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  1. #11
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Well, people have different responses. Basically the survival need kicks in, and you either direct aggression at others (to get what you want and not experience the loss), or you direct at yourself (I am weak, I am unworthy, I am no good, I am incapable), etc. Fear -> aggression / flailing / struggle

    Not even sure "good" in that sense exists. There is just "what is" versus "what we imagine it to be." And good is "what actually is."

    You can look at it as the animal man vs the thinking man as well. Our animal limbic system is trying to protect our lives and happiness at all costs, and we have built-in responses to these various sets of stimuli. You're basically overcoming the natural responses of "protect and sustain me and my happiness" with acceptance that your particular survival is not the highest good, nor does it make you a happy, content, and productive individual to always be responding to that programming.
    All of this is what I'm trying to come to grips with now.

    So in that sense, the whole acceptance thing is actually pretty transcendent even as it works to accept "what is."

    This is why the two systems bump heads... especially when you involve people some of whom are very literal and concrete thinkers along with the abstractors who think in terms of fuzzier pictures and intuitions. The literalists translate the fuzzy intuitions as rejecting God and personal responsibility and not fighting to stop evil and whatever else, the abstractionists are seeing this bigger picture where everything is more of the same being and needs to be integrated, not eradicated, and that the fight itself just is missing the point.

    There's a lot that can be said about this. But I've had the same basic struggle as well. I used to see God as very personal and specific because that is what the Bible told me (at least, in the tradition I was raised); I feel that, as I have gotten older and changed and experienced more of life, the very specific details I once believed about God have become very very fuzzy, but it's more than I am finding myself changed and shaped and "being god" more to others and wanting them to be a part of it. I have a lot of trouble explaining it clearly, because it's a picture/metaphor, not a linear statement.

    You know how, when you have food or medicine or something outside your body, you can pick it up and hold it and look at it and examine it, so you can see all the details and it's all very easily described? But it's not part of you. It's outside of you. Then, when you eat it or administer it and it enters you and becomes part of you, you no longer can examine it in the same way, see all the lines and colors and shapes and whatever else? Yet you don't really NEED to do that, because more importantly it is now INSIDE of you, and actually has become part of who you are, and you are acting out of it as part of your identity? That's kind of how I view the whole "god" thing -- you have integrated more with it, so you have less need to explicate, define, and separate yourself from it for the purposes of defining it. But it's still very personal, in a sense, as it's part of you. You see the effects of it, rather than "it" anymore.
    I just spent two hours basically debating last night about how God will never give us any clear evidence; it's all an inner experience of devotion and "growth", to ultimately make us into more loving, giving people; and you have to "commit" to "something"; though nothing will be clear.
    They insist this is a particular Christian process, but it sounds a lot like what you're describing, but they will again, attribute that to "common grace", and that I'm thinking too "black and white", and some will even add "external locus of control".

    Again, the entire context of the New Testament was the persecution of the Christians by a pair of political systems in cahoots (yet still at odds with each other) over control. It is not placing as much of a focus on the inner world as people make it out to be. This seems to be connected with modern evangelicalism's pervasive need to make itself "relevant". I like the way this guy points out, that God has basically been transformed into a "life coach". God just talks you through the difficulties of life by helping you change your attitude. http://www.monergism.com/thethreshol...captivity.html
    He's Reformed and advocates the more "outer" focus of corporate worship, and the movements he's criticizing don't completely do away with that; but ultimately it's all inner. So I have to wonder if maybe there is something to the corporate approach. Just that they have added a lot of unbiblical stuff as well.

    The point is, when God's plan is presented in scripture as something external, then whatever exactly this is, it makes it so much more confusing to try to mix this whole internal thing into it —just to force some sort of relevancy. (I compare the whole debate on this to trying to grasp at smoke).
    Last edited by Eric B; 09-15-2012 at 11:50 AM.
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  2. #12
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    It's more that the things you thought you wanted cease to be the things you want, you are able to be "at peace" with things as they are. Basically, you are part of things and things are part of you, so the distinctions here (which results in separate entities that can then try to dominate each other to appease their own personal set of desires) melt away.

    For me, personally, how I meld things is that I see altruism and "other love" as another form of loving the self, and vice versa. In a sense, the ego boundaries that most people keep around themselves, as little autonomous and separate individuals (within which you try to protect and sustain the life within), are constantly being stretched and extended so that more and more people outside of yourself are falling within your own ego boundaries. In other words, you see them as "part of you" rather than as separate beings in terms of caring about their survival and well-being, rather than as enemies who you need to defend against.

    Not even sure "good" in that sense exists. There is just "what is" versus "what we imagine it to be." And good is "what actually is."

    You can look at it as the animal man vs the thinking man as well. Our animal limbic system is trying to protect our lives and happiness at all costs, and we have built-in responses to these various sets of stimuli. You're basically overcoming the natural responses of "protect and sustain me and my happiness" with acceptance that your particular survival is not the highest good, nor does it make you a happy, content, and productive individual to always be responding to that programming.

    So in that sense, the whole acceptance thing is actually pretty transcendent even as it works to accept "what is."
    Still thinking on this, and with the fact I mentioned that it is still a world of "survival of the fittest", if we acquiesce and become a part of the whole or "what is", then this will be more and more defined by those powerful, who are still acting out and imposing their separate ego identities on everyone else. So does this mean that is the "highest good"? It looks to me like becoming part of this whole will end up meaning becoming subservient to those weiding the most power.
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  3. #13
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    Still thinking on this, and with the fact I mentioned that it is still a world of "survival of the fittest", if we acquiesce and become a part of the whole or "what is", then this will be more and more defined by those powerful, who are still acting out and imposing their separate ego identities on everyone else. So does this mean that is the "highest good"? It looks to me like becoming part of this whole will end up meaning becoming subservient to those weiding the most power.
    Well, that's one of the flaws with it -- just as you could try to say that Jesus dying on a cross instead of fighting the Romans is equivalent to the notion that the winner is "he who kills all of the people who disagrees with his position." That seems to be a flaw in pacifism... if too many pursue it, it becomes exploitation by those with no scruples.

    But it's definitely a question of scope. What works on the micro level might not work as well on the macro level.
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  4. #14
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  5. #15
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Well, that's one of the flaws with it -- just as you could try to say that Jesus dying on a cross instead of fighting the Romans is equivalent to the notion that the winner is "he who kills all of the people who disagrees with his position." That seems to be a flaw in pacifism... if too many pursue it, it becomes exploitation by those with no scruples.

    But it's definitely a question of scope. What works on the micro level might not work as well on the macro level.
    Thing is, this is not even pitched as “pacifism”, on a personal level. It's pitched as “healthy”. “Don't fight it, or even be bitter, complain, be malcontent etc. it's unhealthy for you. Stop looking at others; you won't grow”. After all, the context I was speaking in was on personal “growth”, anyway, with pain said to be ultimately good. So let the powerful have their way; at least you'll be a bigger person, and healthy and content. They're not “happy” anyway.
    It feels like such a double bind!

    Christ's mission was to bring salvation, and He then rose and ascended to glory anyway. Of course, that appeals to the invisible and beyond this life, and that is where “faith” is brought into it, for us.
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  6. #16
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Their book (Living Your Unlived Life) sounds interesting. It advocates "active imagination" dialogue, which someone not too long ago explained to me. Like to imagine what my anima would say she wants from me. (I couldn't think of anything, and figured that perhaps what she wants is for me to be myself or accept myself as I am). Some of those exercises I might find as feeling silly, but I guess there is something into looking into the unconscious basis of things.
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  7. #17
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    In all this, I forgot to mention that the part about becoming "part of the whole" is what at times seems appealing. Would beat trying to maintain total autonomy (with all its expectations), and end up feeling like a victim of "the system" all the time.
    This even came to mind when reading of the decisions that go into entertainment, government, construction, etc. All the things that provide the entire "backdrop" of life. I think of them as "the adornment" (this is actually the meaning of the Greek word kosmos, which is translated in the Bible as "earth" and sometimes "world"). The decisions they make change the way everyday things we see look.

    Stevie Wonder decides to withhold one song, and put another on the album, and give another one away to another musician. The record company at first controls him, but he then comes of age and able to gain contracts where they have to receive whatever he puts out, whenever, and this is what the world hears.
    Bob Clampett decides to pair his Tweety character with Friz Freleng's Sylvester, but then leaves the company while the film is on the drawing board. Freleng takes the idea, and decides to adopt Tweety and place him in another Sylvester project he was working on (replacing a woodpecker he used before), but the producer objects, wanting the woodpecker retained. Freleng presses on, and wins the animation studio its first Oscar, and a new world famous cartoon pair is created, which are still well known today. (And Oscar winning cartoons ended up influencing everything after them, so that nearly every WB series became a Sylvester and Tweety chase using different characters. Look at the later Daffy, when paired with Bugs).
    Religious leaders who shape doctrine and major movements.
    And then, all the decision of the NYC Transit system; what lines run where, what subway car or bus fleets run on which lines, fares, rules for workers, new projects, etc. (I had had hoped to eventually move up somewhere in there). All of this affects life in the nations biggest city.

    So all of this provided the "adornment" of the world I grew up in. Problem is, "you have to crawl before you can walk", and basically start out as an onlooker, separate from the system, and having virtually no sayso as to what it puts out, as much as it affects you; in addition to all the incredible hardship, trial and error, requirements, skills/talent needed, competition, and time needed to get into one of those industries and climb up to a top, influential position like that.

    This is something that has always been hard to accept (and I guess AS exacerbates the desire "I want it now", or feeling like giving up). But I take it that that exemplifies the whole process; taking the individual ego out of its assumed position. (Makes it seem ironic to be called "individuation")
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  8. #18
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    Their book (Living Your Unlived Life) sounds interesting. It advocates "active imagination" dialogue, which someone not too long ago explained to me. Like to imagine what my anima would say she wants from me. (I couldn't think of anything, and figured that perhaps what she wants is for me to be myself or accept myself as I am). Some of those exercises I might find as feeling silly, but I guess there is something into looking into the unconscious basis of things.
    I don't think there is a silver bullet for any type of growth process, but I do think certain exercises can help contribute to a growth spurt or restructuring.

    When I was in my most intense therapy, the few years before my transition up to a bit after I started, one thing my therapist asked me to do was imagine myself as a child and look at myself through my now-grown-up eyes. What did I see? What was this child like? What was the child doing?

    And now... because I had been a parent and raised children of my own, if I was to parent this child, how would I parent, using all the wisdom I had gained over the years? (I think my therapist realized that I was really good at advising others, but for some reason I was much harder on myself and would get confused... so it helped to detach from myself that way and just look at myself as another person.)

    The anima/animus thing is interesting. I have thought more about it as a woman; males seem to fixate on a singular "dream girl" to be best friend and wife rolled into one, by nature, but I have found now that I have various people playing various roles in my life. The guy I went out with twice, I saw him as a "knowledge source / mind food" but had no interest in him to play another role; and I was happy with that, but I don't know if he'll be. But I keep looking for someone to be an actual life partner/soulmate type, yet I don't expect that person to be everything to me. I'm happy having best friends and others to fill various slots in my life.

    It was also interesting because I had no real "father" figure in my life who was any use to me, so starting to talk to guys, I'm starting to get "male involvement." Like how they position themselves to me, take pains to look out for me a bit, advise/educate me (even when I don't ask for it and already know what I'm doing, lol!), but I don't really take that much offense to it, I find it more an interesting experience right now. I mean, I think instead of me looking at it as them dominating me, I perceive it as a collaborative thing in these contexts... I appreciate my animus figures investing in me, it's the act of them being willing to invest and focus on me that is affirming even if the knowledge is unnecessary. But I appreciate the knowledge too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    This is something that has always been hard to accept (and I guess AS exacerbates the desire "I want it now", or feeling like giving up). But I take it that that's the whole process; taking the individual ego out of its assumed position. (Makes it seem ironic to be called "individuation")
    How I see it is that, earlier in life, the ego is insecure / weak and cannot handle being in the presence of powerful forces -- hence it tries to withdraw / hold itself back in order to preserve itself.

    I think a strong sense of ego / self-identity, though, permits someone to enter situations and even allow "blending/integration" into other identity structures because the person is not concerned that they will be overwhelmed and/or lose anything essential to their sense of self in the interaction. So if I am secure as who I am, I can enter alliances and relationships and whatever else, without fear of being engulfed or being lost.

    Truly being an individual means I no longer have to set myself apart, ironically.
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  9. #19
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    Von Franz has several books that might be of interest - Animus and Anima in Fairy Tales.

    Also The Red Book seems very nice, esp. for an INTP. There is a free pdf online.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    I don't think I've ever seen you try to explain it before, but then I guess you're saying "it's an Ni thing; you wouldn't understand".
    But is what I said even close, at least? (You'll have to help me out. As a TiNe in mildlife, I'm brand new to an Ni-F way of looking at things).
    I haven't tried to explain it to you in particular before. Just countless other people, and 99% of the time, it fails.

    It's not an Ni thing. Words are simply not adequate.

    Let's take what you asked earlier for example:
    I guess if you just focus on being, and not on what you don't have, then you'll be happy?
    Will you be happy? I cannot tell you that.

    There is no "Do x, don't do y, and get z result" because by consciously trying to do something in this manner, you change the outcome. I cannot say "do this and you will be happy" because if you are looking for 'happy', in a result oriented fashion from my precise words, you may in fact cause yourself to lose it.

    I see that you are reading all kinds of things from The Bible to philosophy but these things are traps. If a book could tell you what you need by its words alone, someone would have found it by now.

    You need more than words. You need lived experience. I think this is why westerners continually fail at eastern philosophy.

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