Uncertainty

Rowing in the snow
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So difficult is it to understand a dream that for a long time I have made it a rule, when someone tells me a dream and asks for my opinion, to say first of all to myself: ‘I have no idea what this dream means.’ After that I can begin to examine the dream. 

Jung, Vol 8: para. 533.

The alternatives to this uncertain world is a certain world. In such a world, particles would follow well-determined paths with exact locations at each and every point. But this alternative is known to be unworkable. The tiny electron inside of every atom would have to radiate each and every instant in such a determined world. It would lose all of its energy and quickly fall into the nucleus. All atoms would disappear. All electromagnetic energy would vanish. All nervous systems would cease their activity. All Life would stop. For life as we know it can only exist through the blessing of uncertainty… 

Wolf, p. 250, Taking the Quantum Leap

 

Along with this excerpt from Jung’s essay “On the Nature of Dreams,” I’ve included a non-Jungian quote here in order to delve more deeply into the realm of not-knowing and uncertainty.

I so admire Jung’s notion that without a habitual recognition about what one does not know, no movement into examination or elucidation can take place. It counters the prevailing cultural ideal that we must always have the answer, often even before the question is posed.

Wolf’s quote helps us understand that underlying all creation is a fundamental, random uncertainty. Quite often, such uncertainty can be paralyzing. Yet, all clients come into therapy not really knowing what will be unearthed, but still go forth into the unknown where true potential can be found.

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About Pat Cochran, Psy.D., Jungian Analyst

Pat is a clinical psychologist, Jungian Analyst, and founding partner of LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center. She has been engaged with Jung’s ideas over 25 years ago, and they have informed her clinical practice in settings as different as in-patient psychiatric care to outpatient individual therapy. Pat is the former Executive and Clinical Director of the C.G. Jung Center in Evanston. In addition to psychotherapy with clients, an important facet of her work is providing supervision and mentoring other clinicians. View profile »