Through a Jungian Lens

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Self-Knowledge and Belief

with 2 comments

I want to begin with a small quote from CGJ:

The experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego. (Jung, CW 14, par 778)

Now, this sounds almost negative until one thinks that what is happening is not a diminishing, but an expansion that includes more than the contents of the ego.

That is what this photo is capturing for me. There is something more than what one “knows” in the objective sense. That sense of more, points both outward and inward.  I don’t know who the person is in this photograph.  He was simply there fishing, a local person using a large spool to hold his line as he cast out by hand, the thin thread of line in hopes of catching a fish.  He was one of about a half-dozen men scattered on the rocks or standing in the surf engaged in this activity.  For them, it appears as there is no doubt about who they are or why they are – this is life.

There is one problem in this, “How, can we know that there is more? How can we be sure that we aren’t deluding ourselves? What if there is nothing more than meaninglessness; being just an organism that is born, breeds and dies like some short-lived fruit flies where the only purpose in living is to be alive, to continue the species until replaced by yet another species or until all life disappears when the source of biological life is extinguished?”

I guess the answer in this is to listen, to feel, to observe and to intuit. And in doing these things, sense what the data is saying, especially the data that is only presented obliquely. And then, it is simply a matter of believing. All evidence over the eons of human existence has shown that it really doesn’t matter what one believes, what religion, what creed, what patterns – the fact that one believes is enough to ease the angst. It is with this sense of belief that one gets a stronger sense of self in relation to everything and everyone else. And in this lies self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge can be the antidote to a pervasive malaise, a world-weariness particularly common in middle age, and a spur to an adventurous inner life – the so-called hero’s journey.  Understanding yourself is also a matter of asking the right questions, again and again. (Sharp, Jung Uncorked:  Book One, 2008, 14, p. 33)


2 Responses

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  1. well said! well done! amazing writing.

    but perhaps we are nothing as in “no one thing” making us everything and perhaps we are meaningless. when we attempt to make the very present “me” that we are an “ing” (an action residing over time”) we find ourselves “less” than we can be in the moment.

    Rob Gruber


    January 12, 2010 at 11:57 am

    • Perhaps we are more than nothing, perhaps because of our connections through the collective unconscious, the collective conscious and spirit and soul, we are “everything.”

      Robert G. Longpré

      January 13, 2010 at 8:41 am

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