Through a Jungian Lens

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Wounded? Join the Crowd

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It looks as though this is a dead tree, but appearances are often deceiving.  What is visible in this photo are simply some of the wounds the tree has received as part of “living” a full life as a tree.  Nature teaches me a lot.  For example, I see wounds such as this, leaves eaten off of smaller plants, road kill of animals small and big – life is not “fair” in any sense of the word.  Life simply happens.  And along the way as one goes through life catching diseases, suffering falls, scrapes and broken bones, life has a way of coming to an end.  The who cycle of birth and death repeated over and over again in plant, animal and even at a larger level is simple a process that has no moral or ethical “good” or “evil” side.

I wonder why we humans have a tendency to ascribe the pains and joys of living to good and evil and to the gods.  Life is life.  In saying this, I don’t want to discount good and evil, for they are there.  But as I said in my last post, they are both faces of gods, of the One God when it comes down to final definitions.  I mentioned in one of my responses to comments made here about the story of Job as found in the Bible.  I want to follow up on that reference with some words of Jung’s.

Without wishing it, we humans are placed in situations in which the great “principles” entangle us in something, and God leaves it to us to find a way out.  Sometimes a clear path is opened with his help, but when it really comes to the point one has the feeling of having been abandoned by every good spirit.  In critical situations the hero always mislays his weapon, and at such moment, as before death, we are confronted with the nakedness of this fact.  And one does not know how one got there.  A thousand twists of fate all of a sudden land you in such a situation.  This is symbolically represented by Jacob’s fight with the angel at the ford.  Here a man can do nothing but stand his ground.  It is a situation that challenges him to react as a whole man.  Then it may turn out that he can no longer keep to the letter of the moral law.  That is where his most personal ethics begin:  in grim confrontation with the Absolute, in striking out on a path condemned by current morality and the guardians of the law.  And yet he may feel that he has never been truer to his innermost nature and vocation, and hence never nearer to the Absolute, because he alone and the Omniscient have seen the actual situation as it were from inside . . . (Jung, CW 10, par 869)

So who can judge us as we wrestle with good and evil, for we do wrestle with both?  Who can know the intention, the situation, the purpose of such encounters with good and evil?  It becomes a difficult enough, if not often impossible, to judge.  It is enough o simply bear one’s wounds and continue being present in the situation called life.


8 Responses

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  1. […] Wounded? Join the Crowd « Through a Jungian Lens […]

  2. I understand this tree. It has been around a long, long time. It is beautiful with age and strength and it’s own kind of wisdom. It shows its wounds with pride and can acknowledge that wounds have a beauty unto themselves. We can feel its strengths and endurance through life just as it is. No judgement is needed. Endurance, acceptance and personal evolution ~
    Strength and wisdom are learned through the scars we bear and move through with graceful perception.


    August 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm

  3. I’m not sure what happened with my blog link in my above comment. My WP blog has been deleted.
    Here is my true website.
    Sorry ’bout that.

    PaulaDevi Wagner

    August 6, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    • Thanks for the new link.

      Robert G. Longpré

      August 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  4. Thank you Robert,
    Your quote from Jung “When someone speaks of good or evil, it is of what HE calls good or evil, or what HE feels as good or evil.”
    Could it be possible to presume, as Jung also wrote “God want to become man” – that the (good and) evil (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, wars, famine and flood) as we see it happens all over the world – that this is the (good and) evil as GOD calls and feels it ?
    Not as the intellect would describe as, “well this is a act of God” – but deeper then this.
    Gratitude from Ric.

    Ric Brijl

    August 7, 2010 at 3:38 am

  5. Addition : (sorry).
    With, what GOD “calls and feels” – I mean of course in the sense when we use a personification of God – but as you quoted Jung, “as aspects of God”.
    As we can deal with it with our intellect, there is no mutual aspect of knowing and feeling – to know is not available for us and the feeling only comes from us – in the feeling of fear.
    Is this were our ancient fear of God (and evil, the devil) “instinct” could come from ?
    Gratitude from Ric

    Ric Brijl

    August 7, 2010 at 4:31 am

  6. Dear Robert,
    Please don’t spend time and energy on my question – I found the answer in your lecture of July 22, 2010 – at 8.35 am.
    Gratitude from Ric

    Ric Brijl

    August 8, 2010 at 4:21 am

    • Thanks, Ric. I am glad that you are wandering through the posts and getting some value from them for yourself. It was interesting to hear the posts called “lectures.” I return to giving lectures at the university in September and didn’t realise that my writing style was similar to my teaching style.

      Robert G. Longpré

      August 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm

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