Collectivity and Observation

collective

we spend our whole lives

seeking to be individual

define ourselves by

altering everything

we have

the same skin

grow hair the same way

lose nails

and teeth that don’t grow back enamel

our eyes know only their position below

our brows

our nose between

our ears on either side

next to

perhaps a few color changes

our genetic make-up

has only one brand

we were manufactured in the same factory

outside labels are all the same

so how could we expect that intrinsically

we could be any different

sure there is the effect of wear tear & age

nature versus nurture

the ends held prisoner by the means

but when you excavate the core

put under microscope the reason for doing

the instincts

the archetypes remain

unchanged

I wrote this poem a few months ago while thinking about Carl Jung and his idea of the collective unconscious. Simplified, his theory says that our unconscious minds are connected through ancestral memory and experience and that all humans have this in common. This part of our mind is, of course, different from our individual consciousness. What causes me to bring back this idea of the collective unconscious is what I have observed while watching and taking part in Paradise Now‘s games. There is no set rules to this game, yet after a while, patrons seem to know what they are doing and they exhibit this through their lack of knowledge. As the game progresses, patrons develop the same idea: that I must go along with everything in the game or, if I disagree, I change it. We all hold on to this same thought but in dealing with/ executing it, this is when our individual consciousnesses come into play: some people will follow along with where others lead them, others will create their own rules by changing the ones on the whiteboard still others will change their own rules silently. Through my own informal study of behavior, I have found that Paradise Now is not only a game of unequal circumstances and varying objectives, it is also a game of collectivity and observation. 

Shay Tyndall 

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