This All Sounds a Bit Woo-Woo (OK, Maybe More Than a Bit)

Written By: Charles - Apr• 20•08

42  bar rises 29.99 2mph NNE dewpoint 41 Spring

            Full Moon of Growing

“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” – Thomas Szasz

I agree with Szasz (the anti-psychiatrist famous for his views about schizophrenia) that the self is not something one finds.  I agree with his critique of the notion of finding one’s self.  I disagree with his conclusion though, that the self is something one creates.  Over time I have developed a personal perspective on this issue, one related most closely to Carl Jung’s work, but a bit different from his, too.

Intuition tells me that the Self of each living thing is unique and much larger (at least in potential, perhaps in size) than the always incomplete self we realize at any one point during life.  The Self is the harmonious and dynamic interaction of all that an individual life can become.  I imagine it as an incorporeal (don’t ask me about the physics) reality, a sort of etheric entity that stands taller and looms larger than I do.  It may, and I suspect it does,  connect us to a metaphysical plane, perhaps a realm of archetypes, where our individual, unique moment in the great stream of looping time feeds from the  purest and best of its manifold possibilities.

This all sounds a bit woo-woo, I know.  I can only tell you that after many years of prayer, meditation and Jungian analysis this is the sense I have of who and what I am and could become.  This same process has led me to conclude that every grass plant, every daffodil, every oak tree, every yew also has a Self toward which it reaches, with more and less realization in a lifetime.  Dogs, lions, crawdads and centipedes, too.  This is why the Japanese indigenous religion of Shinto, an animist faith, and Taoism, a testament to the dynamic, connected and living nature of all there is appeal to me.  

The empirical, western, enlightenment man within me only lets these thoughts surface when I’m alone lest I be perceived either as a lunatic or a throwback to some neo-Platonic dead end of philosophical speculation.  And I may be. 

It is impossible, all the same, to deny what the heart knows to be true.  There is more to this, too.  I also believe in cyclic, not chronological time.  That is, I find the rhythms of the universe, the whole to which we are certainly connected by as intimate a link as the very atoms which constitute our bodies, to be those of repetition, seasonal and episodic.  What goes around comes around.  Whatever will be has been (to rephrase a canard).  This idea I find deeply reassuring since it suggests some reincarnation type possibility, not a one shot and extinct life.  I say this in spite of my almost deepest conviction, borne on an empirical and existentalist raft, that this one life is all we have.  In fact, though I live my life as if that were true, my heart, again, tells me otherwise.

In the spirit though of plan for the worst, hope for the best, I do believe the existentialist, one shot and extinct, approach gives living the most buzz, the most vitality and engenders, too, a deep sense of responsibility for each other.  It is, therefore, to me, an optimal way of being even if we get, as I suspect, second, third and even gazillionth chances to realize our true Selves.

OK.  That’s enough of that for the morning. I have to go buy potatoes, Matzoh and cake meal.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.