Medium Post #1:
To Contend With the Unknown is To Be Alive.
Our Culture moves us forward toward the vast Unknown; towards an ever-expanding landscape that we muster the Courage to think we Know. It’s brought us very far, in fact. Farther than Our Heroes ever thought We’d Go, I think. We’ve gathered up a great wealth of Knowledge for Ourselves, and We’ve Learned to better Contend with the World of which We’re part.
So too, in your own life, when you dive deep into yourself, you find a vast Unknown that underlies your structures and beliefs, every new scenario you meet, you are constantly creating and recreating your view of the world. You are reaffirming the beliefs that work and reassessing the ones that don’t in the hope that you’ll come to a better Understanding your Self and the World. It is in the Unknown World of Information that you begin to cobble together your parts.
You gather Information from your self: your emotions, your pains, your inner monologues; your feelings, your meditations, your joys. And you gather it from your surroundings: from your sisters or brothers, your parents and your environment — maybe you even learned a lesson from a doggie or a kid. Put by Carl Jung, “Out of information that lies in the Unknown, you generate a higher resolution World and a higher resolution Self.” So you use those two poles of perception — your inner and outer world—to make yourself more well-rounded. You Contend With the Unknown and You Become More. In a sense, you become a more Whole Human Being.
"Exploring our depths, we now know, is no easy matter,
but, rather, it is akin to an arduous journey
into Unknown territory, fraught with potentials,
hazards, and dangers."
— Karen Horney, PhD.
The story can be presented as a Fall From Grace, sure; it’s the realization of a hole in the mast of your ship, the one that tears deep and cuts wide to suck the wind out of your sails and steer you down off your path. You’ve made the realization of the imperfection in your perceived perfection, and a ship with no sail catches no wind. You are lead to a decent and disintegration. Fear can set in here, for certain, but disintegration through darkness is very often a necessary step in order to decouple pairs and parts of yourself that are causing the destructive patterns in your life.
This can be a harsh stage of life. It’s the “burning stage of the Phoenix” like from the Mythic stories Before. It’s a tough stage to stand on, for sure, but it’s worth it — every moment of it — because it gives way to your ascent and your reintegration; a flight, a rebirth. Coming back, you Establish a New Frame of the World and bring back Order to Your Perception. You’ve dove down into the darkest of your crevices, and you’ve recoupled those pairs and rearranged those parts. You’ve created something New, sometimes even Someone New. And because the You that Establishes Order after the down-going is “everything you could muster and more,” you find that you have successfully pushed out of the boundaries of your life — out of your field of the Known and into the Unknown. You’ve Contended with It. Dove through your self — your thoughts, your pains, your feelings — and you thrown out a bit more Light than you thought you had. Jung calls this “what constitutes measurable progress,” and it’s this transcendent process of reinvention that pulls us beyond ourselves and towards something ever-greater, to help us always strive to “lean more towards the Light.”
Here’s what I know to be real. If you do this voluntarily — if your life is a constant learning process, you don’t have to wait for something catastrophic to happen. You can harness this way of engaging with life as a constant process of rebirth, and you come to stand taller than you ever thought possible. You could say this ‘doesn’t matter,’ but I think it does matter, and I think “maybe it’s the matter out of which you should be built.”
We, Humans, Inside, like Our Culture, Outside, derive new Order from the Unknown or fall toward Chaos. Sometimes we need a little dose of both. But we’re lucky. We can walk “The Middle Way,” create pairs from poles, and “put ourselves in formation with the Information.” We can “enhance our psyche,” to come to better Understand our Selves and Each Other, like “the Heroes that have stood before Us” from those Dark times Before.
💓 With Love & Light, JWS.
Jung, C. G., and R. F. C. Hull. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Princeton University Press, 1980.
JordanPetersonVideos. Psychological Significance of the Bible “Biblical Series I—XIV.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 May 2017