Friday, December 10, 2010

the collective unconscious

I lost my keys a little while ago. I was on my way out the door to go and soak in wild hot springs with my young stud, so I didn't let it bother me. I knew they would turn up when we got back.

But as we camped and hiked and soaked I turned the problem over in my mind. I'd checked the drawer, all my bags, the table, the counter...I mean, come on, it's a 12-foot house. How hidden could they be? Of course, with Anainn around, 12 feet might as well be a series of echoing caverns. Those keys could very well be wadded up inside my favorite shirt, wrapped in cash nipped from my wallet, and buried under the floorboards with my cell phone on top. Dipped, naturally, in hummus. That's NOTHING to him. Would take him the minute-and-a-half I've pared my bathroom visits down to (any longer, and who knows what could happen! I'm going to break a minute by February, I can feel it...).

Then, one night, under the clear stars of the desert, I had a dream. Carl Jung was crooking his finger at me from a chair near a window.

"Pssst," he said, eyes gleaming with mischief. "I know where your keys are." He pointed to the wardrobe, which flew open, and I saw my grey corduroys there. of course! I had been wearing those cords the day before! The keys must be tucked into the pocket!

I was so excited the next morning. A personal message from Jung himself! I babbled excitedly to Stud about how Jung's theory of the collective unconscious and the mysterious synchrony of dreams was always taking flak from the scientific community for being "unprovable." Well here I had the means to prove it. Should I return home and find the keys in the pocket of my cords, it would PROVE that there is a collective wisdom larger than ourselves that can transmit messages in dreams!

"Or," remarked Stud calmly, "That some part of your brain remembered where you'd put them and, once the constant buzz of your consciousness was out for the count, was finally able to make itself heard." I narrowed my eyes at him. 'Constant buzz'? 'make itself heard'? What, exactly, were we talking about here?

He smiled at me and nudged my arm. "You have to think of all possible ways of interpreting the evidence, or you haven't proved anything at all." He's a rocket scientist. (No, really. He's a rocket scientist.)

Finally our lovely journey to hot springs by way of snowy mountains by way of thin-walled hotel rooms (THAT, dear reader, is story for another time!) came to an end, and I eagerly raced to my wardrobe to feel in the pockets of my cords. I was really rooting for Jung, here.

But--strike one for mysticism. The keys were not there.

I was disconsolate all day. So much for my personal connection with Jung. So much for being able to stick my tongue out at all those ├╝berrational pooh-poohers out there.

Finally I dragged myself to the table to study for my finals. I opened my Theories of Personality text to review the reading.

And there, tucked into the pages of the chapter on Jung and the Collective Unconscious, were my keys.


  1. Your life is REALLY better than fiction.

  2. This blows my mind. Why was your unconscious giving you a riddle like that? Why would Carl Jung mislead you? Or did your semiconscious mind get carried away with the clue provided by your unconscious, interpreting "collective unconscious" to mean that you were being led to your pants by the collective unconscious? Or I guess it was your conscious mind that made the link between Jung and the collective unconscious, rather than between Jung and the chapter on collective unconscious. Maybe the pants symbolized some other subtle relationship between your mind, the theory, and the keys. Is there a symbolic "key" as well as your physical keys just like there was a physical chapter as well as a concept of Jungian collective? Wow, I could keep going, but I guess it's your dream/experience.

  3. WOW. Now you've blown MY mind.
    How's this: if 'keys' symbolize the opening up of possibilities, the resolution of mysteries, perhaps Jung was telling me that the answers are close to home, not in some psych book somewhere. Right there in your pocket. Either that, or those are some very portentous pants! The Key to the Mystery of Life is Lissa's Gray Corduroys, everybody! You can stop searching now!