June 23, 2020




Luckily for us, symbols mean very much more than can be known at first glance.(Jung, 1967, p. 302)

There are so many forces at work to create what is seen in the photo. It is true whether the surface is calm or full of surfing waves. The ocean temperature, air temperature, barometric pressure, cycle of the moon, weather, ocean bottom landscape, etc., all play a part of what it looks like the moment the photograph is taken. Then there are all the selections made for the camera to create a desired effect. Yet, I can call it a photograph of the ocean. It can also be a symbol and be assigned various meaning by the viewer.

In these times of the pandemic and social justice protests we are subjected to verbal and visual snapshots, as well as video clips of today’s news. The images create conscious and unconscious responses. It is our responsibility to keep what we hear or see in perspective and use our power of discernment to assign value to them based on who we are individually as well as collectively. The challenge during these times is to know when to generalize and when to stay specific. The photo is a moment and not how the ocean looks all over the world.

This is OUR MOMENT in history. What we choose to see, how we perceive what we see, how we interpret what we see, feel, think, intuit are extremely subjective phenomenon. However, the moment is REAL; only the perception is Subjective. The reality is not objective but a function of our Subjectivity. However, the most significant criteria of perception of this moment is the INTER-SUBJECTIVITY of this moment. This concept from psychotherapy research is most crucial for us to come up with a shared and mutually empathic perception of this Moment.

An intersubjective field is created by the interplay between the subjective inner worlds of the patient and therapist. The study of intersubjective processes has been based loosely on the paradigm of infant and caregiver interactions with subsequent empathic appreciation of each other’s subjective realities. This approach is not necessarily dependent on an acceptance of a self-psychology model. Dyadic interactional dynamics can be explored and understood using different theoretical models. It may be therapeutic to be able to communicate and clarify significant moments of shared mutuality and affects, which when put into words often uncover previously repetitive and frustrating misunderstandings and expectations.(Frayn, 1990)

To honor the Gravitas of this historic moment of the Pandemic and the Justice protests, we must have this new algorithm of discernment. First, we must identify the date we are assessing. Then we need to crystallize our Subjective perception. Then we must establish Inter-Subjective dialogue with the one we identify as the “OTHER” in this debate and come up with the middle “THIRD POSITION”. Only then we have the possibility of a Win/Win situation and an enduring resolution to the history’s wrongs.

To invoke the intersubjective process in the current twin crisis: the Pandemic and the Justice Protests, we my need to establish the following paradigm

  1. Urgently establish a National Peace and Reconciliation forum for a Multi-Racial dialogue
  2. Maintain an Intersubjective focus: an attitude of empathy and respect for the Subjective experience of the Other
  3. Insistence on Truth: The Truth shall set you free
  4. Once the Truth is established, however painful, respond with FORGIVENESS
  5. Establish a RECONCILIATION PROCESS. Other nations have done it: Northern Ireland Peace Accord is one such example
  6. Restitution to those who have been wronged and injured. This means SACRIFICE of our resources for Justice for ALL
  7. Restart: NEW BEGINNINGS. The Phoenix Phenomenon: let a new order rise from the ashes of the old order.

Some Points to Ponder:

  1. What does the pandemic symbolize to you?
  2. What do you associate with the social justice protests?
  3. How do you decide what news to follow and what to ignore?
  4. What perspective are you maintaining or changing?
  5. What does your perspective protect? Is it open to change?
  6. Will you support a National Peace and Reconciliation Forum
  7. Do you pledge to maintain an attitude of empathy and respect for the Subjective experience of the Other?
  8. Are open to the Truth even if it is painful to you?
  9. If you have a Subjective experience of a Victim, are you willing to Forgive those who have injured you or your loved ones, if they are sincere in their quest for Reconciliation?
  10. Are you as a Perpetrator or a Victim in your Subjective experience ready for a RECONCILIATION?
  11. If you are the Perpetrator of pain and trauma, are you prepared to make personal SACRIFICES to make RESTITUTION TO THE VICTIMS?
  12. Are we and you as an individual ready to REBOOT, RESTART on the Road to the NEW BEGINNINGS as an Individual and as a Nation?

Photo taken of the Atlantic Ocean.

Frayn, D. H. (1990). Intersubjective processes in psychotherapy. Can J Psychiatry, 35(5), 434-438. doi:10.1177/070674379003500513

Jung, C. G. (1967). Alchemical studies. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

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 WEEK 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.

ISSN 1939-3407

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