Through a Jungian Lens

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Relationships and Unity

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Another butterfly, at least I think it is a butterfly, decided to sit still long enough for me to photograph it.  This one definitely has a warm and fuzzy aspect to it.  I recently had a comment added to my post on Buber’s I-Thou post, a post that talks about relationships – the relationships of I to it, of I to thou.  I think I also once talked about the relationship that ancient aboriginal culture in North America between the individual and the rest of the universe, something viewed as alive though our modern culture reduces all to either animate or inanimate.  This aboriginal approach to relationship is one that most fits with my relationship to the world.  And so, I find it easy to have a relationship with a butterfly or a rock or a tree or another person.  I just don’t expect these relationships to be all the same.

How do I explain this in a way that makes sense?  First, it is about attitude.  One begins with respect.  That is easy for anyone who has ever been an avid gardener when it comes to the plants being nurtured, or a techie trying to get the equipment in his or her charge to enjoy a “healthy” lifespan.  These “things” take on a certain level of animation as one works with them.  It’s no different with me as I baby my camera.  We all build relationships with things.  We project “life” onto these things in psychological terms.  But it is more than that.

I am not one who is well versed in scientific knowledge.  However, I have come to understand that “all” that is, is composed of the same base material that exists in a state of perpetual movement.  The same “stuff” that makes a table, is the same stuff that makes a smiling infant.  A dried leaf contains the same elements as well.  Even the air is built with these same components.  I leave the naming of these smaller than small units to others with an interest in the field of study.  For me, it is enough to grasp this simple fact.  Why?  Well, it frees me to continue holding the foundational idea that everything then becomes ONE – all that is and all that isn’t.

Jungian psychology does point the way to this concept as well.  We begin with the ego, the locus of consciousness.  As consciousness expands there is a separation of self from other and the world.  And when one is conscious enough, one begins to see that such separation (individuation) paradoxically leads back to a unity of all in the SELF.  This is, of course, just how I see and understand the world, the universe and my self.


5 Responses

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  1. “Things” definitely have personalities, and we respond to them. When I was playing the double bass, I had the loan of an exquisite bass, built in 1750 by “old Man Hill” in England. The bass would sit in my living room, waiting for me and as I would walk past, it would clearly speak to me. A very warm and dominant personality!

    I find myself caressing my camera as I would a baby I was cuddling….

    Deepak Chopra has a guided meditation where he guides the listener through a process of ‘loosening’ all the cells that make up our body, mind, emotions, and consciousness and as we travel mentally across the world and into the universe, letting those cells merge with the cells of everything else in the universe.

    I really related to that meditation strongly, and it definitely gave me a strong feeling of connection with everything. That unity was one of the most powerful I have felt.

    Lotus Light

    October 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

    • Before things have personality, they must be “alive.” When I think of the wholeness of energy, how all things and animate life share in this energy neither creating nor destroying, simply just merging, emerging and re-emerging, then I see that all are really ONE. And in understanding this, I can see myself, aspects of my self projected onto things as I do onto people. And in seeing this, I can then reclaim my “self” from the projections. As you say, Lotus “a feeling of connection with everything.”

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm

  2. It is even more apt for your entry as it is a moth – and they come out at night/in the dark, the Luna aspect of the lepitdora family.


    October 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    • Thanks, Urspo. 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

  3. A tiny quote from you in this post, Robert: “. . .First, it is about attitude.” While I “see” what you wrote I would like you to consider what you wrote in terms of “attitude” as Jung defined that term. While it is easy to speak of an “I/Thou” relationship I am of the opinion that we must begin from a position that even more profound; that we are all in a “typology trap.” And if we are to have any sort of true relationship to the “other” we must first understand our own trap, and then to understand that the “other” is also equally trapped. Working our way out of, and through those traps is the work of a lifetime. There is no better guide to this work than Jung.


    October 13, 2010 at 10:48 pm

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