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“The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.”
The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man
Each week on the podcast, we examine a listener’s submitted dream. Jung was careful to note that the dreamer is the final authority on his or her dream. Dreams cannot be thoroughly interpreted without personal knowledge of the dreamer and the context of their life situation. We deeply appreciate listeners trusting us with their dreams. Our intent by referencing their material is to educate listeners on the general principles of dream interpretation and offer a symbolic approach to their inner lives. Our comments may not relate to their personal situation, but we appreciate their willingness to allow us to use their dream material to help others.
All shared dreams are received anonymously. We review each dream and select one for each podcast that will allow us to bring forward information we hope will be generally helpful. By leaving a dream here, you are giving us permission to discuss it on the podcast.
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Guest Oliver Burkeman states in his new book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, that “outrageous brevity is life’s defining problem.” At age 80, you’ll have had a paltry 4,000 weeks. Such brevity is breathtaking, so we create defenses against the reality of finitude. We distract ourselves with the belief that fulfillment lies in the future, that plans and goals prove purpose, and that we can achieve almost any number of things by being more efficient/motivated/healthy—or just overall exceptional. Paradoxically, embracing life’s limitations can open us to what Jung called “a new attitude”—an inner pivot from the daily grind to seeing and seizing life’s possibilities. Time is not our adversary, the present is not hostage to the future, and we can choose to be alive while we’re alive.
In Answer to Job, Jung states, “Whoever knows God has an effect on him.” If, as Jung claims, individual human consciousness affects God, what we are matters monumentally. When we serve our neuroses, the gulf between ego and Self widens. Pursuing individuation not only sets our personality in right order, it permits our personal experiences to enrich the collective unconscious.
Jung was then able to posit archetypes as a predisposition to form representations of universal human experiences and mythological motifs, such as marriage, the hero’s journey, and death/rebirth. For Jung, archetypes are innate psychic organs that “have a positive, favourable (sic), bright side that points upwards [and] one that points downwards…”
We plainly pay attention, using the finite currency of time and energy issued in the 24-hour increments that add up to a life—well spent? We have choices and constraints about how we allocate our attention, and today’s world competes fiercely for it in unprecedented ways. No wonder, for power is the ability to command or hijack attention, even if it warps reality with untruths.
Should we hang in and hang on – or let go? When does perseverance become pointless, or hope turn rancid in refusal to accept disappointment, defeat, or depression?
In medieval times, the threshold was a plank that kept barnyard “threshings” outside the house. In the sciences a threshold is the limit of magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a definitive change to occur. In human development life stage thresholds are marked and recognized through ritual. In psychoanalytic work the symbol is the threshold—a visible but not literal representation that calls consciousness to apprehend a larger, unseen reality.
Phallos, the central archetype of a man’s psyche, was once worshipped as sacred. Its urgent, dynamic, and fertilizing power was split off with the rise of ascetic monotheism and banished to the unconscious. Misplaced and maligned, it surfaces as resentful passivity, fear of passion, confusion of values, and reluctance to take action.
Although Jung’s theory of typology is the foundation of various personality assessments, it is important to appreciate its profundity as Jung’s theory of consciousness. The four functions of consciousness – sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling–are governed by two attitudes, extraversion, and introversion. Jung defines extraversion as “an attitude type characterized by concentration of interest on the external object.”