I see this quote and I feel like shouting at dead Jung, “Hey, dead maverick psychologist: judge much?!”
Welcome to Day 8 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.
If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.
Here is today’s:
“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”
― C.G. Jung
End the post at 1195. Please.
I feel like this quote swings between sense and nonsense.
I suppose though it’s up to me to determine if I’m going to include a quote but I’m not going to be arbitrary. I’m taking this stuff as it comes.
Ok. Context. Let’s make some stuff up: nonsense.
Sense and nonsense: news reports. They tell us lots of stuff, most of it completely immaterial to our daily lives. They mostly report on what has already happened. If you watch the news where I live it goes like this:
“A newborn baby was discovered in the lion’s den at the National Zoo today; it was speaking in tongues, no one knew what it was trying to say; the baby was unharmed but the lion was hidden in the corner whimpering and shaking; anyone with knowledge of this baby is asked to let the lion know that it was nothing personal.”
“A fire broke out today in the cotton candy district; firefighters struggled for hours to get the blaze under control; the Department of Public Works expects the town to be sticky and smell bad through Memorial Day weekend dampening the spirits of many Revolutionary War re-enactors.”
Really? I’m being
a bit totally smug about this, but there’s not much we can do with the news that the news reports. To me, that’s nonsense. To watch the news is nonsense. To me.
Recycling: I do it. I don’t waver between sense and nonsense or right and wrong on this. It makes sense to me do what I can to assist in the slowing of our planet’s eventual death. This is verging on political (nonsense) so I will stop (sense).
I was watching a Discovery Channel show, “North America” today and they had a ranking of the top 10 best places for natural wonders on the continent. The Sequoia National Park was in the top three I think. I see those big old trees and I get totally emotional. I can’t explain it and I don’t think I need to. They are majestic — absolutely humbling and they deserve every ounce of our respect. Is that nonsense? Is that sense? Is that right? Is that wrong? I don’t obsess over it, but I care. I move on. I have Cap’n Crunch to eat after all.
Another snapshot: our health. Do you think about your health? Maybe thinking is the issue; maybe what Jung is getting on to is that when we think we don’t really act; maybe that’s the sense versus nonsense he’s talking about.
I know that when I think about my health, I look at all of it: genetics, what I can and can’t do or stop, what I need to get going on again, and whether it will make me healthier or at least keep me from getting less healthy. Is that nonsense? It’s sensical, right? Up to a point. Eventually, if I just talk about it, as I eat an entire box of Cap’n Crunch at once and then complain that the Cap’n three-stripe yellow bits in the cereal are manifesting on my midsection and my skin is taking on that creepy yellow Fritos glow then eventually even I want to slap myself with a spatula. Yesterday I complained; today I got on the ergometer and humiliated myself. I’m out of shape. But not for long.
What about conflicts with people? We can think and think ourselves to death about the conflict or we can take action. So I’m thinking that the perpetual thinking (the pendulum) is the nonsense; in order to make sense of it we must follow up with action? So in terms of conflict: I can think about my role in it; my ability to continue the role in it or my ability to say no more and make a choice. Then that choice must be followed by action.
Does it mean I’m right if I choose one way over another? No, it just means I’ve reached my limitations about something and I need to change course.
See, this is where this quote jacks me up. I see where the pendulum swinging can be a real drag; so what I think he’s talking about here, but it wasn’t included in the quote because enough people thought like everyone else and didn’t include any context is that action is what makes the difference. It goes back (as far as I’m concerned anyway) to Day 5 when Jung said that we are what we do, not what we say we will do.
I don’t feel as though there’s much more I can do with this quote. I feel as though our minds are mostly within our control; we can choose to be sensical or nonsensical. I find the latter to be annoying at times, but completely necessary in order for us to rest, rewire and recharge. What do I consider to be nonsense? “30 Rock”; “Bruce Almighty” any classic, old Looney Tunes cartoon involving Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester; “Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail”; “Tropic Thunder” a game of corn holes, a game of any kind. A run, a long run with my amazing dog who JUST THIS MOMENT stepped up to greet me with a wet nose on my forearm.
Murphy says it’s time to stop trying to make sense of this quote and I totally concur. The sky is partly cloudy today and it’s almost 80 degrees. Time for a walk. Time for some nonsense.
On a personal note, I hope you are enjoying this series. I do hope you’ll stick around because the next few quotes are HUM-DINGERS and naturally, I’ll be on vacation, so I’ll be “working” from the beaches of Canada. Yes, they have beaches in Canada. Maybe when I’m all done with it I can look back and see how I’ve changed some of my perceptions and if I still want to beat the crap out of poor Carl Jung.
Please comment! Argue with me! Tell me you like Chex cereal!