Through a Jungian Lens

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Libido and Eros

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dsc04826Libido as it is usually understood is about sexual energy, the instinctual drive to mate, to have male and female become one.  But, libido is more.  It is also about having the masculine aspects and the feminine aspects within one’s self, an act of coniunctionis, a holy marriage.  Libido is about psychic energy which in turn feeds the body’s energies. Libido as defined by Jung:

By libido I mean psychic energy. Psychic energy is the intensity of a psychic process, its psychological value. This does not imply an assignment of value, whether moral, aesthetic, or intellectual; the psychological value is already implicit in its determining power, which expresses itself as definite psychic effects.

Unlike Freud, libido is not limited to a sexual definition.  It is all about energy, activation, the psyche.  When one goes out into the world and gives it meaning, one is assigning value, an act of libido.  When one withdraws into an introverted stance, libido is withdrawn and value is lost.  Libido is not simply about sex drive.  It is about life force.  Gwynne Mayer writes:

We oftentimes get our energy plugged up within a relationship to the ‘other’ even though we realize the other is our self/Self.  Our energy becomes short circuited or contained, when in fact, it would help us to move through our erotic/eros nature to come to a point of release of that same energy. The whole universe, the energy of each part of the body moves both internally and externally, subjectively and objectively, contracting and expanding, inhaling and exhaling, and pulsating inward to the nucleus of the inner psyche and outward to all other selves and dimensions. The freer the energy movement becomes, in keeping with its own integrity and cohesion, the more intense becomes the life and the fuller becomes the consciousness….hence the full living within and between multidimensional comprehension, joining in the dance with others as we move toward owning all that we have thought as separate.

So, how does this translate into relationships with others?  How does this translate with relationship to one’s self and one’s inner world?  Where does love, eros, come into this picture?