Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Deep Patterns in Suburban Life

May 31st, 2008 · Jungian psychology, Lifestyle, Psychology, Psychotherapy, suburbia / exurbia, Television

Autumn_suburbia_possible_blog_banne Underpinning the whole of life in the suburbs, in fact, the whole reason for the existence of the suburbs, is a particular vision of "the ideal life".  This ideal is incredibly pervasive.  Just as fish who swim in the ocean or an aquarium may have no particular awareness of water as such, so it can be that we who live in suburbia may not be aware of the omnipresence of this ideal in our lives.  Nonetheless, when we see it in explicit terms in front of us, it may seem very familiar.

This ideal can be best expressed in terms of a story, a narrative.  It would run something like the following. 

A man and a woman love each other.  They decide to get married.  They want to have children, but they don’t want them to grow up in the city proper because of the crowding, because of the anonymity, or because they simply feel that the city is not a very wholesome or healthy environment for children to grow up.  So they decide to buy a house and move to the suburbs, where there is more space, where the neighbors are friendly, and where kids can just be kids in a safe, hospitable environment.  In this ideal vision, the husband has a career, at which he works very hard.  At the end of the day, he comes home to his loving wife and they share an evening of warm family time with the children.  The wife is a devoted mother and devoted to making the family home all that it can be, and in the updated version of this ideal, she also has a valued and meaningful career, which she somehow advances by working extremely hard while simultaneously carrying out the child rearing and homemaking functions.

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