Grist to the Mill

02 August, 2004


According to a website which I've just moved away from and which I therefore can't cite, "The CU is a person’s psychic inheritance. It is a reservoir of our experiences as a species - the knowledge we are all born with but which we can never be directly conscious of. It influences all our emotional experiences and behaviour but we only know about it indirectly.

There are some experiences that show the effects of the collective unconscious more clearly than others....
- love at first sight
- deja vu
- the immediate recognition of certain symbols
- the immediate recognition of the meanings of some myths
- creative experiences shared by artists and musicians
- the spiritual experiences of mystics
- parallels in dreams, fantasies, mythologies, fairy tales, and literature
- near death experiences

.. these could all be understood as the sudden conjunction of our outer reality and the inner reality of the collective unconscious."
The first paragraph makes perfect sense. The piece then lists human experiences that are supposed to illustrate the collective unconscious in effect. But - I'm stoopid! I genuinely find it difficult to follow. On one hand we cannot be properly aware of its mechanics; on the other hand we have the awareness to understand that these things are manifestations of the CU (which is at work at a much deeper level). Can anyone provide an authentic or made up example of the collective unconsious causing or enabling someone to - for example - recognise a symbol, have "a shared, creative experience", or experience deja vu? I'd appreciate it. For me, listing these effects in a bullet-point style isn't enough. I need practical/direct *examples* of how it works, or the theory of how it is said to work, rather than a theoretical/abstract list.

I've been interested in this for ages without investigating and I can't put it off any longer. If anyone would like to enlighten me until I find one of those cartoon illustrated books, that would be great. Also, if anyone (ie, any one of my two readers, ho ho) knows about the Trickster archetype, plesae do tell...

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