Darling, we must respect humans, for we were all born naked.
What happens after we start wearing clothes, who knows.
-Vivienne DuBois to her daughter in Sacred Marriage-Monks and Nuns in Love
I want to tell you, I was like a WASP in a fishbowl when I swam in the circles of the upper class, some of whom were among the 12% “whites” living here on the border of Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. I use “fishbowl” as a metaphor for cultures, generally–and for my own chosen insularity. That would be my social class of privilege as a White Anglo Saxon Protestant.
My experience of fishbowls is mine, and yours is yours. However, if I generalize my WASPhood, fellow WASPs will understand the cultural nuances. Not so the Mexican folk culture where witches, demons, and spirits are agents of the pobres’–the poor ones’–magical world; which, by the way, tends to be insular, also. WASP and pobre: one would think “never the twain shall meet.” But I’ve lived in that magical world. I’ve slept with their spirits. Just like reading, travel, and individuating, communion with The Other, i.e., acculturation, can ply one’s attitude with tolerance for The Other, appreciation for The Other, psychological flexibility, and fluid boundaries outside the comfort and familiarity of one’s own culture.
Whatever your demographics, if you are a decent human being, integrity is important to you. Psychological integrity takes integrating contents from both the personal and the collective unconscious. Sometimes C. G. Jung refers to the psyche as the soul. Mankind’s shared soul is the world soul of humanity, and is infinitely more encompassing than the subset of your fishbowl. After all, Anthropology is the study of Man, and Man created cultures. “The Source” is the source of life.
You will not find all fractions of your soul within your own culture. But you can’t necessarily go flip-flopping in and out of others’ fishbowls. What you need are efficient tools of individuation to bring you within the transcendent function–I call it The Rub. These tools can help you release the ties that bind you to the unconscious so you can rise above the rim of your fishbowl. From here, you can observe things from a higher perspective, perhaps magical things you never knew existed.
I can show you some of the tools that help me envision wholeness: journaling, depth psychology, and communing with The Other. But happily, these are just a few of the approaches to wholeness that are really templates to be laid over any human’s life navigation.
For it’s the hero’s exploration and delight in adventure that makes life a quest. And, regardless of culture, we’re all heros of our own story if we’re intentional about the whole thing. Importantly, you don’t have to quest to Tibet, or to Egypt, or to the Antarctic. You can quest as far as you like in the imagination (and on Internet, the global mind 🙂 ).
Truth is, today I’m about 3/4 fully human. Yesterday I was 3/8. Both better than 100% fish. And, let me tell you, I’ve seen things!
What’s in your fishbowl?