Category Archives: Psychology

The Opposite of Love Is Power… Not Hatred – C.G. Jung | Dr. Peter Milhado

By Peter Milhado PHD on March 9, 2014

 

There are two kinds of suffering.  Suffering imposed on us by the outside and suffering created by ourselves.  All we can do with suffering imposed by the outside is share it in the human family and show compassion, love and empathy for those who’ve been hurt.  Suffering created by ourselves is referred to as neurotic suffering i.e. ‘inauthentic suffering’.  At bottom, neurosis is a moral and ethical problem.

In other words symptoms like neurotic anxiety, depression, compulsions, ulcers, headaches etc. occur primarily because we try to manipulate others.

We do this in a variety of ways…i.e. blaming, withholding feelings and affection, using guilt to have others do our bidding, temper tantrums and primarily abusing power.  The opposite of love is power, not hatred.

[ … ]A calling may be postponed, avoided, or intermittently missed. It may also possess one completely. Eventually it wins out and makes its claim either in a soulful life, or if ignored, in meaninglessness, cynicism, hoarding, loneliness and alienation.

The dragon we must slay is no more that the monster of everyday expectations about how we “ought” to live our lives. If we realize this, we will be back in the world, but “no longer of it”. We will be able to interact with others without submitting to their definition of who we are supposed to be! This precious pearl that is one’s individual worth can only be found when we are willing to stand alone. By consciously choosing to pursue the inner journey, we transform impersonal fate into our own personal destiny.

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via The Opposite of Love Is Power… Not Hatred – C.G. Jung | Dr. Peter Milhado.

On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand

lefthand1969 edition cover design by Alfred Zalon

I picked up a copy of this book some years back, in a charity shop.  I wanted it for the content, but if I had found a copy of the 1969 edition that I came across online recently, with the cover design by Alfred Zalon, I would probably have bought it for the cover alone – alas, my copy has the rather more boring predominantly pastel blue cover.

“The left hand has traditionally represented the powers of intuition, feeling, and spontaneity. In this classic book, Jerome Bruner inquires into the part these qualities play in determining how we know what we do know; how we can help others to know-that is, to teach; and how our conception of reality affects our actions and is modified by them.

The striking and subtle discussions contained in On Knowing take on the core issues concerning man’s sense of self: creativity, the search for identity, the nature of aesthetic knowledge, myth, the learning process, and modem-day attitudes toward social controls, Freud, and fate. In this revised, expanded edition, Bruner comments on his personal efforts to maintain an intuitively and rationally balanced understanding of human nature, taking into account the odd historical circumstances which have hindered academic psychology’s attempts in the past to know man.

Writing with wit, imagination, and deep sympathy for the human condition, Jerome Bruner speaks here to the part of man’s mind that can never be completely satisfied by the right-handed virtues of order, rationality, and discipline.”

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Jung’s Active Imagination | Reality Sandwich

“More abstractly,  it’s a method of consciously entering into a dialogue with the unconscious, which triggers the transcendent function, a vital shift in consciousness, brought about through the union of the conscious and unconscious minds. Unexpected insights and self-renewal are some of the results of the transcendent function. It achieves what I call that elusive ‘Goldilocks’ condition, the ‘just right’ of having the conscious and unconscious minds work together, rather than being at odds. In the process it produces a third state more vivid and ‘real’ than either; in it we recognize what consciousness should be like and see our ‘normal’ state as at best a muddling-through”

by Gary Lachman

Jung’s Active Imagination | Reality Sandwich.

Benjamin Betts – Geometrical Psychology

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“Benjamin Betts’ Geometrical Psychology from 1887 contains a sequence of delicately toned geometric figures intended to represent no less than ‘the evolution of human consciousness from the animal, zero, or starting point, through to the culmination of human possibilities – the transcendental’. Originally educated as an architect, Betts resolved to end his career determined to visualise the internal through his idiosyncratic topological models.” http://www.dataisnature.com/?p=1693

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Geometrical Psychology

Geometrical psychology, or, The science of representation: an abstract of the theories and diagrams of B. W. Betts details Benjamin Bett’s remarkable attempts to mathematically model human consciousness through geometric forms. From the Introduction:

The symbolic forms which Mr. Betts has evolved through his system of Representation resemble, when developed in two dimensions, conventionalised but very scientifically and beautifully conventionalised leaf-outlines. When in more than two dimensions they approximate to the forms of flowers and crystals. …. The fact that he has accidentally portrayed plant-forms when he was studying human evolution is an assurance to Mr. Betts of the fitness of the symbols he has developed, as it affords presumptive evidence that the laws he is studying intuitively admit of universal application.”

Alchemical Psychology – Old Recipes for Living in a New World

“An alchemist is seen in physical form below this magnificent scene wearing a coat of stars, white one side and dark on the other. He stands in a grove of trees, each of which bears a symbol of the planetary metals and twelve fundamental substances. The alchemist holds a twin-bladed axe in either hand reinforcing the division of opposites in the manifest world. Yet he stands upon the backs of two lions sharing one head. This indicates his powers of discrimination and freedom from the opposites.”

Open Culture – 500 Free University Courses, including Psychology

Open Culture are providing free Psychology courses from the world’s leading universities. You can download these audio & video courses straight to your computer or mp3 player. For more online courses, visit their complete collection of Free Courses.

http://www.openculture.com/psychology_free_courses

Open Culture are providing free online courses from the world’s leading universities. This collection includes over 500 free courses in the liberal arts and sciences. Download these audio & video courses straight to your computer or mp3 player.

http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

They are one of my favourite sites on the web and also offer a lot more – interviews, films, and so many other wonderful links such as this 1993 film http://www.openculture.com/2011/07/darwin_a_1993_film_by_peter_greenaway.html

An interesting paper on Brainwashing

“The word “brain-washing”, translated from Chinese communist jargon, is a
very strong metaphor, first popularized by Robert Jay Lifto n. It vividly
describes one person interfering with the personality make-up of another,
removing the other’s ideology and replacing it, and similarly tampering with
the other’s tastes, pool of information to rely upon and whatever else goes
into the make-up of the other’s personality. Clearly, in some sense or another
everyone interferes with the personality of people with whom they interact;
yet what is meant here is something much more drastic than friends
influencing one another’s tastes or opinions; it is something more dramatic
and more large scale.”

[…]

“Some people, in Plato’s
lifetime and in the modern world, view Socrates as a sly master of the art of
persuasion, as one adept in the art of stealing into people’s minds to influence
them with sophistry. Be that so; nevertheless, sophistry, even the most
objectionable kind, is not the same as brainwashing.
The same can be said of indoctrination. Good or bad, indoctrination is not
brainwashing. Perhaps re-indoctrination is–the taking away of one
indoctrination and the replacement of it with another. But this should be
examined in technical detail: what is the difference between the two? Why is
the latter so much more objectionable than the former?
One way to re-indoctrinate is through excessive and ceaseless propaganda.
This technique may work, since in time lies constantly presented as true may
penetrate great resistance. Anyway, this is also not the sort of thing that was
labeled brainwashing. No one ever denied that violence can crush people’s
intellectual independence. The best example that comes to mind here is the
Nazi propaganda theory. In it, as in George Orwell’s fables, Animal Farm and
1984, use is made of terror, lies, concealment, psychological pressure–and
these are well-known techniques. These are not the same kind of subtle
manipulations as those known as brainwashing.”

Full pdf article:

http://www.tau.ac.il/~agass/joseph-papers/brain.pdf

Who Am I? – Relationships ~ by Jaq White

tumblr_m18qllFj2T1qmemvwo1_500Continuing the theme of “Who am I?” today I’m going to focus on relationships. Often in a relationship, we can feel a bit lost. We’re told that relationships are a compromise, but we also need to make sure that we don’t make so many compromises that we end up asking “where did I go?”

We can lose oursleves pretty quickly in a relationship, for many reasons which I’m sure we’re all aware of. We may at some point find that we have agreed to an entire life plan, whether consciously or not, either to keep one person happy or, as a compromise whereby neither person is actually fulfilled.

One clue as to when this has occurred, is when people start to think “I have everything I always wanted but…” or “I am doing what I always wanted but….”

It is likely they may even only use the word “we” instead of “I”. Some people still use the word “we” years after a relationship has ended: “We went there.”  They stop seeing themselves as an individual, and in some cases, their memory only sees the other person, and their feelings about a place or situation is completely based on their memory of how that other person felt about it.

Paulo Coello has summed this up brilliantly in a passage in his book The Zahir.

“Marie, let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: which of the two will wash his face?”

“That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face of course.”

“No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks like him. And, vice versa, the man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself: I must be dirty too. I’d better have a wash.’What are you trying to say?’I’m saying that, during the time I spent in the hospital, I came to realize that I was always looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely, clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and, however intelligent or self-confident they were, they ended up seeing themselves reflected in me thinking that they were worse than they were. Please, don’t let that happen to you.”

This is akin to the Jungian concept of the animus/anima. Author and Psychologist Peter O’Connor explains this beautifully, when he writes that “Narcissistic and idealised longings for paradise exist in all human beings”. He explains that we often project the qualities of this fantasy person who fulfills our every need, onto real mortals with whom we “fall” in love. If we lack self-awareness, we don’t understand that we were or are seeing this person as a symbolic expression of part of ourselves. Some people never realise this, and insist that the other person has “changed” if they begin to express themselves in ways that don’t fit this idealised version.

Another analogy Coelho uses is that of a railway track. The two tracks are always the same distance apart, no matter how the route twists and turns, both have to go side by side, exactly the same distance. Do relationships have to be like railroad tracks? Who says?

As I’ve written in some of my earlier blog posts, when we learn to Know Ourselves, understand ourselves and love ourselves, we learn the purest kind of love, and we can bring that unconditional love into our relationships with friends and with partners/lovers.

Paulo Coelho’s The Zahir is a wonderful example of how one man comes to learn this.

I’ll finish this with some of his words:

“Esther asked why people are sad. “That’s simple,” says the old man. “They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.”

[if people ask themselves why they are unhappy] “If we ask that question, it means we want to find out what makes us happy. If what makes us happy is different from what we have now, then we must either change once and for all or stay as we are, feeling even more unhappy.”

“Esther, however, was the only woman who understood one very simple thing: in order to be able to find her, I first had to find myself.”

Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Who am I? The False Self and the True Self by Jaq White

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Continuing on from my previous blog post Who Am I? All the World’s a Stage and All the Men and Women Merely Players

In the Natural World, we can observe a harmony that is at the same time both simple, and yet sophisticated.  We see different insects, plants, trees and creatures evolving into their own sophisticated form of life in order to maximise their chance of survival, and to find their own unique place in the eco-system. Different species rely on each other, and sustain each other.

There are of course conflicts, struggles for survival, and hierarchies.

In the human world, things are no different; we are very sophisticated life forms, with  the same conflicts, struggles for survival, and hierarchies. The difference is, above and beyond the natural way of things, we have also created our own very sophisticated conflicts, false hierarchies, and have created a system whereby we cause entire sections of our own species to struggle to survive, in many cases simply to sustain others.

What is the cause of our living  increasingly  out of harmony with even our own species and out of balance with the rest of the eco-system?

At birth we are unaware of any divisions in life, but as we become more self-aware and aware of our surroundings, we learn our name, who belongs to our family, our group, our town, our country. In many respects, this is the same among other life forms, and can be useful for helping us to fit in with our culture and to become a useful and productive member of our own society. However, to these we can add the particularly human traits that we choose to believe to be part of our identity – “I am a doctor” or even things such as “I read this newspaper” and “I go to see these types of films”, “This is my enemy, this is my friend”, “I need this, I don’t need that”.

As we become adults, we are now fully conditioned by our family, teachers, friends and society, and are keenly aware of the qualities we have which are considered weaknesses by society, and those which are considered strengths. We are judged or praised, rewarded or punished depending on our emotions and actions; we learn to ignore or hide the parts of our self that are not approved of, or do not fit in with our culture or society’s conditioning and programming. This is reinforced by so many people around us, that we come to believe that this is all I can be, and we forget or bury the other aspect of ourselves.

In many disciplines, this self is considered the false self. What can make it even more difficult, is if we are also aware that this self we are presenting to the world IS false.  In the outside world, we may think we need this false self to fit in with the system, trying to go about our business within society just as others do but inside, privately we have remained in touch with some aspect of our true self underneath the false self. We may have lived as this false self for so long that we may also not approve of what we percieve to be our true self, due to the conditioning. We even begin to think we are some kind of freak. We have learned not to trust, even doubting those who want the best for us, as we have been betrayed by others when we have confided our feelings or shown aspects of our true self to them. Is there a way back to the You that you already knew before you got so tied up in the physical world, in the expectations of society and the belief that it was the only way to exist or survive?

Yes, this conditioning and programming can be undone; it is a mistake to believe that it can’t.

We can start by unravelling our thoughts, each time we find ourselves thinking “I am this” or “I’m no good at that” “I can only do this in such a way”.  Ask yourself, do you REALLY believe that? And if so, why? Who told you that? or when did you decide that? Our thoughts are made up of stories; our mind contains so many stories from the past that shape our thinking and assumed beliefs – some from events that actually happened, and others that we made up ourselves at various points in our life, for protection or to boost our self-esteem. Because our mind has turned these thoughts into stories, we use this inner library to reference the way we act or approach the present, however much we might wish to behave differently.

By turning an inner light on these thoughts and stories, we can shed awareness on past conditioning, we can expand our consciousness and begin to rediscover and recover our true identity. We can then begin to rediscover the harmony that can be found with members of our own species, to rely on one another, to sustain one another, and even further, find our place within the eco-system. We have a choice.