Strength and wisdom an example of the Ego and the Self

Whale rider, 2002 - the legend
Whale rider, 2002 - the legend

Here some excerpts from my article published on


The Self for Jung is “the unity of personality as a whole, in so far as psychic totality consisting on both conscious and unconscious 

contents, it encompasses both the experienceable and the inexperienceable (or the not yet experienced).” [1]

“By Ego I understand a complex of ideas which constitutes the centre of my field of consciousness and appears to possess a high degree of continuity and identity. … I therefore distinguish between the ego and the self, since the ego is only the subject of my consciousness, while the self is the subject of my total psyche, which also includes the unconscious. In this sense the self would be an ideal entity which embraces the ego.” [2]

While I was preparing to write this paper, long and hard I thought about verbs that could best express ‘being in syntony with the Self’: perceive, communicate, contact, be in tune with… Eventually I realized that there are no suitable verbs, because it is a process that includes also something we do not know, something that cannot be described with words. We get to sense this in retrospective, with images, feelings or memories that come to us. But trying to describe it would be like struggling to shape water. You cannot do this. As an example of the Ego and the Self I would suggest to see the 2002 movie called Whale Rider by Niki Caro. It is based on the same title novel by Witi Ihimaera. I’m quoting excerpts from the movie, selected and arranged by a theme.

It is the story of Paikea, a Maori girl, descendant of a long line of leaders, and how her grandfather Koro has not been able to recognize her identity. It is the story of a senex [3] and puella.

The legend

“In the old days, the land felt a great emptiness. The land was waiting. Waiting to be filled up. Waiting for someone to love it. Waiting for a leader. And he came on the back of a whale. A man to lead a new people. Our ancestor – Paikea. But now we were waiting for the first-born of the new generation – for the descendant of the Whale Rider. For the boy who would be chief.” [4]

(from Whale rider - Niki Caro 2002)




[1]. Jung, C.G. (1921). Psychological Types, CW 6, par. 789. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

[2]. Jung, C.G. (1921). Psychological Types, CW 6, par. 706. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

[3]. Hillman, J. (2006) Senex and Puer, Uniform Edition vol. 3, Spring Publications.

[4]. All movie quotations from: Whale rider by Niki Caro 2002)