One of the people who really influenced my life a lot was Carl Jung. Of Course he was dead by the time I came to some sort of awareness about life but his works really opened my eyes to a lot that we take for granted. I was the type of student that would cut class to go and read in the library stuff that interested me. Which brings me to one of my favourite quotes ever from Frank Zappa:
I spent most of my college years in the library if that makes sense. Ironically enough I spent a lot of time looking at old alchemical texts from the 10th and 11th century onwards. Unsually when I mention that to people I hear snickering. Many people think that alchemy was solely about trying to change base metals like lead into gold nad that is partly true. What is also so is that this wasn’t the complete picture.
One thing I learned from being in a long-term relationship is that it is possible for both people to be right at the same time. Yes my underwear is full of ghastly holes in such a way as to make a mockery of the word underwear, but also at the same time they are still underwear. One thing I learned from Jung and many other sources was that alchemical was also a language that detailed the spiritual transformation of man and his baser qualities into something higher. Jung wrote a lot about alchemy and from that we get the process of individuation. The only reason I am talking about this is because I had a thanksgiving day dinner after a heavy workout and one of my favourite bloggers shared a fragment of her dream where she was wondering around with a phallus.
It was interesting not the image – the image is a common on in myth and in dream symbolism. Let me tell you why it was interesting.
Carl Jung and Individuation
According to Jungian psychology, individuation is a process of psychological integration, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. “In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated [from other human beings]; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.”
as someone said in the past human beings have progressed from the bullock cart to the super sonic get plane but we have not changed much. We still all are trying to be grounded in a deeper experience of ourselves. We all go through puberty and have to come to terms with it ramifications etc. We have to prepare ourselves for death, for the highs and lows. Ultimately this has not changed at all since the dawn of human beings. The process of individuation is as old as humanity itself.
Psychology and Alchemy is the twelfth volume in the Princeton/Bollingen edition of the Collected Works of Carl Jung. In it Jung argues for a reevaluation of the symbolism of Alchemy as being intimately related to the psychoanalytical process. Using a cycle of dreams of one of his patients he shows how the symbols used by the Alchemists occur in the psyche as part of the reservoir of mythological images drawn upon by the individual in their dream states. Jung draws an analogy between the Great Work of the Alchemists and the process of reintegration and individuation of the psyche in the modern psychiatric patient.
Anyway you may be surprised to know that the image of a hermaphrodite is in alchemy is a significant one. it is the coming together of opposites. In the process of becoming an person and one has to pass through the state of balancing both aspects of their personality:the masculine and the feminine.
The way I see things just as there is yin and yang, there are feminine and masculine processes within our psyche. Are dreams are a language a means of communication between the the most inward parts of ourselves
This image is one depiction of the coming together of opposites: male and female sun and moon. What’s interesting is that this figures is crowned – which to me is lauding the balanced synthesis of opposites. It sounds very Hegelian in a way.
ok this rant is about to end
(thinking aloud here)
I am always so surprised how much we have lost as a society. Dreams are weird things, not much taught is paid to them. We don’t know how to really read body language on a whole. I think we are completely divorced from ourselves as a culture. i think we have been reduced to just consumers and workers and vehicle of ideology.
We suppress a huge of emotions, we don’t allow ourselves to feel many things we lock them away and ignore them and then later on when we have an outburst of emotional or feeling publically or private we are left wondering what happened. Many of us use drugs or something else to escape.
I really think we imprison ourselves,
anyways just a rant