Through a Jungian Lens

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Hoping For New Pictures

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With a child's wonder . . .

This image of a young boy and girl was taken in the Philippines in one of the many little back country yards that surrounded fragile houses made of woven palm leaves and wood. Their playground was rough ground that was more rock than dirt. The poverty surrounding the children was heart breaking, but the attitude towards life was animated and joyful for the most part. This image of childhood is a universal image, one that has held for as long as there have been children.

But not all images hold in the human psyche unlike this image of childhood and hope. James Hollis talks about our current Western World condition in which our pictures don’t work well any more:

. . . civilizations are often caught between “pictures,” the “understandings” that once worked but which increasingly prove ineffectual.” 

“. . . and souls drifted into a profound disorientation, inadequately treated in time by the development of . . . surrogates” (Hollis, What Matters Most, p. 28)

The loss of certainty that was embedded in the understandings of religion, community, country and people due to science, natural tragedies and human warfare basically left us at a loss of certainty in our religions, in our communities and in our countries. With the loss of the foundational pictures we have been drifting from one image to another image hoping that something will hold us and give us what we need in terms of meaning and purpose and place.

. . . in our present moment, the putative fixity of definitions of race, gender, sexual preference or orientation, Western hegemony, trust in government probity, and many other presumptive truisms have been challenged, and largely overthrown, although millions cling to the slope side of history in service to their psychological security.” (Hollis, What Matters Most, p. 28)

The most current of these challenges in the Occupy Wall Street movement that is spreading outside of the borders of nation to become a movement that is as much protest of the present as it is hope for the future. We need hope for the future, the same hope that is evident in the eyes of this young boy.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

November 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

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