Through a Jungian Lens

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Archive for April 2009

SoFoBoMo – All About Dreaming

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dsc06442I couldn’t resist this photo opportunity.  Pronghorn Antelope are plentiful in the countryside and at times walk into the edges of our small town.  I took the photo on Earth Day, an appropriate photo indeed.  A lot of earth along with animate life in terms of the antelope and two Canadian geese in the distant background which are sitting in the field.  Truly, this scene would make for a great dream scene.

Dream work is an essential strategy for anyone who is determined to become more aware of themselves in order to function better in the outer world.  I admit to having an active dream life, so many dreams that it became impossible for me to deal with them all.  It’s a good thing that one is not required to do so.  Dreams have their purpose, and for the most part, their purpose lies outside of the need for our attention to the dreams.

Yet, some dreams do attempt to make us aware of things brewing within, especially when we are involved in a process of change.  So, I do record some of my dreams, especially when I feel a need for understanding a change in my attitude, my mood.  Then begins the work of looking at the dream to try to understand why the dream has caught my attention.  I understand that I am the dream.  By that, I mean that all the characters  and all of the props within the dream are different aspects of self.  I look for resonances based on what has been happening in my outer life and associations from my past.  Dream dictionaries are avoided like the plague.  Daryl Sharp in his book, Digesting Jung, describes why such tools are useless:

There is no fixed meaning to symbols or motifs in dreams, no
valid interpretation that is independent of the psychology and life
situation of the dreamer. Thus routine recipes and definitions such
as those found in traditional “dream dictionaries” are of no value
whatever. Nor are exercises aimed at controlling or manipulating
the content of dreams, as some claim to do. There is no convincing
evidence that this is possible, nor would it be desirable even if it
were, for one would thereby lose valuable information about oneself
that is not available otherwise.
(Daryl Sharp, Digesting Jung, 2001, page 78.

It’s just me and the dream, the dreamer and the dream.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 30, 2009 at 6:00 am

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Self-Understanding – A Matter of Typology

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I took this photo during one of our frequent stops while travelling.  We were on our way to Agra in order to see the Taj Mahal and get our required photos of that famous site.  However, for me, photos such as this are more “vital.”  I wish I had known their language so that I would have been able to communicate with them and find out just what kind of men they were.  Were they shy?  Were they men who analysed?  Were they dreamers?  I’ll never know.

And as I would like to find out as much as I can about people I meet, I also want to know more and more about who I really am.  Last post I talked a bit about Carl Jung’s approach to typology and how I understood myself to be an introverted intuitive type of person.  There is no doubt that I am predominantly introverted in my attitude.  What needed clarification for me was determining the dominant function – thinking, feeling, sensation, or intuition.  Naturally, since I am interested in Jungian psychology, I turned to what Jung had to say in Psychological Types, volume 6 of his Collected Works.  It didn’t take too long for me to decide that I would be typed as an introverted intuitive.

I then looked further afield and decided to take the Meyers-Briggs, a type test based for the most part on Jung’s work.  There was a difference in there were four sets of continuums – extrovert/introvert, thinking/intuition, feeling/sensation, and judgement/perception.  Taking the test I was typed INFP, that is an introvert with dominant functions of intuition, feeling and perception.  Lately, I’ve returned to Jung’s original approach as it is simpler and it encourages me to focus on the reason for using typology.   Daryl Sharp sums it up quite nicely in his book, Personality Types:

Being consciously aware of the way I tend to function makes it possible for me to assess my attitudes and behavior in a given situation and adjust them accordingly.  It enables me both to compensate for my personal disposition and to be tolerant of someone who does not function as I do – someone who has, perhaps, a strength or facility I lack myself.  (Daryl Sharp, Personality Types, 1987, page 91.)

SoFoBoMo – Polarities and Typology

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dsc06456Another look at a possible approach to the SoFoBoMo project with “tunnel vision” as a theme.  This time I edited the photo to be “almost” black and white.  Why?  I am trying to see if there is a tension between colour and black and white that would “add” a sense of the tension one finds when dealing with the unconscious.

There isn’t much chance that I would ever look at a photo without looking behind the photo to see the photographer and “where” the photographer is “at” in terms of the psyche.  After all, this blog is called Jungian Photos for a reason.  I look at life with my built in filters no different than a camera’s filters.

Polarity is about tension.  There is a tension between good and evil, black and white, masculine and feminine just to name a few polarized dynamics.  A person’s typology is described in terms of tendencies toward various sets of polarities:  introvert (I) versus extrovert (E), thinking (T) versus feeling (F), intuition (N) versus sensation (S).  People are never static in terms of personality.  They do however, find themselves a resting state which they return to to unconsciously, a place of comfort.

For example, I could be considered to be somewhat of an introvert even though I worked in a public forum quite capably.  I do participate in public and community and family functions, extrovert activities.  However, I need quiet time, alone time in order to recharge my psyche, my energy.

On the plane between thinking and feeling which tries to describe how one arrives at a decision, I tend toward the feeling end of the continum. On the plane between intuition and sensation, I find that the majority of the time, I strongly tend toward intuition.  If fact, intuition is the most dominant of the four functions making sensation the weakest of the functions.  So, using the Jungian model, I would have an introverted attitude with a dominant (or superior) intuitive function with an auxiliary feeling function as my primary “type”.  Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t use the other two functions as it unlikely for almost anyone to have an “absent” function.

Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 28, 2009 at 6:00 am

SoFoBoMo – Vision

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dsc06462As I made the trip to Saskatoon in order to pick up an item, I decided it was a good time to practice more shots for the “tunnel vision” project for SoFoBoMo.  Along the side of a road, not too far from a farmyard, this early 1970s halfton was parked on the side of the road, for sale.  A typical scene in the Saskatchewan prairie landscape.  I am sure that if the truck had the ability to tell its history, it would be able to tell dust filled tales of work and play.

I am satisfied with the result of the photo which lifts my hopes that I will be able to get enough photos for the “tunnel vision” project.  Still it would be nice to be able to use software to create the effect rather than relying on the camera lens attachment.  I so want to follow though with this “vision”

Engaging in life is easiest when there is a vision, a sense of direction and purpose from which we derive meaning.  Being able to see beyond the moment which is prosaic, often filled with dull pain or indifference, is critical.  No vision reduces one to a state of darkness, depression.  It’s a matter of survival.

Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 27, 2009 at 8:29 am

SoFoBoMo – Shadow Issues

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dsc06440I am again practicing for the start of the SoFoBoMo project, this time working with a new minitripod that gives me a lot more stability, an Optek T25.  I like it!  As I have mentioned before, the guiding theme is “tunnel vision,” an effect I get using a Digital Concepts 3X telephoto lens attached to my Sony DSC-H50 camera.  The effect occurs due to an extended plastic barrel that is attached to the camera, a tunnel.

That said, there are issues.  I can’t get consistent black to frame the circular photo.  Light somehow seeps in to contaminate the pure black.  I need to practice more as it seems to change in intensity depending on the direction of the primary light source. I need to get this problem fixed or accommodated before my personal start date in mid-May.

But then again, the shadow is always problematical.  It seems weird that one could actually look at light contaminating the shadow.  Typically one thinks of how the shadow contaminates our ego, acting out and embarrassing us.  We see this in our world, how a policeman is caught taking bribes or how a religious person is caught with their pants down molesting young boys.  These types of outbreaks of shadow, of the unconscious, contaminating the persona are shocking for us and make the newspaper because of the shock value.

Imagine this in reverse where a hired killer inexplicably misses an easy kill.  Now why would I even bring this into the picture?  Well, the shadow contents are not ALL negative.  Much of what is consciously repressed as one grows up is positive.  People do bury dreams, skills and attitudes.  The poetry, the music, the art – lost as one loses belief in these aspects of self that are buried deep until they are lost from our consciousness.  We come to believe that our “self” is mundane, plain and without much value at all.  As these buried aspects of self attempt to escape confinement from our personal unconscious, they contaminate our outer self resulting in confusion to say the least, they leave us feeling a sense of loss – soul loss.

Temenos – A Matter of Confidentiality

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Another photo from India, this time from Jaisalmer.  Actually, the photo was taken just outside of the city at a cenotaph.  It was January, 2008 in the late afternoon when the sunlight was accentuating the golden colour of the sandstone used to build most of the buildings in Jaisalmer which led to the city being called the Golden City.  Besides the ornate memorials, there were a number of small piles of rock marked with a single stick, often with a red rag attached which indicated where ashes had been interred.  The urn above is a symbol of sacred containment, a feminine symbol.

The psychoanalytic/psychotherapeutic encounter is also a place of sacred containnment.  The dialogues between other and self in the pyschoanalytic/ psychotherapeutic container are held as sacred, not the stuff of common communication.  There would be no purpose is taking the contents out of the container with the intention of engaging others in a dialogue about the contents as context would not be present.  By context, I mean the tension of the moment being shared in the psychoanalytic encounter.  For me, this carries on to most of my interactions with others.  I have learned to keep my counsel.  The sacred containment, temenos, of authentic “I-Thou” interactions prevents contamination.  Translated, when dealing with the psyche of others, keep it confidential.  It’s more than about therapist ethics.

Conflict: A Matter of Projections

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I took this photo on January 30, 2009 on the northern Yucatan shore.  To see marines walking a quiet, sunny beach.  Why were they there?  There is a war on drugs, a conflict between various drug cartels and assorted law agencies including the military.  Conflict – it’s real, but what is it really?  A few more words from Daryl Sharp have made themselves leap forward to catch my attention as I search for answers for conflict within my own life:

Any conflict situation constellates the problem of opposites.
Broadly speaking, “the opposites” refers to ego-consciousness and
the unconscious. This is true whether the conflict is recognized as
an internal one or not, since conflicts with other people are almost
always externalizations of an unconscious conflict within oneself.
Because they are not made conscious, they are acted out on others
through projection
. (Digesting Jung, Daryl Sharp, 2001, page 37.)

Ouch!  This was a tough lesson to learn.  And, I don’t yet know if it is fully learnt.  Any argument with my wife has been based on projections of my anima onto her, or her projections of animus onto me.  Thinking about it this way, any “personal” conflict, I have learnt to understand that there is no victim, this is again about “self.”

Of course, the conflict becomes active when the “other” provides a “hook” in order to snag the projections.  No wonder one becomes so confused, so depressed, so drained of energy.  We wonder: “Where did all that shit come from?  Why did I say that?  Did I really do that?”  And then, in the aftermath, I am left to attempt to work out what my inner shadow world is trying to communicate to my conscious self.   Do I listen to these constellated complexes or do I return to projection and lay the blame outside of my “self?”