“A story told by the conscious mind has a beginning, a development, and an end, but the same is not true of a dream. Its dimensions in time and space are quite different; to understand it you must examine it from every aspect-just as you may take an unknown object in your hands and turn it over and over until you are familiar with every detail of its shape.”
Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! After years of mentioning Carl Jung and his work in previous episodes, we’re excited to jump into a Jung book. Man and His Symbols explores the subconscious mind and the symbols that are revealed to us in our dreams. Is it time for us to start paying deeper attention to the messages we receive in our dreams?
We cover a wide range of topics including:
1:17 In this episode, Nat and Neil are talking about Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. The idea of the unconscious brain is of the main themes, and while we don’t have direct access to it, dreams serve as symbols to better help us understand our unconscious.
5:11 Jung argues that the symbols we see in dreams are not universal. If the same object appears in several people’s dreams, it could be interpreted differently for each person. A lot of what makes Jung’s work compelling is that he’s not trying to argue things as scientific fact. Through sufficient practice and learning what dreams can represent, you can get closer to understanding how the subconscious and conscious mind interact.
9:02 Believing things empirically vs. scientifically. Jung ties religion to this idea: There are many religious symbols that we may not understand directly, but there’s an empirical reason why people believe it, even if it’s not scientifically backed.
11:51 We want to feel in control and not feel like there are things beyond our control. We have thoughts, likes, and ideas that are all unique to us- where do they come from?
“Many people mistakenly overestimate the role of will power and think that nothing can happen to their minds that they do not decide and intend.”
15:45 There’s a rational argument brought up by Jung in the book. If dreams exist, it must have some sort of evolutionary purpose and that’s how it came to be. What is that purpose of these nighttime hallucinations? There has to be a reason why certain symbols show up for people.
19:00 We’ve lost a lot of contact with our subconscious, which could be why psychedelics are so effective. If we re-established this connection with our subconscious, there wouldn’t be such a need for pharmaceutical facilitation for this connection.
21:54 Part of why we lost touch with our subconscious could be because we have so many distractions, whether in our conscious mind or surrounding environment.
25:12 When you’re always busy, you feel like you’re in control because you feel like you’re moving forward and making progress. There’s a sense of comfort feeling like you’re in control.
29:06 The multi-part mind vs. the solo persona: How does one begin to think of their mind through a different lens? Nat makes a comparison to Switch- There’s an elephant and a rider. The elephant is the subconscious and the rider is the mind who is rational and who tries to control and direct it, but there’s only so much control you have over it.
32:47 The way we think about consciousness is a newer phenomenon than we previously thought. There also wasn’t always language to describe these ideas, so it was purely symbolic.
38:25 Science and experimentation have both changed over the decades too, with more regulations put into place now. Nat and Neil talk about the affects of different drugs on the body, as also shown in some animal experiments too.
43:40 Caffeine, tobacco, nicotine, THC, alcohol, and effects of different drugs on the brain. In some cases, the delivery of the drug (smoking or vaping, for example) ends up being more harmful to your body than the substance.
49:22 Jung talks about how we have this shadow self that makes us uncomfortable. One way to deal with our shadow side is to numb it. The solution is to “turn directly towards the approaching darkness” to find what it wants from you. It’s about how you incorporate your shadow rather than silence it or hide from it, which is not a long term solution.
53:35 Therapy has become more popular now over the years. Is there a reason for this? If you’re using therapy to work through challenges in your life, it can be very helpful. It becomes unproductive when you use it as a crutch to avoid doing the harder things you know you need to do.
57:02 Parenting and fostering independence in your child. Remembering that raising them in the home is not forever, and after they move on from your care they will need to be able to help and support themselves in society. Nat and Neil discuss nuclear vs. communal families and how those dynamics are different.
1:03:24 The faith in governmental institutions is very low at this point in time, it brings to question how the future may change in terms of education and homeschooling.
1:08:41 The people that we respect the most are the ones who act like real humans, and this stands for politicians too. If a politician is willing to be personable and fully believes in their ideas, they tend to be more well-liked among the people.
1:12:28 Your shadow can be very powerful. Whatever you find you dislike in someone else may be what you actually dislike in yourself. Seeing it reflected in another person is painful because it reminds you of that trait in yourself. It’s important to acknowledge the shadow rather than avoid it.
1:17:29 Thanks for listening! Make sure to pick up a copy of Man and His Symbols if you were intrigued by this episode. In future episodes, we plan to read End the Fed and The Revolt of the Public. Make sure to grab a copy and read up before the episode!
If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS and @nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.
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Thanks for listening. See you next time!