Through a Jungian Lens

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Framed and Boxed In

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As I was sitting on the back deck enjoying a morning coffee, I spotted one of our flowers through the railing that serves as the boundary of our deck.  I simply thought of how the railing served as a neat frame for the flower.   And that was enough of a reason to grab the camera and take a few different shots at different angles with the thought that one of these would be useful here.  This is the one that “made the cut.”

Strange how I came to feel the pressure of being framed and boxed in myself.  Being “boxed in” is more about being “defined” by an other, by an idea that seeks to limit what it is to be whole.  I am quite familiar with the feeling of being boxed in of attempts to limit the fullness of my “self.”  There were many frames or boxes that presented themselves – religion, career, politics, nationality, gender – frames that demand absolute value.  It seems as though there is an aversion to containing all possibility.  Rather, there is a “religious” demand that one “embrace” with “faith” only one side of the polarity.  Embrace being Islamic, being Christian, being Hebrew, being Hindu, being atheist, being . . . . Embrace being conservative, being liberal, being socialist, being communist, being urban, being rural . . . . As the expression currently in favour, “not choosing our side is a choice against our side, even if no choice is made.”

Modernity is well aware that in the current conflict between religious and/or political absolutes, apocalyptic consciousness and one-sided certitudes it generates could prematurely terminate the human endeavor before it works its historical task of bringing the divine shadow to redemption in itself.” (Dourley, A Strategy For a Loss of Faith, p. 27)

Maybe it is me not wanting to be “limited” in my second half of life that rebels at the thought of being boxed in?  Yet, in saying that, I realize that I didn’t want to be boxed in when I was younger as well.  I refused religion though I embraced a religious attitude.  I refused to buy into one philosophy after another, one brand of politics after another.  I wanted to be able to contain all.  Even my sense of being Canadian, a pride in nation, is half-hearted as it excludes being part of any other culture, as it means I have to accept as “enemies” the enemies and opposing forces that go with embracing a nation.

And so, I find myself at this stage of my life breaking out of the boxes I was born into and boxes of my own construction and co-construction.  Where will this lead me?   I am inclined to think that it leads to being a stranger in a strange land.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

July 11, 2010 at 6:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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