Through a Jungian Lens

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The Soul Is Not Nearly As Rational As The Ego

with 2 comments

Ego is in control

Ego is in control

I took today’s post subject line from Thomas Moore’s book which uses it as the title of one of the chapter-like entries. I am finding this book very, very interesting; and part of that interest is sparked by the composition style of the book which reminds me of blog posts. Each section is self-contained but also at the same time, a part of the whole. In this particular entry, Moore talks about ego and about our social problems.

It is essential in modern life to adore the ego, to think that our social problems and our personal struggles will be resolved one we understand the situation and gain control over it. The current idea of a well-adjusted person is one who is unusually conscious and in charge. It is assumed that the purpose of life is to be more of an ego, successful in the eyes of the world and sanctioned by a swelling egotistical bank account.” [p. 59]

Bursting the bubble of ego control

Bursting the bubble of ego control

Well, to be honest, I have subscribed to this basic notion for a long, long time, especially the part about being unusually conscious and in charge. I have made a life-long process of learning as much as I could as I have always believed that in knowing, in being conscious and aware of as much as possible, I would be protected from harm and would avoid becoming a victim of the power of others. To be fair, growing through childhood and living with physical, emotional and sexual abuse, I learned early that the world was not kind to the naive. I built up my barriers of protection using degrees, certificates, big words and a study of human psychology and communication – all of these things so that I could be in charge – in charge of myself. I had it all – a career, a family and high social standing in the community with a bit of money in the bank and all of my bills paid. I was, in a word, successful.

Thankfully a midlife crisis took charge and taught me otherwise. Knocked down, I found myself a victim again, but this time a victim of my ego which had worked overtime to convince me of the lie of my belief in the supremacy of my ego. I was knocked down low enough to catch a glimpse of my soul.

When we live from a deeper, we become palpably aware that life is fundamentally mysterious and is ultimately incomprehensible to our rational ways of thinking . . . As we move closer to a soulful life, we learn to live with unruly passions and unpredictable fantasies.” [p. 60]

But I was a slow learner and not so willing to give up my control and my carefully crafted identity. I made a project out of my entrance into psychoanalysis, that of mastering the process so that I could direct the analysis to meet me ego’s ends, to return back to business as if nothing had happened. But my night dreams and the wakened and stirred contents of the soul protested and continued to try and knock some sense into me. But I held my ground and made it to retirement with my reputation intact and my economic future secure. Now, I have the time and luxury of a life of relative ease. Well, the soul had other plans for me.

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Written by Robert G. Longpré

September 20, 2013 at 6:54 am

2 Responses

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  1. I liked this piece. Thank you. I’ve come to believe, for what it’s worth, that the soul always changes and has other plans for us whether we choose to recognize its reality or whether we leave it up to the mysteries of the unconscious for processing. The dark night of the soul, so called, is a ‘function,’ and not the curse that keeps us searching through our mythologies for the devil.

    Russo Lewis

    September 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

    • You have hear right about the soul having other plans for us. I don’t know if the soul changes or if we simply get to be aware of more and more of the depths and fullness of the soul. The dark night of the soul is more of a blessing than a curse if we would simply listen and respond. Thank you, Russo.

      rgl

      September 30, 2013 at 8:36 am


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