Home Concepts Decison Making & Problem Solving Enhancing and Accessing Expertise: Finding the Personal Community of Thought and Feeling in Our Own Self

Enhancing and Accessing Expertise: Finding the Personal Community of Thought and Feeling in Our Own Self

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The carnival offers additional acts and images that come from even more diverse sources – even (potentially) outside our self. Carl Jung is considered by many experts of unconscious life to be someone who best understands (and may have lived for a while) in the back burner domain. Having written about and drawn detailed, vivid portraits of residents and images of the unconscious in his Red Book (Liber Novus) (2009), Jung focuses not only on the masculine (animus) and feminine (anima) forces and figures that motivate our conscious life (potentially including our incubative life), but also on deeply embedded guides (such as Philemon, his own personal guide). It is these later figures of the unconscious that can be experts for us regarding how to use the other experts to be found hanging around our back burners.

Of particular importance (and controversy) is a proposal made by Carl Jung that some of the characters (such as the mother/goddess) and images (such as the mandala) ultimately can be attributed to a source that comes from outside our psyche—and outside our present-day time and location. These are collective archetypes that Jung and his followers believe are somehow transmitted from one generation to the next. They proposed that there is a Collective Unconscious that resides at the foundation of unconscious life in each of us. this certainly can be a source of great expert insight regarding the nature of life and the many psychological challenges we are facing. The fundamental question is: does the collective unconscious actually exist or is it just the case that we wish there was this fountain of wisdom. If we can’t find infallible wisdom among the external experts in our world, then perhaps we are keenly in need of a collective source of internal expertise that is wise beyond time or place. If the Collective Unconscious does exist, then we might consider it to be a source of some of the biggest and most influential of the Heuristics identified by Kahneman and other behavioral economists.

We can add one other potential source of internal expertise. The source of this expertise is also collective in nature—but it is more circumscribed. Called the Social Unconscious by Haim Weinberg (Hopper and Weinberg, 2019) and his colleagues, this source builds specifically on the shared traumatic experiences of people living in a particular society at a particular point in time. Weinberg finds a social unconscious operating in the Israeli society while Richard Lim (2018) finds it operating in Singapore Society. While the lingering, collective trauma in Israel centers, as one might expect, on the Holocaust, the trauma in Singapore arises from the initial establishment of this now-prospering community as a place where those of Chinese heritage might move as unwanted citizens of Malaysia (and other Southeast Asian countries). What is the lingering, collective impact of being unwanted or even sentenced to death because of religious belief or cultural background? Is there such a thing as social unconscious? And would our awareness of this source of unconscious fears and concerns be of value with regard to expertise we might need in order to live in our own mid-21st Century society.

There are rich sources of wisdom to be found in the domain of our unconscious. Being engaged on our back burner, this personal wisdom potentially combines intensive knowledge that comes from our own personal experiences with extensive knowledge that might be intergenerational in nature. It could be specific to the society in which we live (Social Unconscious) or it could be much more general and enduring in nature (Collective Unconscious).

The riches of the carnival are even greater. We have additional sources of internal expertise to which we might attend. We now know that the Limbic System is itself a waystation that is conveying messages from an even older and more primitive region of the brain to higher level regions of the brain. There is ongoing physical input from all parts of our body that we are monitoring constantly. Based on this monitoring we are adjusting everything from body posture to body temperature. Probably the most important sources of information about our body comes from our guts. At the very least, we know that some of the most extensive neural networking in our body is connecting our gut to our brain. It seems that our brain and behavior is strongly influenced by what we are eating, how this food is digested, and how and what we are eliminating that was not converted to energy.

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