Archive for the ‘neurosis’ tag
Yes, Starbucks in found in Changzhou. I know of two different Starbucks locations in this city of three and a half million people. Joining Starbucks are other corporate entities that no-no-borders such as Macdonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, and KFC. There is no question in my mind that the powers behind the scenes are now visible through these outlets. It has stopped being about nation versus nation, about one political belief system versus yet another system. The real Power is Prosperity, Progress, and Pleasure.
“The loss of relationship to the invisible powers makes the visible powers all the more powerful. We have corporate moguls running government, as deceitfully as they ran corporations . . .” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 99)
It isn’t as though we “want” to be ruled by these power brokers, to be ruled by others who have no agenda other than being on top, holding as much power as can be held. The election of Obama as the president of the United States of America was watched by people all over the world, people who saw this event as belonging to them as well. Perhaps an individual with a vision could recapture a sense of humanity, could take back the power lost. But, like all the other leaders, he is a man that is constrained and contained, essentially powerless. His advisors have advisors, and the advice doesn’t advance the will and the needs and the dreams of people who have chosen him as their leader. What has been delivered in the U.S.A. and all western world democracies and the up and coming countries such as China is something different.
“. . . the spectacle of modern social and political interaction is little more than the exercise of the old will to power serving contemporary neuroses. The outcome is no longer in doubt. We end in neuroses, in addictions, power and displays of enthusiasm, banality, diversions of increasing urgency, and more and more loneliness. The gods have hardly departed; they have simply gone underground and reappear as wounds, as inflations, as pathologies. Our contemporary suffering is not tragic, for we wrestle not with gods; rather it is pathetic, the suffering which is unconscious and invariably victimizing of self and others.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 99)
Choose any location you want in today’s modern world and look carefully. Consciousness is not much in evidence. The events in the U.S.A. defy common sense, the lack of ethical behaviour in Canada’s leadership are two examples in a world that has lost its moral compass. With the loss of the gods, the vacuum has been filled with greed and the other deadly sins. The call to fundamentalist religions does not hold the answer, for they too are more about remaining as unconscious as possible.
“To the extent that I managed to translate the emotions into images – that is to say, to find the images which were concealed in the emotions – I was inwardly calmed and reassured. Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them. There is a chance that I might have succeeded in splitting them off, but in that case I would inexorably have fallen into a neurosis and so been ultimately destroyed by them anyhow.” (Jung, Memories, Dreams. Reflections, p. 177)
Powerful words by Jung near the end of his life. Images allow me to get out of my head and into those aspects of self I have otherwise bolted behind solid walls. I know that I am often seen as “cold” and “distant” by others. My penchant for wanting the facts, for looking at the evidence before me makes others feel uncomfortable. I often hear, “Show some emotion, for Christ’s sake!” Unfortunately, these words don’t seem to make a dent in my dispassionate way of being.
It was only through images, be the images contained in music, art or photographs, that I came alive. The magic lies within myself and not in the music or the images or the materials. The camera, the brushes, the guitar are simply tools in which I have allowed my hidden self to emerge. Without these tools and the permission, I would have self-destructed. The images that emerged, were voices and images of my repressed emotions. They needed release or else, like a bomb, they would have exploded with lethal force with no thought to the damage that would have been wrought on others, especially those closest to me. And so it remains even now, Via images, I continue to flow with life.
“You are alone and you are confronted with all the demons of hell. That is what people don’t know. Then they say you have an anxiety neurosis, nocturnal fears, compulsions – I don’t know what. Your soul has become lonely; it is extra ecclesiam [outside the Church] and in a state of no-salvation. And people don’t know it. They think your condition is pathological, and every doctor helps them to believe it. . . But it is neurotic talk when one says that this is a neurosis. As a matter of fact it is something quite different; it is the terrific fear of loneliness. It is the hallucination of loneliness, and it is loneliness that cannot be quenched by anything else. You can be a member of society with a thousand members, and you are still alone. That thing in you which should live is alone; nobody touches it, nobody knows it, you yourself don’t know it; but it keeps on stirring, it disturbs you, it makes you restless, and it gives you no peace.” (Jung, CW 18, par 632)
I imagine you know this feeling if you are reading this. You know that pills and therapy somehow don’t really get it fixed as there is no search for the roots, only an attempt to deal with symptoms. And the results have been an abysmal failure for the world of psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists. Hillman is correct in saying that with more than a hundred years of professional practice, we have not done any good, perhaps only having succeeded in making a bad situation worse for the individuals and for the others with whom those individuals come into contact.
Midlife crisis. What to do? Get pills? Get a new car? Get involved in a series of affairs? Step up the pace and acquire even more money and things? See a shrink? Take up yoga or martial arts? Run marathons and ultra-marathons? There are innumerable strategies to keep busy in the outer world in order to avoid that inner loneliness. Who would ever think that perhaps it is by going within to meet with the shadows that we find that we aren’t alone anymore, that we can recover a sense of who we are and a sense of meaning in an otherwise meaningless world.
Is there hope? Yes there is. I have hope and I have a sense of purpose and meaning and it is through beginning to live a symbolic life that this transformation has occurred. I have become re-connected to my “self” and in the process have allowed my soul a breath of fresh air. And, like this little bird, I am ready to emerge from behind the scenery into full life again.