Through a Jungian Lens

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Boundaries of Personal Myth

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This photo was taken in looking out from the ancient city of XiTang to a more modern XiTang.  It’s surprising what one sees behind the scenes.  The ancient city is a preserved tourism site that celebrates the approved myths of a culture’s past.  Outside the boundaries of this mythic past, one comes into a modern world that lives its own myths of the present.  And, the face of that modern world doesn’t always present a satisfying image.  I am sure that the tourism authorities hope that the tourists don’t wander off the controlled beaten paths causing a loss of wonder in the myth they have worked so hard to construct.

I am certain that we are all guilty of the myths we create for ourselves, a myth that gets presented in our collection of masks, our personae.  We craft identities for consumption by others in our lives.  As an example, I have numerous identities that are published for consumption – some are authentic is as much as any identity can be authentic, and some are quite contrived.  My identity as a husband is real and as a result, is messy.  My identity as a father and grandfather are equally as real as I don’t worry about hiding my warts in my confidence that my children and grandchildren would love me in spite of these warts.  But from there, it gets a bit complicated.

My identity as a neighbour is quite contrived.  I hold to a definition of myself that they can resonate with, an identity that comes close to mimicking without being offensive.  My talk is their talk which is enhanced by spending most of my communicative time with them, listening; my likes are their likes as I smile and murmur appreciative words.  I don’t bring forward my interests or real passions as they only jolt them causing a distance that is often too difficult too bridge if I don’t quickly return to their comfort zones and levels of awareness.

Yet, somehow here, in cyberspace, perhaps I become the most authentic outside of my relationship with my wife.  In some aspects more authentic and in other ways, more silent in order to protect the relationship.

My myth?  I guess it would be safe to say that the collection of identities, those that I am conscious of as well as those that interact with the world without my conscious awareness all combine to bring my personal myth to life.  Yet, the myth is more than this as it is tied to a larger myth that is our our time and the collective myth in which I find myself.  So many miniature myths consciously crafted as well as one in which I am simply a smaller bit part.  But it is the personal myth that I want to hold here, the one, like this image behind the scenes, the fullest personal myth that shows my self on a journey of redemption, a journey of meaning and salvation.


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