Happy 21st Birthday Valentine Annah!

This is a very special ‘morning page’ as I have been planning to write it all of your life. Writing this just now has brought tears to my eyes, remembering how this day began 21 years ago. The emotions behind these continuing tears are very strong. I have wiped them away with my figure tips, which are now writing these words, sentences, and birthday essay to you. You know better than others that I now define myself as a writer, after all, efforts to keep busy teaching, photographing, and videoing have fallen by the wayside, the only thing left to do is write – no one has anything to do with me writing but myself – maybe publishing what is written but I will cross that bridge when reached. This reminds me of Laozi deciding near the end of his life to leave China and upon reaching a gate in The Great Wall he was stopped by a guard and told he could not leave China until he wrote a book. He returned home, wrote the Dao de Ching and then was allowed to leave China. This is where I am in life as you symbolically at 21 begin your life. I can only imagine reading what you will be writing when you reach 75 years. I will be there gathered around your writing desk looking on as pointed out by Robert Romanyshyn in his important book The Wounded Researcher – Reseach with Soul in Mind.

I remember most clearly February 14, 1998, as Amah had come to Fargo to help with your birth. She had a room in the lower lever and kept a close eye on Aaron now 3 years old. That night we got Fannie and you settled into bed and asleep until Mom woke about 11 with her water breaking, which freaked me out. I jumped out of bed, yelled at Amah, and rushed us to MeritCare, less than a mile away. Fannie’s doctor was not able to deliver and so another did and I was allowed to stand on Mom’s left side as you easily just popped out so opposite to your brother’s experience of entering the world – his big head caused us consternation. While Mom was attended, a nurse took us into an adjourning room and handed you to me. You were so beautiful and I soon returned you to Mom’s arms. We love you so very much, Annah, and we are still by your side watching your ‘Dao de Ching’ in his life and willing assist in any way we can.

I have memories of when I turned 21 on March 6, 1965. I was a senior at UND living in the Sigma Nu Fraternity House. That day grandpa, Orlando, come up to Grand Forks and delivered to me a large 3 gallon-sized bottle of whiskey. I am not sure what to make of this gift as I look back on my life experience with alcohol. Orlando and Billiette were social animals living in 1950s Fargo gathering in friends’ homes around a basement bar, which they all had built. I did not drink in High School as I felt it slowed my performance playing on the hockey team. However, when hockey was over and I turned 18, the legal age in South Dakota, a bunch of us guys drove two cars to Rosholt SD and invaded the two bars which were there. The fraternity next gave me an experience with alcohol and it was in some ways a protected private environment away from the public. My first experience with hard-liquor was a real hangover – not fun.  However, when I was 21 some brothers and lady friends gathered at a local pub for a few pitchers of beer. As I remember that night, I was cautious, concerned about driving home, which was done without incident. The rest of this story is waiting until being completed in a book on Granma-B’s life, ‘Billiette Calling…’ that is calling out to me this moment. Okay, Mom, I hear you and promise you it will be completed and published this year.  I now leave this unfolding story’s thread to pursue another thread that is more theoretical and of course, Annah, you know where I am going – to C.G. Jung’s ideas.

My gifts to Mom, Aaron, and you have lately been books some being passed on from the family’s library. Most of these have been from Arvid, Billiette, and my libraries in our home. This week, I kept thinking and looking at books that I might give you today when I came across this YouTube clip Carl Jung: What is the Individuation Process? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssuDqTtUcKEw&t=391s), which is part of the Academy of Ideas (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiRiQGCHGjDLT9FQXFW0I3A) series – these are well done!

As you know from our reading together and watching the movie “A Dangerous Method” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH4BtJHkrD8) the process of ‘individuation’ is central in Jung’s thought of living a meaningful life. I hope you, enjoy, study, and apply these ideas to your life! This dream analysis scene between Freud and Jung points out a key difference in their approach to dreams and the unconscious. I selected it as central to understanding the analytical method, work with 

 

So, what physical book do I give you on this special day? I started my first reading of C.G. Jung Lord of the Underworld by Colin Wilson  December 22, 1988 in Beijing China and finished reading it alone December 31, 1988, at 21:26 a few hours before New Year’s Eve. Since then, I have re-read it countless times!  The Essential – Colin Wilson is Wilson presenting the central idea underlying his writing career – he wrote his first book at the age of 24, The Outsider, which was a worldwide bestseller in 1954 – he is a most prolific writer and when I am reincarnated I might like it to be with your spirit, Colin. I am going to select Lord of the Underworld’s Chapter 5 The Invisible Writing as a special birthday gift to you Annah, which Wilson does a fine job of weaving Jung’s ideas together. Let me see if I can do just to his work.

What possibly is invisible writing? I remembered in grade school being fascinated with ‘invisible ink’ – is this the same, I wondered? In some way they are similar. However, with invisible ink, we know what we are writing down but with invisible writing, we have to discover that is being written in our unfolding individuation project. Susan Rowland’s work on C.G. Jung’s Dramatic and Imaginative Writing.  is this deep-writing approach that Wilson addresses in Chapter 5.

So, to address this chapter, let’s examine each time Wilson mentions invisible writing. Colin’s first use of the term is in reference to his first book, The Outsiders, about 19th Century romantic writers, which Wilson suggests have the same motive force driving Jung’s work. Quoting Arthur Koestler invisible writing is described, “In my youth I regarded the Universe as an open book, printed in the language of physical equations, whereas now it appears to me as a text written in invisible ink, of which, in our rare moments of grace, we are able to decipher a small fragment.” Wilson goes on the state that, “Every major romantic has possessed this intuition: that the secret of the universe is somehow written in invisible writing” (92). The important point is to understand and use our Intuition.

The second and third mention of invisible writing follows in the next paragraph where Wilson comments on the topic of Rowland’s book and lecture – Jung as a writer. Jung being an intuitive type is not evaluated very highly in his ability to communicate his intuitions into words. Wilson finds that Jung’s attempt in writing Symbols of Transformation to be a “clumsy attempt to express this feeling that the secret is written in invisible writing.”  This evaluation of Jung’s writing skill is carried on to Jung’s later manuscripts. This should not be unexpected, if something is invisible, it is going to a challenge to visualize and write about! This is the question we need to entertain; how does one see, understand, and then write about the Invisible?

The next mention of invisible writing, Wilson examines the two-writing styles of Jung in writing his most popular book Psychological Types. Wilson suggests that it was written on two levels – but mostly in an “old fashion, pre-Freudian textbook style, with a cramped small script which was dry and scientific, however, at times Jung’s style changed into an open more open free-flowing Gothic script. For the most part, Psychological Types was written in a small dry script style but after this book Jung’s writing style opened up. This opening Wilson’s attributes to Jung reading, meeting, and becoming good friends of Richard Wilhelm translator of the classic Chinese book I Ching. What Jung found was a way to understand invisible writing. Jung wrote the foreword to the I Ching’s Egnlish translation.

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