Inspiration or Invasion

Choose: “Lose-lose” or “Win-Win”.

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

ISSN 1939-3407

May 11, 2020

Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst

Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist

In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.

Between an artistic inspiration and an invasion there is absolutely no difference. (Jung, 1976, p. 34)

The image could be a poster for Jung’s quote. Certainly, he was talking about human pathology, and I believe his thinking may help as I relate it to the pandemic. Let me explain.

There, in the middle of forested land, is a designer landscape of natural elements no longer living. The white rock is a dramatic color and texture change from the forest floor. The tree stump is lifeless. Although, I could say it is an afterlife for the tree stump. It even holds new life in its crevices.

Yet, if I take the perspective of the forest, I could feel invaded by some outside elements. The natural flow of green and bark are abruptly stopped. So, it depends on which position I stand on/in that gives me a perspective of inspiration or invasion.

In this time of the pandemic, when an invasion against normal life has taken place, can it be a time of inspiration? How can that be true? Has nature given a double edge sword? How has the “invasion” influenced my imagination to make up stories of why and how this is happening? I feel the threat and how can I find new ways to look at this interruption in life as I knew it.

There is clearly a line of demarcation on the forest floor parallel to our time in 2020: There was time before the pandemic and now. Then, of course, there is the question of how life will be in the new normal. This invasion pushes me to use my imagination to prepare me, as best as possible, for what is yet to come.

The key ingredient that differentiates artistic inspiration versus invasion is the dynamic of choice. An inspiration offers us an option to respond to it in our own, time, manner and to the degree of response we choose. The invasion on the other hand forces us to respond on its’ directives. Psyche starts out inspiring us, but if we repress the creative drive, it implodes and manifests along the fault lines of our personality. Either it leaks out as Neurosis and if the repression has been brutal than it explodes as Psychosis or breakdown. Hence, there is always a thin line between Creativity and Madness.

When we as individuals or Society we respond to the call of the individual or Collective Consciousness that inspires us to make changes in the ways we live, relate and treat others and the environment – we are gifted the fruits of our innovation that benefit us all. These may manifest in the bounty of the forests, oceans, wildlife, healthy environment, clean air, mutually respectful relationships between nations and peoples, exchange of ideas and betterment of all. The rising tides of such a collaboration lifts all boats. It creates a “Win-Win” situation.

However, when we brutally repress the gentle inspiration from the womb of our personal and collective consciousness, it builds up pressure in our unconscious and explodes along the fault lines we are all familiar with: rising oceans, chaotic weather, international strife, terrorism, mass migration of displaced citizens, refugees stranded on oceans and dead children washing up to our beaches, pandemics and fragmentation of the world order from dialogue and collaboration to divisiveness and chaos.

Each one of us as individuals and every society will have to make a choice. We either respond to the gentle inspiration of our unconscious and the whispers of our Soul and create a “Win-Win” dynamic or be check mated by the imperative that change or perish. It is the basic principle of the Psyche – whatever is repressed returns with a vengeance. It becomes a “Lose-Lose” dynamic. It is never too late to respond – since we are still around to respond!

As far as psyche is concerned, it makes no difference to it whether we chose to be inspired or wait to be invaded. It did not make much difference to the planet earth that the dinosaurs were destroyed; since over time, the show went on. However, not for the dinosaurs. We must choose, if we wish to be inspired to change our ways as needed or ignore timely response and wait to be invaded by changes that may make us extinct. In the cosmic context, it means a hill of beans whether we survive or extinct, but it does matter to those who care for this moment in time.

Some Points to Ponder:

  1. How are you responding to the pandemic invasion?
  2. What aspects of life before the pandemic have you preserved?
  3. What aspects of life before the pandemic will never return?
  4. How has it affected your self-concept?
  5. How has the pandemic influenced your social connections?
  6. When you look at the image, do you like the designer changes or do you wish the forest remained in its natural state?
  7. In your personal life, do you recall moments of reverie and inspiration?
  8. How did you respond to this inspiration?
  9. Did you disregard this inspiration?
  10. How did this disregard play out for you over time?
  11. Do you feel that as a society, we are responding to the inspiration by nature to make changes or we ignoring this call?
  12. If we choose to respond to this call of the Collective Consciousness, how would we respond as a society?

Jung, C. G. (1976). The symbolic life : miscellaneous writings. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.