What is our persona and how does it affect our life’s journey? What masks do we wear as we engage those around us? Our persona is ultimately how we relate to the world. Combined with our ego, shadow, anima and other intra-psychic elements it creates an internal map of the soul.
A persona requires adaptation to the images offered by family and society, and it tends to stay the same throughout life. If you are a prince or a pauper, you stay in that persona. The persona places you in a social category – man or woman, aristocrat or plebe, elder brother/sister or younger. Today, however, persona formation is often more individualized and therefore more challenging. People have to create a persona for themselves, one that fits their specific needs and expresses their individual personality in the present moment. What’s more, as a person’s needs change and their personality matures, the persona must also be modified accordingly.
Persona is a type of mask. It hides parts of the self that you do not want to be seen by others, and it also express who you feel you are at the present time. Personas are created by choosing a particular lifestyle, by clothes, by hairstyle and adornments like jewelry or tattoos or piercings, by cosmetic make up and scent, and by association with friends, a chosen profession or fan club or political party. The persona also includes behavior and plays itself out in roles that say who you are for and with others. But it does not say who you are when you are alone. And it is by no means all of you. The “map of the soul” shows a much bigger and more complex territory.
T.S. Eliot, one of the most famous English poets of the 20th Century, wrote that every cat has three names: the name that everybody knows, the name that only the cat’s intimate friends and family know, and the name that only the cat knows. As humans, we also have three names: the name that everybody knows, which is the public persona; the name of that only your close friends and family know, which is your private persona; and the name that only you know, which refers to your deepest self. Many people know the first name, and some people know the second. Do you know your secret name, your individual, singular, unique name? This is a name that was given to you before you were named by your family and by your society. This name is the one that you should never lose or forget. Do you know it?
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Beginning Thoughts
Chapter 2: Persona
Chapter 3: Shadow
Chapter 4: Ego
Chapter 5: Ego the Sextant of Psychic Life
Chapter 6: Maps, Perception, & Apperception
Chapter 7: Breakthroughs & Midlife
Chapter 8: Signs and Symbols
Chapter 9: Your Face, Your Name, Your Self
Chapter 10: Personal and Collective Unconscious
Chapter 11: Individuation: Finding your Path
Chapter 12: Complexes
Chapter 13: Love Yourself, Know Your Name, Speak Yourself
Murray Stein, Ph.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the International School of Analytical Psychology Zurich (ISAP-ZURICH). He is a founding member of The Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts (1977) and of the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts (1980). He was president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) from 2001 to 2004 and President of ISAP-ZURICH from 2008 to 2012. He has lectured internationally and is the author of Jung’s Treatment of Christianity, In MidLife, Jung’s Map of the Soul, Minding the Self, and most recently Outside Inside and All Around and Jung’s Red Book for Our Time Volume 1 and 2 (co-edited with Thomas Arzt). He lives in Switzerland and has a private practice in Zurich.