digitised, expanded and put online: 4 march 2003

23 february 2003 the whole of us

09:05 Reading the glossary of C G Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections* I am finding that these strange semi-objective descriptions [which I've read before] now resonate and arouse something in me - seeming to awaken whatever my [largely objective?] thought and experience has concealed (perhaps)... a process of some significance, I think - so I'm attracted to reading more and to seeing what happens...

...As I continue to annotate these definitions I feel some excitement, even a mild apprehension - I feel as I read some of the entries (anima, animus, persona, unconscious, etc.) that I am releasing, or gaining access to, a far greater interest in self/others than formerly... more interest than I had in myself and in others when seeing us all 'as instruments of daily life' (with its purposeful outcomes and awarenesses, so much less than the whole)... It's as if each person's name, and worldly presence, is a fragment of a huge ungovernable entity that each one of us is!... and that I've lived not attending to the whole of it or us - only to parts that can be rationally perceived and described.

As I digitise those handwritten notes I don't quite recapture that strange, almost frightening (and new to me) impression of Jung's categories - but I do recall these words from the last paragraph of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past**

...I should not fail ... to describe men first and foremost as occupying a place ... immoderately prolonged - for simultaneously, like giants plunged into the years, they touch epochs that are immensely far apart, separated by the accretions of many many days - in the dimension of Time.

But as soon as I write that I realise that Proust was writing only of visible and imaginable things whereas Jung was attempting, within the convention of supposedly scientific language, to include the indescribable, the supernatural.

These thoughts were interrupted by people responding to advertisements for the somewhat battered Volkswagen campervan that I've owned since 1972 and am reluctantly selling... Soon a man and a woman, who seemed keen to restore its bodywork and to give it a new life, arrived and bought it immediately...

After driving the van for the last time I walked rather sadly away - remembering how easily and automatically my so well-practiced hands, feet and nervous system controlled it on that last journey... and now those skills will not be used again.

That is 'the other unconscious' as someone called it, the wondrous ability with which our bodies can and do animate all aspect of skilled living - from driving to talking, from walking to breathing, the vast universe of learnt skills and autonomous body functions without which we'd be forever unable to do what we do - without thought.

After leaving the van I passed a house where I lived fifteen years ago - which made me ask what is it I've done, or failed to do, in that time... and led me to resolve to 'change gear' for the next fifteen years... adapting not only to not having a campervan any more but to leaving life - now that most of mine is already lived... Time to change gear! To attempt what I've not done yet.

As I walked towards the Heath I heard loud screams as two teenage girls encountered a dead rat on the pavement. And then I passed a lawn full of crocuses - already in bloom... winter is over.

Feeling a little shocked, and yet enlivened, by these experiences I stopped at an outdoor cafe to sit down and drink some tea. I was surrounded by the cries and yells of children - all running about and making noises and movements that I could neither describe nor comprehend - for they seem, to anyone watching and listening, to be meaningless - though I guess they are not...

All this is life, in its surprisingness, beyond thought, beyond expectation, beyond fixity, beyond reason, yet all of it coherent in some way that is not mystery but the wholeness that extends beyond words.

*C G Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Collins, London 1971. In his definition of dream I underlined these words:
...All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There is ... still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it never so infantile, never so grotesque, never so immoral.
**Marcel Proust, 'Time Regained', volume twelve of Remembrance of Things Past, translated by Andreas Mayor, Chatto and Windus, London 1970.

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© 2003 john chris jones

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