Through a Jungian Lens

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Active Imagination and Others

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Sharing the workload in Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon

I am again digging into the archives for a photo for today’s post, one from my last winter’s stay in Vietnam. As I turn to active imagination, sometimes I am tempted to believe I might know the stories of these two men, or of any man or woman. I jump into the scene and allow intuition and feeling, my dominant functions build the story. With any luck, an improved ability in using my inferior functions, thinking and sensing will help fill in the gaps.  But in the end, all that my fantasies, this journey of active imagination can tell me is a story about my self.

“The vast majority of people are quite incapable of putting themselves individually into the mind of another. This is indeed a singularly rare art, and truth to tell, it does not take us very far. Even the man whom we think we know best and who assures us himself that we understand him through and through is at bottom a stranger to us.  He is different.The most we can do, and the best, is to have at least some inkling of his otherness, to respect it, and to guard against the outrageous stupidity of wishing to interpret it. (Jung, C.W. Volume 7, paragraph 363)

It makes one think about what one expects and why one enters into an activity of active imagination. At times I use my images to wonder about the person in the image and to create some sort of understanding of that person.  I should know better for my words don’t really paint an honest picture of that other person, rather the words speak of myself.

How well do I know myself? Well, it seems that I am still figuring this out.


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