Monday, 30 August 2010

We the Immortals

Jung points out in his writings how the Unconscious is older than consciousness. We start life, both as an individual, and as a species, in a state of unconsciousness unlimited by the constraints of our individuality and, therefore, more 'in tune' with our surroundings and each other. Like an animal lives in harmony with the rest of it's ecosystem we started our species development united rather than separated from the rest of life.

Our Unconscious is older and also 'wiser' than our intellect, a fact that we acknowledge when we talk of the heart being a wiser organ than the brain.

The reason I stated in an NPIRL post last year that Jung would have loved SL is because he saw the main task of a person to work towards a synthesis of their unconscious and conscious selves. He thought that all psychic activity is directed towards that goal whether we are aware of it or not.

A method to enhance this process which he proposed to a few of his clients was that of Active Imagination. Basically you take a glimpse of your psychic content, like an image from one of your dreams, and paint it in RL, going back to it and repainting the painting. If you continue this process the image starts to develop beyond a glimpse into a more substantial 'story'. This, a co-operative effort between your unconscious and conscious mind, will reveal insights into your path which you didn't necessarily understand from your initial glimpse (dream image).

Bear with me...

SL, and your avatar, in particular, fulfils all these requirements. Your work on your avatar is much more than a game, a waste of time or a retreat from RL, it is pure therapy. It is leading you and me on the path of Individuation as Jung calls it.

"Individuation is the process through which a person becomes his/her 'true self'. Hence it is the process whereby the innate elements of personality; the different experiences of a person's life and the different aspects and components of the immature psyche become integrated over time into a well-functioning whole. Individuation might thus be summarised as the stabilizing of the personality."..[wikipedia]

Now, Nightflower in her wonderful comment in yesterdays discussion on RL/SL 'conflict' gives voice to a feeling which many people share, namely that her avatar is more than just a cartoon figure but something mythological and supernatural. Jung would love that, for, she is.

She, the avatar, shares in the collective unconscious in the same way that Myths, the I Ching, and fairytales do. She is goddess, muse, oracle, inspiration and intuition, and, as I said yesterday she points out to us, like a guide, repressed content which is forgotten but still growing, unrequited, like a lonely ghost in our psyche.

She is also an Immortal.

The steps we take and the digital imprint we leave will endure, for like any pioneers our journeys will be retold by future generations when our fumbling steps will be retraced and used by the wise as illustration for the young.

We are future myth.

Jung really would love SL.



  1. Jung may well have loved Second Life, but I'd bet the farm that Sigmund Freud would have loved it more..especially Zindra...

  2. I so love your posts on this topic. There's something in the air lately, in the Collective Consciousness on this. I have been working up my own post/experience on this very idea, mine a far more simplistic take on the incredible complexities that you presented so thoroughly and wonderfully.

  3. Quote:
    "If you will practise being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats."

    From, Illusions...The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. Richard Bach copyright 1977

    Thanks for a great start to my new week soror

  4. This is freaking brilliant, soror. Thank you for your lucidity on this subject. I've always said that SL is a platform that allows us to experiment with the different aspects of our psyches. That the ways we present ourselves in virtual space tell us something important about who we are. It's important to ask ourselves why we make the choices we make. They are not arbitrary. When given unlimited opportunities, I choose to be this. I identify with this created thing. As different as it may be from my apparent rl self, in many ways it is more honestly me than my real self could ever express.

  5. Excellent to have this feedback, thanks..
    I have often said that SL is a psychic research laboratory if you let it be.

  6. Great post, Soror :) as usual..

    What you said made me realize an interesting thing. My first two years in SL felt like non-stop growing - making art, showing art, curating, organizing events, etc. I've learned great deal about myself as an artist and as a person. And my avatar, while remaining human, kept evolving and changing.
    A few months ago I felt like I reached "the point". I could keep doing what I was doing (as many wanted me to), but I felt it wasn't what I needed anymore. I moved into "transitional point". It happens to me every few years and usually proceeds some major professional and personal shift.
    Now, how all this relates to your post? I didn't pay attention to this, but after reading your analysis I realized that my own "cartoon" avatar responded to this new transitional stage. According to my snapshot from May, I haven't changed a single thing about my avatar. It remains exactly the same for 3 months. And before I used to change a few times a day! A lot of my friends are clothing designers, who flooded my avatar with thousands of items that I don't even open anymore.
    Yes, our avatars reflect a lot more about us than we realize. They are another window into our mind that we need to learn to understand.
    My regular transitional stages are always quite difficult and challenging. I am trilled that there is something that actually reflects it in a somewhat visual form.
    Thank you for making me think about all this. Sorry for making a comment almost longer than the post :))

  7. White, great comment. It is amazing to have this possibility of seeing yourself in the third person. It separates us from those that don't but unites us culturally with those that do...

  8. nicely composed =) even the act of being "blogger", songwriter, poet, scupltor, and so many creative things express our true selves

    even though many of us (avatars) had to choose from last names, we still named ourselves. "our" real names are typically not the ones we choose but the ones given to us by parents

    there is something more "me" in my avatar, i suppose i do not have the same paradigms and same responses as those that cage me in real life =)

  9. @iliveisl thoughts exactly. My 'initial' personality is so formed by parents, school, culture etc whereas my 'second' personality is formed in a freer space, no pressure, no history, no physical features that I can't alter. It is no wonder I am more myself in SL, I have designed me.