Saturday, October 13, 2012


This is an edited excerpt from a  much longer blog post.  Some of the dreams and visions mentioned below are describe in another post:  Otherwise this tribute to my brothers fully stands alone.

 Let me begin this by  considering  the difference between the full blown horror of Schizophrenia and a significant, life enhancing/changing, creative encounter with the Sacred. They are very similar. On the surface they look the same. Both will be filled with religious images and language. Both receive very strong, dazzling, sometimes horrifying, sometimes sublime  ecstatic experience. This is why my family and brothers were so  rightly concerned about me in my first encounters with such inner images in 1985.  My brothers'  concern for me saved my life. I was wrestling  alone with such strong inner archetypes  in Houston in the Spring of '85 that I became near  unable to fully distinguish ' inner from outer' reality. My truck was packed, my apartment immaculate but I could not gain inner permission to leave Houston and go home.  Thus I was not functioning effectively in outer life sufficiently to keep  taking care of myself.  I was at a full blown breaking point of serious  proportions and was aware of it. Four of my brothers,without my having any idea,  drove to Houston, entered my apartment and insisted that I return to our AL hometown. I strongly  resisted at first but thanks to their courageous insistence, and the help of a carefully  injected sedative, over my will  I surrendered to them and my  life was  saved that day.
Rufus Hibbett And His Seven Sons @ 1975

Some context to this: The six months preceding I had worked for a group selling life insurance in Houston. By means of  still unaccountable grace I had managed each month to make significantly more income than I had ever made in my life. Thus I had the relief of mind that my family was not suffering financially, but I knew the psychological tensions and hurts  were growing. But my internal situation and motivation quickly changed leaving me unable to even consider making another sales call. The week  before my brothers arrived I had sold everything of value I had to buy food. My utilities were cut off.  I knew that same  morning that the next experience I was going to have was to scavenge for food. I had already coached myself, ' Jim, you are not the first or the last person who has been so humbled by the brute forces of nature and life. You will do what you have to do.' Amidst this my brothers arrived.

After this major rescuing  project of brotherly love,  for the next five  months my brothers consistently looked after me and my family who were still back in Illinois. One brother gave me a job and paid me more than I was worth at that time. My brothers took turns having  me  live with them during the next three months while I stayed in our AL hometown of Florence. At my request my brothers found a Jungian trained therapist in Birmingham and escorted me there to first meet him. For nearly three months I drove there to work with him twice a week. What makes all their  support and concern even more admirable is  they did all this without having any explanation or possible appreciation of 'why' their little brother(41 years old) had fallen into such totally unexpected straits and was expressing such new beliefs.  When such an archetypal scenario is playing out in real life it often offers no conventional  explanation. And when humans have no clear explanations imaginations run wild. I experienced a good deal of that happening with regards to my life process as it unfolded.  Execpt for Jungian thought I also had no explanation. Fortunately some people's  imaginations are very kind and they look for the best, not the unseemly or worst. I am grateful that my brothers and my wife and children  actually helped  protect me from the storm by offering up  the most  kind and encouraging explanations.

As months went by I became able to sort out the archetypes and their message to me  so I could receive their revelatory meanings without being overwhelmed by them. I learned, with much effort and practice, and help from my  Jungian therapist,  to distinguish clearly between 'inner and outer.' With the seriously mentally ill person the fragile ego (What and who we consciously consider ourselves to be.) is shattered and he takes the images coming in from the Collective Unconscious( from the spiritual realm or God) as his personal revelation and a description of his or her self identity. He fails to keep his  'personal ego' distinct from the images from the Collective Unconscious. This results  in the seriously ill person making claims of 'being God' or some other important archetypal being or power.  The archetypal powers have at that point taken over or 'possessed' the fragile ego. This person is now fully 'split'(schizo) and retains no longer who he was in his ego personality.  Anyone who visited me in my worst times knows that was never my situation. If necessary I could  usually consistently  make the other person believe I was experiencing nothing unusual by keeping the  archetypal  material concealed to myself. But had I not had   'safe' places to let this  inner life be expressed  I would have been overtaken by it and become very seriously ill as a result.

This is what has always horrified humans when they see it has happened to a loved one. Ancient people called it a 'loss of soul.'  We experience such a person as fully and frighteningly mentally ill. Most anyone can see this  happening with a trip to any psych ward of any Hospital.  There is more religious language in that setting than most churches. This is because  all religions were begun by an upsurge of archetypal images.  Jungian thought, and I know of no other, helps us to see what is happening and to realize the reality of the  power of  archetypes for good or ill.  In my situation in 1985 my ego it seems  was consistently  able to distinguish between the archetypal material of the Collective Unconscious(Understand this is the image and a name of the deep eternal source for all human experience that has been or ever can be. This what people of all times and cultures have always called the Sacred or God.) and thus for it to not completely overwhelm me. Like my brothers' love and actions on my behalf  I can only be grateful: that my ego had acquired, through my particular training and personal experiences,  by that time in my life, age 41, just enough strength  to withstand the onslaught  of the Collective Unconscious and its living archetypes in both their  positive and negative powers. I am astounded at how horribly different things could have easily worked out rather than how they have.

So  when the individual's ego manages to stay intact, however weak and threatened with annihilation, the conclusions an individual eventually  reaches about life and reality  are significantly different than what he had going in. Hopefully I am, with these dreams and especially with the 'visions' I had beginning in  August 85 for several years, an example of this better outcome. That my ego( with the supporting help of  caring and informed others) did not fly apart and send me into a state of identity with the figures of the Collective Unconscious. I was able to keep recalling that I was 'the human Jim Hibbett, of such and such address, father of Sheri, Brent and Ryan and husband of Beverly.'

If a person were prone to psychological schizophrenia had these dreams above he would likely be telling his friends of it and insisting that he is Jesus or the new Jesus. And he would be totally convinced of it. After 25 years of experiencing  rather closely  archetypal images and powers  I am in little danger of such a misinterpretation. Surely I was at some risk of it before, like the mid-May day  in 1985 when my brothers appeared at my Houston apartment.  But I am not aware of my  small but essential ego even once deserting me completely to the force of the archetypes. My ego was always present and observing and frequently asking questions about what the hell was going on. I am here attempting to faithfully describe  these things as I experienced them and as I later read  Jung describing  similar things. That is why his work was genuinely and literally 'life-saving' to me. The way I had been taught to interpret the Bible was of little help to me then. (With my present views of the nature of the Bible I am able to see how the Biblical stories and images do inform us about such realities of the 'unseen' world. No doubt  my rich Bible background was helping more than I realized at the time.)  I am so grateful that I was at least exposed to Jungian thought  before the archetypes broke through to me with such authoritative force. I often encouraged people to read Jung if they wished to  better understand my story. But I know Jung seems very difficult. That is primarily because he is seeking to describe and explain views of life that are different than most all Western people have imagined. I am glad to know he is likely still to be taken more seriously as the world faces the kinds of problems we now have. Two places Jung can be  rather easily read are his very late autobiography "Dreams, Memories and Reflections" and the book 'C.G. Jung Psychological Reflections  1905-1961"..edited by Jacobi and Hull.

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