Sunday, May 1, 2011

Friendly Fire

The Dream: I’m in a war, but it isn’t vicious--at least when it comes to the combatants’ feelings toward each other. Nevertheless, we are in combat. I approach my adversary, in the cockpit of the aircraft he’s piloting. I am a pilot as well, and we are both men. I approach on foot and remove the nose of the other’s plane, which juts out and surrounds him protectively. Then I think better of it, not wanting to make him so vulnerable. I replace his plane’s nose, and we have a friendly exchange.

Next I’m in a hallway where, near the tail of his bomber, explosives are stored. I have a detonator. I press it again and again, expecting an explosion, but it’s a dud. As I press, I wonder if I will be blown up as well. I try to tell myself I’ll be safe, but it doesn’t seem possible. It occurs to me that if my act succeeds I will kill people, an uncomfortable idea that takes some of the commitment out of my effort.  

The triggers for this dream came from the news, full of the European/American bombing of Libya. I heard two New York Times reporters speak about their capture by loyalist troops; the reporters were mistreated and abused but also, at times, treated as friends or guests.

This imagery points out that what I am expected to do (kill my enemy) has been imposed on me, and in the dream I begin to question this. My “enemy” mirrors me to the point that I begin to realize we are one and the same. Our conflict is not actual, but a part of something larger than we are, something external; something that should be questioned. I begin to understand that to destroy this part of myself—which I don’t even dislike—will potentially destroy me.

Jung says, “If the projected conflict is to be healed, it must return into the soul of the individual, where it had its beginnings in an unconscious manner. He who wants to be the master of this descent must celebrate a Last Supper with himself, and eat his own flesh and drink his own blood; which means that he must recognize and accept the other in himself.”*

*Carl Jung, “The Collected Works of C.G. Jung ” ed. Sir Herbert Read, Michael Fordham, Gerhard Adler, tr. R.F.C. Hull (Princeton: Bollingen Series, Princeton University Press, 1955/56), Vol. 14 “Mysterium Coniunctionis,” 512.

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