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influenced by our civilization and therefore still seemed to possess an unspoiled, natural knowledge of the psychic guide that Jung called the Self. The Self can be defined as an inner guiding center, which does not coincide with our consciousness and which can only be further explored through dreams, which show that it works toward a lasting expansion and maturation of the personality. To begin with, however, this great center in us is no more than an inborn potentiality. In the course of a lifetime it can be realized to a greater or lesser degree, depending on whether the ego is willing to pay attention to its messages. The Naskapi noted that someone who heeds the promptings of the “great man” receives more numerous and better dreams, and we could also say that in such a person the great man is more clearly realized than in people who neglect him. Accordingly, it seems that the ego was not made by nature to follow its own arbitrary will unrestrictedly, but rather to help the inner wholeness toward realization by lending it the light of consciousness. If, for example, I possess an artistic talent of which I am unaware, it might as well not exist; only when my ego perceives it can it be realized. In the same way, the inborn potentiality for individuation is not the same as the consciously recognized and consciously lived development of psychic wholeness. We can picture it like this: In every mountain pine the image of this very mountain pine with all its potentialities is present, as it were, in the seed; but each real pine seed falls at a particular time in a particular place, and there are many special circumstances in play, like the nature of the soil, stones, the inclination and wind orientation of the slope, and the time of exposure to the sun. The whole of the nature of the pine reacts to these circumstances, for example, by growing crooked, growing around a stone, inclining toward the sun; and in this way the unique, unrepeatable individual pine tree that is the only real one comes into being, for after all a “pine in itself” is only a possibility or an idea. This growth of the individual, the unique, is what Jung called, in human beings, the individuation process. However, this must be seen from two aspects. Initially, it is an unconsciously flowing process of growth, such as takes place in humans as in every other sentient being, one through which a human being lives out his or her humanness. But in the true sense, this process only becomes a reality when a person becomes conscious of it.4 We do not know whether the mountain pine tree knows, suffers, is happy, and so forth, when it encounters the various strokes of fate that form

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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