Be More Human

Be More HumanHave you seen this? This enigmatic sign went up at 3485 N. Clark, May 30th for one month, funded by The C. G. JUNG CENTER with a gift from Judy Shaw, LCSW, Jungian analyst and volunteer with the C. G. Jung Center. The billboard will be up at the intersection of Addison/Newport in Chicago (near Wrigley Field where the Chicago Cubs play) for the month of June, beautifully lit up at night. We felt you would like to know more about the billboard, the person behind it, and how it came to be so we asked Judy to interview her for the C. G. Jung Center Blog and she graciously agreed:

What motivated you to put up this billboard?

I ‘d been feeling very distressed about all of the shootings and violence in the last three months, just feeling powerless. Stewing about what to do, I had several ideas, just a mass of confusion and emotion. So I let the whole thing go. About a week later, sitting at a red light and I looked up and saw a billboard sign that said it was available. Just then, I had my ‘Field of Dreams’ moment and decided to use that billboard and use my voice to say: “Be More Human.”

For those acquainted with Jung’s theory of the “tension of the opposites,” that’s what I was containing during that week. I understood that people want to have their guns, but also understood that something had to be done about the violence, it was just fever pitch for the past few months. In that moment when the billboard appeared, I saw a way to release some of the tension, and not feel so powerless.

Where did the phrase “Be More Human,” come from?

I trained in Zurich, Switzerland at the C.G. Jung Institute. While there, years ago, in 1988, one weekend we hiked up the Matterhorn. After hiking eight hours, we arrived at a rest spot, completely drained but gratified, too. There was a sign in seven languages (it’s a destination for people from all over the world) saying, “Be More Human.” I was so moved, I almost wept. That moment re-visited me, my ‘Field-of-Dreams’ moment. You don’t know what’s cooking, but you are just more receptive to the unconscious; and that’s the message I got.

What does it mean to you to be more human?

For me it means being vulnerable, experience that. Guns and the violence are an attempt to force some equality, the great equalizer. Vigilantes can’t get justice through the courts, so you have the ‘Dirty Harry’ guys. The gangs feel invisible in the white world, so they establish their own hierarchy of power. No one wants to say, “Yeah, you know what? I am powerless. I’m pretty humbled right now.” At the top of the Matterhorn, spent, you can know that place of depletion and not have shame about it, even take pride in it! To know that we’re just little clay pots filled with the spirit, it’s a much better way to live.

And how does that relate to Jungian philosophy and the Jung Center?

Our mission all along has been to “be more human.” Jung said that being human requires owning your shadow. The shadow of these guns is the experience of powerlessness and vulnerability. He said somewhere the “love of power eliminates the power of love” or something to that effect. How can you have a human connection with someone you’re holding a gun over? You can’t. That’s why our veterans return from war so broken, but that’s another story. For me, the mission of the C.G. Jung Center has been about being human, being imperfect, owning and experiencing our deficits. That generates compassion for ourselves and for the deficits of others, too.

What do you hope will happen as a result of people seeing the billboard?

I hope to provoke some thought and discussion. I love that it’s black and white, and simple. I want people just to imagine, “What does it mean to be more human?” I hope everyone who sees the board will ask themselves that question.

Thank you for acting on your “Field of Dreams” moment, Judy and for including the C.G. Jung Center in this experience!

Judy Shaw is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Chicago. She is a former board member of the C.G. Jung Center, a frequent lecturer, and provides clinical supervision at the Center. For more information about her practice, visit