61 bar steep rise 29.76 4mph W dew-point 53 Beltane, sunny and cool
First Quarter of the Flower Moon
Decided to cancel the Gettysburg leg of my trip. Need to be at home. Another time. Gettysburg is not going anywhere.
A bit more about radical individualism. Last night I proposed, as I wrote here yesterday, that civilization, especially through work and love, constrain the unfettered, natural–wild part of us. There was good criticism of that position, i.e. part of the natural state of humanity is life in family, in relationship. Another position asserted that deconstructing (I’m not sure about this use of the term, but it is what was used.) ourselves so that wildness could break out denies the process of integration of the mature person. (individuation, perhaps?) Wildness, in this view, must somehow come together with all of psyche’s zoo or, better, pantheon (my terms) to define a full person.
It is true that the very nature of what it means to be human gains its definition in a social context. In that sense, yes, to be human is to be in a family, a clan, a community. It is also true that the integration model of maturity requires a delicate balancing and harmonizing of disparate impulses, desires and drives into a well-functioning individual.
Even so. A first reaction over against both of these arguments is this: we all die alone. This is the existentialist’s key and, to my eye, keen observation. It can be pushed back through life itself. We are all born alone, that is we are the only one to emerge from the womb as that distinct individual. Even triplets are born into different bodies, at a slightly different time, and have unique life experiences. In life we inhabit our body and no other. We may, more or less, empathetically walk in another person’s shoes, but we can never get in there while their foot is in the shoe. You are unique and, whether you wish it to be the case or not, can have it no other way.
Second, the Jungian model of individuation, which I embrace, calls us to live into our Self, to become, that is, whom we already are. This may involve harmonization and balancing, but it may also include embracing aspects of our Self heretofore submerged or repressed. The journey is not to maturity in this view, rather it is toward the clearest and most distinct realization of our uniqueness.
As a note I read moments ago by James Hillman said, the individuation process prepares us to die. Last night I did not mention my final thought on wildness. The last wild act of our life is death. It is that moment most natural, most terrifying, most awesome, least understood and never tamed. Death is, for each of us, our wildest moment. Individuation ensures that we come to that last natural divide, that last wild place, as who we are, shorn of cultural convention and psychological repression. That we come dressed only in the clothes which our psyche had for us to wear from the very beginning. That we come to the most wild moment in our life, in other words, as the natural, wild Self into which we were born.
This journey, this ancient trail, is the ancient trail. It is one we walk alone from birth until death. It is this realization that makes me a radical individualist, proud and happy to live in community, yes, but as a person free and unfettered.