Through a Jungian Lens

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A Paradox

with 3 comments

This is a bay that I found on walking the shoreline of Lake Diefenbaker, a flooded section of the South Saskatchewan River near Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.  The hills in the background look the same as the hills I see from my living room windows though they are a different set of hills.  The scene is about 65 kilometres from my home.  Between my place and this recreational area are scattered farms and a small community of less than 500 people.  This is a land that somehow doesn’t encourage people to stay in spite of its beauty, a beauty that is overlooked.

Personally, I am a forest, trees, small meadows, streams, rivers and lakes kind of guy when I am not hugging an ocean shoreline.  I find myself at home in the woods.  Yet, I recognize a need for connection to people, a need for relationships.  In that context, I would have to say I am a city person rather than a small rural town person.  In the city there is a better chance that I can maintain my privacy yet have the opportunity to converse with someone on topics that I find interesting and stimulating.  It’s interesting that somehow I find myself living in the semi-desert country where trees are scarce, where water is scarce and where people are scarce.  Not only does this contradict how I understand myself, but I am also allergic to the grasses, alfalfa, poplar trees and dust that form the ecosystem of the prairies.  All that said, here I am wandering rare shorelines naked of trees with no human visible as far as I can see, which is quite far indeed.  This is quite the paradox.  Why?  The answer is actually quite simple – there is a woman . . .

At this point the fact forces itself on my attention that beside the field of reflection there is another equally broad if not broader area in which rational understanding and rational modes of representation find scarcely anything they are able to grasp. This is the realm of Eros. In classical times, when such things were properly understood, Eros was considered a god whose divinity transcended our human limits, and who therefore could be neither comprehended nor represented in any way. I might, as many before me have attempted to do, venture an approach to this daimon, whose range of activity extends from the endless spaces of the heavens to the dark abysses of hell; but I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love.”  (Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 353)

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3 Responses

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  1. Quite a surrender to Life as it unfolds!

    Ron Dowd

    May 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    • A surrender to life? Or, a surrender to archetype, to anima, to projection?

      Robert G. Longpré

      May 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm

  2. Love does take us in many directions that do not fit our ideas of who we are and what makes us happy. Those directions work as long as the love we gain creates a greater happiness within us, but when we lose that ‘benefit’, then those choices irk and chafe.

    Sometimes we make these choices for ourselves though. I am a ‘saltwater’ woman, but have chosen to live in the absolute centre of China – as far away from the ocean as possible. Why? Because at this stage in my growth (and re-growth) this place is the right place for me. Chaotic and anonymous enough for me to re-create my own identity.

    The bareness and harshness of desert and high mountains exerts an enormous pull on me as well – both for the beauty contained, and for the endurance they symbolise for me. And this tells me so clearly that endurance is/has been a deeply held value of mine. Is it a value I need now? – I don’t know.

    Perhaps they, and oceans, also symbolise freedom – such wide open spaces allow the spirit to expand. Forests for me are beautiful, their complexity, their colours and hidden life, and the ability to support life – but they also feel claustrophobic and confined. Again more of a reflection of how I see great chunks of my life.

    But – I will always return to saltwater.

    Lotus Light

    May 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm


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