The Puppet Master and the Free Man

Although it will require some effort, there can be moments in your life when you are truly a free man or a free woman, no matter your circumstances.  During those times, when you are a free woman or a free man, you may discover that they are the most insightful and meaningful moments in your life. Being a free man enables you to see your life and the world as it is–not as you are conditioned to see it through a filtered lens.  You can see your place in the world more clearly and you can understand the current phase of your life at a deeper level. You are like the Great Blue Heron, calm, patient, standing by the river’s edge.

Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Anais Nin put it another way. She said, “We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

When you are not a free woman, you will be like a puppet at the mercy of the puppet-master. You many think that you are free, but the puppet-master pulls the strings and you think and behave as dictated by the puppet-master.  You are not really free here and your life may seem as if you are a boat at sea drifting aimlessly with no rudder.

The hard work required to become a free man will mean making the unconscious conscious, as Jung put it. To live your life less like a puppet and more like a free-thinking human being will require choices coming from reflection, work on self and associated increased consciousness. To increase the likeliness of this occurring you will need to “make the unconscious conscious.”

One way in our modern world to do this is through the work found in a depth psychotherapy experience, but of course, this is not the only way. But as a psychologist and a therapist, it is a way that is familiar to me and a way that I have seen some choose. Needless to say, this way is no easy task. It means among other things, confronting the disowned or shadows aspects of your personality that have been repressed and buried over time. For many people, it is not easy to look at these castaway parts.

You are played as a puppet some of the time. With hard work and perhaps some grace, you will not be played as a puppet most of the time.  There is significant potential to be played as a puppet to power and to the forces of evil. These can be common occurrences–if you look  closely, you can see the insidious creep of power and evil in society and in your everyday life.  The darkness can creep into your everyday life often without awareness. You are played by the “puppet-master” during these times if you are not careful. You are not truly free until you do the inner work asked of you by your soul. This is one of the surest ways to keep these outer and inner anti-personal growth and development forces at bay.

Carl Jung used the term “complex” to describe emotionally charged, feeling-toned patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors around a central image. Without going into great detail about the psychology of complexes, it is important to point out that the complex is a common source of your inner puppet-master. A complex can manifest positively or negatively depending upon your experiences of childhood.

I know a businessman who was being too timid to close a business deal, so he lost the client. A negative mother complex, in this case, was a big part of the reason.

All of us have complexes or as Jungians sometimes say, “complexes have us.” Without the work on yourself around these issues, you remain in the grip of the complex, and oftentimes you are unaware that you remain in such a state. Put another way, you continue being played by the puppet-master most of the time.

Freedom is the opposite of being under the spell of the puppet-master. The free man or free woman is not a slave to the control of the puppet-master. When you are free, the relationship between your unconscious and ego is more dynamic and flowing. This does not necessarily mean that you will have complete free-will to make any choice that is convenient to your ego. It does mean, however, that your choices will not merely be reflexive and at the mercy of the shadow or other unconscious complex.

The free man and free woman are in ever greater need in today’s world. When you develop some awareness into your inner puppet-master, you become more free. You think, make choices and behave in ways that reflect your own uniqueness and the values of your soul. These are almost always moral and ethical values, so this is no small matter. While a free man or free woman, you become much more than a mere receptacle for the popular ideas of your time–you become an asset (and not a hinderance) for your own transformation and an asset to the world.

© 2019, Dr. Jeff Howlin. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in Archetypes, Complex, Consciousness, Ethics, Evil, Individuation, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Shadow, Soul, Trauma/PTSD, Unconscious and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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