Saturday, April 26, 2008


“If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against. He lives in “The House of Gathering.” Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.” —Carl Jung from May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude (pp.198-99).

The key word in the preceding passage is “projections”—a psychological term for the mental phenomena by which we project our own subconscious onto the world and its inhabitants. Where we see evil, we are the evil. Where we see wrong, we are that wrong. It means, in other words, that we “are what we see” out there in the world, forcing the molds from our own minds onto the formless world. Each of us creates the world he sees. I do understand that when we have caught a rapist in the act or do know that a child is being molested, we are not the doer of those deeds, but we do, in all our judgments and manipulations of others create the conditions from which other’s harmful acts grow. We lay the seeds for our own destruction with our ignorance of ourselves. When we know ourselves we can’t help but add to the world rather than subtract from it. I can’t think of a more important lesson for each and all of us to understand, for it is, if you will allow me to be so bold, the beginning of a truth we can all live with.

The osprey couple…
busily tidying up
their summer timeshare.*

*Osprey go south in the winter and return to nest in the spring.
They are birds of prey who eat fish.
One of my walks down by the Columbia River passes
a couple of man made nesting platforms
to which osprey return each year. My haiku should now make sense.

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