Originally published at: https://decentered.co.uk/community-media-makers-zoom-drop-in-6pm-thursday-30th-june-2022/
Carl Jung once observed that the therapeutic project of analytic psychology should not be seen as the search for cures to our ailments, because “life is not a disease, but an on-going experiment to be lived through.” The common work of living, Jung asserts, “is less a question of treatment than of developing the creative possibilities latent within” (CW 16, para.82).
When asked by a journalist what Jung thought were the basic factors for happiness, he answered with five elements:
1. Good physical and mental health.
2. Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.
3. The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.
4. Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.
5. A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life.
Jung was mindful, however, of the paradox that of all the “factors which are generally assumed to make for happiness, [they] can, under certain circumstances, produce the contrary. No matter how ideal your situation may be, it does not necessarily guarantee happiness.”
Reading these observations got me thinking about what the purpose of community media is, and how we might orient ourselves to fulfilling both an individual and a collective sense of purpose, as opposed to trying to achieve happiness as an outcome of a social function, relational utility and material gain.
Jung is suggesting, in the context of these five principles, that if we are attuned to our motives, then we will be able to identify if we are doing something that is making ourselves and our colleagues unhappy, for it will be clear that it lacks the right purpose. Correspondingly, the same is true, suggests Jung, if we are addressing the right purposes, then happiness will be conferred.
In the same way that an acorn’s purpose is to become an oak tree, our purpose is tied into the form of our character, with our character tied into our capacity to achieve our purpose. We can’t simply invent or adopt a persona that will fulfil our purpose, or suit everyone else’s needs and requirements. We must, instead, learn to understand who we are, what our genius is, and what purpose we are suited to serving. Which goes against the trend in contemporary education and personal development, where we are expected to be mindful of the persona that we can adopt as we seek to convince others that we are up to fulfilling our roles.
In my experience, those of us who choose to work with and around community media, have made a principled decision to serve a purpose that goes beyond simple functionality and utility as a way to achieve our aims for personal and social transformation. It seems we have chosen to fulfil a calling to help to transform the capability of the people we associate with, based on a deep care for our communities.
By helping people to achieve communications independence, we are adding to their ability to define and sustain our shared sense of purpose. Taking forward what Jung suggests, then, we can work towards our purposeful aims by facilitating the happiness of others, though in different ways, through:
- communing rather than acquiring;
- belonging rather than co-existing;
- creativity rather than ordering;
- individuation rather than following the herd.
I’m looking forward to having our conversation on Thursday, at our regular weekly Community Media Makers Zoom Drop-In. I thought we could explore this idea of purposefulness, and how our leadership in facilitating transformation might benefit from developing these ideas.
The Zoom link is available if you subscribe to Decentered Media on Patreon. If there are any suggestions for future discussions, do let me know.