I’m no Jung scholar by any stretch of imagination, but I’ve been reading Hags and Heroes by Polly Young-Eisendrath (a real find of an author). In the book, she uses attributes this to Jung: In nature…. extremes are always touching…. the goal… of human development, in general, is wholeness. In nature, in my garden, tender snow peas unwind through a rocky soil, their vines easily snapped, and yet, determined to live, they persist through this soil.
In order to live, these peas must, in fact, unfurl through their difference. If I plucked this pea from the earth, the vine would wither in my hand. The softness of this pea is inseparable from my soil, if the pea will survive.
Hence, the interconnectedness of all things; our survival depends not on distinguishing the discreteness of my property or my investments. Our very meaning and well-being depend on the neighbor across the fence, the other students in a classroom, the dandelions beneath our feet, stratus clouds hanging low.
As an adolescent, reading myth and legend, I championed this view, the bumper sticker version of we’re all in the same boat. However, it’s a whole other worldview to imagine not just our similarities (a child, a friend) are connected to us, but also what and who we consider most foreign and most extreme. What we fear, and what we loathe, are woven into us, too.