Consciousness and ‘Deadly Sin’.

We generally have the idea that communication is a matter of  first formulating our thoughts and then spitting them out. In fact its often the other way around.

‘I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.’  F. O’Connor.

We find out what what we think and feel once the words that carry them are abroad. This is the rationale behind word association tests. It is also the basis of ‘parapraxes’, or slips of the tounge.

When I was first in therapy I was telling my analyst about my father’s recent marriage to his third wife. He stopped me in mid sentance…

‘your father’s what?’

…marriage..

‘you said ‘funeral’,….’

a slip of the tounge that was the tail end of murdeous rage I was quite unaware of until it found its own way into our conversation. The ‘talking cure’ is rooted in this intimate relationship between self-expression and consciousness. This is true even more so for the expression of feelings… which is why personal breakthroughs are invariably associated with the catharsis of some forbidden emotion.

For consciousness to amount to anything it has to be shared.

‘I think I have told you, but if I have not, you must have understood, that a man who has a vision is not able to use the power of it until after he has performed the vision on earth for the people to see.’  Black Elk.

The best way to shut people up and prevent awareness is to make sharing a sin. Most obvious is sexual sharing. But the embargo on freedom of expression runs through Western Civilisation way deeper than who you can or cannot fuck.
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Sin is generally perceived as being about morality and being good but in fact its about daring to be conscious. Even God’s casting of Adam and Eve from Paradise, the land of blissful ignorance, is not for disobeying but for having the courage to be awake.
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‘Behold, man is become one of us, to know good and evil, and now, lest he put forth his hand and….eat, and live forever, therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden.’ Genesis 3;22
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Given that this is true, could it be that the so called Deadly Sins have to do with consciousness rather than morality? And if so, consciousness of what?
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When we look at these sins…
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Wrath; Greed; Gluttony; Sloth; Lust; Pride; Envy… they seem ‘bad’, and yet if you look at them with an unjaundiced eye, as symptoms of something, you can’t help but notice the similarity that these symptoms have with something all too familiar to the consulting room of psychotherapists everywhere.
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the post traumatic effect of Maternal Deprivation.
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and not of your personal mother but of the Great Mother, the Principle of Relatedness, the Divine Feminine…
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whose influence the church is a great deal more concerned about than any of your idiocyncratic shenanigins.
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Being good members of the flock means suppressing not just the memory of the Great Mother but more importantly the feelings of loss that accompany Her banishment.
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Its not enough to eradicate Her from memory..
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DON’T SPEAK HER NAME…
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… neither must we collectively name the emotional wounds we are left with millenia later, much as an individual child might make her vulnerability and loss at mother’s absence into ‘bad’ emotions and demonise her longing, acting out the wish to be filled up and held in-arms with a substitute paradise of drug addiction, materialism or narcissistic entitlement.
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To ensure that the feelings of abandonment and loss are not discussed and thereby bought more firmly into consciousness, they are made into taboos which entrench repression.
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 John Bowlby ( Attachment and Loss. 1950) observed that the first stage of maternal deprivation gives rise to protest..
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WRATH…
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and the assumption that someone else must have mummy…
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ENVY…
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prolonged absence creates terrible inner hungering…
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GREED…
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which the child tries to remedy itself..
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GLUTTONY…
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or symbolises the connection back to mother with sexuality..
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LUST..
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eventually the child begins to despair but tries to cover it over with a compensatory superiority…
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PRIDE…
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and finally falls into detachment and affectionless psychopathy..
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SLOTH….
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‘The mind is still haunted with its old unconscious ways; it broods on lost authorities; and the yearning, the deep and hollowing yearning for divine volition and service is with us still.’  J. Jaynes.
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The great irony of the age of communication is that we have stopped talking to one another. Collectively we are in the stage of maternal deprivation that Bowlby calls, ‘detachment’. We are detached from one another, from ourselves, from the world, from our dreams and inner life.
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”When we are cut off from the fulfillment of our basic needs we seek out substitutes to temporarily ease the longing. Bereft of connection to nature, connection to community, intimacy, meaningful self-expression, ensouled dwellings and built environment, spiritual connection, and the feeling of belonging, lots of us over-consume, overeat, over-shop, and over-accumulate.” Charles Eisenstein
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Even our vaunted sciences are rooted in separation and division.
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Newton saw the Universe as a machine… not a living organism, Darwin developed the notion of constant competition and Freud declared that we are without soul, as much a bundle of conflicts and strife on the inside as the natural world was assumed to be on the outside.
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What science ‘discovered’ was the underbelly of its own belief system projected into the world that then allowed us all to rest easy with our loss but at the price of being forever plagued by the spectre of ‘deadly sin’, a price that has left Western Civilisation apathetic and depressed.
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“Young children, who for whatever reason are deprived of the continuous care and attention of a mother or a substitute-mother, are not only temporarily disturbed by such deprivation, but may in some cases suffer long-term effects
J. Bowlby
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2,000 years worth of long term effects…..
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‘From the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.’ N. Chomsky.
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like orphans who assume they must have sinned terribly for mummy to have gone away without actually having to feel Her absence….
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and so we are compelled to take in Mother Earth by way of enactment, by the plunder and rape of the Planet, by the ravaging consumption of the Self, rather than by conscious acts of devotion known to those from whom we have descended in more ways than one.
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“Our Savior is our True Mother, in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.” Julian of Norwich

 

 

Mayors ban Dying.

I wonder what a visiting alien could deduce from our insatiable materialism about the mother/infant bond in Western culture.

Mater-ialism.

And its not just about obscene levels of consumption or rampant trashing of our own playpens, but our attitude to our bodies, to growing old and dying.

Different cultures experience death in different ways. Ours is so riddled with anxiety and horror that we spend much of our lives engaged in projects whose prime objective is not to think about it.

What?

See….

What is suppressed in a culture slides into the Unconscious. It doesn’t go away. And when what is suppressed is Half of Heaven then we will all be busting at the seams with Whatever it is thats slipped out of sight.

Because,

‘The lost Goddess represents the psyche of each one of us.’ Freke and Gandy

Having Wisdom/Sophia entirely written out of our religion has not been some mere historical event.

“Young children, who for whatever reason are deprived of the continuous care and attention of a mother or a substitute-mother, are not only temporarily disturbed by such deprivation, but may in some cases suffer long-term effects.”
Bowlby
What happens when this dynamic is played out on a cosmic stage? When the Great Mother is cast into the sea by Yahweh so long ago now its human pre-history?

When the divine feminine is collectively repressed two main things happen. Firstly, we lose access to a crucial point of reference that enables us to make informed decisions. The story of Solomon’s Wisdom was, in its original form, about his relationship with Wisdom/Sophia before the church fathers dumbed it down.

She makes decisions on the basis of relatedness, the genius of which is the story of deciding to cut the disputed baby in half knowing the true mother would reveal herself through her love. The collective loss of such intelligent compassion  is a disaster superseded only by the second thing, the Goddess as Psyche,

’falls into identification with the body.’ (Freke and Gandy)

In other words, Sophia/Wisdom becomes locked up in matter from where she exerts a fascination over us. And instead of She who is more valuable than silver and pearls you have Silver and Pearls.

so its not as benign as you might hope.

When Wisdom/Sophia is sunk in the unconsciousness She,

‘ responds with violent emotions, irritability, lack of control coupled with lack of self-criticism and delusions. [Man] becomes ruthless, arrogant and tyrannical’. CG Jung 
Loss of the Goddess has done more than reduce the ‘developed’ world to spiritual subsistence. It must be asked whether our rampant greed is more than it seems. And its about far more than mere loss or deprivation.

”Maternal failures produce reactions which interrupt going-on-being and (constitute) a threat of annihilation, the infant does not really come into existence, the true self does not become a living reality.”D Winnicott.

The vengeance of the uninvited guest, the devalued and disenfranchised Mother/Queen, is bound to manifest as Goddess in her dark aspect. Hell hath no fury and our scorning of the Psyche has resulted in more than mere loss. Her banishment has not meant she’s gone quietly.
With the poetry of divine justice She has made us sleep on the bed we have made for ourselves. As Psyche she creates all kinds of afflictions from within. As (mater)ial world she exerts all kinds of bewitching fascinations from without. One way or another she will be of influence in our lives.

But its perhaps in our attitudes to death that we live Wisdom/Sophia’s loss the hardest.

And where we get craziest.

Its not just the unbridgeable gap of uncontained grief for the loved one but the sense, the reminder, that the Great Mother is also gone.

”A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. That is home. That is happiness.” Herman Hesse

Without that particular happiness we are bound to experience ourselves as homeless and fraught with the anxiety of a divine homesickness.

We humans have long memories. A recent paper in the Australian Anthropology Journal shows that at over twenty one sites around the coast of Australia there are tribal stories describing the rising sea levels and the specific effect that this had on the coastline after the last ice age retreated 7,000 years ago.

The loss of Wisdom/Sophia from our pantheon was only a piddly 3,000 years ago and on the timeclock of our species an event that happened less than twelve months back to a forty year old person.

What is effectively the extreme loss of containment/context for grief and mourning means we find it difficult enough to face life, let alone death. Instead of going through the various phases associated with death we just get stuck at denial. This not very noticeable on account of all the other denial we live in until it borders on absurdity.

I was reading about places in the world where you are not allowed to die on MSN.

In Biritiba, Brazil the local mayor banned dying for want of burial plots. A new cemetery was established and the ban lifted. But can it last?

In Longyearbyen, Norway, death was recently banned because the corpses weren’t decomposing in the permafrost. If you get sick you have to go and live where the worms can get at you.

And in Sarpoureux , France, the mayor forbad residents from dying by an official edict. “Offenders shall be severely punished,” he ruled. Unfortunately he soon broke his own law with much judicial time then spent by concerned locals contemplating not only how to bring him to justice but how he might be persuded to take the witness stand at the same time.