Posts Tagged ‘opportunity’

“It is … the incapacity to love which robs mankind of his possibilities.”

C.G. Jung (1912)

Jung is often described as Freud’s student, but nothing could be further from the truth. Even though Jung was much younger than Freud, from the start of their intense friendship, they were actually working colleagues, more than teacher and student. At the time Jung met Freud in 1907, he had published a number of papers on complexes and was established at a world-renowned psychiatric clinic in Zurich. In 1912, however, their relationship reached a breaking point. Jung had his own ideas about psyche that were very different from those of Freud’s. The catalyst for their falling out occurred one hundred years ago this Fall. For it is in 1912 that Jung published a work, which translated into English is known as The Psychology of the Unconscious. Freud could not accept Jung’s interpretation of the psyche put forth in that work.  It was the final chord in a growing dissonance between these two great thinkers.

To honor the centenary of this event, I have been reading the original 1912 work. It has been a joy to trace Jung’s thinking about psyche. The first part, published in 1911, is still very much in tune with Freud’s ideas, but as the book unfolds you see Jung becoming more independent about his interpretation of psyche, in which the key turning point is his view on libido. Jung felt libido was far more than just sexual instinct. He reframed libido in terms of the general concept of psychic energy. I like to think of this energy as where our interest lies, what excites us, or gives us a charge in life. Simply, to where does the love in our life flow? The quote above can be restated in the positive sense that our capacity to love gives us possibilities. What a wonderful way of looking at how to relate to the world around us. If we hold onto the capacity to love, then possibilities unfold before us. Jung further states that, “The resistance against loving produces the inability to love.” So, it is our own resistance to love that prevents us from being able to love. We may expect others to first extend their love to us, but this will be thwarted if we resist loving others. This resistance resides within us and it is our task to work with the resistance. If we cannot accomplish this, then Jung says we live with an “incapacity to lovingly include a thing outside of ourselves.” We live a life of isolation.

So, let us take Jung’s words to heart, words written a century ago, but still so relevant to living a life full of possibilities.

This week, discover your capacity to love.

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