Carl and the Fox

It’s 3 days before there has to be either a vote to bring a consensus on at least a temporary national budget or a temporary suspension of the government. It has mysteriously blipped off everyone’s radar and instead we are focused on Libya and what is teetering on the edge of turning into everyone’s “good war.” Of course it would not be a war per se, just a little eradication of certain elements and then a presence to prevent a civil war that would disrupt a major source of oil for the EU.

It is at times like these that it is hardest to weigh even possible theories about options. The state we are in, as a country, economically, should sensibly mean we should curtail our interventions and aid programs to other countries. However, in the face of such a gross violation of human rights, is it just to claim budget over help? If we restrict ourselves to humanitarian aide, what then of the people in Tripoli it will most likely not get to?

Acting in the role of justice, of the protector of the weak, is a very pleasant way to boost morale in times of economic and moral difficulty. But we, and this is a EU and America we, are not what we were before, the question that is unasked but pragmatic is – how willing are we to give up even more than we have in this global recession/depression in order to preserve the life of others? To intervene on a military level, even just to secure a neutral passage for humanitarian aid will cost the people at home. For the first time, actually, in this country, our foreign aid will come from our domestic aid in a sense. England, France, Spain – they have all had periods in their histories in which there has been a choice of domestic deprivation in favor of foreign humanitarian efforts. We, Americans, have never had to suffer for kindness.

As a moral, ethical and philosophical moment in our shared history – it is a tense point. But then…it is Academy Award time and Wallace Simpson’s nighties are up for sale; not to mention the issue of the pizza mice and all those other things. Such things are necessary, like talking about the weather as GK is apt to point out, because they allow us relief and to establish common ground between classes, races and other points of social distinction. But America has swung too far to the other side of the pendulum, opting for small moments of reality amid a steady diet of fantasy.

But I digress…I have been digressing all day, I actually started writing this blog early this morning and now it is 9am. It started with me posting that quote from Carl Jung in my status updates about “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.” Unless you were over at womansmojorisings and then you got that one and the one in Disco Vivo about how the quote is not “that which we complain about in each others is what we ourselves do” but, “that which irritates us in others will lead to a greater understanding of ourselves.”

In both those quotes Jung was underscoring that our inner conflicts, if not resolved by ourselves, become what is around us. We choose and are drawn to things that recreate the inner dilemma because we are still seeking away to resolve them. Tangible things always seem easier to solve then intangible things. Sometimes, actually more often than not, the conflict is not as simple as “this or that” but it is a conflict between messages and core beliefs that we hold about ourselves and life.

As we mature (think transactional analysis with the parent, child, adult sets) into our adult minds where we can weigh and decide based upon reality and reason the truth of what we believe and what we are taught – often, that can come into deep and powerful messages we received from the “parent” (and I am not talking about just parent parents, but authority as parent – school, society, career, religion and so on) that contain our rules, prejudices and predetermined cause and effect patterns. It is rarely as simple for the adult mind to say “that makes no sense” and dismiss the effect of the parent’s expectations that we learned as the “child” to find safety, love, surety and…and…to be able to get what we wanted most of the time.

We can, and this is the classic example, believe we are wonderful, growing, flawed-but-okay persons capable of love at the exact same time we hold to the belief of the core message instilled by the “parent” that we are worthless, lazy and incapable of independence. While this conflict rages inside, if it is unseen and unrecognized by the adult and conscious mind, it will pass from our interior selves into our exterior lives.

We will choose partners for our love relationships that on the surface are wonderful, growing, flawed-but-okay persons capable of love who contain a conflicting core message that unless they are in absolute control there is no safety, trust or surety.

If two people like that never meet then most likely the core messages will not surface to external actions. However, both of those people will look for each other subconsciously, they will be able to sniff each other out in a crowd because it is the memory of the child doing what is expected to get what they want with a minimum of effort that will recognize them.

Carl Jung, when he was developing the theory of the collective unconscious -this ephemeral thing that holds not just the history of all humanity, but its present and future simultaneously recognized that our emotional memories exist without a sense of time. A core conflict, such as the relationship one I just outlined, in order to try and resolve itself will literally reach into the future of the waking mind to bring to the present a representation of the past to be confronted with. In other words, the person recognizes the core part of the other that will fulfill the past message but that the person has not acted on yet and work to bring that person into the others present because…da..da..da..dum…on a subconscious level they already know what is going to happen and there is a kind of safety in that.

That example is heavy handed but it gets the point across. A more subtle example would be wanting to do something but having a great deal of anxiety and fear about it and then choosing, as close friends and acquaintances people who profess to want to do the same thing but who never do anything-all talk, for whatever their own reasons. People who do not do things but like to talk about them do not like to be in the company of people who actually do them. You are then freed from your fear and anxiety because if you do the thing you will be “punished” by losing these friendships.

Carl tells a story about one of his patients, a woman, he was treating for severe anxiety. As they moved further into unraveling her psyche she kept saying that she felt like she was on the right path but just didn’t know which way to go.

When he treated this woman he began to take her on long walks through the nearby woods rather than sit in a small office. The belief being that the more “in life” one was, the more the subconscious would be prompted into making sense and connecting with the conscious mind.

One day, they were walking and the woman was telling him about a dream she had. She had been in a forest and it was dark and frightening. She could barely see the path ahead of her and she was so scared of being lost. Suddenly a fox appeared on the path in front of her and waited until she was just a few steps away before it turned and trotted ahead of her on the path. The fox then stopped and waited for her to catch up before going a little further ahead of her. The fox, she said, led me out of the forest. I knew that he was leading me and if I just trusted him and followed, I would be all right.

Silence fell between Carl and the woman as they continued to walk in the woods. After a few minutes, there was a rustle ahead of them and a red fox stepped out on the path and looked at them. Carl and the woman stopped. The fox walked ahead of them a bit and then stopped and turned to look at them, as if waiting to see if they would follow.

And they did. They walked for a half hour with the fox leading the way and checking to see if they were following before suddenly, the fox jumped into the woods and disappeared.

Never make the mistake of thinking that what lies within you is not also without. The subconscious, in some ways, is more real then the conscious minds because our conscious minds our never free of some form of authority outside of ourselves. The subconscious is timeless and if it is governed by an authority, it is one that allows far greater freedom then the one we know.

What we are drawn to and repelled by and life reveal what it is inside of us that we are trying to resolve, understand and/or grow on a subconscious level. And, there is no rule that says that the subconscious and conscious minds cannot communicate and communicate easily. It is just that we have fallen out of the practice.

c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.


About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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