Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Theoria and Praxis – CREDO XXXIV
Most intuitive and thinking types in the Jungian quaternity favor theoria over praxis, whereas the sensation and feeling types would stress the practical and the importance of any concept. As some of you might suspect, I fall into the theoria category but have in my eighty-five years had my nose rubbed in the praxis! CREDO XXXIII on the Lotus and the Rose is a prime example, so today I would like to balance Jung’s application of thinking symbolically to the praxis or implementation of life as the individual ego perceives it.
In today’s turbulent times most of us are confronted with major problems having to do with the triplicity of money, love, or health. As my mother pointed out, just one of them is doable, but two out of the three is a challenge, and all three at once are just plain hell. So take your pick and then apply the symbolism. This means backing off and asking yourself: what am I supposed to be learning from this situation? Because like the life in every seed, there is meaning in every situation.
Remember that each individual processes a situation in a unique way. As Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic philosopher put it, “With our eyes open we share the same world, but with our eyes closed, each of us enters our inner world.” The proof of this is to have a few people form a circle and notice that each is seeing it from a different perspective.
Jung pointed out that when we grasp the meaning of a problematic situation, it may not have to be acted out as fate. Forty years ago, I eagerly subscribed to this and came up against a rude shock. It wasn’t that simple (theoria)! .Understanding was only the first step. One has to apply the new insight in outer life (praxis)! Then you earned the consciousness. Edward C. Whitmont, the great analyst, told me that no sooner had he grasped a new concept than a patient would appear that proved the point.
The image I had was that we have an aura that has several holes in it. One becomes aware of the hole and acting out the new insight fills it. The myths of Achilles’ heel and Siegfried’s wound spot hidden by a leaf, and I think a Greek goddess dipping a baby into flames to make him immortal but the spots where she held him caused this to fail are all examples. And as we know, the ‘blind spot’ is a physical reality we all share.
This sheds light for me on the symbolism of Christ’s seamless garment. Anyway, most of us are polka-dotted with holes of ignorance or karma waiting to be healed. I know I am!
Needless to say, this applies to the collective as well. History is full of examples, and what with television, radio, and the internet we can observe collective crises brought on every day. To conclude with a positive example: the punishment of the German people after WWI resulted in the rise of Hitler. The humane conditions of the Marshall Plan restored the collective of the enemy after their suffering defeat and perhaps the example – then! – of the United States of America led to the united countries of Europe, with countries formerly at war through centuries now begging to join!
On Iona, I bought a bumper sticker that says: LET PEACE BEGIN WITH ME.
Posted by IonaDove