I’d say there is an inner world, an outer world and a world between.
My interest is in this world between, in Latin called the medium. It’s an old idea, that between the inner mind and outer physicality lies a realm that participates of both. We visit it in every dream. Some call it the aura of reality, the very sense of reality itself. When we lose this medium everything around us feels like cardboard, two dimensional and dry as sawdust, lacking any animation. The medium gives us the sense that we’re alive in a world that is just as alive as we are. Paradoxically this in-between surrounds us as the aliveness we breathe. Dreams are prime examples of alive worlds that surround us while being neither out there nor in-here. We can’t exist without this life-surround. It’s suicide to try.
We’ve devolved over the last 800 years into a conviction that there are two worlds, inner mind and outer physical extension — material space — and with Descartes we say that god only knows what connects them. We call this the body/mind conundrum. It comes with the territory of having just an inner and an outer world without a medium. No wonder we exist on a mote of rock circling a tiny star in a random arm of a little galaxy belonging to a cluster of galaxies in a cosmos that started in a meaningless whimper called Big Bang. It is inevitable we end up here without the acknowledgement of the realm between, the alive medium from within which we look out into all experience. For hundreds of years we’ve been trying the impossible: to find out what the out-there world looks like outside the alive medium from within which we’re looking at its out-there-ness. This project ended with quantum physics which demonstrated that ultimately this is a wild good chase: our live presence codes the world we explore. We’ve ended up in dead space, a dead zone that is now multiplying into multiverses while we’re desperately looking for life out there. Is there anybody out there…?
Instead let’s root ourselves in our birthright. We are all born into a world in which our very aliveness is just as fundamental as are the space we take up called body and our mind that enables us to reflect upon our condition.
Since the age of 23 I’ve spent my life exploring this medium of aliveness after getting deadly ill of the lifeless body/mind(lessness) notion that surrounded me everywhere. Jung pointed me to this understanding by reminding us of the anima media naturae, the primacy of the animating medium within which both our mind and our body exist and outside of which there’s just cold death. We cannot think outside of this medium of aliveness like a fish can’t think of the earth from space.
This sickening mindset blew it. We’ve been possessed by it like in a post-hypnotic suggestion for close to a millennium and we have to blow that mindset. That’s what I mean with going out of your mind.
Where do we end up once we’ve gone out of this inner/outer mindset that by definition situates us in an E=MC² space of meaningless Energy? We end up rooted firmly in the creative imagination that surrounds us as the medium of life itself, of the dream we live.
Come with me and explore this creative medium we can’t exit anyway except presumably by dying (and for most humans on this planet, not even then.) Let’s give up on the body/mind conundrum and start afresh. Then questions arise:
How do we move through this animating medium?
What does it consist of?
How does it affect us?
And why does it matter to begin with that we explore this at all?
To the last question I have a brief answer: because since we exist anyway we might as well be alive.
Robert Bosnak, PsyA, is a Jungian psychoanalyst who graduated from the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich in 1977. He pioneered the Embodied Imagination method, and his current interest is focused on exploring Embodied Intelligence (MQ). Robert Bosnak is a Core Faculty Member at Jung Platform.More Posts by Robert Bosnak