Since becoming single again, I knew I’d be getting weird again. Self-fulfilling prophecy fulfilled. Synchronicities have been dancing around me these last couple of weeks. A part of me keeps the perspective alive that this mental headspace I’m cultivating is a tightrope over the abyss of schizophrenia, but I humbly slink across confident I can maintain balance.
I’ve been experimenting. I want to be a knowledgeable psychologist. I need a mentor. I don’t have any in my time-space prison, so I’m resurrecting one of the greatest psychologists the West as ever produced; Carl Jung. Well, a boring materialistic rationalist would say I’m reading Carl Jung’s collected works. A magician would say I’m resurrecting Carl Jung. I’d say, I’m reading the works of a great thinker every day, and actively practicing trying to talk to him via active imagination, with the hopes of, after a few months, having a little Carl Jung program running in my consciousness that I can turn to for advice and guidance.
I think this kind of thing is necessary if you want to reach your highest potentials. All of us have a creative function and we owe the world the manifestation of that gift. Somewhere in you, you know what your creative function is. There are great men and women through history who had the same creative function as you and used it to excel at the game of life. Find them. Read about them. Download them into your psyche as little helpers.
However, it’s important to note; do not try to be them. Use them as guiding lights to your unique destination. There is no one who has the particular configuration of genetics, environment, and spirit as you. (If you feel a part of you already attacking this statement, you have a lot of self-healing to do. Good luck.)
So, allow me to try to turn on this new, (and still in need of patches), program.
Carl Jung was the inventor or discoverer of what is now called Depth Psychology. This is a school of analytic psychology that differs from Freud in believing that the unconscious is more than only sexually repressed fantasies. Carl Jung believed that each person had an ego, a person unconscious, and a Collective Unconscious. The Collective Unconscious was his big and unique idea.
The ego is the you you think of as you. Ego is your conscious self. The personal unconscious is what most people understand as the unconscious. It is all of your personal experiences, memories, and the like, coupled with all sense perception that isn’t charged enough to become conscious. (like the way your feet feel right now, before reading this, you weren’t aware they felt at all. Now, with the flashlight of your ego, you can sense them.) The personal unconscious is accessible.
The Collective Unconscious is never accessible. It is inherent in every living creature. It is the place of psychic life where our bodies know how to create a human, repair cells, digest food, harness energy from air. Our instincts arise from this place. The energy behind adaptation and evolution also arises from here. The Collective Unconscious is an ocean, the submarine without lights is your personal unconscious. Your ego is the human with the flashlight trying to maintain leaks.
Jung believed that the Collective Unconscious communicated to consciousness through dreams. The CU communicates through images. These images are what Jung called archetypes. Archetypes are images that represent instinctual ideas that charge the body with energy. The simplest example the fight-or-flight instinct. We also believed dreams to be compensatory in nature, so an example illustrating all of this is as follows; yesterday you are walking and a dog lunges at you and scares you. You instantly feel the adrenaline, then you feel shame at being scared (dad would scold you when you acted meek.) Now you’re angry at the dog but you walk on. That night you have a dream you’re a knight and you fight off a wolf and return to the King for praise.
The activated archetype was the fight-or-flight response. Your ego interprets the event in all sorts of twisted ways due to your unique personality. Your unconscious tries to help you by offering an example of you responding in a positive way to the situation. The actually archetype is the motif of the knight being brave and receiving honor from the King.
Yeah, I know it’s a lot. But much of human life is archaic. We have the same bodies we had thousands of years ago. The same energies arise in our bodies. The same physiological processes of infanthood, puberty, adolescences, adulthood, parenthood, and aging are still here. It appeared to Jung that our bodies, our unconscious, has a built in guiding function. Learning to communicate with this guiding function is what he called “individuation.”
The Transcendent Function
The way we learn to listen to this inner guide to Individuation is a technique he called “The Transcendent Function.” He calls it this because the process of Individuation is when the consciousness identifies and absorbs a part of the psyche that was previously unconscious. Each time we do this, there is a challenge or resisting because the ego kept the unconscious unconscious for a reason. The young girl who naturally starts masturbating and witnesses the shock and scolding of her naïve Christian parents is taught that sexual self-pleasure is wrong, and these the natural bodily sensation has to be removed from the ego. We all have dozens and dozens of these kinds of repression.
TF is Jung’s way of liberating the ego. Psyche growth is a constant identifying and absorbing. It is never completed. So, how?
First, you collect unconscious images. Record dreams. Practice Active imagination. Read Mythology. Learn how to understand symbols. Ideally, find a psychoanalyst (a convenient recommendation coming from a psychoanalyst lol.)
Second, and this happens naturally, you’ll start finding patterns in the material produced and you’ll start to try giving meaning to it. Allow this to happen.
Third, consciously accept whatever the material is showing you. Your dreams will constantly be alerting you on your current progress.
The point of the Transcendental Function is a technique to help in the process of Individuation. The point of Individuation is to help the ego become more conscious of what Jung called the Self. The Self is the totality of the individual’s psychic apparatus. Because a large part of the individual is the Collective Unconscious, one can never know the Self in its entirety, but, more Self-understanding is better than less. The Self is everything.
Jung has written thousands of pages. This reproduction is more a reflection of the limited software I’m running then the actual ideas of Jung. What I love about his approach is his emphasis on direct experience. He was adamant that what the individual experiences is as real as anything we call real. If you saw in your imagination you were on the moon. He believed you have been to the moon.
So, God. God is an experience. God is a symbol that represents your personal transcendent experience. The thing the symbol “God” tries to represent is something completely beyond the comprehension of our intellect. But what we do have is the experience of the divine. This is the individual’s bridge to God.
Semantically, and philosophically, we all have a unique individual God. It is our unique mixture of biology and psychology that will craft the lens we interpret the feeling we get when we have a transcendent experience. This is our God.
I hope you find a symbol system that allows you the chance to experience your God. Fuck any symbol system that has rules in place where there is some mediator between you and God. That deprives you of one of the most powerful and intimately human experiences.
I love you. Namaste.