Love or Duty – Breakdown of Relationships

Non-typically, I am posting more than one photo for a blog post. I took these two photos at an abandoned villa that looked fairly old, obviously the home of someone who had a certain level of wealth in the past.  These statues were life-sized and looked as though they represented Costa Ricans of a long distant past.  Unlike the Mayan statues, these figures are nudes.  Saying that, it doesn’t appear as though the nudes are meant to be erotic, but rather simply a picture from the past where both man and woman had tasks and roles.  The heat of the season makes me think that there was little use for clothing except for the purpose of modesty.   I have now seen these types of statues in a number of locations, all old statues.  My best guess is that these statues are representing scenes from the ancient Chorotegas civilization, a people strongly influences by the more highly advanced Mexican aboriginal peoples.

A third photo taken part way up a mountain that has another, similar statement of relationship.  From a modern stand of sensibility, the statue might be seen as exploitive sexually, but put in the context of a distant past, another story emerges. This is a story of relationship, of duty.

If one thinks about relationships today and how so many are ending up in break-ups, it seems that there is something vital that is being ignored – duty.  And by duty, I don’t simply mean a duty to obey the other.  Rather, I mean a duty to the relationship itself and to the communal context in which the relationship is found.

This strikes me as critical in a modern world where families are abandoned as divorces create broken containers for the rearing of children.  Yes, I keep hearing how it is unhealthy for a child to grow up in a home where unhappiness between parents predominates.  Yes, I hear how it is important for a person to take care of themselves, to “find themselves.”  And of course, when the realisation that the person one married is actually not the person they imagined as projections get withdrawn, there is a sense of betrayal and a sense of loss.  This is precisely where “duty” comes into play.

As Jung pointed out:

The conflict between “love and duty” must be solved on that level of character where “love and duty” are no longer opposites, which in reality they are not.  Similarly, the familiar conflict between “instinct and conventional morality” must be solved in such a way that both factors are taken sufficiently into account, and this again is possible only through a change of character. (Jung, CW 4, par 607)

To weigh in on the side of only love or duty is asking for imbalance.  And every time that balance is severely compromised, something will break.  In relationship, it will come as no surprise that the relationship itself breaks.  Whose to blame?  Probably both parties in the vast majority of cases.  Who fixes it?  Well, only the couple can truly fix it, and only if both partners are willing to admit their part, their unconscious acting out of complexes, and only if each is willing to learn more about the “self” if there is any hope of being able to then relate better to the “other.”  It isn’t either or love, either or duty … it is both and then more.

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