Through a Jungian Lens

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The Costs of Love

with 10 comments

This is a home-made birdbath that sits beside our crab-apple tree.  A number of the artifacts found in the yard are from the farm upon which my wife was raised.  Rather than toss out the old, the cream can, various pots and pails, and wooden items; my wife gave them a new home in the yard.  In her way, she honours her roots while at the same time uses these artifacts as anchors in an otherwise too fluid world.  Since leaving her home on the farm, she has shared a home with me in ten other homes before this one.  Only one of those gave her a sense of stability, a home in which we spent twenty years.  This home has been ours now for seven years.  There is no doubt that my wife has sacrificed much to stay with me as I am more of a gypsy where she is rooted.  But then again, that is part of the cost of love.

“Love requires depth and loyalty of feeling; without them it is not love but mere caprice.  True love will always commit itself and engage in lasting ties; it needs freedom only to effect its choice, nor for its accomplishment.  Every true and deep love is a sacrifice.  The lover sacrifices all other possibilities, or rather, the illusion that such possibilities exist.  If this sacrifice is not made, his illusions prevent the growth of any deep and responsible feeling so that the very possibility of experiencing real love is denied.” (Jung, CW Volume 10, The Love Problem of a Student, par 231)


10 Responses

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  1. The sacrificing all other possibilities worries me. Especially if it means sacrificing self-growth. I can handle sacrificing other partners, but if my sacrifice demands that I no longer develop, then this is a cost I am NOT prepared to pay anymore.

    Lotus Light

    May 28, 2010 at 9:40 am

    • Sacrifice is not a one-sided word. Every choice is a sacrifice as the “other” is rejected. Either/or choices can never result in a “fullness.” To have any hope of reaching a state of fullness one must hold the tension of not choosing.

      Jung was directing his words to youth, a stage of life where choice is not as deep. The task of youth is to experience life in relationships in the outer world. The time for cultivating a deeper relationship with the self comes with midlife. When the time comes, one is well aware of the call to “self” though there is no guarantee that one will heed the call.

      Robert G. Longpré

      May 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

  2. Love means giving up some of your Power, and giving it to another. It is a sacrifice indeed. but the reward…..


    May 29, 2010 at 12:27 am

    • Yes, the reward . . . Thanks, Dr. ‘Spo

      Robert G. Longpré

      May 29, 2010 at 5:58 am

  3. The paragraph that follows the one from which your quote comes expands the understanding your quote seeks:

    ” Love has more than one thing in common with religious faith. It demands unconditional trust and expects absolute surrender. Just as nobody but the believer who surrenders himself to God can partake of divine grace, so love reveals its highest mysteries and its wonders only to those who who are capable of unqualified devotion and loyalty of feeling. And because this is so difficult, few mortals can boast of such an achievement. But, precisely because the truest and most devoted love is also the most beautiful, let no man seek to make it easy. He is a sorry knight who shrinks from the difficulty of loving his lady. Love is like God: both give themselves only to the bravest knights.”

    In this culture what is called “love” is based on projection, and when, as Marie Louise von Franz says, the projection begins to “rattle,” we switch to illusion. So is it really a “sacrifice”? And if it is, what is sacrificed? Keep in mind the relation of the term sacrifice to the term sacred.

    John Ferric

    May 29, 2010 at 7:50 am

    • Hi John. As you had likely guessed, I am more into questions than the answers. I like to throw out the questions and see what comes from them. In the case of this post, the idea was to leave a tension. I am pleased that you felt the tension and responded with more of Jung. That said, how would you respond as your “self?” Another attempt at personalizing dialogue. Thanks for adding more to this dialogue.

      Robert G. Longpré

      June 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      • Robert,
        After I began to learn Jung’s psychology I could look “back” and understand the massive amount of unconsciousness that dominated my life. I also understood that those times when I felt that “chemistry,” and it was a very feeling toned situation. An affect, if you will. And I know now, I was “blind,” blinded by the energy of the archetype. My pitiful ego so enjoyed the light or positive aspect of the archetype all the while thinking it(my ego) was the source. But after learning about how my mind really worked I could understand that I never really sayw the “other” at all, but only my own blinding projection. I have filled 7 spiral notebooks with the process of, as best I could, taking those projections back. A humiliating experience, something I still grieve.

        J. Ferric

        June 2, 2010 at 8:25 am

      • John, thanks for being so open and sharing your hard-earned wisdom here.

        Robert G. Longpré

        June 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      • Thanks for the sharing of your experience of taking back projections. I have to admit that I am still in the process of doing this work. I wonder if the work ever comes to an end.

        Robert G. Longpré

        June 8, 2010 at 10:19 am

  4. This is really a very good post and conversation, one which I have with my capricious self often.

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