Originally posted by midicon
."The self can only be observed through relationship" was a quote from Jung which I recall from years ago. I thought it would be interesting to hear
views on it before revealing the source.For me, I always thought it was self explanatory really and I can't understand the confusion.
Part of the the confusion is that it seems you are misunderstanding the nature of language itself. How it works. After reading again this whole mess,
I decided to go and look into Jung in order that I may understand better what YOU meant by "self."
Not surprisingly, Jung's idea of "self" (as I just read it) is not the same at all as the way I use the term. Or many use the term. Some use the
term "self" to describe what Jung would call "ego." I use the term "Self" as "consciousness itself" aside from all of what he calls the ego,
shadow, persona, etc.
You seem to be operating under the assumption that words have inherent meaning. That someone should hear a word, and it should mean the same thing to
everyone who hears it. Clearly this is not so, or we would all speak the same language.
Words have no inherent meaning. They are nonsense sounds until two or more people agree to assign that sound to a mental concept that is shared. If
you have been reading Jung, you have heard his long explanation of his definition of "self," and now you share the concept that he is linking the
word "self" to. However not everyone has read Jung. (I havent gotten around to it yet.) So others of us may link the word/sound "self" to wholly
They may not share the mental concept-word link with you, and so you may get very unusual responses. This doesnt mean that people are necessarily
too unenlightened to discuss the matter. Or that they are silly, stupid, or whatever else one might assume when frustrated. It merely means that
there is no agreement between you and them that the sound or word "self" stands for one specific mental concept. Or to be more precise that it
stands for the same mental concept for both of you. Both people have assigned that sound to a concept, simply not the same one.
I know the endless defining and refining of word use annoys some, but when people are discussing the exotic, it is simply part of the deal. It is
difficult enough finding words that precisely fit someones conceptual understanding when experience is shared. When one is discussing things that may
NOT be shared experiences, it becomes even more complicated.
The Sufi mystic and philosopher al-Ghazali liked this to trying to share the experience of "drunkeness" with someone who has never had alcohol. You
can tell them what was consumed, how the person behaved when intoxicated, but you can never convey what it is to be drunk to someone who has not
themselves had the experience. The concept you are trying to explain has to be there in their mind already so that you can come to agreement what
word/sound to link to that concept. If it is simply not there, all you can do is say, "it is something sort of like...." (insert closest shared
concept.) Maybe you can "frankenstein" several concepts they already hold together, but this process requires discussing and open minded listening
on both sides.
When people are misunderstood and just write the other party to the conversation off, they are acting too hastily, in my opinion. And, it betrays an
inability to see things from anothers point of view. Not everyone shares the same background, and it really isnt viable to assume that everyone
shares the word/concept links that we prefer.