Through a Jungian Lens

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On Being One With the Whole

with one comment

One of these is not like the others

As I mentioned in my last post, I was able to take a number of photos on a walk through a new area. Many of the images were of man-made objects, my recording of yet another face of the city in which I live here in China. But as usual, nature scenes also caught my eye and the camera lens, scenes such as this one. I was particularly drawn to the translucent qualities of the one flower as well as the large leaves from which the flowers rose on tall stems. All the flowers except this one in the center were red. This golden yellow and orange flower stood out like a sore thumb, or should I say, like an angel hovering above the collective group below.

How else can we describe something that is the same as other things of its genus and species that is different, something that glows with a numinous quality as though embraced in a halo? For some reason individual bits of life rise above, step outside the norm lived by its peers and captures the attention of psyche. Looking closely at the flower, the individual bits of life that rise above, one finds that in all manner of observation, they are the same as all their surrounding peers. The biology is the same, as much the same as is necessary to be considered one of the species.

As humans, we are all built the same for the most part. We have bodies that age to maturity and then begin to descend into old age before ceasing to exist as life as we know it. We all have the same basic needs and develop our lives according to how these meets are met or not met. Regardless of our accomplishments, our brilliance, our failures or our legacy to future generations, we are as one with our fellow humans as human beings.

We exist for our moments and then we don’t. But somewhere our psyche gets in the way and demands something more of us, something more than passing through the years to leave a new generation to follow. Our psyche demands that there is more than the survival of the species at stake in our existences. We crave meaning, we demand meaning – yet only ourselves can bestow this meaning upon ourselves. Somewhere along the way, we lost a collective meaning; we learned that the collective meaning was no more than a developmental level for the individual psyche. Now, we are left with creating our own meaning.

The challenge is in creating meaning that re-members humanity as a whole. We need to fit meaning for self with the context of the collective of humanity. The failure to do so results in a narcissistic dysfunction that results in just another act of nature culling the misfits out. The modern challenge is to find a way to create meaning that includes the planet – mother earth and father sky. We cannot step outside of the whole and survive – we can rise within the whole and provide a bit more light in order for the whole, a fresh new idea that honors the individual and  the collective.

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One Response

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  1. “. . . For that matter, does a thing or fact ever mean anything in and of itself? We can only be sure that it is the human being who interprets, that is, gives meaning to a fact. And that is the gist of the matter for psychology. . . .”
    C. G. Jung, “The Aims of Psychotherapy.”

    John Ferric

    October 24, 2011 at 10:16 pm


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