Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Child and the Puppy

The Dream:
My daughter has a little dog. She leaves it kenneled while she goes to work. Clark is concerned that it will be miserable left alone in its kennel for so long. I don’t want to take responsibility for the animal, which feels like a burden. We go to my daughter’s house and let out the puppy, which joyfully jumps on us for a while. After a short time it has had enough companionship and returns to its kennel, happy to be alone again. “See,” I say to Clark, “it’s fine with the current arrangement. When they go to work lots of people leave their dogs home alone.”

Interpretation: The dream points out the relationship between my ego and my instincts (represented by the dog). I repress this instinctive side so I can work. M. Esther Harding, an acolyte of Jung’s, tells us that inertia, which she sees as an instinctive human state, is one of the first obstacles humanity must overcome on the road to consciousness.* But what about the child? Jung sees this archetype as leading the way to our spiritual development. In this dream, the animal (instinctive) belongs to the child (spiritual). Jung emphasizes the ambivalent in his understanding of God; in other words, as a very wise friend of mine once said, “It’s all part of it.” The dream tells me not to separate my instincts from my “higher” self.

*M. Esther Harding, Psychic energy, Its Source and Its Transformation, Bollinger Series X, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973), Chapter 3. Inertia and Restlessness, pp 37-59.


Anonymous said...

Interesting interpretation. I like Harding's take on inertia being a natural instinct. Thanks for sharing this author. I hadn't heard of her.

Carla Young said...

I've just started reading Harding. I'm finding the chapter on the maternal instinct--especially the way in which what appears to be selflessness can be its opposite--enlightening.

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