“There is a nice German word, hintergedanken, which means a thought in the very far far back of your mind,” says Watts. “Jung had a hintergedanken in the back of his mind that showed in the twinkle in his eye. It showed that he knew and recognized what I sometimes call the element of irreducible rascality in himself. And he knew it so strongly and so clearly, and in a way so lovingly, that he would not condemn the same thing in others, and would therefore not be led into those thoughts, feelings, and acts of violence towards others which are always characteristic of the people who project the devil in themselves upon the outside, upon somebody else, upon the scapegoat.” And so, whether we enter into this field of thought through Watts, through Jung, or through anyone else, it always seems to comes back to the ancient Greeks: “Know thyself.”
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.
“When societies lose their initiation practices, new ones emerge, for rites of passage are hardwired in the human psychological formula.”
“The classic tarot deck is a great representation of this, as it parallels the esoteric Jewish Kabbalah, in symbolically showing us the four levels of magickal morphogenesis through the suits of the wands, cups, swords, and disks. An idea begins in the archetypal ethers, funnels into the realm of dreams, visions, and emotions, moves down into the realm of thought and mental activity, and then finally becomes manifest reality. Initiation, because it is such a psychically impactful experience, can affect all four realities at once in impressive and synchronistic ways, leading to a revived belief in apophenia. [the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.] Again, initiatory experience is about reconnecting the separated aspects of the psyche. Ideas, emotions, thoughts, and physical things may quickly shift, as the psyche attains a new level of integration.”
“…our first steps towards freedom require us to “remember ourselves” and in doing so “separate ourselves from ourselves”. As I understand it, this means in my psychological language to dis-identify with the reactive places we are caught in. In other words to make an object of the part of that is caught into whatever reaction is happening now. This is also what Robert Keegan’s 1994 “Subject / Object Theory” is all about, making objective, i.e. clear to ourselves, what we are identified with, bringing our unaware ground into consciousness so that we can relate to it, so that we can develop our awareness around it and start to understand it. So that we can start to look after ourselves in a new way.This is what therapy is all about, facilitating this movement of separating ourselves from ourselves in order to develop our awareness and understanding around that part of ourselves. This in the service of healing the unfinished trauma in its widest sense that we hold from our pasts and which unconsciously drives our compulsive reactive identifications. Just making this step into seeing that we are caught and that this is not the whole of ourselves, is such a profound and powerful one. ‘Remembering’ ourselves, i.e. connecting our split self back together again, opens the door to not only self-knowledge and understanding, but also to all the possibilities we have of being.Held trauma inevitably splits the heart and mind and body, and it is re-connecting these aspects of our whole together again that facilitates “self-remembering”. Or is it ‘remembering ourselves’ that enables them to re-connect? I’m not sure which way round it is, maybe both work simultaneously, or maybe we can get there from using either our ‘intention’ or ‘attention’.
“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
“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.”
“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 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.
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.
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
“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:
Continuing 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.”
“The difference between someone who leads a “reactive” life and someone who is conscious of his/her ability to attract reality (their potential for creation) is that the former lives in compromises while the latter always stands true to his/her heart’s choice. I am using “heart” as a metaphor here, by heart’s choice I mean the choice/desire that truly resonates with your inner being. To stand true to your heart’s choice is not an “idealistic” way of living, it’s a very scientific, and reality based, way of living. Whether you know it or not, the universe is purely responding to your inner choices, it scientifically can’t do otherwise because your choices define what you believe, and you can only see what you believe – so when you make a choice to live a life of compromises, that’s exactly the life you will see in your reality and when you make a choice to live a life free of compromises that’s exactly the way your reality will shape out, it’s very precise and there is no getting around your responsibility of making this choice.”