are legion … Jung’s observation was that what initially seems to be an ideal union may in time become uneasy and embittered.
One might think an understanding of typology would forestall such enmity and allow two people to live in peace, each acknowledging and appreciating the value of the other, but the reality is that even many individuals who have a good grasp on their psychological make-up may find it difficult or even impossible to tolerate an intimate relationship with someone of a different attitudinal orientation. Hence so many acrimonious divorces and separations. (Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book One, 2008, pp 86-87)
I think that this is easily enough understood in itself. Intimacy requires a high level of trust where one’s “self” is held in esteem by the “other.” When intimacy between opposite types is enacted, it becomes critical to deny the “self” in favour of “other.” Where on dominates, the other is diminished. This takes me to the words of Jung:
Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other. (Jung, CW 7, par 78)
And therein lies the problem. Especially when life causes us to fall to our knees, bruised and wounded, when we begin the work of healing the self and the soul, that is when strive to survive knowing that in the end, regardless of whom we engage in intimacy, we are alone. Our journey is an individual journey even if shared with an “other.”
Today’s photo has little, if anything to do with the topic. I caught this fellow on this morning’s walk with my wife through the streets of Playa Jacó. Why? There isn’t an element of trust involved in the momentary meeting between the two of us, a meeting that lasted for quite some time as I gently got in his face in order to a number of photos from different angles, all done without scaring him off into the bushes. There definitely was a sense of alertness on his part and my part, an alertness that took nothing for granted.
Trust takes safety for granted. One can only be betrayed if one is involved in a relationship of trust. And then, betrayal can take many forms, not simply the age-old betrayal of sexual transgressions, cheating on one’s partner. Betrayal is found in the smallest things, sometimes so small as to not even be realised when it happens to either or both parties. The first betrayal in all relationships, is when we realise that the person with whom we have committed ourselves in a relationship, is not the same person we find ourselves with when projections vanish allowing us to see the stranger behind the projections. From that point on, trust is hard to recover and exists on shaky ground until life provides enough time for the relationship to become full based on more conscious approaches, based on engaging together to navigate real life.
A quote from Chapter Five of Sharp’s book features the words of James Hillman:
We can be truly betrayed only where we truly trust – by brothers, lovers, wives, husbands, not by enemies, not by strangers. The greater the love and loyalty, the involvement and commitment, the greater the betrayal. … Wherever there is trust in a union, the risk of betrayal becomes a real possibility. And the betrayal, as a continual possibility to be lived with, belongs to trust just as doubt belongs to a living faith. (cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book One, pp 58-59)
It’s no wonder that we suffer so many broken hearts, so many small arrows that test our commitment to relationship. To hold trust fully and completely requires one to be a perfect being. And I, for one, have never met any such being. To avoid all betrayals requires both in the relationship to be fully conscious and perfect. Knowing that each of us, especially myself, exist as a bundle of complexes and struggle with slowly advancing our level of consciousness, of awareness as we move through life and relationships; we know that we will betray not only those whom we love and trust, but also our personal “self.” Who said it was supposed to be easy?