How Well Do You Think You Know Yourself? | Understanding Narrative, Inner Wisdom, and Love | The ‘Self’ and its Relationship with Love
with the help of Carl Jung...and some surrealist art:)
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This is an expanded essay from Medium…including a bonus section on our sense of self and its relationship with how we define love, enjoy! If you wish to read the full post, subscribe above!
How well do you think you know yourself? Understanding Narrative, Inner Wisdom, and Love
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”—Carl Jung
We come into this world without a choice of where we are born, the beliefs that surround us, and the circumstances that guide us. The mind is always absorbing whatever information and understandings that surround us, yet we are unable to be aware of everything we absorb.
We tell ourselves narratives about our beliefs, our morality, and our sense of self.
But what lies within our unconscious that provides us knowledge about the source of some of those beliefs, desires, and emotions that we fail to truly understand?
It's narratives all around! I do wonder about this discovery of the self though, as in do we allow ourselves to fall into the process of the illusionary process of discovering the self? Digging into our subconscious then becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy of a previously established projection we held.
The personal will never become purely personal, as the will of society always has a hold on that will. The ultimate illusion of holding true individuality! The will of society is both the manifestation of our thoughts and beliefs, as well as that which allows us to form those thoughts and beliefs in the first place.
Our sense of self becomes a desire of society. And the desire of the society manifests from many selves.
“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”—Carl Jung
Our minds have a pull towards this “either/or” and dichotomous way of thinking. This is the condition for our human thought — and at times it’s useful. But the human condition is not so clear, as our minds are forced to make quick interpretations of subjective experiences, where we then attempt to place them into clean categories.
However, this leaves no room for ambiguity. And we find wisdom in the ambiguity of our human experience.
Knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
Humans are beings of thought, and therefore we find ourselves in constant search for knowledge that provides us with the context to make sense of our experiences.
But our world changes every day, along with our experiences. We can easily lose sight of how each experience fits into the grander context. And when this happens, wisdom becomes lost in the sea of knowledge.
We try to explain our experiences as we search for meaning, but this explanation can become so complex and convoluted that it takes away from the simple beauty of the ambiguity of the experience itself.
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”—Carl Jung
This calls back to the first quote, as within our unconscious is our darker self waiting. The darker side of ourselves is something we all have, and when we fail to understand it, our unconscious self projects out into our relationships and actions in life.
So, it’s about recognizing that everyone we encounter is having their own inner battle and process of understanding the unconscious.
When we interact with others, we are not dealing with them as they believe themselves to be; instead, we deal with them as we would view them through the lens of our own experiences. Everyone is a reflection of ourselves.
The idea that we don’t know ourselves is a paradoxical one, as all humans exist objectively. And yet, we interact with others through the concepts of subjectivity - the unique conscious and unconscious experiences that define our journey in life.
And so, it's about recognizing this relationship between objective and subjective experience. We don't know ourselves, but through our interactions with others, we can learn more about ourselves.
We are not surrounded by other people, but rather the self-images of those people playing out their narratives in our consciousness.
To understand ourselves is to acknowledge that everyone who exists around us has a narrative also being played out in their own mind.
The ‘Self’ and its Relationship with Love
This brings me into the expansion of this essay...