Archive for the ‘Re-Visioning Psychology’ tag
I love falling snow. Well, that is true when the temperature is not too cold and there isn’t a wind blowing. I had hoped for a clearer image of falling snow, distinct evidence of snowflakes. But, when all was said and done, this photo caught my unconscious intention best.
Now, when I look at the photo, I see not the lamp post and the snow framed by the late evening sky, but I see a different world. It is as though I see out my window into another universe. The photo also pulls me within. And like all things which pull at me, I am pulled in two different directions at the same time.
The photo reminds me of a painting I once did called “Night Storms.” It was representative of one of my “dark” periods in the early ’90s. Now, it represents something that is about “light” in the darkness. Both realities exist at the same time. All exists at the same time, all opposites, all possibilities. Being alive means that each of us is caught in between each of the polarities. Drifting too close to one polarity only results in imbalance. Polarities are the homelands of the archetypes. The sum of all gives us the ONE, that which each religion places as the deity that embraces all that is and isn’t.
Whenever we try to define conceptually either a God or an archetype we find that neither can be grasped adequately by conceptual means. As metaphysical principles they elude our knowledge. The Greeks learned about their Gods through unwritten mythology. We learn about our archetypes through lived psychology. (Hillman, Re-Visioning Psyhcology, 1975, p. 36)
I have taken this photo before. It became one of the “Tunnel Vision” photos late last spring. Every time I drive to the city I see these two buildings as part of a larger farmyard that had been abandoned long before I came to this part of the province. There is no doubt in my mind that they would fit well into the scenery of any dreamscape. Dreams are funny things aren’t they?
Lately I have been a fair bit of dreaming, dreams that defy reality as we generally know it, dreams that are filled with improbable people. I know that these dreams are busy informing my psyche of various issues that indicate some conflict between my conscious intentions or lack thereof, and what the psyche is expecting. These are dramas that centre around various complexes that rule my inner and outer life.
The prime players of these dreams have myself as the leading man, a role that I am yet unsure of as being either protagonist or antagonist in these psychodramas; and in co-starring roles, a host of archetypal characters. Archetypes have an autonomy as well as an intentionality that defies our conscious intentions or desires. We can wish them away, deny them, or try to distract them; but, they continue their missions in spite of these strategies.
As Hillman says, archetypes are:
the persons to whom we we ultimately owe our personality. In speaking of them, he (JUNG) says that “we are obligated to reverse our rationalistic causal sequence, and instead of deriving these figures from our psychic conditions, we must derive our psychic conditions from these figures … It is not we who personify them; they have a personal nature from the very beginning.” (Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology, 1975, p. 22)
Hillman quotes from Jung, CW 13 par 299). It is here we see that archetypes exist out of the individual psyche. Somehow, the individual psyche taps into the bigger image. Here “mother” becomes more than one’s mother, more than our experiences of other mothers. The “great mother” becomes the source of motherness that becomes acted out in each individual mother, all connected yet still separate.
We might disown, abandon and forget these archetypes, but they refuse to be forgotten and abandoned. They will find a way to make their presence known and their power felt.
I took this photo looking out of my dining room window to the south-east. The skies at dawn and at sunset are typically spectacular. With a lack of hills or mountains or forests, the rising and setting sun find little to block the light show. I love these light shows as they are magical. They talk to me of myths, of human stories that transcend time and place. They are visions of a dream world made concrete. At moments like these, I feel present with the “little people” that live within my psyche.
A bit of explanation is needed here. “Little people” is a term given by CGJ to the archetypes, the cast of characters that are bigger than the costumes they wear in dreams and in our heads, yet so small as to defy ever being seen directly – “little people.” Hillman has a curious way of talking about these “little people.” Listen:
In Jungian practice the words Shadow, Self, Ego, Anima, and the like refer to the structural components of the personality. These basic structures are always imagined to be partial personalities, and the interplay between them is imagined more as in fiction than in physics. Rather than a field of forces, we are each a field of internal personal relationships, an interior commune, a body politic. Psychodynamics becomes psychodramatics; our life is less the result of pressures and forces than the enactment of mythical scenarios. (Hillman, James, Re-Visioning Psychology, 1975, p. 22)
These “little people” are the archetypes. As I read these words of Hillman, I realized that this explains why I am different from others who shared similar socio-economic backgrounds, the same type of dysfunctional family. It explains why my brother just fifteen months younger who grew up in the same house with the same lived experiences is so different from me. We lived different inner stories and became significantly different people. Knowing this, there is no place for blame on others for how my life has turned out, for my own “stuff” that has negatively spilt out on others. I do not need to forgive others as they were also lost in their own psychodramas, their personal myths on stage with powerful archetypes.