Through a Jungian Lens

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Marriage and Consciousness

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Today I have another rose photo, this time taken in Hong Mei Park yesterday.  As I mentioned yesterday, the rose has a special significance to me because of my wife.  While taking many rose photos yesterday, a good number of the photos had her in company with them.  As much as I talk about the central relationship being with the self, it is impossible to come to grips with that primal and primary relationship without first engaging in relationship with an “other.”  I don’t want to limit this “other” to a contrasexual definition as it isn’t so simple.  Human psychology is never simple.

Each of us falls in love at some point.  If we are lucky, the someone with whom we fall in love, reciprocates the same feeling thus allowing a relationship based on this initial impulse to love.  In my case, it was love at first sight for both of us.  If one only thinks about it for even a small moment, this doesn’t make any rational sense.  How can two complete strangers fall in love simply by seeing the other person?  What does one see in this circumstance?  Certainly not the person.  Jung calls it projection.  Some others call it magic or fate.   Regardless of what one calls it, the result is a marriage of two individuals.  And by marriage, I mean a consensual agreement to live in a loving relationship with this significant other person, not necessarily legal arrangement.  Whether or not the two lovers sign documents, the consensual agreement gives birth to a marriage.

It doesn’t take long to discover that this person with whom you have fallen in love and with whom you have engaged in marriage is a stranger, a mystery person.  Reality has a way of forcing one to question who this “other” person really is.  At that moment, a moment of psychic separation, one becomes a bit more conscious, not only of the other, but of one’s self.  Interactions with this significant other leads to a constantly shifting sense of self, a deepening of self-awareness.  Where this gaining of self-awareness is stalled, in situations where one remains entranced with the myth of the other not allowing the other to be human.  Each gain is achieved only through the loss of an aspect of the original fiction – yet that loss doesn’t necessarily mean a loss of the other person, just a loss of a projection.  A marriage can survive becoming conscious with the creation of a new relationship.  Again, I want to bring a few words from James Hollis:

“the quality of all of our relationships is a direct function of our relationship to ourselves.” (Hollis, Eden Project, p. 13)

Know thyself and one can get to know the real person that one loves.  It comes back to our desire to love, to be loved – especially for who we are, who we really are, warts and all.  And when the passion dies, life seems to somehow shrivel and we shrivel within ourselves.  And now, for a few final words for today’s post from Gao XingJian:

you regret not chasing after her, you regret your lack of courage . . you regret losing the opportunity. . . You don’t even know how to go about starting a romance, you’re so weak you’ve lost your manliness, you’ve lost the ability to take the initiative.  Afterwards, however, you decide to go to the riverside to try your luck.

. . .

Only you are left sitting in the pavilion, like an idiot, pretending to wait for an appointment which wasn’t made, with a woman who came and vanished, just as if you’re daydreaming.  Could it be that you’re bored, that you’re fed up with your monotonous life devoid of passion and excitement and that you want to live again, to experience life itself again?” (Gao XingJian, Soul Mountain, p. 41)

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