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)


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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.
    Hmmm.

    Viv

    May 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm

  2. This is amazing.

    j

    May 12, 2011 at 9:42 am


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