Through a Jungian Lens

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Painted Gazebo and Bamboo

with 12 comments

This is part of the scene I see when I look out of the window of the apartment in Changzhou.  The rain has washed leaves and the bamboo and wood of the gazebo in a yard within the housing compound.  Two and a half years ago I watched as the gazebo was repainted after a winter of pollution had caused the gazebo to look old and frayed.  It doesn’t take much to be revitalised.

I ask myself how I can distinguish between being revitalized and being artificial.  I can see how so many, at times myself included, work hard to present a face that glistens attractively to their neighbours and any passing strangers.  Huge expenses go into landscaping and giving their home a new look.   Yet, more often than not, the expense doesn’t yield rewards that satisfy.  One is left feeling empty, cheated.  And so a new cycle begins as furniture is rearranged into new patterns or again replaced; an new look is studied in the latest popular magazines; or perhaps a new house in built in the latest housing development – all in the hopes of somehow finding meaning in the shine of newness.

I wondered about this as I looked at this scene.  The colours and the air of peace that I saw here, are they just another example of face that is so much a part of the Chinese psyche?  Or, is this a place for the owner of this scene to escape the outer world and find himself within?


Written by Robert G. Longpré

August 31, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. There is so much done in the name of face, of keeping things looking good when they are not so good underneath. Relationships, work, ourselves. Part of it we call ‘putting our best foot forward’, other parts of it we do to hide what we perceive to be our inadequacies. Sometimes we do it to give ourselves confidence – believing that if we look good, live ‘well’ and people see it, they will bolster our confidence with their praise or respect.

    For this gazebo – you can use it to escape the outer world, and make the air of peace real for you.

    Lotus Light

    August 31, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    • Agreed with all you have said here. Thanks. Now, to find my sacred space here as well.

      Robert G. Longpré

      August 31, 2010 at 6:35 pm

  2. Your commentary about the “face” and revitalizing and artificiality reminds me of Thoreau saying something about how man does so much to fix or maintain the beauty of his house, but does little to fix or maintain the man who lives within it.


    August 31, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    • Now that you mention it, I remember reading this about forty years ago – it is good to hear the echoes in others both past and present.

      Robert G. Longpré

      August 31, 2010 at 6:36 pm

  3. I wished I paid more attention in my studies. I remember reading Jung saw the Western mind in the eastern mind is quite different. Westerners were to focus on Western symbols apparently.


    August 31, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    • You are correct, Jung did make that comment. That said, it isn’t necessarily that one tries to adopt an Eastern mind, rather it is about noting how my western mind resonates with the images that crop up in my life here in China. I learned not to judge or weigh the Chinese world with my Canadian mind, rather I allowed life to just happen and see how that life resonated and responded within. Good hearing from you again, Dr. Urspo. 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 1, 2010 at 12:41 am

  4. I agree that activities done to impress the outer world is what you call the face.
    But when one is building a house or rearranging the house with the sole intension, to build or rearrange it to one’s own comfort or liking, no matter whatever the outer world will think or say about it – just simply for one Self – I presume that is the other story and direct linked to this story is the relevancy of the symbolical meaning of, the, or our “house”……
    I hope that I did not miss the point of your intention of your writing – when this is the case, I am sorry – but on the other hand it then tells me more about myself and the area that I have to work on to learn.

    Opa Bear

    September 1, 2010 at 6:36 am

    • Opa, of course you are correct when you state that it is important to consider “intention” when questioning the “self” with regards to why one is working hard on outer appearances. Unfortunately if often is more about persona and public face than it is about creating an environment in which one feels comfortable and at ease.

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm

  5. While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.
    Henry David Thoreau

    John Ferric

    September 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    • Good quote from Thoreau, John. Too much focus on outer at the expense of inner leaves a man poorer in spite of material wealth.

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm

  6. With that, I agree. Sometimes the lonliest place is inside of us and yet, if we are good company for ourselves, we can journey to the center of ourselves without ever feeling lonely.

    I wonder if this happens with age, maturity? or if it is a product of a certain disposition?


    September 3, 2010 at 1:16 am

    • There is no rule. For some it is a matter of age, for some it doesn’t come, for some it is a matter of disposition, and for most it is a matter of a combination of factors including all the above and the environment, the economy, and the community. Each person is unique.

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 3, 2010 at 5:55 am

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