Bluebeard, the Secret Hell.

The reason that we arrange to be led by folk we know don’t care about us is that there is an X in the equation which swings things away from what you might think was a more desirable outcome.

We acceed to authoritarian management because there is a covert pay-off. No-one has to do the difficult work of self-realisation.

‘It seems good to Us not to burden you with too many requirements.’ Acts 15;28

It’s okay, you don’t have to find your own way or fulfil any driving ambition. Its alright to be curtailed and told what to do…

because the part of us that minds it has a cunning plan…

to take refuge in the strong arm of he who’d beat you and so, in a very real sense, not be at home when he comes calling. The great thing about abdication is that you get to hold the torch when the castle is burned to the ground.

Alice Miller calls it ‘Identification with the Aggressor’, a process by which a child or subjugated person defends against the precarity of their situation by disocciating from it and forming a psychological alliance with the source of their suffering.

It was named ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ after bank raiders in Sweden took hostages that then became their fervent supporters, even writing to the Prime Minister asking to go with their captors. Hieress Patty Hearst became a gang member of the group that kidnapped her. Natascha Kampuch wept at the death of her jailer and rapist Wolfgang Priklopil, moved into his house and ran his car…

Levy-Bruhl called it participation-mystique, a process of  merging with another, initially observed..

‘in so-called primitive cultures where certain objects treated as holy artifacts were seen as filled with the spirit of their owners or worshipers.’ Gifford

 Without such meaningful totemic relationships that allow a person to be in the presence of their own mystery without being contaminated by it, we in the West do the same with pop stars and celebrity, reality TV and the cult of personality, which despite the high of being one with your hero..
‘can influence a person or group of persons into acting against their own best interest’. (ibid)
Identification with the Great Leader makes all kinds of heroic feats possible though you may not survive them. It wipes out all your troubles back home and replaces them with a fizzing riteousness so potent it can transcend the fear of death and calmly walk wave upon wave of unfaltering youth to the grave.
Sometimes the battlefield’s turf is the quietly carpeted drawing rooms
of gentility rather than the crack and thump of conquest at any price, but still….
‘a person caught up in this spell would rather die or injure him or herself than consider new information that might upend their thinking.’ ibid

Most people know the story of Bluebeard. He murdered his wives one after another and kept them in a secret locked room. He forbids his most recent bride from entering the room on pain of … well, a lot of pain, but she is unbearably curious and sneaks in while he is away…

just a peek…

Too late!

The room is a charnel house of former wives. She drops the key to the floor in horror where it becomes stained with blood that will not wash off no matter how she tries…

Bluebeard finds her out, and sets out to do just what he said he would do…  though she is saved in the last moment by her brothers who show up in the nick of time…

an’ cut ‘Ol Bluey down…

The traditional meaning is that of a cautionary tale,

‘Oh curiosity thou mortal bane, spite of my charms thou causest oft pain and sore regret..’ Charles Perrault

followed swiftly by reassurances that men are not so bad..

‘This a story is of time long pass’d; No husbands now such panic terrors cast; Nor weakly, with a vain despotic hand, Imperious, what’s impossible, command:’ (ibid)

More recently its been given socio-political attention with BB in the role of Patriarch enforcing gender roles with violence, or more psychologically with BB in the role of pathological narcissist. Clarrisa Pinkola Estes calls him,

‘the predator of the Psyche, wanting to sever intuition, a malignant force at odds with the instincts of the natural self.”

Von Franz amplifies this theme, BB is the destructive, murderous animus which must be encountered in order to grow..

”If a woman hasn’t gone through the experience of being trapped by a demon animus she only has unconscious thoughts.”

All well and good but there is a curious detail in the story that snags my attention.. Most of the interpretations are based on later versions of the tale in which the youngest of three sisters falls for his charms because she is naive, or she marries him against his will. But in the original by Perrault there’s neither foolishness nor abduction…

Bluebeard goes to one of his neighbours…

‘a lady of quality, whose two daughters were perfect beauties. He desired of her one of them in marriage, leaving to her the choice which of the two she would bestow upon him….

‘I want one of your children, it doesn’t matter which…’

None of this phases anyone. There is no outrage, no injunctions never to darken her door again. Mother colludes and passes of her kid like a mail-order bride who gradually identifies with BB rather than face how she has been betrayed.

There was nothing then to be seen but parties of pleasure, hunting, fishing, dancing, mirth and feasting. Every thing succeeded so well, that the youngest daughter began to think the master of the house not to have a beard so very blue, and that he was a mighty civil gentleman…

A six year old child, having been persuaded onto her parent’s lap rather than explore the nearby swings and play area, is trying to extricate herself in an ungainly way whilst mother chides her softly like Nursy from Blackadder..

‘Oh you.. banana-brain…’

child’s inaudible muttering…

What are you?… a banana-brain.

more muttering..

‘banana-brain, that’s what you are.’

And you could say its just harmless fun and the mother is ‘joking’ in an extroverted and jovial way. ‘Its just people being what they are,’ you say, but actually its the worst kind of cruelty.. making a child feel stupid for wanting a go on the swings, feeling like a banana-brain in adult life for wanting to explore, embittered and muttering in old age for the life that’s been denied her.

Such throw away lines are how lives are poisoned. Often repeated they become the kernel around which identity is built because our survival compells us to adapt to expectation. So even when she’s free she stumbles, can’t get co-ordinated, making a hash of her liberty, just like… a banana-brain.

Her inner life is destroyed, not by showdowns, punishments or overt rejection but by one thing parodying  another, by the wicked cleverness that can say you are stupid and I hate you with a smile. What’s the matter, can’t you take a joke?

Life is what you make it but more importantly its what you believe it to be. Life will faithfully offer us up our expectations of it, rising to manifest and mirror back to us all our prejudices, secret fears and covert assumptions.

‘We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” Torah

That which we cannot face on the inside comes at us from the outside. Having had her inner life attacked by her social-climbing mother, our heroine learns to attack herself, killing off her sponteneity, deadening her sexuality, stringing up her feelings and hobbling the discriminating function that feelings are there to serve.

When she intrudes upon BB’s inner chamber she is bound to find there some expression of this violation. She is going to find her worst nightmares in the little room because she has entered into this arrangement in terrible bad faith, having sold out her integrity and the possibility of true love for the sake of a life of easy luxury.

BB is certainly a villain, but never pretending to be more or less than he is. There is no deception. ‘I want one of your daughters, I don’t care which.” The poor bride masks over the awful injury this constitutes by following suit, pretending that people and privacy don’t matter, but has to kill off her aliveness and subjugate herself to the tyranny of life’s baubles which will extract their pound of flesh from her one way or another. Her inner world will be attacked on a regular basis.

Life presents us with the face we show it and mirrors back to us inner states normally occluded from veiw.

I once comforted a woman whose husband had just had a heart attack and was at death’s door in hospital… but I withdrew my hand from her shoulder as if bitten by a snake when she wailed, ‘who will help me now?” Her thoughts were not of him, nor her tears about him, but about the burden of her middle-class chores.

Through her tears she then told me a dream that wild dogs had gotten into her lovely white Mercedes convertible and torn all the upholstery to pieces. Her inner life had been ripped out by her paltry material concerns and the utter failure to transcend her own petty troubles.

”We thought it was the outer event that had happened to us, but now see that it is we who have happened to ourselves.’ F. Wickes.

Its curious how much sympathy the heroine evokes, how villainous BB seems to be, polarised utterly with the Soldiers of Light, the brothers who finally do him in. Yahweh fairs much better in the popularity stakes when he puts Eve to the same test. Her curiosity gets her eternal damnation wheras Mrs BB just inherits everything and comes up smelling of roses.

There is no transformation. The dead wives are as much a part of her world as BB himself and killing him off still leaves her with the problem of life denied and the damage done to her personal destiny by the spell which compells her to identify with toxic values rather than her own gut feeling…

which says that people come before stuff.

 

 

Narcissism and the Bottomless Pit.

In thirty years of practice as a psychotherapist I never came across an indigenous person with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The reason is that native people generally have a way of raising their kids that is  radically different to parents in the ‘civilised’ West.

This does not mean that Western women are bad mothers, but that they have to contend with a split reality endemic in our culture that makes it difficult for baby to cross certain developmental thresholds.

On the one hand the child, as depicted in the majority of psychoanalytic literature, is a voracious power hungry little monster who battles mother for dominance and has to be brought to heel at all costs.

”Babies have become a sort of enemy to be vanquished by mother…on the premise that every effort should be made to force baby to conform when it ’causes’ work and ‘wastes’ time.’ J. Liedloff

On the other hand, and by way of compensation, we have the effusive and liberal face of Dr Spock, whose sales of his book ‘Baby and Childcare’, come second only to the Bible on the best seller list. Spock advocated ‘childcentric’ households which effectively have children ruling the roost. Detractors claim he cultivated Narcissism in millions as the most trusted name in childcare and parenting since 1940 and even hold him personally responsible for the moral decline of  western culture.

”When a society becomes out of control, it is because its members elevate self-indulgence and lack self-control…and [have] come to see gratification as a right.” R. Bradley.
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 These radically polarised veiws of parenting presented by Freud and Spock, often operating without reference to one another under the same roof, have something strangely in common. Both the liberal, anti-authoritarian mandate of currying entitlement in children and the cold hearted philosophy of ‘you did it to yourself’ inherent in Freudian theory, marginalised the fact that women have been having babies for seven million years without the input of opinionated men in lab coats.
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 Both men’ knew better’ than the feminine soul. To the extent that these theories were imposed upon women’s natural instincts, their innate knowing, their connection to their own mothers and to the Divine Feminine that presided over childbirth and motherhood, so too was their role undermined, ancient wisdom eroded and intrinsic understanding of what was right and proper, subverted and injured.
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So whilst it may be true that excessive permissiveness fosters narcissistic tendencies and a sense of entitlement, it is also the case that narcissistic wounds are inevitable when the bond between mother and child is intruded upon by someone who thinks they know better than Nature herself, irrespective of the received ‘wisdom’ under consideration.
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You’re probably familiar with the educational maxim ‘would you teach a fish to climb a tree?’ but we forget that its even more undermining to teach a fish to swim.
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A centiped was happy, quite!
Until a toad in fun
Said, ‘pray which leg follows which?
This raised her doubts to such a pitch
She fell exhausted in a ditch,
Not knowing how to run.
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“If we have learnt certain [things] so that they have sunk below the level of conscious control, then if we try to follow them consciously we very often interfere with them so badly that we stop them”. Carl Popper.
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It follows that if mother has it instilled in her that she doesn’t know her job  without instruction from a clipboard wielding MD then baby will be similarly confused and struggle with developmental tasks, understandably preferring the relative safety of remaining partly fused with mother in a state of  ‘symbiotic omnipotence’. (M. Kahn).
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This interupts the process of separation and healthy growth, preventing the child from crossing the threshold associated with ‘symbol formation’. This is significant because it is symbol formation that is responsible for the experience of others as persons in their own right, and for the development of values associated with feelings about others having their own purpose and destiny. The child can get eternally caught  in the concrete thinking of symbolic equations where, for instance, worth is measured in terms of money,  loveability in terms of sexual conquest, power in terms of domination of others, all the things we recognise as symptoms of NPD.
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‘No-one loves me, because you don’t wipe my chin.’ Liedloff.
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The figurative representation of ideas, conflicts or wishes cannot be experienced and so metaphorical notions of honour, faithfullness, duty, empathy and so on remain conceptual ideas rather than lived and experienced realities…
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”from which intellectualism is only to ready to emancipate itself.” C.G. Jung
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This is most obvious in our relationships because Narcissism does not really experience the Other as such. Their humanity remains conceptual. The notion that others have equal rights is an abstract idea to be rationally concluded without actually being lived.
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Racism and sexism are the most common outcome of such a mind set, but the irony is that the Narcissist has equal trouble conceiving of ‘his own’ in fully human terms unless they remain entirely joined at the hip. Humanity is not experienced, it is deduced, much as Socrates ‘worked out’ that one day he would die.
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‘Socrates is a man. Men are mortal. Therefor Socrates will die.’
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On the basis of such abstract deduction ordinary instinctual care for one another is occluded. One’s own self barely exists in its own right, how shall another fare any better?
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The developmental threshold of symbol formation affords not only the recognition of the otherness of the Other, it also affords value and significance to the otherness of oneself, in other words to the fantasies, intuitions and aspirations emerging from the archetypal layers of the psyche that take over the job of feeding the child, as it were, from within.
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This leads to a lack of faith, not only in others but towards life itself which cannot be trusted to provide. The child becomes a consumer…
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‘clinging to objects and people, investing them with magical powers, ferocious in [the] demand to possess and control.” Liedloff
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Asking Narcissism to share is thus experienced as an attack on all that is holy because money and resources have been imbued with a kind of spiritual manna. Losing hegemony over it is tantamount to desecration. The paranoid tendency of the Narcissist  is not simply that someone is out to get him, but that all he holds sacred is under attack.
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And so the predominant experience of life is one of being a victim, no matter how much one has, nor how much there is available. It is like being a planet without a sun, or worse, having a black hole to revolve around which threatens to drain and crush at every turn. Without the inner ‘other’, there is nothing to mediate the dark forces of the cosmos.
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”Our connection with a sacred centre [gives] a sense of real existence that counters the terror of chaos and nothingness, helps [a person] find their bearings and makes order of the Universe’. Bizint
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Since what we cannot integrate is invariably projected it will seem to those who stub their toe on at the threshold of symbol formation that some illegitimate other has stolen the key to happiness. He lives, not only in a state of lack but as if his divine inheritance is being withheld. And because he’s in the bind of having to deny what he needs, his lack and being witheld from is acted out in the world, which perhaps explains the conundrum of how it is possible for the richest and greatest nation in the world to sweep one of its most powerful men to high office on the shirt tails of the  slogan, ‘make America great again’, as though it were a mere dispossesed guttersnipe on the fringes of the stage.

Attack on the Child.

In order to understand the pathological need for wealth, fame and consumption that typifies Western Culture, we need to look further than mere greed. Having the moral high ground is not enough. You might still miss what’s so interesting about wanting more than you need….

The Rule of Intention says that the way things pan out has to do with the intentions of those who are involved.  If children in their millions are starving then someone is witholding the spoon. If thousands have no education then that’s by design. If families are living on the streets someone put them there.

So then what does it mean that we collectively aspire to more than we need? Why is it that we regard excessive consumption differently from obesity? You’d be shocked if a person’s goal was to gain a hundred pounds…

and yet

”We are screwing the planet to make solar powered bathroom thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.” G Monbiot.

Are we then simply diplaying our wealth? Is there some arcane connection between wanton destruction and attractiveness? I think not, but whatever the answer it  lies deeper than our greed or stupidity.

Symptoms of dis-ease are never arbitrary or simply unfortunate. They are the unconscious expression of something yet to be named. There is hidden meaning in desperately pursuing stuff you don’t actually need, stuff whose production enslaves and destroys into the bargain. Calling it addiction doesn’t quite work either, despite the added caveat to greed that there is more at work than mere self indulgence.

Believing we can convert the rhythms of work into cash so that real life might then begin may feel worth the price to be paid by aliveness, but what many of us do in our leisure time is just more of the very same consuming of life from which we most need to a break. In our millions we become even further absorbed…..

”in the electronic reproduction of life, the passive consumption of the twittering screen.” A Watts.

So we save up for our hols, to get away from it all, when proper enjoyment can get under way, only to find that it too is also somehow pasteurised, with boxes to tick and schedules to fill. Been there, done that…  We wait to be amused, wonder what’s  next and if we’ve had our money’s worth.

All of which..

”gives rise to a culture devoted not to survival but to the actual destruction of life.” ibid

So is our devouring of life a form of collective suicide, a Chomskian rushing to the precipice?

No, its scarier than that.

It is an attack, not just upon ourselves, but on our children. The planet that their parents are pillaging is, after all, their inheritance. The spiritual malaise and attendant acting out of the developed world is far greater, far more malicious, than mere apathy, denial or disinterest.

”Once you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Sherlock Holmes.

If we want to understand consumerism and its attended ravaging of the planet we need to ask what it is that people are really hoping for with the must-have item on their bucket list. Irrespective of its concretisation, the new car, the fancy vacation, the latest gadgetry, what people seem to be striving for is a sense of worth, of being safe and held and fed.

Collectively we are seeking the in-arms experience of infancy which, as a culture, we have simply not yet had.

‘When the expected does not take place, corrective or compensatory tendencies make an effort to restore stability.’ J. Liedloff.

Consumerism is a parody of contented infant satiation. We want life dribbling down our chin. We want to be in the ‘lap of luxury’. We want the safety of maternal embrace whose alternative is the poor substitute of being gripped by her dark and compulsive sister, (mater)ialism.

‘The infant (like the guru) lives in the eternal now, in a state of bliss; the infant out of arms is in a state of longing, the bleakness of an empty Universe. Want is all there is..’ ibid

Amassing the unnecessary to the detriment of  life on Earth looks entirely crazy until we consider it in a symbolic light, the unfulfilled need of a culture seeped in denial about what is truly indispensible. Mother.

This denial reaches its acme in psychoanalytic theory with Freud’s Drive Conflict theory which entirely marginalises Mother as relevant to baby’s health or illness.

According to this theory dis-ease is not down to how we are treated, whether we are held and loved, but on dysfunctional ‘object relations’. You did it to yourself, a doctrine of victim blaming that also constitutes the final eradication of Mother’s relevance to life. In thirty years I have never found Freud to use the word ‘mother’ even once.

This denigration of life’s most important role impoverishes our entire culture but it does far more and has consequences you might not have considered.

Not only does the dominant form of spirituality in Western Culture fail to nourish, but our anxious preoccupation with and eternal focus on the future with its promise of salvation…at some point…does have the appeal  that the indiscretions of today may be swept under the carpet, but in the process of ducking conscience we are also bound to be gripped with envious spoiling for those who are able to be in the moment where real life happens, where all bliss, joy, gratitude and celebration are to be found.

Much of the West’s ferocious subjugation of the ‘childlike’ third world has to do with this same improbable truth, that we envy them. Despite their poverty they seem to have something we do not, a living for today where the real riches of life are to be found. And so they are happy. For all our wealth and power in the West we are miserable. Our worrying about tomorrow means we cannot  enjoy our mountain of stuff  today because all enjoyment is Now.

I once asked an African man on a dusty savannah roadside in tropical heat when the bus he was waiting for would arrive. ‘Today”, he answered contentedly.  By contrast and half a world away, commuters on Stuttgart railway station platform follow the digital clock ticking over, . At the exact same moment they all look in disappointed unison at their watches and turn to stare down the track as if they were practicing impatience for a show.

Our collective obsession with time and tommorow means that the aliveness gets sucked out of today.  We become chorus lines to celebrity others whose lives have somehow become more real than our own. The togetherness, the gratitude for simply being alive can’t be entered into and like the uninvited guest, ‘Now’ turns cold, vengeful and wooden.

”Unlived life will not sit idly on the shelf, it will turn round and bite you.” M.L. von Franz.

If a sense of Self that transcends self-interest can’t be embodied it will be projected. The recipients will invariably be the next generation who are as yet untutored in guilt, whose feeling of belonging has yet to be eroded, who have yet to know alienation.

and who are handy…

The child..

‘will arouse certain longings in the adult. . . longings which relate
to the unfulfilled desires and needs of those parts of the personality
which have been blotted out. . .’ C. G. Jung.

Whilst we idealise, cosset and run around endlessly with compensatory gestures of slavish devotion,  so too do we silently envy and spoil. The secret bit about narcissistic brats is that they were made that way by parents who first loaded them down with not only their own unfulfilled expectations but with all the potentialities in today that we can’t shoulder for the sake of insuring ourselves against tommorow.

The horror of growing old and dying without first having properly lived is all too much and become split in our affections.

I will pat you on the head whilst I poison your earth.

My father personally favoured random electrocution as a means to express his envious grievance at my blossoming youth. Bare mains wires ran down the walls both inside and outside my room. They would set window frames and brickwork alive, especially when it rained. You might say that most parents are not so pathological and yet the quest for more than you need means you have to go out and take it off someone else, perpetual warmongering for which youth in their millions are most necessary.

I once spent three days as part of a tiny force of  green berets sitting under a tree waiting for the go ahead to take on 300 defected enemy soldiers who’d changed their mind and taken their new commander hostage as a prelude to melting back into the bush with shiny new G3 semi automatics. We all knew it was a suicide mission should the order finally came through, but the predominant feeling amongst us was one of quiet acceptance, the calm of sacrificial beasts under a stone knife, as though fulfilling some preordained narrative.

Saturn is eating his children.

Behind closed doors it’s usually less flamboyant than electrified bedrooms or going to live in a war zone but after three decades of being a psychotherapist I have to say that everyone who ever came to see me had the same issue. Their true self had been attacked and their destinies subverted by someone they were entitled to trust.

Which is why having more than you need is a form of poison. Its not just greedy. It’s a blow aimed at those who would be better stewards of this earth than ourselves, our children.

this article contains excerpts from my new book ‘Abundant Delicious.. on attaining your heart’s desire’. http://andywhiteblog.com/2016/06/11/abundant-delicio…ot-off-the-press/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom and The Fates.

It’s said that the Moirai, the Three Fates of ancient time who determined both a person’s quality and span of life, had but a single eye between them. They squabbled over which should have it, the two blind ones eternally conspiring against the sighted third. In the form of millenial sisters, State, Church and Capitol, this bitchy pattern spills over into mortal affairs.

When Capitol and State team up against Church, Fascism will have a dark spiritual underbelly, religious bigotry.

When Church and Capitol collude without State, then you’ll have Empires without respect for Sovreignty.

When State and Church get chummy, then Jihads of Aquisition brew. Despite oneself,  the ‘must haves’ of life assume an almost mystical quality. Spirit and Stuff get mangled in the deification of the dollar. Consumption, like prayer, becomes an end in itself.

According to which sisters are pally at any given time, people get to be controlled in a particular way. Capitol/State favour  Big Stick. Capitol/Church use Guilt. State/Church prefer Propaganda.

Sometimes allegiances can change over night when The Girls are in a bad mood. But on one thing they agree. Democracy is rule by the Great Unwashed.

In 1921 influential American thinker W. Lipman coined the phrase, ‘the Manufacure of Consent’, a necessary technique for controlling the democratic electorate since,

”the general concerns of all people elude the public.’ W Lipman

People don’t know what is good for them. Their fates are too random.

Then came Bernay’s, Freud’s nephew, head of US post-war, ‘Dept of Public Relations’,

”I decided that if you can use propaganda for war you can certainly use it for peace. But propaganda got to be a bad word because the Germans were using it so what I did was to find some different words.” Bernays.

and so began the truly organised perception of Reality as commodity-to-the-highest-bidder. Bernays was instrumental in the US media portrayal of Guatamala as a nest of Russians in 1954, sufficient to overthrow democratically elected Arbenz.

The Russians did not even have diplomatic relations with Guatamala at the time. So how do you so pull the wool over people’s eyes like that?

Bernays was using the four principles of Lipman’s Manufacture of Consent. These four principles are also the weak spot in the Single System system. They show how its possible to bring the cyclops down.  And its not by force of arms. No monster makes rules of engagement and strategy unless it also has vulnerability. We may find its weakness in the rules that it makes.

One, Create Fear

Up until the collapse of the Russian federation it was ‘The Reds.” After 1990 it quickly became Islam, once…

”threats to our interests… and the serious problems we face, can no longer be laid at the Kremlin’s door” N. Chompsky

Recognising attempts to frighten you for what they are takes courage in any situation. The deliberate manufacture of fear is more scary than the fear of some random and arbitrary event because it involves betrayal. Someone you trusted is trying to make you feel bad and so its tough to point to its efforts.

Two, fuel a Two-Paradigm Debate.

So, find common ground. The  greatest wish of our lords and masters is to see us get embroiled in arguments about race and religion. Divide and rule. Corporate power feeds from it and rears up to its most unrestrained during times of martial law. Wasting spit on partisan divisiveness is playing the game. .

“We should be cautious about putting too much faith or fear into elected officials, we have to create it ourselves.”  E. Snowden.

Three, Create a Diversion.

Bread and Circuses for the people. Selotaste and plastoslurp. And for as long as you’ll settle for life’s consolation the Fates have you by the short and curlies will fFill you with entitlements, couch you on routes of least resistance.

If life can’t be easier then at least say that it should be and let a silent grudge be formed, an invisible resentment that life should be other, if only it weren’t for the Other, fueled by framing it as payback, maleable into a force of oppression overnight.

”the devil doesn’t come with a red cape and pointy horns, but as everything you ever wanted.” T. Max.

What the Media does best is never stated out loud. It’s implied, its the thread that joins all the sensational stories and the fear mongering. You should have it better. You poor thing. Your inheritance has been stolen. And while you are learning to grind your axe and mutter under your breath, you don’t notice that burglars are making off with your stuff there and then, nor that you are shackled to your grindstone.

The invitation to regress, to be babied, to have no more demanded of us than the cosy simple values of wanting dens cached with chocolate, makes for citizens that are entirely controllable.

‘Christian children all must be, mild obediant good as He.’ C. F. Alexander

And that means you,

but its okay,

especially if you can be eternally rewarded, not just with one product or another but anything in the name of your narcissistic entitlement. Something that when you stick it in your belt says, ‘I’m big.’

No lonely desert wandering, no shitty soul searching, no struggle to find words or slice yourself on the edges of critical thought.

And if you can be fed the idea that you are a poor misbegotten child into the bargain then so much the better…

except that you might have a shotgun under your coat.

The need to be given everlasting priviledge and be treated as special can undermine even the smartest person. This is because being seduced into believing in your own rightness is so tempting that if you have to forgo a healthy adaptation to reality in the process, waa’l… so be it.

I once made a clinical appointment with a highly qualified man for the following week. He said he would call on the day to confirm, as if offended at having to be pinned down to a particular time.

He neither rang nor showed up. I waited a day and then said something. His infallibility was so strong that he was finally compelled to assert, despite his intelligence, that he still intended to confirm the appointment which had not only passed but whose existence he now also denied.

When I said, like a terrible witholding mother, ‘you can’t have both confirmation and denial’, he fled.

Four, Keep Telling The Lie.

People will suck in all kinds of shit without any discrimination, so long as it is the same old shit. We do it to keep our worlds from turning too much, from having to be re-invented by what we come to realise. We collude with the Lie, bend ourselves out of shape to believe it.

I recall at about fourteen hanging out in a gang of white supremacist lads who suddenly realised that the ‘kaffir-boy’, the black servant in the house, spoke five languages. The confusion as to how this was possible was clearly visceral, they were contorting themselves with ad hoc explanations and rationalisation. For me, it was simple. He was smarter than us. Yes, a moment of clarity, but I suddenly felt very lonely and had to leave.

”Assimilating a new sort of fact demands a more than additive adjustment of theory, and until the adjustment is completed- until you have learned to see nature in a different way- the new fact is not quite a fact at all.” Thomas Kuhn.

And so what is truth and what is a lie become confused if it means making a paradigm shift in order to come to a conclusion.

So we believe the lie…

but pay for it by having to lurch collectively from crisis to crisis in order to make it through the day, like an addictive, accident prone histrionic, twisting to the twine of the Fates. The policy of, ‘never let a crisis go to waste’, means that our fingers must always be in Someone Else’s Pie. Always take at least one side and preferably both. Never be the moderator. Never be the voice of reason. It won’t pay the bills or fill the holy coffers. Be free, under Our control.

Rape Culture.

I was raised a White Supremacist in Africa. I didn’t know that’s what I was when I was little. We simply lived apart from everyone else because we were better than them. Daddy carried shiny guns. Once, when I was eight, I met the children from the mud and corrugated compound nearby. I saw them from the tower window playing in our tennis court and went fuming down, the breaking of bounds half justified by my indignation. How dare they!

The boys were taking turns at rolling around inside old car tyres, all laughter and joy. A clear faced child of six, beaming and bright despite her rags, came towards me holding out something for me to see, her treasure. In her hand was a matchbox and inside that was a penny, protected in cotton wool. Her eyes sparkled, she was rich.

Troubled, I ran home.

A few days later, emboldened by this foray, I went all the way to the bottom of the garden and climbed the fence. Beyond was endless virgin savannah, amazing rocky outcrops, thorn trees and yellow grasses stretching infinitely to the horizon. I walked into the singing wilderness, half dazed with it’s immensity until I lost sight of the house.  I found a great termite mound, as big as a dinosaur. It was awesome.

Then, as I walked around this ancient beast, I saw in horrified amazement that some contractor had dug a trench straight through the middle of it, cutting it in half and killing it. I jumped down into the deep ditch and walked softly into the heart of the Great Mound, deeper and deeper into its Earth until even the African sun grew dim.

In the cool dark ground I found its beautiful central halls, its endless myriad passageways, its intricate chambers. It was a creature so ancient that it was made of Earth and I wept for its destruction. And then I realised that the reason we lived in such a big house and carried guns was because we pumped up white folks did this kind of thing.

What I was to discover was that we also did it to one another. Wanton humiliation and violation of one another were institutionalised in boarding schools like the one I was imminently about to be sent to. The masters carried semi-automatics and birchrods. Ritualised sexual shaming was part and parcel of the culture where boys were given the utmost power to threaten one another’s ontological security.

The masters felt that the only way to contain such collective feelings of being above the law, fostered and nurtured by themselves, was for these special boys to be debased on a regular, on-going and arbitrary basis. So they turned a blind eye to sexual violence because it was good for us. It was a kind of lottery for keeping folk in line with the Gulag understanding of, ‘you today, me tomorrow.’

The Dice fell against me one day. Twenty boys poured into my dorm, shouting and jeering, grabbing and pulling, yanking and tearing, making me strip and forcing me do whatever perverse thing they could dream up whilst they cheered and stamped and chanted.

And it had all been done to them. And would be again. It was normal. It had to be normal in order to equip them with a thick enough hide to strip the planet and its indigenous cultures of its value once they’d been spat out and fast tracked to positions of power in the world.

The end game of  Narcisisstic Sexuality is to wrestle the other’s humanity away from them. It’s done to strengthen inner defences against feelings of incipient, lurking inferiority and self-doubt. It takes the form of compulsively repeated denigration of others, best and most comprehensively expressed as sexual acts of contempt or humiliation.

Failing internal cohesion in the Narcissist is forestalled from disaster by appropriation of the other’s integrity. Its not such an alien concept. The Massai once hunted lion and ate their hearts to give them the strength of lions. Modern day spearing of others is done for the same reason, to magically fill oneself up with someone else’s manna.

You were supposed to be grateful and thank them for it afterwards, relinquishing your true self to the Hive forever in the process. It was about more than submission. It was about colluding with the utter loss of your humanity so that you were primed to do the same to others in a compulsively repeated enactment set to roll through centuries.

But I was saved…

strangely saved, by the Anthill I’d wept for years before as a young boy.

While they tried to extract my treasure, I somehow found myself magically returned to the Great Mound, was once more enfolded in its cool, secret chambers, its hidden protective halls, still and dry in the embrace of dark earth while the hounds snarled, unable to get in from above. It was not dead, after all. And nor would I be.

Rape culture is of more than the vulnerable or the unlucky. The West’s plunder of the third world and of Nature is a commercial form of rape culture. The more obvious motives of greed and aggression get the limelight because we normally stop at moral outrage and something having to be done. We fall short of imagining our need to demean entire nations, harvesting not only their material resources, but their stories, their gods, their connection to the ancestors, their pride and dignity.

Failed nations are named and shamed without reference to the context of that failure which is invariably white supremacist incursion and the sponsorship of internicene conflict. They are shamed in the same way rape victims are shamed. What were you wearing? What were you doing in the path of danger?

Rape culture is not about sex. Its about Supremacy. Its about the need to depersonalise, to demean, to siphon off a person’s qualities like stock, to enviously attack that which is not-me, to accrue that other’s humanity to oneself, which is why being around Narcissism for any length of time is draining and leaves you feeling in need of a hot bath.

Yet there’s something so compelling and charismatic about the suave demagogue, the self confessed pussy grabbers of this world. And what is that? They let us take the route of least resistance. We too can be pussy grabbers, have power over others, take a regressive holiday from our own suffering humanity,  and become perpertrators for a day. Someone to be reckoned with after all, tolerant now of the humiliations meted out from above, by meting them out on those below.

Much of the election aftermath has been about ‘angry voters marginalised by Washington elite” voicing their disatissfaction at being ”forgotten and ignored”.

I  see the proliferation of Rape Culture,…

I see the narcissistic end game of  ‘take what you can, give nothing back’, better suited to pirates and thieves than the land of the free.

”You should have more… and better, whatever you want..”

My mate Boz sports a T-shirt that says, ”Eat the Rich”. I pointed out that to 90% 0f the world he was ‘The Rich’. ”What will you do”, I asked, ”when they come banging on your door with their begging bowls?”

kick their frikkin’ heads in…

yep, that’s what I figgered.

 

 

Narcissism, Compulsion and the Soul.

There were once two psychiatrists. The one invites the other for dinner. The guest arrives, asks to use the bathroom and disappears for an hour. Eventually he emerges with a knowing look.

”You have a serious obsessive compulsion,’ he says to his collegue, ”there are 542 bars of soap in your bathroom. I know, I counted every last one.”

Of course psychological conditions are bound to overlap but Narcissism and OCD seem to have a special relationship.

Why?

I was watching a Ted Talk, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘ Eat, Pray, Love’. She made the point that people who became very successful had a tendency to go mad and top themselves because they confuse themselves with the ‘Genius Loci’ who served as their muse.

The solution, she said, is to remember that ‘genius’, is its own thing. Not-me.

Very Interesting, but what is your point?

The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves. ~Carl Jung.

Narcissism notoriously lives out only one corner of (an idealised) life. Both the dark Brother, the less than salubrious aspects of himself, and the unlived potential, The Self, have to be projected…

and then come banging at the castle gates again and again.

And because the contents projected are always the same…

the banging is also the same…

and so interpersonal scenarios are endlessly repeated..

as are ritualised patterns of behaviour behind closed doors.

We live in a time of relative spiritual malaise. We also live in a time of marked obsessiveness and compulsive behaviour.

Could there be a connection?

Its curious that the definition and symptoms listed by DSM5 for a diagnosis of OCD (which includes praying!) sound distinctly like the ritual contents of religious ceremony. These include,

”repetitive behaviours, according to rules that must be rigidly applied.”DSM5

like a church service….

Precisely. Sacramental acts are also, ‘aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dread event.’

What’s the connection with Narcissism?

Waaal, Narcissism is particularily prone to OCD not just because the dark brother is eternally projected, but because the ego is identified with the Self. This means that there is no real spiritual life.

I don’t get it.

Spiritual life necessitates a relationship with God..

yeees…

but if you are identified with God then there is no relationship. Instead of having a religion, the religion has you…

By the scruff…

And marches its children off to war….

or down to the supermarket for a dozen bottles of bleach and a pack of toothbrushes so you can purify the pelmets of your appartment at 4 in the morning…

or out in the rain to buy cigarretes while every bone in your body is screaming, ‘DON’T DO IT!!’.

or muttering shameful babble to appease the fates whilst not realising that the person next to you on the bus is lookin’ at you strangely…

or washing endlessly in lieu of a genuine cleansing.

”It is not a matter of indifference if one calls something a ‘mania’ or a ‘god’. To serve a mania is detestable and undignified. But to serve a god is full of meaning and promise.” CG Jung

Narcissism won’t share, has no story, nothing to be a part off…

because there is no relatedness or participation in that which transcends it.

And for the want of partness in the greater whole we have compulsive patterning instead.

Like a stuck gramaphone record doing the same thing over and over. Round and round. Instead of meaningful sacrament we have chaotic excrement.

Instead of being drawn we are driven.

The fantasy that we are the captains of our own ships beckons the raven’s claw.

”Whoever sets himself up as judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.” A Einstein.

For want of having a story to belong in we are caught eternally on the same page.

And more than that, for want of the Principle of Relatedness that gifts us with both belonging and the internal flexibility of a conversation between I and me, we are robbed not just of meaningful context but of our own humanity..

which is perhaps why the DSM5 definition of OCD uses the language of automation, describing the phenomenon as ‘the brain’s junk mail.” Though it significantly acknowledges that OCD is responsible for, ”communication errors among different parts of the brain.” Ie. there’s a problem with internal dialogue.

meaning…?

That without the capacity for self-reflection we are driven along like leaves in the wind.

The legacy of Western Civilisation is effectively the deification of consciousness. Having cast out the divine feminine, the principle that mediates between Logos and ego, the two are bound to get confused…

like when you don’t have a soap dish and so you leave the soap in the bath and it gets all mushy and your mum yells at you?

Exactly, ego gets ‘god-almighty’, which is all very well for a bit…

until the mush begins..

and soon starts behaving as though there were no limits and as if nothing mattered save itself.

The psyche responds with a big fat neurosis to bring about some sense of proportion in lieu of actual awareness. Instead of the cleansing renewal he was hoping for the bath room hero finds himself compulsively feeling about the teensy yet glorified space into which he’s soaped himself.

…pretty sure he’s in there somewhere.

On Being Enviously Attacked.

I dreamt I was fighting my brother. Back and forth we went. Evetually I pushed him back and said, ‘Dave, do you know why we’re fighting?’

He shook his head.

‘It’s because of all the cool stuff you have,” and I indicated the lavishly furnished place. Wood panelled walls, expensive carpets, fine art…

He looked puzzled. ‘I thought it was yours…’

We both thought the other got the goodies but actually they just weren’t there to begin with. We thought, oh, the other must have it, to keep alive the hope that the goody could actually be a real thing…

but it wasn’t…

which might come our way one day…

but it didn’t.

When mothering is diminished in value and in availability, siblings fight.

This is a rule.

We would rather kill each other rather than admit that what we were fighting over wasn’t available.

Which is all very well  except that it means being eternally consumed with envy.

You have to keep refloating the hope that one day the goody may become yours, perhaps by some mighty effort. Or at least, let you fuel the easier angry fantasy that some rival predatory suckling is secretly hoarding it all for himself.

We think of our inner world’s as being quite discrete and yet the context for my dream echoes back through the myth and legends of Western Culture. Romulus and Remus, Esau and Jacob, Cain and Abel, Gilgamesh and Enkidu.  All these stories have as their context the Divine Feminine being killed off by Her consort.

When a divine aspect of the whole is missing, every generation is bound to re-enect the consequences of it’s loss one way and another.

”What you cannot remember is condemned to be repeated….” Santayana

Kill the dark brother! For centuries the children of Single System systems have dealt with the divine split between Yahweh and Sophia/Wisdom by splitting themselves into good and bad just as we do when our personal parents become irreconcilable.

Its so deep in us that psychological theories are developed suggesting that such splitting is innate and that the resulting paranoia is just part of growing up.

”The ‘paranoid-schizoid position’ refers to a constellation of anxieties, defences and internal and external object relations that are characteristic of the earliest months of an infant’s life.” M Klien.

So we blame baby so as not to call culture into question..

But if there’s no divine faminine (typo left) to preside over the sanctification of birth and motherhood how can baby be anything but paranoid and split…?.

trying to make the best of it….

Where’s my promised land?

This is not what it said on the broshure..

The feeling that there is something awry, something that makes it all just a little bit too scary to go off and do my own thing means, maybe, I’ll just settle for being special instead…

…whilst being secretly consumed with envy for everything we now imagine to be in the sole possession of some greedy, predatory other; imbued with gnawing hunger and riteous indignation.

Good breast/bad breast are redacted from good Jeruselm/bad Babylon, a split in Humanity 5,000 years old, engendered by God’s need for a subordinate partner…

…and not simply because we are that way inkliened.

On Being God.

Roberto Assagioli, progenitor of Psychosynthesis, tells the story of a patient in the psychiatric wing where he worked in Ancona, who’d been admitted to hospital for the determined conviction that he was God. Apart from this he was entirely  well behaved, so much so that he had been entrusted with the keys to the medicine cabinet.

‘His only lapse in behaviour was the occasional appropriation of sugar to give pleasure to some of the older inmates.” R. Assagioli.

Assagioli makes the observation that the man’s problem was not pathological as such but constituted a confusion of levels, confusion between..

”the metaphysical and the empirical levels of reality, in religious terms, between God and the soul.” ibid

Thankfully the resulting inflation can be quite mundane…

I was playing my cigarbox guitar in the barn. It wouldn’t do what I wanted it to. It should be playing more easily. I was struggling with the music, feeling dissatisfied and frustrated with my instrument..

and I got a sore finger…

Then I realised I had become ‘better’ than my situation.. I was playing God and my morning was not coming up to scratch.

I got annoyed at my whining…..

and wondered just how many folk there were priviledged to be playing in their barn, if they had one, first thing on a Friday morning. People who’d never thought to play or who didn’t have the means. People without a barn, some private space, to get away from it all. Suddenly it was a glorious morning simply by being re-connecting to my situation, to the richness of the day, to the gratitude of being able to take time out, creating the time to create…

and my morning improved.

because I could tell myself off… and not be God.

The proper relationship between ego and Self has plagued Western Civilisation since its inception with a vast array of unfortunate and often mortal consequences..

”If an individual identifies with the [Self], a positive or negative inflation results. Positive inflation comes very near to a more or less conscious megalomania; negative inflation is felt as an annihilation of the ego. The two conditions may alternate.” C. G. Jung.

You tend to notice positive inflation more easily because its narcissistic, in your face and at the head of some cause..or army.  Negative inflation is less easy to spot but just as problematic in that ego and Self are still not in right relation.

for instance..

A man posts a facebook meme of himself playing the dulcimer. All well and good but he starts out with a rambling apology about technical hitches which of course the veiwer at their laptop has not in fact had to endure, though we are indeed now being put upon by this lengthy piece of unwarrented groveling.

So, then he plays the piece and it is truly amazing but when he’s done he shrugs and says, ‘that’s all I’ve got….’ enviously spoiling his performance.

and of course you want to rush up to him and take him in your arms and weep on his shoulder saying, ‘don’t be so silly dahling, you were wonderful, wonderful..’

”Paradoxically, overwhelming desire to please turns us into a walking power principle, by pleasing others we are better able to manipulate them, albeit unconsciously.” M. Woodman.

The heaping of reassurance on top of praise would be doubly insufficient because it is precisely human warmth and affection that erodes the defences of the Eternally Unworthy. So appreciation and gratitude cannot be allowed in.

though it is what he wants most….

… because that would be to acknowledge that he had some worth which immediately challenges the dominant paradigm…

So he’s as wooden headed and unavailable as his boasting brother. And way more numerous. Armies of Ever so ‘Umble.

Collectively, the ego-Self paradox expresses itself in our culture as Christology, the debate about Jesus relationship with ‘the Father’, which seems a bit technical until you consider that there’s something sufficiently significant in the issue for people to kill one another over it in Uncountable Heaps through the Ages.

When the Council of Nicaea met in 325 AD, to agree on the books that you could read without being killed for it, they actually spent most of their time arguing about the relationship of the Self and the ego. Gnostic Arius said that if the son was begotten of the father he came from nothing and only after a while, so… he can’t be Eternal. Orthodox Nicholas of Myra said they were One and the Same and punched Arius in the head to prove it.

At the Synod of Tyre, ten years later, Arius was exonerated and no longer going to be killed if we find you out on a dark night, but only because Constantius II was about to take the Roman throne and liked him. After Constantius died, suddenly, Arius was again anathematised, cursed with looks of death and the waving of pointy sticks at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD, despite the fact that he’d meantime expired in a pool of his own diarrhoea…

under suspicious and bloody circumstances.

poisoned with something that caused him to pass his own spleen…

behind the shambles in the collonade..

Socrates Scholasticus, a bitter rival of Arius who just happened to be strolling by at the time with stylus and clay tablet poised to record his terrible demise, claimed it was an act of God, which of course didn’t mean that he hadn’t been a part of said Divine Plan.

In Single System systems, some confusion arises in the ego’s relationship with the Self, giving rise to murderous Paranoid Anxiety.

Some, because they think they are the right hand of God..

Others, who just want to Help and Are Sorry for any Inconvenience…

Unfortunately, Arius’ veiw that the ego is derivative and subordinate to the Self did not prevail. It was a missed opportunity for ego differentiation. Total identification between the Father and the Son was decreed the order of the day, codified in the Nicene Creed and emperor Constantine, whose forbears were only too used to identifying with the Gods, made saying otherwise hazardous to your health.

And so emerged a regressed Homo Contritiens, a species of humanity characterised by being eternally repentant whilst regretfully hoovering up everyone else’s stuff and then, apologetically and sheepishly, bombing detractors in the name of God to dislodge the eroneous belief that we do anything but come in peace.

”All the wars in this world are not fought over money or material things. They are all fought over belief, more specifically, the primacy of one man’s belief over another man’s.” Golding in Lucky Man.

If you lose you are a martyr to the cause. If you win you are doing God’s will. What could possibly go wrong?

I was trying to locate an old Commando aquaintance of mine and found a gravestone inscribed, ”killed in an ambush.” Its not the same as ‘killed in action’ is it? It implies he was somehow killed unfairly…

because the lowly and coniving enemy pounced on him from behind a rock…

or because he had his fingers crossed at the time..

So there’s no equality, even in death.

which might seem preferable to the isolation and comfortlessness of being God.

For those who feel they have arrived there is only death, as all the blooming of Nature shows us.

Going Mad to Stay Sane. Reprint.

Self destructiveness can be a spring board for a soulful life like no other if we can realise the meaning in the message, if we refrain from putting a lid on it with medication or inveterate ‘fixing’.

The book tells the story of King Midas from Greek mythology who wished that everything he touched be turned to gold. He only realises what a curse he’s bought on himself when he embraces his daughter…..

It also tells the backstory, what kind of parents he had and what the family dynamics were that could foster such a terrible desire. How does he live? How does Midas resolve his issues? How does he now approach Dionysus who granted him his hideous wish.

The story uses  allegory to reveal how we grow through adversity and foolishness. It looks at the deeper significance of self-destructiveness, as a symbol of something meaningful that can be transformative.

The book has a new preface by Dr Dale Mathers who is a Jungian analyst with his own new book on the shelf, ‘Alchemy and Psychotherapy’.

Enjoy the book and find new ways to make sense of old patterns.

Books are signed and cost £12 plus p+p.












The One Ring.

The genius of Tolkein was not simply that he told a ripping story but that he managed to tap into a rich vein of collective meaning for our time.

A divided, dangerous world in which Power has momentarily eclipsed Love….

Even our spiritual journey can wind up being about ‘gaining’, possessing, wanting the knowledge, rather than the humble journey to return that which is not ours to wield and to make our peace with mystery.

The inheritance of Western Civilisation is an anthology of inflation. We are collectively narcissistic. We crave power and wealth. More than that our society identifies with its God to such an extent that we can impose our freedom on others at the point of a gun without contradiction and subjugate them for their own good.

Doin’ them a favour, innit?

Well, they carn’t govern their frikkin selves, hey?

Moreover we oppress the inner voice of soul because it will not come to heel and refuses to be relegated to the status of an artifact.

And so our aloneness is complete.

The other is ‘nothing but’…

“All modern people feel alone in the world of the psyche because they assume that there is nothing there that they have not made up. This is the very best demonstration of our God-almighty-ness, which simply comes from the fact that we think we have invented everything – that nothing would be done if we did not do it; for that is our basic idea and it is an extraordinary assumption.” CG Jung.

I knew someone who had a terrible rash on her chest and neck that looked like a great burn mark. She scratched at the torment of it endlessly. By and by she spoke of a dragon she dreamt of over and again, some ‘part of her’ she had to ’embrace’. My comment was that trying to integrate a dragon that actually had its own life in the depth of her Psyche would likely result in all kinds of rashes and burns.

Her task was not to ‘integrate’ but to say hello from a safe distance.

The rash improved and she got more humble.

an’ had an inna other….

When a person imagines that the psyche is whatever they know of it and that the Unconscious is ‘nothing but’, then narcissistic strutting and all kinds of symptoms are not far away.

And for as long as the Ring is fought over, for as long as the Unconscious is something we just want to own like jewelery, then love and relatedness suffer. The artery through which love flows will be constricted and the streams of Psyche’s internal dialogue will become clogged.

Despite such cholesterol of the soul we think of ourselves as evolved….

….on the basis that evolution is somehow linear. And so..

we must be the finest and best.

job done.

Darwin and Freud had this in common, they both told Victorian society exactly what it wanted to hear. Not only are people not responsible for messing up their kids, our very existence/survival is proof positive of the right to dominate and exploit.

The price we pay for this delusion is a narrowing of our capacity for relatedness. Either I wear the ring and am narcissistically identified with ‘the power’ and thus pre-occupied and unavailable, or you wear the ring and I become your thrall, romantically enslaved to the other.

This bastardisation of the Principle of Relatedness is very different from the subtle nuances of human affection known, for example, to the ancient Greeks who differentiated almost as many different types of love as the Eskimos have words for snow. Ludus, philia, agape, eros, pragma, philautia…

In our time the predominant models of romantic love and narcissistic love seem to culminate in the culture of ‘Bling’, where persons are both idealised as demi gods and then worshipped from afar. They, ‘have it all’, whilst our preoccupation with what is essentially a projection leaves us depleted and feeling worthless by comparison.

Imagine the folk of ancient times trying to grasp our fascination with bards and mummers!

The Ring and its relationship with Mt Doom is a mystery. Returning it as bearer rather than as owner is a real piece of psychological maturity.  Mainly, Western Civilisation has been about the revelation of mystery, uncovering it for all to see. The last book of the Bible even goes by that name as if to give additional emphasis to its contents. Its not enough to serve a higher principle. Above all we want to know and be shown.

We cannot know.

”Unpalatable as it may be… the idea of mystery forces itself on the mind of the enquirer, not as a cloak for ignorance, but as an admission of.. the inability to translate what s/he knows into the speech of the intellect” CG Jung.

But, we may press on to where Nature refuses to be surmounted by our own efforts.