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tariki

Anyone for Jung?

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Posted (edited)

Really, I'm not actually looking for a new path. The last thing I need is another set of buzz words - in this case "anima", "archetypes", "individuation", "synchronity" and a few more. All a bit of a jigsaw puzzle needing to be put together to try to sort out the mysterious "self" we appear to experience ourselves as being. But I have bumped into an old mate of mine, one of those ex schoolmates who I have also bumped into at odd moments over the years, and he - at least in the past - had a great interest in Jung. Myself, I like biographies, life stories, and actually find the actual meaning of the buzz words easier to grasp when put into the context of a life as lived and experienced. Letters to friends by the subject of the biography are often another source of insight and illumination.

On the face of it, the idea of individuation (of the self) seems to fly in the face of "not-self" (anatta)  but closer inspection reveals such not to be the case. Well, at least to me. "Universalism" is not a creed to be believed, more a lived openness to all things, sifted in the meeting of them and responded to, then moving on. Jung's individualised "self" seems always more a process rather than a "finished product" that justifies itself by being who it is.

Anyway, thought I would just mention this as I dip into a biography of Jung's life. An early quote  from Jung's letters caught my eyes so I'll copy it here.....

The journey from cloud cuckoo land to reality lasted a long time. In my case Pilgrim's Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.

If anyone has read his "Red Book" (that's Jung, not Mao) I would appreciate an opinion.

Thanks

Derek

Edited by tariki
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Amid other things I have been continuing with the biography of Jung, actually called "Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul: An Illustrated Biography" by Claire Dunne. Instinctively I find I am attracted to the thought of illustrations. Also by a feminine author. Moving on, the early chapters tell of Jung's childhood and his relationship with his father, a preacher. Jung is quoted as saying......."I heard him preaching about grace.......what he said sounded stale and hollow, like a tale told by someone who knows it only by hearsay and cannot quite believe it himself......" Later, his father insisted that "one ought not to think, but believe". Jung, as a young man, thought, "No, one must experience and know."

Well, enough of that. My mind has drifted onto the art of translation, something that has long interested me. Obviously, to translate a noun, a word such as "cat", into another language,is simple. But translating thoughts, expressions, all subject to cultural influence - to do that, current expressions and, even more difficult, long past expressions, is an art, not a science. It strikes me that the very same demands are made of us when we reflect upon the simple human feeling of empathy.

Here is Stephen Batchelor on the art of translation:- "It requires that one convey a peculiar configuration of sense, feeling, perception, anguish, desire, and understanding from one world and resurrect it in another......the translator is but a conduit through which a minor miracle occurs. The translation is inscribed in one's flesh; in the pulsing blood, sweat on the brow, spasms of dread or rapture that course through the nerves". That may seem a bit over the top, but for me it is "no-self" as flesh and blood. In one sense we must needs be "empty" to have a deep empathy with another - and to know our world. Then there is a profound relationship that exists in each moment.

"The letter kills but the spirit gives life" The "law" that is to be written on hearts of flesh and not on tablets of stone. I find it more and more difficult to relate such Christian phrases and concepts to life as I know it, yet fundamentally I see Buddhism as another "translation" of the very same ideas, concepts and teachings. Grace not as hearsay, grace not as a belief, or grace as an "offer" of a transcendent deity, but the very fabric of reality.

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Maybe to stimulate a response or two..........in the title of the book i.e. "wounded" healer. It suggests some sort of reciprocation. That is, NOT the one who is already healed, the "master", the perfect one, as the one who heals - or as being able to heal. But rather the suggestion that those who know and acknowledge their "wounds" are more able to help others - and thus be helped. 

Any thoughts?

 

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My own thought is that "perfection" is an awful idea. Involved with its pursuit is judgement ( of others/of oneself ), self hate - and obstructions to appreciating what is and thus stifling gratitude. For me the heart of reality is Mercy and Grace - how can that fabric/heart know itself within "perfection"?(And trying to squeeze the idea of perfection back in by positing a "finality" towards which we "progress" for me just corrupts the time we are actually in)

So, "Your not OK, I'm not OK, but that's OK"......or "Mutual forgiveness of each vice opens the gates of paradise".....

I think now that seeking the "meaning of it all" is a red herring. 

"Love has no why" ( Eckhart )

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Posted (edited)

Derek,

I like what you say here. Personally, i  look at it as everything is perfect 'as is' for the moment. Now that doesn't mean that i won't be instrumental or take action in planning or making changes but rather indicates an acceptance of 'what is' as perfect for that moment in order to make choices and decisions that preclude judgement , ungratefulness or internal resistance.

Joseph

PS Do i always succeed in this endeavor of looking at things this way? Of course not, but that's also perfect for the moment.

 

Edited by JosephM
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16 hours ago, tariki said:

But rather the suggestion that those who know and acknowledge their "wounds" are more able to help others - and thus be helped. 

I hadn't chimed in Derek as I don't know an awful lot about Jung (although you have piqued my interest).  However your post trying to stimulate a response certainly rings true for me.

About 18 years ago I left our State's police force after serving about 13 years, during which time I attended probably 20 or so suicides.  People jumping in front of trains, hanging themselves, shots to the head, car exhaust through the window, etc.  I always wondered whether they were brave to take their own life or just too gutless to face life.

It wasn't until I seriously considered committing suicide some 8 or so years ago (I was suffering anxiety & depression brought on by financial reasons at the time, but soon thereafter suffered mental anguish about my childhood indoctrination and needing to 'believe' in Jesus as my personal saviour in order to avoid Hell.  The problem was that I couldn't make myself believe this as it just went against my principles of justice and it seemed plain wrong to me.  That didn't stop the thoughts from tearing me up though and even with a wife and young kids at the time, I thought I was going to have to kill myself to make the pain stop, to escape this hole that I couldn't get out of mentally.

Thankfully I did get through that period without killing myself (obviously), after which I was very curious to better understand Christianity.  Was there another way to understand it other than what I had been taught?  Previously I had written off what I had been taught about Jesus & God because it simply didn't feel right, in fact it felt wrong and harmful.  I now wanted to understand 'why' it didn't feel right which then led me down a whole other path toward a better understanding of history and Christianity.

It also drove me to volunteering with a crisis hotline to help others who may be suicidal.  I learnt a lot more about suicide and felt that by volunteering I could help others in need.

Acknowledging my 'wounds' concerning Christianity was important (as was a better understanding of mental health) especially on the crisis line as we were trained to not to let our personal beliefs creep into influencing the call. I won't say it's always easy to ignore those wounds and they still do hurt sometimes, however by acknowledging and understanding them better I am freed to help others.  And in turn, I almost always inevitably find I am taught something or otherwise helped in return.  Sometimes it's just a sentence or two that triggers something in me and other times it might be a a piece of information or interpretation of something that helps me clarify my thinking.

So for me, I would indeed say that knowing and acknowledging some of my wounds has indeed made me more able to help others and in doing do, I in return am helped also.

It's a win-win really! :)

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Thanks Paul, really good. 

My mind is bit up in the air at the moment. I seem to thrive on clarity but for the moment too many loose ends. But all good, it does not bother me.

Really, I know very little about Jung. But I'm enjoying the biography. Funnily enough there are a lot of quotes from Jung's autobiographical book, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" and I actually read that in my twenties - I find some of this content quite stunning and wonder where it went on first reading! 

Jung seems to have investigated, and thought long and hard, about our current european mentality as opposed to more traditional cultures. One phrase that caught my mind was the "dreariness of calculated processes", the "cheerless clockwork fantasy" of our modern lives. I thought of some words from a "Book of Hours" by Thomas Merton, when he spoke of the dawn of a new day, as we awaken, our minds slowly filling with "self", with anticipations and desires, while the birds awake to a song, to just "be". I think Jung was always seeking to integrate both modes. 

Joseph, my first paragraph here can be taken as a response to your own post. Thanks. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, tariki said:

Jung seems to have investigated, and thought long and hard, about our current european mentality as opposed to more traditional cultures. One phrase that caught my mind was the "dreariness of calculated processes", the "cheerless clockwork fantasy" of our modern lives. I thought of some words from a "Book of Hours" by Thomas Merton, when he spoke of the dawn of a new day, as we awaken, our minds slowly filling with "self", with anticipations and desires, while the birds awake to a song, to just "be". I think Jung was always seeking to integrate both modes.

I think we can all appreciate the "dreariness of calculated processes", the "cheerless clockwork fantasy" of our modern lives.  Probably most of us spend the bulk of our week away from our families and loved ones, away from our homes and communities, doing 'work' we don't really love but need to do to earn money, and I think we mainly do this because we don't know any other way or can't figure out how to implement any other way of living.  Anyone who does swim against this stream is notably 'different', and most of us don't really like 'different'.  I'm reminded of a book I read about 6 years ago by an author named Tom Hodgkinson - "How to be idle" and it's arguments against our current 'work for a living;' culture.

One thing though that I'd note about Merton's comment is that I wonder if the birds perhaps are entering a just as cheerless clockwork fantasy at 4 or 5 in the morning - their 'songs' are them staking their territory and trying to attract a mate.  Two probably pretty stressful activities.  So maybe our birds are awakening to anxiety and the pressures of their lives that we actually don't understand.  Perhaps a bird might think "I wish I didn't have to sing and fight for my 'space' every day and I wish I could just wake up to a lovely bird-wife sitting next to me in the morning"! :)

Edited by PaulS
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Ah ha Paul, I detect a note of cynicism.....:D. Jung himself seems to speak of two parts to his life, the number 1 part of the persona presented to the world, the part of everyday concerns, ambitions and drives. Number 2 he knew as the "eternal" ( the collective unconscious, the archetypes - can't quite grasp these in any significant way at the moment ) ,that which just IS. I think he saw the integration of the two as the process of individuation. 

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Posted (edited)

Just reading on Jung himself says that "only the wounded physician can heal" and then "only to the extent that he has healed himself". Not quite PC these days.........."he"? :) (But could perhaps point towards deeper areas needing to be healed)

So it seems to be a process, on-going. Not sure if Jung saw an "end" to it in some sort of finished/completed "self". All might be revealed - or not. (I would stick with the journey itself being home)

I was dipping into a little book on zen gardens, and it quoted from Dogen, and in a strange way this was relevant to this thread.......how's that for syncrionity? ( another Jung buzz word) Dogen said "who was it said that mind means thoughts, opinions, ideas and concepts? Mind means trees, fence posts, tiles and grasses"

How is that relevant here? Not sure...:D

Edit. PS Its "synchronicity"!

Edited by tariki
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4 hours ago, tariki said:

Ah ha Paul, I detect a note of cynicism.....:D. Jung himself seems to speak of two parts to his life, the number 1 part of the persona presented to the world, the part of everyday concerns, ambitions and drives. Number 2 he knew as the "eternal" ( the collective unconscious, the archetypes - can't quite grasp these in any significant way at the moment ) ,that which just IS. I think he saw the integration of the two as the process of individuation. 

You are mixing conceptualizations.  Go back to your idea that all are one and set Jung's peculiar neo-Freudian terminology aside.

The archetypes and collective unconscious are the loosely formed metanarratives created by Humanity as a whole.  The hero, the savior, the warrior, the mother, the father, the Good King &c.

The persona is created by the individual on top of this common archetypical base from personal experience and temperment/personality.

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10 minutes ago, Burl said:

You are mixing conceptualizations.  Go back to your idea that all are one and set Jung's peculiar neo-Freudian terminology aside.

The archetypes and collective unconscious are the loosely formed metanarratives created by Humanity as a whole.  The hero, the savior, the warrior, the mother, the father, the Good King &c.

The persona is created by the individual on top of this common archetypical base from personal experience and temperment/personality.

Hi Burl, well, I said earlier in the thread that there were a lot of loose ends, things up in the air. That is how it is with me, I try not to judge as I stumble along, try more to empty myself and hear what another is saying. Difficult, but worth the effort, even if I fail. So I read on, allowing things to "become so of themselves". 

My "idea", as I have sought to explain umpteen times, is NOT that "all are one", but that things are "not two". Sorry if that difference is difficult for you to grasp. 

So really, I have no idea what you are striving to say. Sorry. 

 

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14 minutes ago, tariki said:

Hi Burl, well, I said earlier in the thread that there were a lot of loose ends, things up in the air. That is how it is with me, I try not to judge as I stumble along, try more to empty myself and hear what another is saying. Difficult, but worth the effort, even if I fail. So I read on, allowing things to "become so of themselves". 

My "idea", as I have sought to explain umpteen times, is NOT that "all are one", but that things are "not two". Sorry if that difference is difficult for you to grasp. 

So really, I have no idea what you are striving to say. Sorry. 

 

Oh well.  Just remember Jung was a Freudian psychotherapist and read him in that context.

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So there is non-dualism and dualism. Dualism is the world of "either/or", non-dualism the world of "both/and". The first is a pretty static world where a "self" looks out in judgement of the world around it, that world itself a collection of things each with its own centre. The second is our world of "becoming", of "process", of inter-being. Also of empathy, mercy, grace. In Buddhism, the Dharmakaya. Not a deity on high, the ultimate "self", dispensing his/her understanding.

Jung:- nothing worse can happen to one than to be completely understood. 

" The core of the individual is a mystery of life that is snuffed out when it is 'grasped' " ( a biographer of Jung )

 

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13 minutes ago, Burl said:

Oh well.  Just remember Jung was a Freudian psychotherapist and read him in that context.

No, in fact he wasn't. He broke with Freud quite early on. 

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26 minutes ago, tariki said:

So there is non-dualism and dualism. Dualism is the world of "either/or", non-dualism the world of "both/and". The first is a pretty static world where a "self" looks out in judgement of the world around it, that world itself a collection of things each with its own centre. The second is our world of "becoming", of "process", of inter-being. Also of empathy, mercy, grace. In Buddhism, the Dharmakaya. Not a deity on high, the ultimate "self", dispensing his/her understanding.

Jung:- nothing worse can happen to one than to be completely understood. 

" The core of the individual is a mystery of life that is snuffed out when it is 'grasped' " ( a biographer of Jung )

 

I get the difference between 'either/or' and 'both/and' and I also understand the idea of becoming, process and inter-being. However it still seems that in 'both/and' there remains a dualism. This is not an absolute dualism but it is at least a dualism that happens in time and space and is a necessary condition of our knowing. In other words, man, through evolution, comes to know himself in this dualism, then man moves 'beyond/through' this dualism as the way to become Human.

 

I think :+}

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

I get the difference between 'either/or' and 'both/and' and I also understand the idea of becoming, process and inter-being. However it still seems that in 'both/and' there remains a dualism. This is not an absolute dualism but it is at least a dualism that happens in time and space and is a necessary condition of our knowing. In other words, man, through evolution, comes to know himself in this dualism, then man moves 'beyond/through' this dualism as the way to become Human.

 

I think :+}

"Not absolute" I see that as some sort of agreement. :) Buddhist non-dualism rests on "not two" rather than "all is one". To know reality is to live it, not to be able to pin it down in ideas and concepts all according to the dictates of logic or worse, a theological formula derived from a book.

My old favorite.....

O Saichi, will you tell us of Other Power?

Yes, but there is neither self power nor Other Power

What is, is the Graceful Acceptance only. 

 

For myself, any form of teleological anticipation corrupts the knowing. What "comes to be" will always be ungraspable.

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2 hours ago, tariki said:

 

Jung:- nothing worse can happen to one than to be completely understood. 

 

i think there may be wisdom in that statement. :)

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By the way. Happy fathers Day Derek.

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5 minutes ago, JosephM said:

By the way. Happy fathers Day Derek.

Thank you. I received a lovely key-ring ( plus the obligatory socks ) made of little silver nuggets spelling out the names of our two grandchildren, as well as "grandad". 

( The socks do have "Best Dad in the World" on one pair and "No1 Grandad" on the others )

Happy Fathers Day to whoever!

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Posted (edited)

I must have the same socks plus the shirt. I guess we will have to share the "No 1 Grandad"  title. In July of this year i am scheduled to inherit a " No 1 Great Grandad " title

Edited by JosephM
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5 hours ago, tariki said:

"Not absolute" I see that as some sort of agreement. :) Buddhist non-dualism rests on "not two" rather than "all is one". To know reality is to live it, not to be able to pin it down in ideas and concepts all according to the dictates of logic or worse, a theological formula derived from a book.

My old favorite.....

O Saichi, will you tell us of Other Power?

Yes, but there is neither self power nor Other Power

What is, is the Graceful Acceptance only. 

 

For myself, any form of teleological anticipation corrupts the knowing. What "comes to be" will always be ungraspable.

I guess I have never had too much of a problem with the 'knowing' issue. I believe that there is a 'knowing' in the doing or the living (of Reality) but we are self-conscious beings and we become by knowing the world and ourselves in the world. It seems that life, born into the world as it is, evolved to consciousness and then, as man, to self-consciousness (I'll let the scientists among us comment further) and now the 'task' is to choose the Power that is in and through all, and, 'consciously' and by our efforts, enable all to become (or realize) one.

So I agree with O'Saichi (is that Irish?) that, ultimately, there is truly no self power or other power - only the Power that Is. 

Again, seems that we need the relative dualism to freely become.

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8 hours ago, thormas said:

O'Saichi (is that Irish?) 

:D

 

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15 hours ago, JosephM said:

I guess we will have to share the "No 1 Grandad"  title.

I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere about dualism v non-dualism.........but my minds gone blank at the moment.

:D

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Posted (edited)

Meandering on through the biography of Jung, just a brief comment regarding an earlier post of Burl's regarding how to "read" Jung.

Jung diverged from the base opinions and methods of Freud very early on, in spite of Freud ( the older man ) seeing him ( Jung ) as some sort of disciple/follower. Jung seemed to see the psychoanalytic methods and assumptions of Freud as being far too reductionist. Jung himself saw the approach of a human being to the numinous as being the fundamental catalyst of what he called "individuation". Freud seemed to see release of repression and the sexual drive as being far more primary, and most of that which Jung saw as the "numinous" as just illusion and fantasy.

(Jung refused to accept the label of "mystic", which some sought to give him, insisting that his own approach was fundamentally empirical)

Me, I remain wary of too much "calculation" :)

Edited by tariki
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