Through a Jungian Lens

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When Observing Others

with 3 comments

On the streets of HaNoi, Vietnam

I am going to do something a bit different here, today.  I am am going to let a voice of the self talk to you without my commentary, both in this photo and in words written by Gao XingJian:

If you concentrate on looking at yourself, you will find that your self will gradually separate from the self you are familiar with and multiply into many startling forms.  So if I have to make a summary of myself, it terrifies me. I don’t know which o f the many faces represents me more and the more closely I look the clearer the transformations become, and finally only bewilderment remains.

. . . it grows and grows but often not as you wish and moreover, mostly , contrary to what you wish.  It is a monster child which you find impossible to accept, yet ultimately it was born of the self and has to be accepted.

. . . I went about observing other people, but whenever I observed other people, I found this detestable omniscient self of mine interfering, and to this day there is not one face it hasn’t interfered with.  This is a serious problem, for when I am scrutinizing someone else, I am at the same time scrutinizing myself. I can’t find people with whom I can identify, I search without success, everywhere:

. . . When I am observing others I always treat the other person as a mirror for looking inwardly at myself. (Gao XingJian, Soul Mountain, pp150-151)


Written by Robert G. Longpré

May 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm

3 Responses

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  1. something similar happens if you sit and look deeply into the eyes of someone else for about 20 minutes; they seem to shapeshift before your gaze as you look into their soul through the eyes. Their face shifts too, becomes other than it is.


    May 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm

  2. This is amazing.


    May 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

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