Tyranny and Spiritual Growth.

Perhaps, without poor leadership, we’d just get fat and lazy. The individuation process does somewhat depend on us being pitched into adversity. A Gnostic saying goes..

”there is good and there is bad and that is good’..

life is comfortable during the good times and you grow quickly during the bad.

Sometimes, people are no more than a-bit-peeved at their leader’s frantic efforts to accomodate this need to grow, for which he is a catalyst and for which unconscious reason he comes to power.

Under chiefs, even bad ones, you have ceremonial ritual, with the transforming power to contain and direct intense feeling. Under tyrant/kings you have a different incarnation of that initiatory archetype, Demonstration, which  has this same power to transform consciousness..

though perhaps with added broken windows.

The Peeved are allowed some expression of their annoyance at leadership’s failure to carry the projection of saviour and ultimate rescuer, without it leading to change or upsetting the status quo too much. Its said that Narcissists have ‘reduced feeling’, as though it were some side-effect, but what if this is the goal of Narcissism rather than a mere symptom….? What if ‘failure to learn from experience’, were actually refusal to learn from experience, a goal….?

And why? Because refusing to learn from experience magically stops the world from turning. Feeling is what evokes consciousness and transformation. The Narcissist is heavily invested in preventing change, like the lost boys in Peter Pan who live outside time in Neverland and don’t grow up.

The deflating world is dismissed with his contemptuous, ‘flattened affect’. Change can’t occur because authentic feelings are disallowed, a survival strategy from childhood used to exploit in adulthood. How powerful, to be the only one in the room not wracked with doubt.

Freedom of expression is trixy for the tyrant, whether in government or in relationship,  because its about the authentic expression of feeling which evokes consciousness of a person’s situation, and the last thing required by anyone invested in power is for people to become aware of themselves. Stick to being Peeved, the transforming energy of emotion, lost, swilled away.

Nor are we unequivocal in giving ourselves a voice. The passionate expression of feelings are disruptive to our own sense of self as well as to society because they awaken as well as inflame.

The visceral response is where you find out what you really stand for, who you really are and what you really care about. What strikes you to your core is a reminder that you have one.

”Emotion is where steel meets flint and a spark is struck forth, for emotion is the chief source of consciousness.” CG Jung.

So feeling and consciousness go together. Jung even conflated the terms and spoke about feeling/values. Its why the alchemists insisted that the seeker be emotionally involved with the chymical experiments and keep the fire, the emotional heat, well lit under the alembic.

Feelings often lead straight to some sort of creative process which also pounds identity on its anvil, inseparable as it is ..

”from the capacity for awe and wonder and from the courage to be genuinely available to any kind of experience however unfamiliar, new, bewildering or unknowable it may be.” Rosemary Gordon.

Sometimes a creative response to a feeling can be entirely life changing which is why the church is averse to our getting over-excited or leaping about.

A very elderly lady came to see me worried that she was going mad. What happened was that she was in the kitchen of her farm house when she become overwhelmed by a feeling of danger threatening her grandson and rushed down to the barn where he was working, to discover him unconscious having just been struck by a falling piece of timber.

She was a rational person. How could this happen? Suddenly her paradigm had a glaring anomaly which..

”violated deeply entrenched expectations.”  T. Kuhn

She couldn’t accept her own experience. We spoke at length about the many things that happen outside of comprehension and though unnerved she seemed somewhat reassured over the next weeks that she wasn’t simply crazy.

Strangely, I was driving in the area some months later. Suddenly I became intensely concerned for her welfare. So I drove over to her house where I found her in the kitchen, immobilised with a twisted ankle.

We laughed all the way to the hospital.

Reawakened feeling is the most powerful response to tyranny because it brings with it, as if from the depths, the Principle of Relatedness, embodied belonging, which connects people in a way that is impervious to all corruption.



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Psychotherapist/writer/artist/ author of, 'Going Mad to Stay Sane', a psychology of self-destructiveness, about to come into its third edition. Soon to be printed for the first time, 'Abundant Delicious.. the Secret and the Mystery', described by activist Satish Kumar as, ' A Tao of the Soul'. This book documents the archetypal country through which the process of individuation occurs and looks at the trials and tribulations we might expect on the way. In the meantime..... Narcissisim is the issue of our age. This blog looks at how it operates, how it can damage and how we may still fruit despite it.

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