Monday, May 25, 2009

The unawareness of the Self: an idea gotten from Aion by Jung

From the first four chapters of the book that recapitulate Jung's philosophy. Jung arranges the psyche in a line from the part that we're most conscious of to the part that we're least conscious of in this fashion: The Ego, The Shadow, The Anima, and the Self.
It may sound strange to consider the Self to be the part that we're least conscious of, but the self that Jung talks about is the Self as seen by others. I in my everyday life am my ego, the person or consciousness that immediately thinks, but I know that there are more aspects to what are 'me' than my immediate consciousness. I also know that the person that I perceive myself as being is not the same person that other people perceive myself as. I can detect my shadow self, the repressed opposite of myself where the dissident impulses and ideas that go against my conscious grain are stored, fairly easily. I can, as Jung says, with a little bit more difficulty determine what impulses come from my Anima, which is a sort of manifestation of the unconsciousness that intrudes on the world of the ego in order to act as a corrective to over-rationalized ways of perceiving the world. In fact, it's probably the Animus, the dissident part of the ego that objects to over-intuitioning on the part of the mind that's more important in my case, but I digress. Anyways, I can gain consciousness of both of these things, the shadow and the Anima, but even so, how it is that I appear to people outside of myself, who have no context for who I am, who only first see me and then hear me talk, is something that I have to really, really, work at in order to piece together. This is possibly harder in my case because I've tried on a conscious level not to fall into stereotypes, or to specifically break stereotypes when I've come in contact with them. Now, one of the definitions of the Self is that which others perceive immediately that you don't suspect, and this is both true to me and means that because of my self work it's harder for me to detect what exactly that content of thought is.

The Anima is easy to become aware of, by contrast, because it has an organic, deep, psychological connection to the Ego as the representative of the unconscious who appears as something you see or perceive in the outside world. A person can go far, far, far, down in becoming aware of the unconscious mind, until you get contents that are almost totally cthonic and primal. However, the thing is, no matter how far down you go with your own unconscious mind you still have not perceived how it is that others perceive you when they come in contact with you cold, or even how your friends perceive you after they've gotten to know you for a while. As opposed to the unconscious mind, that perception is totally outside of the embodied ego.

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