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their own gifts they imperil their lives and do not live out their full tally of years. . . . This is the way of things everywhere. For this reason for a long time I have made every effort to be completely useless. Poor mortal! Let us suppose that I could be used for something; would I have reached such a size? And besides, you and I are both creatures. How does one creature come to be in a position to pass judgment on another as though from on high? You mortal and useless man, how can you talk about useless trees?!� The carpenter woke up and thought about the dream, and when his apprentice asked him how this tree among all others had come to serve the shrine to the earth, he answered him: “Hold your tongue! Not another word about it! It grew there on purpose, because otherwise those who did not know it would have abused it. If it were not the tree of the earth shrine, it surely would have run the risk of getting cut down.5 The carpenter obviously understood his dream, that is, that the tree, which did no more than realize its God-given destiny, represents the highest principle, before which human goal-oriented thinking has to hold its peace. Translated into psychological language, the tree represents the process of individuation giving teaching to the shortsighted ego.6 In Chuang-tse’s story, beneath the tree that is only itself stands a shrine to the earth. This was a rough stone, on which it was the custom to make offerings to the God who possesses and protects every plot of earth.7 This earth shrine symbol conveys the meaning that actualization of the individuation process requires devotion to the suprapersonal powers of the unconscious. This means that I ought not to think about what I should do or about what is generally considered the right thing to do, or about what usually tends to happen, but rather I should pay heed to what the inner wholeness, the Self, wants from me now in this situation or what it wants to bring about through me.8 To stay with the image of the tree, it is as though, in the process of its growth, it came against a stone, and instead of feeling irritated or making plans for how to overcome the obstacle, it just tried to feel whether it should now move more to the left or to the right, and as if it then yielded to the slightest yet strongest signal, which is the very urge toward creative uniqueness in which one feels compelled to find out what has never yet been known. The guiding impulses do not come from the ego, but rather from the psychic wholeness, the Self. In this respect, it does not help to imitate other people, for each person has his

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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