A chasm and a bridge

But look in the mirror for the other one,
the other one who walks with you

Antonio Machado

The original sin. A crime we did not commit and yet we have to atone for. An inherent part of ourselves as humans. The partition of our minds.

A few days ago, I read a post about Jung’s take on the expulsion from Paradise, which is worth reading. You can find it here.

It really summarises it all much better than I can. How we evolved to develop our ego consciousness and how it progressively separated us from our unconscious mind, from instinct, from magic, from God, from everything that was not purely rational. A separation that took place both individually as children and collectively as a species thousands of years ago. No myth portrays this separation better than the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

The awakening of ego consciousness expelled us from Paradise. Eating the apple of enlightenment brought us knowledge (not so much wisdom) at the expense of breaking up with our unconscious. Now we just long for our lost Paradise, we long for Home, which left inside us a void impossible to fill, as if the separation of both brain hemispheres had been consummated and one could not go back. We are outside.

We can only accept there was a time when we were in Paradise. At an individual level, that was our early childhood, most probably that part of our lives we cannot really remember with our conscious minds. With some effort we may remember a feeling of plenitude. A time of magic, of constant awe, of the love of our parents. It was perfect. Paradise. It’s interesting how we develop a thirst for knowledge. Being happy is not enough. We want to know more. Where there was once instinct and present joy, there are now unfulfilled wishes, future plans… We can’t say it happened by chance, we looked for it, aspired to it, both collectively and individually. We didn’t know what it entailed, maybe, but thirst is in our nature. Knowledge brought unhappiness, a feeling of mislocalisation, and, as if that wasn’t enough, it brought us the awareness of our unhappiness, the capacity to analyse.

Maybe it was the words… Words were the culmination of our separation from our unconscious, which uses its own language of symbols. Ego consciousness developed a logical language that the unconscious could not reach. Only poetry uses the tools of the conscious mind to create a landscape of symbols. Words that mean something else or, rather, words that become something else.

It is a sad day when you look back and you see the chasm. You see yourself back then, playing in the Garden of Eden, so happy. So happy that it is difficult to believe that was once you. We spend our whole lives longing for those years. Our childhood years, our unconscious years. Before knowledge and logic came to us. Before our ego consciousness became activated and we became fully aware of ourselves, like Skynet. This is how I interpret the ‘original sin’, the separation of our ego conscious mind from the unconscious. It is not our fault; we are born with it. And yet, it expelled each and everyone of us from Paradise.

Now, however, I see a bridge. My hyper-logical mind never allowed me to get anywhere near the abyss that separates my two halves. It didn’t acknowledge the gap or the existence of another me, my unconscious self. But Jung used logic to lay a bridge so that at least I can get nearer. I know I will never enter Paradise again, but at least I can try to reconcile both worlds.