This week's posts delve into the world of psychology, as inspired by David Cronenberg's film, 'A Dangerous Method.'
The movie, set largely in 1904, deals exclusively with the factual relationship between notorious psychoanalysts, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung, whose lives intersected and ultimately diverged because of Carl's first patient, Sabina Spielrein, who later became both his student and colleague. And although the film takes some liberties in presupposing that Jung and Sabina were lovers, there exists little factual evidence to corroborate such entanglements save for her personal diaries, with one such excerpt from 1912 stating, 'No ashes, no coal can burn with such a glow as a secretive love of which no one must know'... Regardless if Sabina and Carl's romance was ever consummated, little doubt remains that their relationship possessed a unique emotional intimacy, perhaps verging on co-dependency which not only fueled their personal dynamic, but proved to be an intoxicating catalyst for what would soon become the synthesis of the ground breaking Freudian and Jungian legacies.
Interestingly enough, little has been researched about Sabina apart from her notorious institutionalization at the age of nineteen, along with her allegedly scandalous affair with Jung, when in fact, she was also the very first woman to write a psychoanalytic dissertation, leaving an indelible contribution in the medical field regarding her own progressive theories on the human psyche. Perhaps the fact that she had been treated for psychosis at a young age undermined and undervalued her work in the opinion of others, or maybe it was partially a result of being female in a male dominated society, nevertheless, she was more than her past, she offered the world a great many things. A famous Jung quote is, 'Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.' No doubt they had their demons, as do we all...
Sigmund Freud enters the story by request of Jung, who felt he could benefit from outside assistance in the treatment of Sabina. Freud had an entirely different method of psychoanalysis which many of us know to be the ego, ID, regression, and sexuality, theories which, however controversial, cannot be refuted. While I personally don't believe his ideas encapsulate the full spectrum of our behaviors, his approach was deeply rooted in the body in a truly grounding and primitive way, and as such, we discover who we were, which results in who we are, yet it leaves the question of who we are to become... This is perhaps why I feel more of an affinity toward the Jungian approach which correlates the psyche as responding to the largely interpretive forum of dream work, myth, and philosophy, ultimately shifting one's awareness by means of a more spiritual, existential approach. I do, however, feel both practices are needed, as are ever more, to further enrich our state of being and we must be willing to accept controversy, however uncomfortable, as it assists us in breaking barriers both personally and culturally, awakening us to our own prejudices and ignorance. Unfeeling is thinking and thought predisposes us in the judgement of others because we're usually last to truly 'see' ourselves, it's much simpler to point the finger and identify things externally.
We're living in such a goal oriented society driven by external success, whereby intellectual growth has become our main point of reason, a delusion by which our society has created a subversive web of, 'mind over matter,' which essentially equates denying and denigrating our inner voice, or think your way out of a feeling. It is as if we've permitted cognitive thought to subjugate our emotional intelligence.
In a very simplistic view, I believe we are formed of three basic energies which produce a synergistic effect. The first being our 'shadowy, dark, primitive self.' The second being our, 'light, esoteric, spiritual self.' And the third, what I think we primarily consist of while living out our human existence, is that indefinable middle ground whereby our dualities meet and integrate (if we embrace the two, allowing them to co-exist), whereupon we form a fully unified other energy source to draw upon, an actualization of our potential by way of our encumbrances, into a personal evolution. Light and dark, good and evil, are never so wholly alone or set apart, and I feel it is our responsibility as evolving beings to amalgamate all aspects of our spirit so as to become more empathetic, compassionate people. Our stories may be vastly different, nevertheless, our components are more similar than dissimilar. Through introspection we're not just gaining awareness, but a whole other mode of emotional and intuitive intelligence, whereby we learn not only to look but to see, not just hear but listen, and not just know but understand.
I'm just a girl who's learning as I go along. I haven't earned a single degree or attained any accolades on which to rest my beliefs and assumptions, all I know is how to speak from my heart. Each heart harbors its own truth and we must honor its integrity. I've experienced, as I'm sure I'll continue to experience, hardships as well as blessings, however, through our challenges and disappointments we are bestowed the wisdom of vulnerability, by which we suddenly become receptive enough to allow for transformation and growth, and therein lies our grace. It is said that we create the world around us, yet we can only successfully attempt that once we have the courage to look within and not only discover the hidden aspects of our being, but our true essence, and utilize that depth of feeling and knowledge to create ourselves anew... After all, it was a beautiful soul named Mahatma Gandhi, who so eloquently stated,
'Be the change you wish to see in the world.'