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Surface Tension: Jungian Therapy, Persona & Suburbia

June 7th, 2008 · depth psychology, Individuation, Jungian psychology, Jungian therapy, Lifestyle, persona, suburbia

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Viewed from the point of view of Jungian therapy, suburbia can seem like it is entirely about persona, just living on the surface of life, never penetrating into its true depths.

The suburban experience can sometimes be very caught up with appearances.  We are continually bombarded with an enormous number of messages that tell us that we are how we look, and that our image is everything .  Consequently the house we live in and the car we drive can seem like true determinants of our identity.  Our furniture and our landscaping can be seen as indicators of our worth as human beings — to others, yes, but, even more devastatingly, to ourselves.

The way in which we express our individual selves through our homes and gardens may be true expressions of our individual selves.  In that sense, they have the potential to be true manifestations of soul.  But there is a real danger that we will identify ourselves by means of these things, rather than doing the hard work of turning into ourselves to see who we most fundamentally are.  Thus we lapse into identifying ourselves with what C.G. Jung called the persona, the outward social “mask” that we develop and use to enable us to interact with the outer world.

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