This semester, I am taking a creative non-fiction workshop class at the University of Memphis. The instructor is Sonja Livingston, a talented and passionate writer (Ghostbread, and others). I submitted an essay on the Jung-oriented dreamwork that I do (see past posts on this blog) to my workshop this week. A couple of my classmates said they think Jung is outdated, and another said there is more modern neuroscience that I completely left out. That if I wanted to publish a book on dreams I should do more research for the book proposal.
Truth is, I have no intention of publishing a book on dreams. There are thousands out there from professionals in the fields of psychology, anthropology, analysis, biochemistry, and, yes, neuroscience. And even chemical engineers. This essay was about how the type of dreamwork I do has changed the way I see life – changed the way I see others, changed my relationships. The essay was intended as an invitation to others to listen to dreams, the visitors in the night, and to share my own experience.
To say that I needed to include modern neuroscience and brain research was, well, like I’m watching a waterfall, being enchanted by the rainbows in the spray, watching the way the water spills and splashes over the rocks, whispers past the ferns at water’s edge, eddys and pools as it enters the creek, then someone says there’s no way I could appreciate the scene unless I had a better understanding of current studies in hydrology, and a scientific appreciation of H20 and geology.
Seems this way of looking at life is somewhat like viewing the world through a tube, and the viewer can only see what the tube is aimed at. There is a loss of the milieu, the broader sense of place that comes with appreciation of the small things that make up a scene. Can one take in the colors, the fragrance, the sounds, if the eye is only zeroing in on one element of the scene?
Depending on one’s personality type, there will always be differences in people and their views of life. That’s what makes us interesting – our personalities and quirks. To grow our soul, do we just accept that “that’s how I am”, or do we try to learn about another way of seeing? Just as the ones who say I needed more modern science in my essay, then perhaps I need to look at the world through their eyes for a few minutes. Perhaps I should ask myself, How can you clarify words so that you don’t sound like you're clinging to an old fashioned, out-of-date concept (even though there has been a resurgence of Jung’s concepts in modern psychology circles, and I've studied dreams for years and years, and completed a two-year dream leadership course of study a couple of years ago).
What does it take to see, really see, something? Does it take a complete understanding of everything that goes into the ‘thing’? Or can one merely appreciate on a simple level the beauty of a thing’s existence? My stance is to try to understand another's perspective. Others may take a more dismissive stance. How do we better appreciate each other's perspective?