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Saturday, Sep 26, 2020

All we need is love – and some Carl Jung

All we need is love – and some Carl Jung

Many people have proposed various ways for our troubled city to move forward, but unless we have a change of heart and stop thinking of our enemies as completely evil while we are all good and noble, things will not improve
There has been an erudite debate among readers in the letters section about how the psychological theory of Freud helps explain the outburst of irrationality and violence in clashes between protesters and police. I have nothing to add to that.

I am more of a New Age, peace-loving kind of guy and prefer his disciple, Carl Jung. A kind reader has sent me a poignant drawing of a lookalike yin/yang, which reminds me of something I read by the Swiss sage. Instead of the customary black and white, the drawing is yellow and blue, the respective colours for those who oppose the Hong Kong government and China, and those who stand for law and order, and Chinese patriotism. And instead of the shape of a circle, it’s in that of a heart. It also looks like it’s coloured by a child. I find it quite moving.

I think people in Hong Kong immediately know what that image means, and also how lacking we have been in tolerance and understanding. I would like to sell T-shirts with the drawing on it; maybe someone will take up the idea for the Lunar New Year markets.

We often think in binary terms such as black and white, good and evil, “I am right” and “you are wrong”. That may make it easy for “moral clarity”. In reality, though, things are rarely black and white, and you and I are rarely completely right about anything, or at least about the most important things in life.

Like the yin/yang, Jung has this famous pair of concepts, anima and animus, which oppose yet complement each other. They are opposite but can’t exist independently; they come into play only when we interact with each other. A person may have more of one than the other but is never without both.

Well, I think so many people in Hong Kong have grown to think in absolute terms, and see everything in black and white. But we are all yellow and blue. I may be mostly blue but still have a bit of yellow. You may identify yourself as yellow but may still be blue about some issues.

People have proposed numerous ways for the city to move forward: an independent commission of inquiry; democratic reform; improved public housing and social safety net ... It’s the new year so I am going to be sappy. Let’s start to change with our hearts.
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