Author Topic: The legacy of Jung's ideas  (Read 3811 times)


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The legacy of Jung's ideas
« on: August 20, 2008, 02:29:28 PM »
I suspect that the process of individuation may be inherently difficult to measure and that any effort to measure it is going to be problematic.  If one of the goals of individuation is a better orientation to one's life or a better adaptation then how is that measured?  Is that measured in terms of happiness?  Is there a happiometer?  If there were would it even be an appropriate tool to use?

It may be that one of the pitfalls of a scientificly valid search for truth is that the truth that is found is usually objectively neutral as to the knower's own personal value.  It may be that the work of Individuation simply opens us up to that lightly crucifying objective nature of things and that our real happiness comes from the seemingly separate act of making choices with more open minds.  Perhaps these are the same choices but made in a deeper way that allows us an incremental increase in conviction that our choices are right for ourselves.  For me it is the Wound that is necessary for self-knowledge and the differentiation of consciousness.  That is a hard and unpleasant fact and what I see is revealed to me in my own work of self-understanding.

What I would like to see arise out of Jungian thought is a deeper understanding in our culture, in the most expanded context possible, of the nature of truth and human personality.  I think that valuing a Democratic society over a religious or economic one is an historically profound step in this direction.  I think that today, what we see in politics at the highest level is a Catch 22 scenario: the people are tired of politicians representing our particular interests.  The more we complain about our politicians the more they become polarized and susceptible to mistakes in our view.  And when a politician actually cooperates with opposing parties and gets something done, he is derided as going back on his word.  For example, when Senator Obama recently said that he would consider allowing off-shore drilling in exchange for something else, the media proclaimed him as wishy-washy.  My first thought was "great, here is a politician that might get something done!" 

I think Jung's psychological theory of personality types, although something of the red-headed step-child to the rest of his work, is a profound example of how we must come to understand each other as different yet equal in many ways.  It is the problem of the shadow and the animi, of the projection of inner demons on outer groups and individuals, it is the mystery of love that is unfolded and explored if we understand the deep implications that we construct our truths preferentially using one of a finite set of conscious functions and that others who are differently oriented are our compliments and not our enemies. 

In large measure we still relate to one another as if we are all basically copies of ourselves.  Jung has revealed, through his typology, a frame for mapping a world large enough to contain differences without fundamentally devaluing each other, a significant step toward distinguishing the mote from the beam so to speak.  I think the integration of this kind of knowledge into our world view would be the real benefit of Jung's work and would create a higher moral context for our society to build itself and all of its component relationships on.

There is also the technology of virtual reality which, I feel, will allow many of the conflicts and problems that are projected onto the world to be projected into a space one degree more abstract.  This would allow for the greater stability of the whole as the society contains a space where virtual competitions or even wars can be fought (even personally instead of vicariously through attending sporting events) and other personal risks taken in a way more measured that the "real world" can afford.  This aspect would have little to do with Jungian thought per se, but I think that it lends itself to an explanation in Jungian terms.  Virtual reality technology has the opportunity to create a space in which our inner conflicts can find more and more outlets for constructive re-presentation.  Of course this will mean that our virtual realities will take on more and more of a burden of having to manage all of this projection, but that is all going towards the human experience of consciously designing and improving its own mental-social container. 

One step forward in the development of the psychological role that a virtual reality can play has been made by the popular reality TV show.  These shows setup a temporary space of reality with some very basic parameters but leave the winner to be determined by the community psychological dynamic.  Now imagine this format made more available to more people by improvements to computer simulated reality.  Then consider what time and experience may be able to produce from this.  Some day, perhaps, before I die, there will be TV shows based on the playback of virtual reality games setup something like our current reality TV shows and with graphics more sophisticated than even today's most realistic games.  Perhaps the rituals of the coming age will arise out of the most archetypally well-crafted online games of tomorrow's virtual realities.