Through a Jungian Lens

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On Being Authentic – Problems of Cryptomnesia

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There is a particular reason I love taking photographs.  That reason?  There is a sense of clarity for me in the fact that the photo, as a work of art, as a journalistic proof, or as a psychological statement, is uniquely mine.  It isn’t something borrowed, something stolen, something to worry about in terms of copyright when I publish the photo.

Take this photo for example.  It contains leaves, raindrops, traces of cobwebs and branches and berries.  Likely as scene like this has been taken countless times since the invention of cameras and has been drawn countless times before and since the invention of cameras.  However, this particular scene has only been photographed once.  Any attempt to reproduce (copy) this scene would result in a failure as the scene itself would have changed making it impossible to reproduce.

My wife often asks why I take so many photos and many of them being of similar scenes.  The only thing I can say is that I always take unique photos.  Even when I take a dozen photos of an object in a short space of time, each photo is distinct as something shifts.  Nothing is static.  This is no different that considering one’s self.

Who and what I am at this moment is different than the self that existed only moments ago before these words were entered through the keyboard onto this page.  The self that existed following the act of this writing is different from the version of self that now exists following the act of creating this blog.

This is important information to know.  It lets us know that we are truly never stuck.  It may appear as though we are spinning our wheels and going nowhere, but that is a fallacy.  We may be repeating the same sets of behaviours but the repetitions are constantly changing as the situation and the people surrounding these behaviours are also constantly changing.  Realising this, I have no worries about reading and re-reading the words of others such as C.G. Jung as each time I read their words, I hear-see-understand differently.

Teachers understand this as we are taught to teach using a spiral system for knowledge acquisition.  We progressively up the levels of difficulty of basic concepts which are visited and revisited as children travel through the education system.  Each time we backtrack hoping to re-connect in the process with a variety of students who had learned some of the content or processes in the past.  Picking up students along the way we then continue the journey of learning a few steps forward until we again start losing students who have met their “learning wall” for that moment in time.  We know that there will be another circuit in the future to re-capture and re-new as the learning journey goes forward into newer territories.

I have finished the first two books of Daryl Sharp’s trilogy called Jung Uncorked.  I had thought to go on with book three which is sitting immediately in front of me for different reasons.  First, I respect Daryl Sharp’s approach and knowledge as a classical Jungian analyst.  Second, it is the only book left on hand here in Costa Rica for me to use.  Yes, I know that I can order and download e-books by other Jungian writers, but why when this book is so close to hand?  And finally, I want to see what more I can understand as Daryl resonates with the words of Jung and as I resonate with both Jung’s words and Daryl’s words.

Yet, in doing this, I tread into unclear waters in terms of writing unique words, my words.  I know that almost nothing I write is original; all is framed in my prior readings, prior interactions verbally and in the glut of media that inform and entertain.  That said, my words are still mine.  How I present them, how I choose expressions and the motive and context of those expressions are unique, just as unique as the photos I take.  So, I journey on here, a journey I share with all who read these words.


2 Responses

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  1. The photograph is unique in that it also expresses your view of that instant of life, of history. Others may stand beside you or in your footprints to shoot the same plant, but their focus and framing will be different, the meaning they want to capture will not be the same. What each one of us sees and wants to capture forever is unique, and as such is also a window into our world, if anyone cares to really look at our photographs.

    When we take many photos of the same thing, we are trying to find the essence that WE want to express – the meaning of that drop of water on the leaf for us. When we select one shot for publishing, we may think we are choosing for sharpness or the right depth of field, but in reality, we are looking for the photo that expresses best our view of that instant in time, our feeling for and the meaning we have given the object we have photographed.

    To publish our photos is to give clues to others about ourselves.


    March 5, 2010 at 8:44 am

    • This is so true, Deborah. To publish one’s photos is also about becoming transparent, authentic and accountable to the collective and to individual others.

      Robert G. Longpré

      March 5, 2010 at 12:23 pm

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