Through a Jungian Lens

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Objective or Subjective Knowledge?

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I am bringing another photo from time spent in the cloud forest, a place where “wetness” seemed to be the “normal” condition.  A place of shadows and muted dull colours, the cloud forest could have easily been a place in which to be depressed.  Yet, in walking through the forest with eyes wide open, the cloud forest was also a place for new life.

This photo shows a delicate and life-affirming green that is found throughout the cloud forest, green that symbolizes hope.  I guess that this is one way of looking at the photo.  Another way would simply be an itemizing of objects and the relationship of objects to each other in space.  Of course in such an objective study, there would be no room for symbolism, no room for “feeling tones.”

There is no doubt in my mind that to view the world ONLY through objectivity would be to miss much of the world.  There is simply too much that happens than can ever be accounted for by simple cause and effect actions.  And, as one learns as one goes through life, the total of anything is always greater than the sum of its parts.

Science, the home country of objective knowledge has already discovered this though it seems to be basically ignored.

If we want to understand anything psychologically, we must bear in mind that all knowledge is subjectively conditioned.  The world is not “objective” only; it is also as we see it.  This is even truer of the psyche.” (Jung CW 3, par 397)

When it comes to being human, there is no possible way that we can ever “understand” anything without drawing upon subjectivity.  We cannot see the world, or anything in it bypassing our individual filters and complexes.  If there is any thought of being purely objective, then let a computer do all the “thinking” and “analyzing” and then structure and limit knowledge to the bits and pieces that life becomes reduced to in the process.  There is no human that can be trusted not to consciously or unconsciously permit a subjective element to become involved.  In studying anything in depth, one becomes part of what is being studies whether it be a long-lost tribe, a new medical procedure or a new model for economic governing of a society.

All one can do is look within and hopefully recognise the filters, the complexes that colour our thinking processes.  Then, it would be best if we then declare to anyone we engage in converse about the filter, the resultant world-view from which we base our knowledge, our understandings of the world.

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