Through a Jungian Lens

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The Shadow of the Collective Unconscious – John Lennon

with 6 comments

John Lennon - a silenced voice of reason

John Lennon – a silenced voice of reason

I was fortunate to find this poster on Facebook as it fits in to much of what I have written and said here recently. If one tries to make sense of our collective sense of what is right and what is wrong, we are left totally befuddled.

We teach our children the value of honesty and are quick to reinforce that teaching with appropriate rewards and punishments. With those lessons taught and reinforced, we turn our attention to the world outside of the home where we typically do what we have told our children never to do. We try to stretch the truth or state untruths with such conviction so that even we begin to believe our own lies. We have learned to do this in order to survive in our culture which in turn is invested in surviving in a competitive world. Common sense and the evidence in front of our eyes is ignored if it puts one at risk of losing ground in the constant competition for survival in the modern world.

We are good people. We want to live in peace and hope our children can inherit a future worth inheriting. We enroll them in schools where cooperation is encouraged in games and learning activities. We put rules in place to keep our children safe in school so that they won’t suffer violence. We wrap these precious bundles of life in bubble wrap. We screen what they see on the television and on their smart phones and tablets. We want to protect them from anything that would induce traumatic responses such as seeing a naked human body. Yet, we don’t seem to understand that seeing a child decapitated, or a monk wrapped in flames is more traumatic. Somehow violence is less offensive to the modern human than seeing a mother breast feed her infant. Since we are good people, how can we begin to make sense of this disconnect?

John Lennon talks about how seeing people make love is viewed as more offensive than atrocious acts of violence that now characterize our children’s programming and video games as well as regular television viewing, especially in our news programs. Let’s assume that our society is right that making love needs to be done out of view of children and the rest of society. After all, it is about making love and setting is important for the participants. The rationale has nothing to do with the idea that seeing a couple engage in making love inflicts trauma on others (we have a huge industry that tells us that there is a lot of interest and money to be made doing just this – watching). We are definitely a society terrified of human sexuality. And it is this fear of sexuality that leads to the irrational response to seeing a naked human not engaged in sexual activity.

Facebook is a mirror to our modern western world psyche. It is okay to post graphic images of death, of dismemberment, of brutal violence. It is okay to post the most provocative images one can imagine as long as a nipple, butt crack or penis is not directly visible. However, one can’t post an image of a nude human reading a book in a meadow, or a nude couple walking along a beach with only their backsides visible. The natural nudity is more offensive than an overly buxom beauty wearing stars on her nipples and a string for a bikini bottom. One scene leaves us questioning our sense of moral right and wrong, while the other leaves us panting and wanting more. Who said that any of this has to make sense?

Making good sense is only possible when one is able to act consciously and not be caught in the shadow of the collective unconscious, participants in group think and mob mentality. We are in shit deep trouble as modern humans.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

February 6, 2014 at 6:52 am

6 Responses

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  1. You’ve got that right, Robert!

    Skip Conover

    February 6, 2014 at 8:23 am

  2. It is an interesting topic, Robert. Given that morals, sense of right and wrong, are all completely arbitrary, it’s rather engaging to have a look at different cultures and see what is important and how other cultures will fight to the death to hold on to their particular beliefs, or how we, or someone else, will go to lengths to impose their beliefs upon another. Simply fascinating.

    I, for one, am really shocked, more like dismayed, at how desensitized people have become to violence, but given that they ingest a steady dose of it from most everywhere, it’s not surprising. Meanwhile, sex, or sexuality remains hidden in the closet.


    February 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    • Thanks Paul for adding in your thoughts here. I appreciate all of your visits and comments even though I am slow at times to respond to comments.


      February 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

  3. Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe
    are the laws of nature. — George Bernard Shaw

    And tribalism flourishes on the Internet!

    Bill Rathborne

    February 8, 2014 at 8:11 am

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