Jung: The Self

  • The alchemical stone, the lapis, symbolizes something that can never be lost or dissolved, something eternal that some alchemists compared to the mystical experience of God within one's own soul

  • It usually takes prolonged suffering to burn away all the superfluous psychic elements concealing the stone 

    • But, some profound inner experience of the self does occur to most people at least once in a lifetime ​

    • A genuinely religious attitude consists of an effort to discover this unique experience and gradually to keep in tune with in

      • It is relevant that the symbol (a stone) is itself something permanent ​

  • The self is an inner parter toward whom one's attention is continually turned.

  • Trying to give the living reality of the self a constant amount of daily attention is like trying to live simultaneously on two different levels, or in two different worlds:

    • One gives one's mind to outer duties, but at the same time remaining alert for hints and signs (both in dreams and external events) ​that the self uses to symbolize its intentions, the direction in which the lifestream is moving

    • Thus in the midst of ordinary outer life one is caught up in an exciting inner adventure

      • It is unique for each individual

        • It cannot be copied or stoled ​

  • There are 2 main reasons why a person loses contact with the regulating center of their soul:

    • 1a. Some single instinctive drive or emotional image can carry him into a one-sidedness that makes him lose his balance​.

      • Also happens to animals -- i.e. a sexually excited stag will completely forget hunger and security​

      • This one-sidedness and consequent loss of balance are much dreaded by primitives

        • call it "loss of soul" 

    • Another threat to the inner balance: 1b. Excessive Daydreaming

      • Usually circles around​ particular complexes 

        • In fact daydreams arise just because they connect a person with their ​complexes 

          • At the same time they threaten the concentration and continuity of his consciousness

    • 2. Exactly the opposite of the above: Over-consolidation of ego-consciousness

      • Although a disciplined for the performance of civilized acitvities--we know what happens if a railway signalman lapses into daydreaming--it has the serious disadvantage that it is apt to block the reception of impulses and messages coming from the center. 

        • This is why so many dreams of civilized people are concerned with restoring this receptivity by attempting to correct the attitude of consciousness toward the unconscious ​center or self. 

          • Whenever a human being genuinely turns to the inner world and tries to know himself, not by ruminating by ruminating about subjective thoughts and feelings but by following the expressions of his own objective nature, such as dreams and fantasies, then sooner or later the self emerges. ​

            • The ego will then find an inner power that contains all the possibilites of renewal.​

  • But there is a great difficulty: Every personification of the consciousness (below) has both a light and a dark aspect 

    • The Shadow​

      • May be base or evil, an instinctive drive that one ought to overcome. It may however be an impulse towards growth that one should cultivate and follow ​

    • The Anima and The Animus

      • Can bring life-giving development and creativeness, or cause petrification and death 

    • The Self

      • The all embracing symbol of the unconsciousness

      • The dark side of the self is the most dangerous thing of all, precisely because the Self is the greatest power in the psyche.

        • It can cause people to spin megalomaniac or other delusory fantasies that possess them

  • In order to understand the symbolic indications of the unconscious, one must be careful not to get outside oneself or beside oneself, but to stay emotionally within oneself.

    • It is vitally important that ego should continue to function in normal ways.
      • Only if I remain an ordinary human being, conscious of my incompleteness, can I become receptive to the significant contents and processes of the unconscious. 

        • But how can a human being stand the tension of feeling herself at one with the whole universe, while at the same time she is only a miserable earthly human creature?

          • If on the one hand I despise myself as merely a statistical cipher*, my life has no meaning and is not worth living. ​

          • But if on the other, I feel myself to be part of osmething much greater, how am I to keep my feet on the ground? 

            • It is very difficult indeed to keep these inner opposites united within oneself without toppling over into one or the other extreme. ​

*cipher (noun) 

1. a secret or disguised way of writing; a code

2. a person or thing of no importance

3. a continuous sounding of an organ pipe <----