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Two attitudes are thus to be avoided. First is the desire to tell one’s experience to everyone, whatever the costs, at the risk of suffering misunderstanding and making a fool of oneself. This is frequently the result of an inflation, wanting out of vanity to impress others, which makes one lose the experience completely. The second attitude to avoid is the desire to guard everything for oneself, pretending that one is the same old intellectual or pious Pharisee, or whatever one was before. One can, as much as possible, hide the numinous experience under the veil of the persona;14 but if, by an interior command, one is told to unveil the experience, one must have the courage to do so. One may have to say: “I am not going to do anything tomorrow.” There is evidently no need to say that one acts so because of a dream, or to give an inner reason. But it can also happen that one has an interior command to stand up now and to say what one thinks, even if that means some kind of persecution. For instance, one may be led to go against a collective opinion, though without taking oneself to be the wise sage whose mission is to enlighten others, or by playing the martyr. Naturally the introvert will always be tempted to keep it too much to himself, and the extravert to blurt it out.15 Both are wrong. The oscillation between these two rhythms belongs to the work of the Self, if the inner experience has been understood rightly. In general, dreams indicate clearly how one must act. The Self determines when one should expose the secret and when one should hide it. It is very meaningful that Lucius-Apuleius, who was shy about standing up for naive feeling experience, should have to be exposed before Roman society, where all the nice mocking grins and pointed remarks of the others would certainly be directed toward him. They would mock at his shaven crown saying, “Ah, he has been initiated into the Isis mysteries,” and they would drill into that. Previously, mockery, intellectualism, and aestheticism were all part of Apuleius’s ego defense mechanism, and so to stand openly would be for him the test of total acceptance. His experience is not just a new small thrill which he can keep for himself, carrying on with his old outer life as before. Isis knows what she is doing when she imposes upon him the public confession. It is not what happens normally, but doing that fits his problem and his pattern. The question arises why Lucius’s redemption comes about through the intermediary of an Egyptian mystery cult and why the Isis-Osiris cult has such redeeming power over him. Why not the Christian or the Mithraic? We

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

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