Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Profound Horror of 'isms'

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I have been thinking about what Jung and Maslow have said about the sanctity of the individual and the importance for each of us to find our own way and become all that we can. We can use others as mentors and guides but we cannot become these people, we must become our own individuated selves.

The reason we so often want to become like someone else, to emulate them is I think an avoidance of the task of self realisation. Why? because self realisation is hard work, we have to take risks, we have to learn and often the greatest learning takes place when we make mistakes. Sometimes the bigger the mistake the greater the learning. No one likes making mistakes or failing. It is easier to be like someone else especially if that person has already gone before you and found the answers and completed the work. Alas it doesn't work like that, the universe seems to crave originality.

Many years ago I built a thirty foot yacht. Building a yacht by yourself can be a bit like building a life. I have a law I made up about it. Lets call it Alden's law of thirds. The time it took to build any part of the boat always seemed to be divided into thirds. One third of the time was taken figuring out how to do the job, consulting the plans, talking to other people. Another third was used running around finding the resources to do the job and the last third was spent in doing the actual construction itself. At the end of all this, sometimes the whole shooting box had to be ripped out and done again because the dunderhead (me) didn't do it correctly. I find a large amount of what I do in life often conforms to my law of thirds.

What is your point ? I hear you ask. Well my little law, my little metaphor for life is one that is unique to me, I forged it within the complexities, paradoxes, ironies, "slings and arrows", "outrageous fortune", "sea of troubles", serendipity and grace that we all have to contend with. - Now you might think my little story is a bit gauche and pathetic or inspiring and laudable, but that would be missing the point. The main point is that it is my truth whatever its quality: mine and most importantly something that I have lived.

C. G. Jung wanted people especially his patients who came to him for help to live their own truth.
"I do not want anybody to be a Jungian, he told me. "I want people above all to be themselves, as for 'isms', they are the viruses of our day, and responsible for greater disasters than any medieval plague or pest has ever been. Should I be found one day only to have created another 'ism' then I will have failed in all I tried to do"

- This quote, above is taken from the book ' Jung And The Story Of Our Time' by Laurens Van Der Post who was a personal friend of C. G. Jung.

5 comments:

VenDr said...

So, you and Jung are ismists

Tillerman said...

Tell me was an ismist is and I shall tell you the weight of the cosmic watermelon balancing on the point of a drinking straw AND the sound of one hand clapping.

Tillerman said...

There are some self evident facts that ismists can't make into isms, anities or ologies. Facts like:

The earth is not flat it is a slightly distorted sphere.

Waves break at sea and on the shores of the world.

Children's eyes sparkle when they laugh.

Alden needs to be taken in hand by one of those TV programmes and given a thorough make over.

- Jung's statement about the wisdom of aiding the process of Individuation in a personally original way is in this league. It is self evident. We all need to become ourselves not someone else.

If the action of voicing a concern that others might try and make these self evident facts into a religion or ism IS (despite my in dutiable logic above) being an ismist then I guess I am guilty as charged. But let’s face it, someone has to guard the planet and I am full of great wisdom which will sit well alongside my dashing new persona when I have had my makeover.

Maybe I will form a club - call ourselves the orange people, nah that's been taken. I know! ALDENISM, today the city, tomorrow the world! Look out for the thwack of my rolled up newspaper if you don't conform.

VenDr said...

An ismist is someone prejudiced against -isms. Ismists practice ismism.

Tillerman said...

"So, you and Jung are ismists"

Speaking for myself the answer is Yes.

And thankyou, my new blogspot shall be called "Ismists against all isms except the practice of Ismism," it has a certain ring about it, rolls off the tongue easily.

And don't sit there looking so smug, just because you can sum all of this up in 10 words against my several paragraphs And with rapier like logic just makes you a hell of lot more erudite and smarter than me, that's all,

I lied about knowing the answers to the watermelon and the one hand clapping as ones does when one makes outragious claims like this, but I have tried to redeem myself by asking Albert2 on the Journey By Starlight site.
His answer to the watermelon question was "I don't know but Google probably does" and to the one hand clapping the answer was "That is a very Zen like question".

Bloody hell, Kelvin1 and Albert2, I need a beer and help from that computer Deep Thought.