Through a Jungian Lens

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On Being a Hero in an Ordinary Life

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This is another older photo taken seven years ago with an HP Photosmart 5.1 MP camera, my third digital camera.  The photo was taken at Fort Qu’Appelle where I was staying for four days as a participant in a workshop for school administrators.  The time was well spent as the group I was with were open to philosophical investigation and viewing administration from a psychological point of view.

This lake is struggling to survive on the Canadian prairie not simply because of climate, but because of the things that men do unconscious of the effects of their actions on the lake.  Politics, agriculture, and conflict all find a way to negatively influence environment.  Looking at the lake, I came to think that this same idea of acting and living unconsciously was also found in our institutions such as school.  As a school administrator, I had to be aware of all of this if there was to be forward movement that would nourish the collection of individual psyches within my school.  It was this idea that I decided to bring to the collection of school administrators attending the workshop.

I introduced the idea of the Hero’s Journey to the participants using the book written by Moffett and Brown, The Hero’s Journey: How Educators Can Transform Schools and Improve Learning (1999).  I had come to realise that my life as an administrator was influenced by both my personal consciousness and unconsciousnes, as well as the personal consciousness and unconsciousness of the sea of individuals both within the school and that touched the school.  Embracing, or should I say, serving as enfolding foundation was a group consciousness and collective unconsciouness.  Navigating through a school year was a real journey in an outer landscape.  How one takes that journey decides whether or not it becomes a heroic journey.

“Today, we all face incredibly difficult, demanding times in the field of education.  The forces of change and complexity pervade virtually every part of our professional lives.  Like every mythic hero, we are inextricably drawn into the labyrinth; like every archetypal voyager, we must find our way out of darkness and back to a more powerful and sustaining light.  Our universe, like that of heroes and heroines of legend and myth, is riddled with irony, paradox, and either/or thinking.” (Brown & Moffett, p. 14)

This is the kind of thinking that takes Jungian psychology out of the analysts’ and psychotherapists’ offices and into daily lived lives.


5 Responses

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  1. Just beautiful.

  2. Life seems to be all about Hero’s Journey – or perhaps a meaningful life.


    May 9, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    • I would say that the “lived” part of life is indeed about the journey. However, too many parts of one’s life are spent in just sitting on the sidelines letting life happen.

      Robert G. Longpré

      May 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

  3. From Robert A. Johnson’s “The Fisher King & The Handless Maiden”:

    “. . .When Dr. Jung was asked the question “Will we make it?’ he always replied, ‘ If enough individuals will do their inner work.’ There seem to be no collective solutions to this problem of wounded feelings, only individuals brave enough to take the problem personally. This is the new heroism.”

    Out here in Nebraska there is a saying “Its the difference between a work horse and a show horse.” How many can let go of egotistic “show” and actually “do?”

    John Ferric

    May 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

    • I like your Nebraska saying. Thanks for the Robert Johnson quote.

      Robert G. Longpré

      May 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

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