Internal Infrastructure: Building Bridges

The mind is prone to wandering. The ego has a tendency toward striving. To ground oneself becomes a continual challenge while withstanding the pushes and pulls of life. It is as if you are a boat being pushed to and fro by the turbulence of the sea in search of an anchor to drop, which would allow, at least, a brief reprieve from the waves. An anchor fixes you to a point in a physical sense.

However, its function in this case is not a physical sense; rather, it is a mental (or psychic) image of an object that offers a sense of feeling more grounded. The mind will soon wander once more or confront another unsettling visitor who comes and knocks at our mind’s door; so it is with life.

There is always more to be drawn out from the shadows—as long as light continues to shine. The scope of the unknowable is and will always be unknown; through repetition and indirect of methods of approximations, the distance between the known and unknown can be lessened, inferences and hypotheses can be made with reasonable certainty—however, it will forever remain a limit of human knowledge to determine the extent to which content stills remains lurking in the darkness of the depths. The totality can never be reached through rational thought, only approximated; to assert otherwise is to demonstrate one’s unconsciousness by pretending to have mapped and ascertained that which, by its very nature, is unknowable, both in scope and nature.

This point of not only acknowledging the existence of that which is unconscious but also appreciating the necessary way in which it exceeds are limited ego-consciousness is a point Carl Jung raises throughout his works. Jung was emphatic that the unconscious cannot be ignored nor overlooked, and Warren Colman encapsulates Jung’s sentiment on the matter quite succinctly, writing, “Jung repeatedly insists on this radically unknown quality of the unconscious: since everything known is a content of consciousness, the very idea of the unconscious presupposes all that is unknown and, since it is unknown, we cannot have any knowledge of its nature or its limits. All that we can say about it is said on the basis of its manifestations in consciousness” (p. 157, Papadopoulos, 2006).

Therefore, according to Jung, through this acknowledgment of some unknown, unconscious factor that exists within and without, our task emerges: to form a relationship with this unconscious self from the stance of our ego-consciousness. It is through this relational bridge that we ferry back-and-forth from one side to the other, striving toward an increasing sense of wholeness. Jung referred to this as the “process of individuation.” It is a manner of forming an integrated personality of selfhood that is unique, full, and rich through the arduous and continuous process of self-refinement. A central method of this process is our relationship with those unconscious parts of ourselves and how we work toward reintegrating those pieces that are split off for one reason or another. However, all of this hinges on the connection between the two sides, conscious (ego)/unconscious, if one side is denied existence, then not only are these methods of healing not allowed, but “dangers” emerge from this “one-sidedness” that can lead to “psychic epidemics” (1959).

References

Papadopoulos, R. K. (2006). The Handbook of Jungian Psychology: Theory, Practice and Applications (1st ed.) [E-book]. Routledge.

Jung, C. G., & Hull, R. (1959/1990). The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1) (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, 48) (2nd ed.). Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G., Hull, R. F. C., & Shamdasani, S. (1958/2010). The Undiscovered Self: With Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams (Jung Extracts, 37) (Revised ed.). Princeton University Press.

An Analysis of Initial Conditions

One of the principle issues in philosophy is causality. Whether engaged in from an academic viewpoint or not the matter of causality is inescapable. In order to have an ordered view of our worlds’, we must have some degree of an organizing principle. And, in order to do this, we also must be able to manipulate objects.

Initially, as children, we learn to manipulate objects in the external world. It is from these experiments that we then can derive and infer broader rules of how objects are to be organized.

Causality is a central concept to understanding the other governing principles that constitute specific “relational frames.” We learn that a given object has a specific name that refers to it; we learn to coordinate objects (e.g., this is next to that); we learn to compare (e.g., this is better than that).

These frames are interesting in their own right, however, they are subordinate to the governing principles, such as causality. In fact, it is chiefly causality that is necessary for the appropriate functioning of one’s ability to organize.

The child is able to experiment and learn from these external objects through an innate sense of causality in conjunction with a basic understanding of laws of nature, specifically time and space (space-time).

Now, these external objects are not just randomly tossed about in the child’s environment, rather, as the child continues to learn, they develop a model or representation of the external world, akin to a map.

These objects have names, coordinates, relations, and a whole host of complex calculations can now be performed. However, this new layer of complexity is taking place within the child’s model of the internal world.

Thus, the external objects, including people, are no longer bound to only the outside world, but they are now a part of the growing internal world.

Here, causality returns to the foreground, as it becomes more nuanced and convoluted with the introduction of the emergence of the idea of self and the internal world.

For example, as children, if child A pushes child B, and there exists an adult who witnesses the order of events, then the correct causality is clear to the adult, and likely known to both children, but their finger-pointing is irrelevant, for there exists an objective vantage point from which causality can be evaluated.

This ceases to be the case as the internal world becomes more complex and one’s sense of self further develops. Armed with agendas, biases, and defensive weaponry, the battle for objective reality becomes one of immense uncertainty.

For example, if adult A pushes adult B, and there exists adult C who witnesses the order of this event, then the order of causality is no longer clear. For adult C cannot serve as some kind of Archimedean point, as the presence of the adult in the previous example could.

This results in a variety of distortions that extend much further than these simplistic situations. For example, this challenge posed by conceptualizing causality is one of the issues within the conventional Western model of medicine. There is such an emphasis on treating the effect that the cause becomes of less importance; however, this doesn’t take into account the significant role of circular causality within systems and rather focuses on linear causality.

As a general rule, linear approaches are suitable for arriving at a solution, but there exist issues whose nature are not fully accounted for by this type of approach, such as the double-bind, which we will explore in subsequent writings.

A Solemn Reflection on Humanity

Consumption and greed are how many feed.

Although there are those whose desire for might supersedes their own foresight.

Blessed be the right, for they know of no sleep tonight.

Rest be assured all of whom refuse to be allured.

Led down into the depths of deception,

Eyes blurred by the grandeur produced from a sense of righteousness.

Lest our souls never forget this, that we are but singularities.

Let our minds never become clouded to the point where we view despair with unyielding eyes,

Where are convictions of morality overlook actuality and meet human necessity with no degree of decency.

Work within to not succumb to those darker urges of rage nor resign to a state of callous indifference.

For then, what is anything for, if we know no more of one another;

And, instead, have found sustenance from believing we are above all others?