We’re just finishing Pathways to Bliss in my poetry course, and then we’re going to read the first two essays from Man and His Symbols, a collection of essays edited by Carl Jung for the everyday person. I’m ready to take on Jung after Campbell’s excellent recap of modern psychology in Pathways to Bliss, from Freud to Adler, and from Jung to Maslow.
In Jung’s introduction he says the basic function of dreams is to restore psychic balance in our lives. We tend to evade the truth in our waking life, and dreams try to open us up to modes of behavior we might not be ready to admit to ourselves. Dreams can also reveal our hidden potentials to us. As an example of the former, Jung says,
“It explains why people who have unrealistic ideas or too high an opinion of themselves, or who make grandiose plans out of proportion to their real capacities, have dreams of flying or falling.”
I love to have flying dreams. Even the ones where I just bounce around. When I wake up I feel exhilarated, ready to take on any challenge, especially artistic challenges. But after reading this passage, I began doubt myself again. I started wondering if I’m like some of the poor schmucks on American Idol, self-delusional with little chance of a public reception of my work. I don’t want to be someone who says, Well, the world just isn’t ready for me yet.
On the other hand, I also ask myself if I would continue to write poetry and short stories if no one else read them. I think I would. I would be my own reader, which is basically my current situation anyway. And since I prefer to continue writing no matter matter what, I interpret my flying dreams as meaning I need to embrace my hidden potential that I didn’t have the confidence to see until I flew.