TRUTH TELLING: revelations & realities

Feb 18, 2021

A forest road has a ray of sunshine illuminating a section, showing the power of truth telling.
Photo Credit: John Towner via Unsplash

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 into 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


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/


  1. Mamie Allegretti

    Boy, that’s a jam packed dream. I was also thinking that one might read the plumbing tape as a plumb line – the line one uses to make sure something is vertical, upright. Mr. Harkness goes to where the 2 walls meet and points to the floor. The floor could represent the foundation of the dreamer or the truth of who he is. So, Mr. Harkness is telling the dreamer to plumb yourself first – get right with yourself first and look at your own foundation (the floor). It’s an encouraging sign that the dreamer is eager to fix the house and to get started right away. He also wants to please Mr. Harkness by fixing the house. He wants to do it today but Mr, Harkness tells him to take his time and get it right. So, plumbing the depths and getting your foundation in order is the most important thing. The hopeful feeling in the dream is encouraging, too.

  2. Omar

    Perhaps it’s a dream about ancestor’s suffering and decrepitude and ‘painting the walls with their blood’ to bring life and hope and enjoyment to the dreamer’s current life. There is an old man himself, and says ‘there was another before me’, but the ominous tone seems confusing to me. I guess it means that dealing with spirits is always ominous? Also, the idea of respecting elders is in it, as he introduces his children to the old man. He says ‘I had never seen him before, but I knew exactly who he was’ meaning that it is someone who is unknown, but yet has a relationship with the person; this could easily be an ancestor, but this happens a lot in dreams, and generally could represent a figure appearing from the unconscious. Not only this, but the dreamer’s own two sons are mirrored by the old man’s own two sons that they bought the house from, indicating kinship. Especially with the theme of ‘What was broken was had an easy fix’, he is telling the dreamer that his ancestors’ troubles and lives were messy, but generally had a good life. And usually, when you are in a house that is old and dilapidated, it represents some kind of unconscious dwelling place, but yet had dwellers in it. Perhaps he has been trying to find his roots in his ancestry, and this caused his dream, or his dream is telling him to do this? And the old man says ‘son take your time, you don’t want to miss anything like this’ meaning that he literally has ‘time’ as an element, and is ‘missing’ like to miss a person who is not present, but yet he says ‘anything like this’ indicating a past life. Perhaps not just ancestors are the calling for the dreamer in this dream, but past lives such as in reincarnation? If the dreamer is a Buddhist or Hindu or of any religion that speaks of reincarnation, this would most likely be the case. Because the dreamer says ‘i had never seen him before, but I knew exactly who he was’ would mean that it is the dreamer himself in his past life! Also, the dreamers mirroring sons ‘that he bought the house from’ could represent a married couple in a previous life that gave birth to the dreamer’s own life! In astrology, the ‘twins’ represent gemini, which is a union of two, such as the Major Arcanum ‘the lovers’, and there are two of the dreamer’s sons, and two of the sons they bought the house from. The old house is the previous lives of the dreamer, the disrepair representing being ancient and unexplored and ‘lived in’ for a long time.

  3. Simcha

    Thank you for another lovely talk. I tried to find online references to the research of Brian Feldman (sp?) on mother-child dyads (and the use of the aesthetics observed in the dyad to improve it). No luck…. JL mentions his work at 23:40 in the talk. Any further suggestions or links?

  4. Gaby

    I am curious from which book the quote by Mary-Louise von Franz comes that Lisa mentioned in this episode: “If an archetype moves the masses, it generally leads to their thinking that they have the truth. This can lead them to despise and perhaps persecute people who think or feel differently.”
    Thank you for this beautiful episode!


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