Through a Jungian Lens

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God Wants to Become Man – But Not Quite

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Today’s photo could be considered to be nothing but an act of flashing.  Yet, in my opinion it is more about affirmation.  I have reclaimed my “self” from the collective where I was defined by my various personae.  I have reclaimed the depth of “self” that allows me to cease being a victim or a perpetrator.  This is who I am on the outside.  I am not about name brand clothing or name brand religion or system of economics.  I am a man.

I have “doctored” the photo using software (obviously) in order to make the photo less about exhibitionism and more about symbolism.  The focus on blue allows the sense of consciousness to emerge out of unconsciousness.  The original idea for the photo was based on The Vitruvian Man and on Jourard’s book, The Transparent Self.  As I continue to say, my photos are all about symbolism, about the opportunity to discover self, and self in relation to other.

Je pense, donc je suis” better known as “I think, therefore I am” Cogito ergo sum” are words that are relatively famous, words spoken by René Decartes in 1637 about the time my ancestors were making their way to New France (Canada).  This is the only truth any of us really knows, the fact of our own personal beingness.  It is only through an emerging personal consciousness of “self” that the world and “otherness” begins to take shape.  As one thinks the relationship to otherness expands and becomes:  “I think, therefore I am, therefore you are, therefore God exists.”  Without consciousness, there is nothing else.

“Incarnation thus understood becomes an alternate description of what Jung means by “the relativity of God” (Jung, 1921, pp. 242–244; 1954, p. 381). Put succinctly, Jung is contending that only in human consciousness can God become self-conscious and so relativized, at least, in relation to a God conceived as an absolute and transcendent self-sufficient divinity “wholly other” than the human (Jung, 1953, p. 11, n. 6). The “relativity of God,” thus understood, also provides the deepest meaning of human suffering. Relativization implies that divinity must divest itself of its transcendent remove and suffer in historical humanity the resolution of its unresolved eternally conflicted life. It is no wonder that Jung (1954) would write that “God wants to become man but not quite” (p. 456). Even for deity things were less painful in eternal but unconscious bliss. With the realization that the pain of becoming conscious is the same pain in the human and the divine, humanity has  to face the fact that its deepest historical meaning and suffering is the redemption of God at the insistence of a God who creates human consciousness as the only locus in which the divine self-contradiction can be perceived and resolved.” (Dourley, “Jung and the Recall of the Gods”, Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2006, pp 47-48)

This is actually quite an understatement for any conscious human (is there any other kind?).  It seems the more we become aware, the more we suffer.  This is why there is a real belief in the expression “ignorance is bliss.”  I have often read the bible as well as a number of other books on religious thought, as well as listening and reading about other stories of creation.  In each of these it is consciousness that marks the beginning of relationship, especially the relationship with self.  Without consciousness, one “is” without awareness of self.  In discovery of self, one then is able to discover others, an act of separation.  Before consciousness, there is no separation between self and other, all just is.  And this includes whatever it is that we call the Divine.  The Divine, God, self and other – all enmeshed without consciousness.  Too much here to think about, to wonder about for a small post.  Perhaps more deserves to be said later.

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Bible, Genesis 1)

The beginning – a darkness, a formless void – unconsciousness.  And then there was light – a separation from the darkness – consciousness.  The beginning begins with the dawn of consciousness.  Think about it for a while.  If not, this was not the beginning at all.  How do we account for the creation of darkness, what came before consciousness?  From whence this entity called God?


5 Responses

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  1. […] God Wants to Become Man – But Not Quite « Through a Jungian Lens […]

  2. Dear Robert,

    Your clarity again is fantastic but I would reverse one of your comments: “It seems that the more we become aware, the more we suffer.”

    Another way of looking at it is to say that the more we become aware, the more suffering in us becomes apparent. I am not sure how to put this in Jungian terms, but something about the unconscious being conscious.

    Certainly highly-realised beings have a keener sense of pain but suffering – the attachment to that pain – has all but disappeared.

    It is also the case that when attachment becomes poigniantly apparent is when it can become the more painful, before the Aaaaaah! Gasp! Release! and then all is swimming in satisfaction except for your arthritis which you’ve learned to live with.

    What the above is responding to is the passage you quote: “With the realization that the pain of becoming conscious is the same pain in the human and the divine, humanity has to face the fact that its deepest historical meaning and suffering is the redemption of God at the insistence of a God who creates human consciousness as the only locus in which the divine self-contradiction can be perceived and resolved.”

    which I deeply dislike. It seems to cast the human condition as an unavoidable road of suffering and pain rather than an opportunity for liberation.


    March 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    • and the key to the quote’s mis-understanding – I see on re-reading – is the assumption of self-contradiction of God.

      Quite an impotent human assumption, I feel. A man-made assumption created to make man believe he is separate from the deeply perfected state in which his own being takes place.

      Thanks again, for a blog which generates this kind of discussion. You strike me as a kind and deeply thoughtful man.


      March 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    • Yes, Robert’s clarity is again fantastic…sensing and offering what is so far beneath the surface. And not that I hold with the tenets of the faith the book represents, but Ecclesiastes does speak to suffereing increasing with our knowledge increasing…and “in much wisdom is much grief,” or very close to that. I believe that the “highly-realised beings” you mentioned will sense pain and suffering…the physical pain and the emotional suffering, because they are highly-realised…they are in-tune with the human condition…they understand that to live is to suffer, unavoidably…unless we so remove ourselves from the day to day, from the sorrows of our loved ones…and from the sorrows of our world.

      And yes, liberation from this suffering can come, according to Buddhist thought, with enlightenment…after we have embraced and rejoiced in the sorrows of life…after we have given-up desire…and to mix world-view analogies…we can’t become so Heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. I think our liberation is from ourselves, and we can find that…through love and honoring the essence of the divine in others.

      Wow…it has been so long…how refreshing! Thank you Robert…and Arjunasoctupus….



      March 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm

      • Thank you Scott – you give space to the onrush of my thoughts. It is indeed a very nice space to air nourishing ideas.



        March 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

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