Tag Archives: Carl Jung

The Other “I”

Doppelganger

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(Image by Toby Dixon: found at https://i.pinimg.com)

The term alter ego was first used by the Roman philosopher, lawyer and statesman, Cicero. Cicero described a second self or other self, he used it to describe his close friend and trusted advisor Atticus, saying in a letter to him: “You are a second brother to me, an alter ego to whom I can tell everything.”

But alter ego has also been used to describe something else, a person who has a second self which is distinct and separate from the person’s true original self, they literally live a double life. Or put differently, the alter ego is a differnt version of you, it is another “I.”

We can see this in David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust, Barry Humphries/Dame Edna Everage, Ernest Hemmingway/Nick Adams. In the dark sense this is Jekyll and Hyde, or Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. In the hero sense this Spider Man/Peter Parker, Superman/Clark Kent. In the non-fictional sense they are projected or intentional personality, an alternate person, a way to express differntly. In the Fiction sense, it is a person thrust upon you or is derived from circumstantial change. But it can be dark and evil too, the unrecognised me as when the gentleman doctor Jekyll becomes the evil Mr Hyde when he takes a particular potion.

There is in some of this a hint of the shadow as described by Carl Jung where he talks about the shadow as being an unknown dark side of the personality, the unacknowledged, rejected least desirable aspects of oneself, manifests in dreams, and also comes out in the things we see clearly in others (ego, controlling behaviour, manipulative behaviour, fantasies, greed, lust). Shadow feeds the ego.

We all have a shadow, and some of us have alter egos, and some of those are dark. My late father was wonderful, caring, helpful, George in public and jealous, angry parent and husband in the home. I think we all have a bit of Darth Vader in our Skywalker. But if that is true, we also then have a bit of Skywalker in our Vader, depends where you’re standing and how you’re feeling, it’s never black or white. It gets dark when we fail to recognise who we are and how we are effecting others. It gets better when we acknowledge our other side and we put it to good use and it becomes creative potential (like Bowie).

I very much prefer Cicero’s original use in practice, that my alter ego is a close and trusted journey or soul friend. The twist is, if we have a good journey friend, they will point out to us the short comings of both alter ego, and shadow in due time. I hope you have a good journey friend, I certainly have a few, they are like gold, but a far better investment. Soul friends are the key to unlocking the shadow and pursuing the real me, that’s an alter ego we all need.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under history, life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development

Funnel Of Love

via Daily Prompt: Funnel

I love C.S. Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia, among many offerings). Lewis published “The Four Loves” in 1958, from a set of radio talks. I encountered the work in the 1980s, and was captivated by the idea that love is not singular.

In short, and by way of a summary, Lewis' the Four Loves are:
Storge (στοργη) - the empathy bond, the love that comes through familial or family love.
Philia (φιλια) - the love between friends, companionship.
Eros (ερως) - Being in love, desiring the one, rather than the many. Sexual love.
Agape (αγαπη) - Unconditional love, natural love, God love, community love.

But what Lewis arives at is that love is not selfish. We must love ourselves if we are to even begin to love others, but that is not selfish in a negative sense, it is positive in a healthy, integrating and mature sense. Self love is the begining of love.

Gary Chapman picks this up and progresses it with his wonderful work “The Five Love Languages”, which is now a major best seller. Chapman believes that we all have a primary love charism, or love language (Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service), and if we understand our love language we will understand those we are intimate with on any level much better.

Carl Jung said: “Where Love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking.” And Abraham Maslow ranked love as the third level of the hierarchy of needs.

The risk they all point to is obsessive love, posession of the other. And the risk of a negative, selfish love – it’s all about me!

But what captivates my desire, my imagination, my hope for the world, is that as we seek and engage all forms of love, that there is that one shred, that chink of light, the moment of possibility of community. That with all our flaws, with all our selfish ways, with all ME in the mix, community is possible and real. In that sense, in our most imperfect self, we’re still a funnel of, or for, love. For me that is hope for the world. Love is not singular!

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under community, life, Philosophy/Theology, Spirituality