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This Jungian Life

Feb 18, 2021

Subjective truths yield multiple realities—political and religious truths famously differ. Objective truths rely on independent realities—two plus two must ever be four, not five. Jung’s four functions of consciousness help us reconcile inner and outer realities. Sensation causes physiological reactions to untruths in ourselves and in others; our bodies are wired for congruence.

We can also notice and name feelings, beliefs and desires: are we inflamed and defensive, or calm and considered? Our thinking function insists on impartial reason, and intuition lets us know when something is “off.” Conscious functions of sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition allow us to engage all our faculties of knowing. Centered in self, we can regard the decision, person, or situation at hand with internal integrity that is congruent with external reality: truth.  

Here's the dream we analyze:

The Strange Visitor: "I was in my house, the one my family and I have lived in for the past 16 years. It’s a small ranch. But in my dream, there was no furniture and all the walls were painted deep, glossy red, almost like blood. But the walls were not in good shape. They were scraped and nicked. On one wall, the drywall was missing completely and the studs were exposed. I was with my two boys, but my wife was not there. Suddenly a man walked in the house who I had never seen before, but somehow I knew exactly who he was. So I asked my two boys (they are teenagers), “Do you know who this is?” They did not know. So I told them, “It’s Mr. Harkness. He used to live here before we did.” (In real life, Mr. Harkness died a few decades ago and we bought the home from his own two sons. When we bought the home, Mr. Harkness’s widow had just died because of a fire in the home; I don’t think she died in it, but in the hospital afterward. Again, I had never met Mr. Harkness and I’ve never thought about him.). He appeared in my dream as an old man with silver frame glasses and a tan Carhartt jacket. For some reason, I asked him, “What was it like to live here in 1955?” (That’s when the home was built). To which he replied in a very ominous tone, “I don’t know, I wasn’t the first one to live here, there was another before me.” I was very surprised and didn’t believe him, because I thought I knew he was the one who built the home. So the four of us began to inspect the home and saw it was in rough shape. But it’s strange, because though it looked rough, it was still very bright and sunny inside and felt hopeful. When we saw the wall with missing drywall and exposed studs, I said right away to my two sons, “Well, boys, let’s go to the hardware store and get some supplies to fix this wall today.” I assumed Mr. Harkness would be impressed with my work ethic and drive to get the house repaired so quickly. But he simply moved slowly to the corner of the home where the broken down wall met another wall, and he leaned over, pointed to the floor, and said, “Do you see that? Plumbing tape. You need to fix that plumbing there first. Son, take your time, it doesn’t need to be fixed today. You don’t want to miss anything important like this.” I breathed a sigh of relief." 



The Master and His Emissary, by Iain McGilchrist

The Nix, by Nathan Hill

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt