A Pathway Forward

In either the individual or the collective arena, describe a phenomenon that shows the split between spirit and matter. Explore or suggest a pathway that might overcome the split.

We generally think in neurological terms that sleep is a process that our bodies and mind need to go into to produce essential neurotransmitters which are necessary for us to operate successfully during the day. Also, long term memory is thought to be encoded as proteins during sleep. If a psychologist is interested in dreams, they tend to reduce the dream experience to its emotional or thought based meanings. The issue with these two models being separate is that sleep and dreaming are reduced to their material effects or purely spiritual (psychological) effects rather than the combination of the two. Both have equal relevance in the discussion.

The Idea that dreams are looked at by modern science as just random noise with little to no meaning are obviously inaccurate and many psychologists support this observation. Additionally, the material view of dreams doesn’t account for the spiritual like phenomenon that many individuals experience while sleeping, synchronicities that occur in dreams, or memories from past lives or future events. The opposite is to deny the neurological changes that affect sleep for an individual or that those spiritual experiences can be described as neurological.

Depth psychology could provide the gap between the material and spiritual aspects of dreaming as it already gives us a pathway forward utilizing the material view of the mind-body relationship and the psychological effects of its expression. Depth psychology doesn’t deny the facts that our neurology dramatically effects how we sleep, or that neurotransmitters affect how much we dream. Unlike traditional psychology, it expands the discussion by implying that we extend beyond the psychical limitations of the individual mind and those associated neurotransmitters.

Readings Reviewed

  • Jung, C. G. (1983). The Essential Jung, A. Storr (Ed.), pp. 331-403 (72 pages)
  • Von Franz, M. L. in Jung, C. G. (1964). Man and His Symbols, pp. 375-387 (12 pages)

Why are we here?

Drawing on the readings, answer to the question: Why are we (humans) here? 

From our readings, I found that Dr. Grice had an excellent way of explaining a possible purpose for humans’ existence by describing the individuation process and our need for a differentiated ego. He said, “Any subsequent return to nature rests upon the existence of a differentiated ego as the supporting complex, of self-reflective consciousness, otherwise the return would be a mere regression to the natural state” (Grice, 2016, p. 115). From this quote, we can see that the human element concerning the individuation process is to have differentiation. Differentiation implies the growing of complexities between two or more objects, to create new ways to be unique and to be able to identify those differences. My example is based on the human experience; however, this same process can be expanded to all things, including our cosmology.

If we could imagine that before the big bang all that was included was all energy in the known universe, it was purely undifferentiated potential energy. The action of expanding through the bang itself was in a way the formation of a differentiated cosmological ego. As all matter spreads through the universe, stars start to form to create gravitational pulls forming more complex mandala-like constellations and galaxies which take shape building differentiated space. Beings on Earth also grow to be more complicated as time continues repeating the same process happening in the stars but on a biological and psychological scale. As technology advances so do the differentiation and more and more effort is needed to continue this process. Eventually, humans will develop technology, or something will evolve past humankind, which will be more complicated than we would have ever imagined. Humans are part of this infinitely long process of things becoming differentiated, and God being able to see itself through those resulting patterns.

Grice, K. L. (2016). Archetypical reflections: Insights and ideas from Jungian psychology. London: Muswell Hill Press.

Readings Reviewed

  • Le Grice, K. (2016). Archetypal reflections. Chapters 6-9, pp. 111-170 (59 pages).
  • Johnson, R. (2009). Inner work: Using dreams and active imagination for personal growth. Chapter 3, pp. 165-200 (35 pages).

Articles Reviewed this Week

The Cross as a Tree of Life – http://www.jungatlanta.com/articles/summer13-tree-of-life.pdf