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The psyche, the Muse and laughter

One theory that Jung was often critized for was his belief in the Muse, a metaphysical aspect, as being original part of the human psyche {original}. Jung tells us the archetypes were products of our earliest ancestry, and so to was the metaphysical for which the Muse is a part.

While reading this evening's on-line news {something I do everyday} I came across this article I thought would interest students of the unconscious psyche.
A big mystery: Why do we laugh?. Here is a part of the article:

One of the remarkable things about laughter is that it occurs unconsciously. You don’t decide to do it. While we can consciously inhibit it, we don’t consciously produce laughter. That’s why it’s very hard to laugh on command or to fake laughter. (Don’t take my word for it: Ask a friend to laugh on the spot.)

Laughter provides powerful, uncensored insights into our unconscious. It simply bubbles up from within us in certain situations.


Doesn't that last sentence about laughter's power sound much like the dream?

If the unconscious has the great psychic energies to control this strong aspect of human behavior {laughter}, can not their be such a thing as a metpahyiscal aspect which is also has the energies to manifest themselves via the Muse? And if this fits, which I know it does, then why can not the other apsects Jung exposes, the shadow, anima/animus, mana personalities, the Self, also prevail in the original psyche? MOdern day science is slowly catching on. Jung had it right and his philosophies can enlighten our whole society if we only take time to properly examine them.

Read the article and let's have a discussion on the science and philosophies of the psyche. How much of our lives is actually controlled by the unconscious? If the dream can provide so much information about our human lives, can it also provide clues to just how strong the unconscious is to our human/animal lives. What a wonderous discovery that would be, the true nature of the uncoscious stimuli to what we do in our waking lives. If science can find the physical evidence, as it has with laughter, perhaps we who study the psyche can play a role in alleviating human suffering. That is a Jesus thing, spiritual, another aspect that Jung says is a part of the metaphysical.
Gerard

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Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

And I saw myself seating alone, no one answered, there was a deafing silence.

For any of us to wholely understand dreams, we have to understand the relationship of the psyche to the whole. To be where Jung and Campbell say we should be, after discovering the SELF, we need an understanding of all the sciences so to understand from the various points of view, and the similiarities. In myth and dream we see that the archetypes are related. So to, in some way, is the part related to all the other parts. { being}.

What is true in the deepest space is true right here where we sit. The same principles apply.

Use it or lose it. At mid-life the brain is still very much capable of learning, and significantly. Through the Muse and creativity we become that true self, whether for a moment, or a life time.
the final enlightenment is gnosis.

The Music of the Spheres

Gerard

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Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

Hi Gerard,
I was a little confused between your last couple of postings. I was under the impression you had a busy time with your work schedule, and I had this in mind with my lack of inclusion.

Anyway, read the article. I suppose the only thing I thought about was that Jung was a strong proponent of opposites. In the case of a baby crying isn't it an instinct response to various situations. Could then laughter be its opposite. Each archetype seems to have a positive and negative aspect. Maybe it is just the archetype of non verbal communication (isn't this how the unconscious generally communicates?). Could be the reason why as you get older you laugh less, you get further away from the SELF. You have the capability to communicate your present state with words (unlike a baby), unless you don't know what to say and then you may just laugh it off, instinctually.

On your comment about how much of our life is controlled by the unconscious, I saw an episode of 'Frasier' the other night and in it he talked about a very good metaphore for the human mind. He said the psyche is just like a sailing ship. The air and wind bellowing out the sails was the conscious environment, but then the rudder of the boat was in the water, which is the subconscious. Therefore our personal conscious controls our drive and ambition, but our direction in life is controlled by the sub/un conscious. Cheers. Stephen G.

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Re: Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

Stephen,
To make a post takes but a minute or two. To interpret a dream properly takes much longer and requires that the senses are trained on the interpretation. I don't try to force an interpretation. Dreams require a clear sense of intuitive perception. When I am in my thinking mold and have to concentrate on business my intuitive self is diminished. It may be hard to understand since the physical nature of my business is something few can relate to.
I see myself as having both highly developed intuitive and thinking qualities {which is antithetical to basic personality typing since they are opposites} but I have yet to develope a system where I can utilize both to their maximum at the same time.

As for the article. It may be true that we get away from the original SELF as we get older but that is because of the ego's control of the life. The primitive mind hasn't changed. It has been relegated to the dark recesses of the psyche. The task is to re-discover its existence and make it a part of our natural waking lives. The mid-life stage is were we have the chance to reconnect. Campbell tells us we have two chances in life to follow our bliss. One is early in life, before we are fully engulfed by world of social duty, and the other is at mid-life.

The factual matter of how much of our waking lives are controlled by the unconscious is up for discussion. I am a student of the psyche. Dreams are but a part of learning about the psyche. The next stage, after learning to understand the dream world, is to investigate what more the psyche has to offer. Jung spent much of his last days exploring astology and the psychic world. Maybe I expect too much from those who contribute to the forum. As individuals we all have to gage our progress according to our understanding. Myths-Dreams-Symbols is about going beyond mere mortal comprehension. It is about the soul and gnosis. It is about holding up a flower and understanding that 'this is the meaning of life'.
Gerard

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Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

Gerard,
Robert Provine's article on 'laughter' was shared with my office staff yesterday - we all gained considerable insight. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

As you know, I'm no novice when it comes to dreaming. This has been a part of my life from earliest recollections. However, interpretation of dreams is all new territory - fascinating, but new. And, for someone who was immersed for so many years in a very conservative, controlling religious environment you can only imagine the negative connotations associated with dreams and their so-called meanings. The word "taboo" comes to mind.

If there is any reluctance on my part to be a truly "contributing" member of the forum, it comes from my own feelings of inadequacy. I spend time daily reading the dream postings/responses - as well as other associated readings which hopefully will deepen my understanding. Thanks for your patience as I learn and prepare to be more interactive in time.

This has been an incredibly difficult two years. How do you lose a relationship of 28 years and not feel the impact? Even though I have been released from the inner turmoil and controlling 'thumb', it still equates to loss, grief, and death.

Laughter...I lost it for a while, but I'll never forget the moment of rediscovery and what happened at the soul level as a result. I was home alone, sitting in a chair, and drinking a cup of coffee. Thank God, I was alone! It truly came from within - laughter. For about five minutes, it was nothing but sheer spiritual delight! When they say that laughter is medicine for the soul - it's true.

And, this morning...I walked around the side of the house and noticed one very brave tulip. It was not out in front for the world to see - but rather just quietly doing what it was called to do. Not looking for praise or admiration, but content to bloom where planted. I felt a connection with that tulip... despite a very harsh winter, we had both survived - and were back again.

I think I may understand, at least in part, what it means to look at a flower and say, "So, this is the meaning of life."

Deedee

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Re: Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

Sunday Morning

Deedee,
Thanks for sharing those experiences. I believe we all need some form of theraphy in life and being able to discuss one's inner dwellings is in itself theraphy. Often we think about things within ourselves yet we never let the words cross our lips. Once we do open up, let out what is within,
the words are finally understood.

The flower analogy is of course from Joseph Campbell.

The mind has to do with meaning. What's the meaning of a flower? There's a Zen story about a sermon of the Buddha in which he simply lifted a flower. There was only one man who gave him a sign with his eyes that he understood what was said. Now, the Buddha himself is called "the one thus come." There's no meaning. What's the meaning of the universe? What's the meaning of a flea? it's just there. That's it. And your own meaning is that you're there. We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it's all about.


The flower is a great example. It
has beauty and wonder but what does it mean? Campbell addresses that question in his Power of Myth. Bill Moyers asked Campbell about the meaning of life and his answer took me by surprise. 'There is no real meaning to life. It is just there'. Moyers
objected. Campbell continued: 'We are just a mass of protoplasm with no real meaning. Meaning comes with being alive, finding that thing in life that gives meaning to the individual life'.
After pondering his response for many years I finally Began to understood the truth in what he was saying. That was when I stopped looking outside myself for material and physical worth and started to look inward for that bliss that does give meaning. It wasn't much longer afterwards that I began to assemble the pages that are now Myths-Dreams-Symbols.

Most of all of us begin to seek meaning when we reach the mid-life stage {35 to 55}. But like everything else in out world of social interactions we look outside ourselves for meaning. Take the flower. You break it down, look at its physical qualities and all you find is a mass of matter and plant cells. But if you take a flower and just look at it. It is the wonder and beauty that it exalts that gives the flower
meaning. The same holds true for the individual life. We are just here, a mass of cells and DNA that make up the physical human animal. It is the beauty that we exalt from within, by giving ourselves to that thing the soul desires, music, art, creativity, the joy of just being alive, that provides meaning. The outer world is transitory, material things only stimulate for a short period of time and soon must be replaced by some other outer, temporal thing. But the inner qualities of living the 'bliss' are permanent. The writer finds joy in writing, the artist finds joy in painting, the creative mind finds joy in creating whatever fits the individual. It is a giving thing and not a receiving thing {as in the material world} that matters.

Campbell also talked about having to let go. You speak of the 28 years of being married. Changes come at mid-life either because we are forced into them or the life seeks to find something better that fits the life. Or both. There is always sorrow with changes. It is a process that is most difficult. And the solution isn't as easy as saying 'follow your bliss'. The inner turmoil has to be reckoned with, confronted and put in its proper place. It is a psychological transformation, the inner struggle. And it is different for each of us, no two people are exactly alike.
But there are remedies that provide insights in the individual struggle. Understanding the patterns within our lives, and gaging them to those found in mythology can be of a great help. Knowing what your personality traits are {these are patterns of behavior} will shine much lite on how you interact toward the world and others. Comparing your pattern to that of, for example, Cinderella can provide insights to your own personality and how it may function in similiar situations. We all tend to have Jeckyl and Hyde characteristics. The modern day saga of Star Wars influences even the youngest of minds because the archetypes resonate with the deepest impressions within the primitative mind. Mythology can be a great source in self discovery but with all things important to life it takes effort to understand how it can lead to personal transformation. Few people have the discipline to give the effort required.

I look at you Deedee, and Steve, and Stephen, Kathy and the other contributors at the forum, as well as myself, and see how myth and dreams can transform lives. Just as George Lucas took Campbell's mythology and made movies that transform individuals, we too have the capability to transform not only ourselves but others. Myths-Dreams-Symbols is theraphy for my own life. And by sharing what I have learned from the Masters it also provides clues for others in their search for 'meaning'. The higest calling is give of oneself so that others may learn also. This is the return in the stage of the Hero Journey where the hero shares what he/she has learned.
By openning up your life and showing your personal struggle you not only create a theraputic devise that searves you but one that serves others as well. A mere step in your own heroic struggle.

The Hero Returns with the Elixir to benefit the Ordinary World

End to my Sunday morning sermon

Gerard

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Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

Hi Everyone,
Talk about Synchronicity! I'm experiencing an intuition/intellect conflict issue while utilizing right brain functions during a work project. (As evidenced by my way off base interpretation of my own dream!) Which ‘coincidentally’ I discovered laughing and joking with my partner & through this post that laughter is a catalyst for me in moving from intellect to intuition without days of transition in between the two. Still not a fluent move but better than totally closing off one for an entire day or week…or more.

How does one move fluently between or better yet blend intuition with intellect? Has anyone developed a cohesive working model? Is it a ‘mind over matter’ process (although my personality method of mind over matter is usually repression… ) I’m interested in knowing if and how people manage this function.

Meantime, I still have a week or two of right brain work to complete the project. I'm here reading and learning although minimal during this time other than reading the forum and a quick post. I’ve tabled most all personal dream recording/interpretation & other interests for the time being.

Akin to DeeDee’s thoughts, it's still difficult for me to interpret written dreams so I hesitate to involve myself in that aspect of the forum. I don’t want to add confusion to another’s path as, from personal experience, it can be confusing enough. Don’t feel I have the knowledgeable base yet. I'm good at reading people, situations, etc in person because intuition is automatic in that context. I absorb and process their body language, the non verbal information. For me with written it requires the blend, or fluid movement from, intellect and intuition, which I'm still working on. It’s either one or the other for now.

Sorry for non participation for now. I’ll be back in a week or two. After I get this fricken fracken gol’ dang web site done!

Many thanks,
Kathy

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Re: Re: Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

...and a very good sermon, I should say. Might I also add how much I enjoy (and learn from) the dialogue that flows from such a posting as this - it is where I gather the most understanding of the dream and the psyche. Thank you, Gerard for taking the time to respond in such a teaching fashion - it shed some light on areas that were in question.

I guess I never cease to be amazed (nor take for granted) the dream, its purpose/function, how the message unfolds, and then very often how it syncs up with the waking life. It's a fascinating process.

You mentioned, as well as Kathy the difficulty experienced with aligning the intellectual with the intuitive. Generally speaking, I'm the feeling type (INFJ), depending a great deal on my perceptions/intuition to evaluate and make decisions - but I also lean to the intellect as a safety net, of sorts. Sometimes a conflict results. I have to think back to a fairly recent instance where a hiring decision needed to be made...I spent ten minutes with the candidate. He had all the qualifications necessary; education, skill set, work experience. The facts were all lined up - he was perfect for the job. Except for another "fact" - an unmistakable negative energy was emanating from within him. I went with my intuition - no regrets. Can thinking/intuition become a natural blend? Maybe Kathy truly said it - it's either one or the other (for now). Or perhaps in the case of my "no hire" situation...using my intellect to examine the facts, but ultimately going with my intuition to make the decision is a "blend".

I may very well be speaking from left field, Gerard - but I wonder what portion of our intuition (particularly a the mid-life stage)revolves around life experience - been there, done that, and recall how it all played out. Life experience also tends to be a great teacher - if we're paying attention to the lesson being taught. When I'm having a heart to heart with my youngest daughter, she often ends the discussion with "You're very intuitive, Mom" - to which I respond "Or, I just have a good memory." Same with my grandmother - I thought she was so intuitive (and I'm most sure that she was), but she was also 50 years ahead of me and her wise words spoke of a vast array of experience. This is by no means intended to discount the power of the intuitive side - because it's just that - powerful. But, I also know that the myriad of life events we all share - individually and collectively - is absolutely invaluable...and a true gift to be shared with those who have not yet had the opportunity to experience them.

Deedee

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Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

Discovering Jung in every day life is opening my eyes to a new world, but I am also experiencing his theories, I believe Jung is becoming more universal, it is like he was a citizen of this world. The article make things more clear to me, because I am the kind of person that sometimes couldn't hold smiling. In some occasions, I asked my self, why did you smile??, you shouldn't, so I made my search and got to the conclusion that my father make smile for the pictures since I was a baby, but at the end was not convinced. The act of smiling make me feel better.

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Re: Re: The psyche, the Muse and laughter

everyone,i have read what has been said by you all,and at the very least,i have come to realise how much we really do have in common as a species,i have learned as part of my own process via this web site that i really know nothing,i have always dreamt,but have found it difficult to accept the validity of the content.
my sense of humour and dreams have been my staff,through a very difficult time both physically and mentaly.
like deedee,i am reluctant to to fully participate,as i know i do not have the clear sightedness and word sense some of you seem to possess,especially gerard.
jung was most definatley ,a great sage of our time,a modern shaman, healer of the soul,i can see him dancing and laughing with the muses across flower filled meadows
laughter is a great medicine,with little sometimes to laugh at in the world,if at least you can laugh at yourself,then there is hope.if you can't wake up with a smile on your face,then go to bed with a coat hanger in your mouth,that could work!
regards steve

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