Monday, September 24, 2018

psychological concepts and the understanding of self

Self is created through thinking and self reflection, a quality humans have developed. Being a construct of mind, the self is fragile and can be at times easily manipulated. To try and break free of this manipulation causes self to turn on self. There's no way around facing this gun fight at high noon.

The mind heads for judgment as its first course of action. The social app Facebook is pernicious in this regard because immediately you have to make judgment decisions on what is presented to you as you scroll through the posts. Humans crave acceptance from others so psychologically you present a snapshot of your life, thoughts, beliefs, or interests and then you wait to see if it gains approval from others who hold this power over you. It's a strange gambit but it could pay off in rewards. If you accumulate likes and followers then you achieve to a degree fame. Then you build off that fame with your ego temporarily feeling satisfaction in achieving this notoriety. Social media is a bit of a catch 22 in that it is a great way to stay connected and a big part of life is connecting with others. The way past this judgment is positivity and to like and encourage.

I am desire, I am Love, I am my feelings, passions, dislikes, and likes based on awareness. Psychologically it is called the Id. My sense of self, identity, and the suppression and control of my base needs and desires is mediated through Ego. Ego is formed by an interaction with others and culture who want you to fit into society's box. From this develops the Superego which judges, rewards, punishes, and controls the ego like a puppet. And it can be malicious. The ego is kept in line via shame and rewards meanwhile the id is buried, though feelings always surface. The feedback loop between ego and superego suppresses the id. I was confused all my life because I thought my impulses were causing havoc but here's the thing: I was trying to break free of the puppet master by getting rid of my ego so when I did that the superego just made the goal of a higher self the next egoic achievement. You see this outcome in many others. They want to become ultra spiritual but it is still just the ego now moved up to a higher place. I wanted to get one up on everyone and I was going to do it by becoming enlightened! The Goddess at one point had told me there are many layers to the deception and when I did the whole spiritual trip in the end she just laughed at me and said it is all about Love. Nothing else matters. So conceptually shedding the ego and superego reveals who you are, pure conscious awareness, as far as I can tell. There's no higher self and no lower self. Just me, warts and all. I want pleasure, I want Love, I'll act and react when challenged. I will accept.

So what about this id? Psychological concepts were a product of the 19th and 20th centuries but there is a treasure trove of deep work into the psyche that we now call mythology and largely dismiss. The masters we have voluminous records of were the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Hindus. All great societies of the past we can learn from and a great overview of this can be gleaned from Joseph Campbell's book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

I will touch on one of these great gods of the past which has been calling to me and that I have done some work on over the past little while. It comes from a question of what gives the energetic wave that enlivens us the impetus to rise, fall, and repeat? It is desire. The feminine encapsulates desire and the masculine is enlivened to come forth through want. Within the masculine is a transformer that absorbs this power and lights up desire. The ancient Greeks called him Dionysos.

The ever coming one of indestructible life. He appears, and then goes away to eventually return again. In our modern culture he has been reduced to the Greek god of wine and licentious behaviour. Fair enough I suppose because he epitomizes the lust for life. Dionysos is the elixir that powers up and makes the world go round and round. He is our base desires; the id.

Dionysos is born under the cover of darkness, forever coming forth after being torn apart; this alluding to patriarchal societies that are always suppressing Dionysos. Greek reason rose on the back of Apollo after the influence of Dionysos was repressed. The major Greek mysteries conducted at Eleusis and Delphi both contained elements of the mystery of Dionysos. In Roman society, Dionysos was allowed out once a year during the Bacchanalia as the people shed their pent up frustrations and inhibitions. Dionysos ultimately represents a return to the left hand path of the feminine. To sensuality. To transgressing society's morals and repression. He appears androgynous, he cross dresses, he encourages drink and drugs, and flaunts his sex appeal. If you want to find him in modern times look towards good old rock 'n roll. Watch this performance by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and you'll get the idea. Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll baby! is this guy. It symbolizes a society out of control, freeing itself of the shackles of good taste and modesty, and perhaps that what we need before we destroy ourselves. Our world is a locked down patriarchy, dominated by the rigours of science and reason which exacerbate our destructive tendencies in a quest to control everything instead of letting things be, enjoying ourselves, and loving one another. It's this orgy of Love Dionysos ever returns to remind us of because he's indestructible. Until given his proper place and an equality with Apollo in order to find that critical balance, the outburst of Dionysian lust will forever trouble and harangue Apollo and the edifice he has built.

The cross dressing, transgendered, and somewhat effeminate Dionysos is needed in order to bring balance into the masculine sphere. It's a reminder to embrace the feminine into our life to counteract the rigid and destructive side of Apollo. In Pre-Columbian South America mesa rituals there were a class of Andean shamans called quariwarmi who ritually cross dressed in order to mediate the feminine and masculine to a wholeness and balance in the centre. It is a concept called in the Quechua language tinkuy and it is what the quariwarmi shamans were trying to achieve. Tinkuy is the joining together of complementary opposites through ritual mediation. It's all about bringing everything into the centre, the in between space, to find balance. This place was called the 'chaupi' and the central axis in this common territory was called the 'chhimi' which means the heart. These were societies that still retained an innocence, a respect for the feminine, and valued a holistic way of life. They remained largely untouched by the purview of hyper masculinity until the Spanish arrived. In Ancient Greece the collapse of the Bronze Age spelt the beginning of the end for the ideal of balance. Apollo slew the dragon and took over the oracle at Delphi, and the Hellenistic world that came out of this usurpation is a bedrock our western civilization rests on. At the same time the matriarchal Cretan society vanished and Greece transformed itself into a bastion of reason and logic epitomized by Apollo. They tried to retain a balance, but ultimately as their treatment of women showed, it failed.

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