Carl Jung on living our dual nature

Wednesday April 12, 2006

(9:10 a.m.) I’m a little confused about what I’m doing, and what I’m supposed to be doing, and what I could be doing.

Am I writing about psychic experiences? Goofing off and not doing a whole lot more? Or what? And – prime question! – why am I seemingly unable to concentrate on anything? David?

You are suffering from diffusion, and this is something anyone following your path will have to cope with. You know how we (TGU) have told you that in bodies we are focused, out of bodies we are diffuse? You are experiencing being stretched between two states.

Anything wrong with it?

Very much not wrong! But it takes some getting used to.

Any suggestions?

To get the full benefit from the condition without experiencing the disadvantages unnecessarily, you need get the cooperation of your remote provinces, so to speak. You can’t just command and go; you have to be able to command and have people follow! Much of what psychology knows it knows, as Dion Fortune said, from the wrong end. By thinking of the individual as a unit, psychology thinks there is a core and strange outbreaks of “dissociated” elements. Well, the very word “dissociated” says it – they are parts that have left the society that is your consciousness.

Really, this is a lecture, and it is something you should get Carl Jung to talk about.

Oh my! Talk about anxiety. With his material so well known, all I need is to come out with what I say he says and have it be obvious nonsense to one who knows. But – I can hear his impatience – go ahead, Dr. Jung.

[CGJ:] Your friend Colin Wilson is quite wrong to call me a fraud, but quite right to say that I knew more than I admitted to knowing. How could I set out in print what I knew but could not prove, when it would destroy my influence? I in my way was a bridge, as was Freud, and it was essential that modern man cross that bridge, or he would have his back to the river and all the hostile forces of the neglected unconscious pressing him. It was better to be a bridge than to be one more burned bridge. What use is it to anyone to be “right” and be discarded? Better to be less “right” and more useful!

So, for these reasons I could not say all I knew; nor is it quite correct to say that I knew anything. The farther I proceeded, the more clearly I saw that I knew nothing, or rather than anything I knew could be judged from a different point of view and be seen – quite accurately – as wrong. So I became quite uninterested in being “right” and concentrated instead on expressing as best I could who I was, for in who I was, was contained the message I had come into the world to deliver. In other words, my point of view is of value. Thinking that my point of view is the only valid way to see things is foolishness, and not worthy of a mature individual.

Now, you in your experiences are not in the process of proving anything even to yourself. This is hard for the ego to accept sometimes, to know that we are ignorant. Yet it should be a great relief as well. If all you can do is report what you see, nonetheless that is a task within your powers. I did nothing more than that. No explorer ever does, or ever should. The theories that we concoct flow from our experiences, and are valid because they are integral to that point of view. But we are not God and so we cannot easily see that all contradictions are as true as what they contradict, if you can only get to the other side of them, to the other point of view.

So I will assist you to concoct a theory to explain your experience. This is the myth you already live by; I merely make it more explicit for you, at your request, as though you were a fellow explorer – as you are – or a patient consulting me on the meaning of his dreams and other experiences – which you are.

Pretty nice, to have Carl Jung for an analyst!

You are not autograph-collecting, remember. Besides, we have a history unsuspected by you. This is not germane to this topic save to remind you – as you have already been told – that pedestals are distancing and therefore not helpful to the flow of information.

Well, I know that. I have always felt an affinity for you because our birthdays are adjacent. At least, that’s what struck me. But, point taken.

Here is the myth you are currently living by. You – an individual person walking around in the 20th and 21st centuries – are also a community unbounded by time or space. Your dual nature includes all the physical characteristics implied by the body – genetics, environment, social belief-systems (including conflict among the belief systems), your astrology – Mr. Leo! – your habits, talents, predilections, and shadow. So, you think of yourself (to oversimplify) as an Italian-American left-handed Leo with a bad temper, a talent for language, an affinity for history, an artistic temperament reinforced by genetic inheritance; you are a sort of mystic socialist, if such category existed, a religious but unchurched mystic, etc. All this is well and good as a shorthand for the genetic and environmental factors that seem to have shaped you.

Yet on “the other side” as you well express it, you are not the American center of your universe, but one among many, enjoying chief status only because (and while) you are in the body – which from this side looks more like “while you are under the moving present,” or really it might be paraphrased “from your point of view.” Unlike the external constraints and boundaries imposed by time and space, internally you connect to a great number of others who you would think of as “individuals” – and you are beginning to realize how little you know of this vast territory.

These others have greater or lesser access to your consciousness – but always they have more than you realize. Much of what seems to you to be of your essence might equally well be seen as elements from “the other side” expressing.

You have sketched out some of these influences, enough for illustration. Thus you trace your talent for writing and your taste for exploring psychic matters to David; your love of the wild and nostalgia for the lost unpeopled wilderness to Joseph; your mystical Christian rooting to Bertram; your instinctive healing ability to the Egyptian; your identification with the American experience to John.

To look at it another way, John’s was the sullen refusal to live that was set you as a problem; Bertram’s was the chronic (and in his case deadly) weakness in the lungs; Joseph’s was the hatred of the rebels in the Civil war – mostly the politicians, you add, but still the point remains.

Just as one who had the data might trace all aspects of himself from his physical heredity, so he might trace the same aspects as characteristics of his inner community. It isn’t the case that one view is “right” and one “wrong,” more that either way will explain the same facts, because inner and outer are the same thing, seen from different points of view.

If we were to distinguish chicken from egg, probably we would say that physical conditions determined which non-physical influences could express. If you were a ballerina, your inner silversmith or even housewife might not express so easily! Yet even in this example you can see that some characteristics of any might come through.

Now in considering this myth remember that the other individuals we speak of – John, Joseph, David et cetera – are no more individual than you are, when seen this way. Thus you are a compound of compounds of compounds. Thus, richness of association; thus, great diversity and resource; thus, great accommodation and adaptability. But, by the same token, great potential for confusion, hostile interaction, cross-purposes, as in any other community.

One point more and we will stop. The greater the awareness, the greater the access. The greater the access, the greater the awareness. Like any other spiral, it may be followed in either direction – toward greater inclusively (love) or toward greater exclusivity (fear). Do not take this as a blanket endorsement for greater inclusively in any and all circumstances: Fear can be a valid response in dangerous circumstances! Many a person knows instinctively not to sail in these waters. But for those who can, who choose to, connect with larger portions of their own community, great benefits are to be derived.

This is the myth you are presently living, and for many it will prove to be a bridge, as was my own myth for others past, present and future. It is not the truth; there is no “the truth” that mortals can encompass; but it is “a truth” and as such it can give life to those for whom it was meant.

One thought on “Carl Jung on living our dual nature

  1. This is so helpful! “Thus, you are a compound of compounds of compounds,” and “The greater the awareness, the greater the access. The greater the access, the greater the awareness”–now I’m consciously connecting the dozen or so ‘past lives’ I can access to each other, not just to me, and thinking of each of them as compounds. Also, thinking more clearly of them as resources that may present as challenges. They come for a reason. I’m still amazed by what you bring forward and so grateful for it.

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