Why has it been years since my last entry? As so often with our actions, or lack thereof, motivations are not always easily brought to the forefront, often buried beneath rationalization and explanations.
To some extent I experienced and saw in others the effects of a not insignificant over-stimulation triggered by the daily bombardment of words and images accelerated by the increase of social media. A digital whirlwind blowing us away. What could in proper measure inspire and connect became an instrument of confusion and destabilization. Too many images, too many words, too many opinions, each one claiming a sense of righteousness
Why contribute to the clutter?
We don’t know what to take in any longer in our era of fabricated facts, fake news and deliberate manipulation in the service of some clever marketing scheme.
Our inner landscape often does not provide much help either. Our fragmented selves, each part with their own “voice” pull us in different directions. The outer and at times inner voices as well have become a shrieking and painful cacophony. Where is the center? Where is the orient?
Pieter Bruegel, the Elder ~ The Tower of Babel (1563)
So much noise, so little listening, so little worthwhile to hear. Uncertain times.
Why bother writing?
A few months before the catastrophe of World War I began in 1914 Jung looks “into the depths of what is to come” and describes his vision of “the enormous dying and the sea of blood”…..A darkness seized the world, the terrible war arose…And so we had to taste hell. (Red Book, p.274)
Civil War victims in Syria ~ People and children massacred in Ghouta by chemical attack, 2013 (Wikipedia)
Jung continues: “I saw which vices the virtues of this time changed into, how your mildness became hard, your goodness became brutality, your love became hate, and your understanding became madness. Why did you want to comprehend the darkness! But you had to or else it would have seized you. Happy the man who anticipates this grasp….You are completely alone in this struggle, since your Gods have become deaf.”
The felt appreciation of how much life needs death is one of the cornerstones of Jungian thought. Death, not as an abstract concept but as a deeply felt reality expressed as empathy for the other, in all its manifestations, human, animals and other life forms. Gaia herself. And eventually also, we may open up to our own suffering as irrelevant and small, so our heads want to tell us, it may appear compared to the attacks we inflict and witness on the screens that have become our reality-shaping tools.
I began to wonder if I had answered my question of why not writing for so long. Probably, to some extent. But one answer is never the full picture. Easy to forget, hard to practice. More digging in silence. Sitting with nothing.
Often it is helpful to revisit the “crime scene”. In my case, I reread my last entry from. “A Dangerous Method ~ The Movie~ Part I”. Part II was never written. The “why not” is only speculation. I was not ready. I did not what it was. Who knows. But “it” knew and “it” had to patiently wait until I was ready to hear it. I now know what could not be written then. Part II is the tragic story of Sabina Spielrein.
Sabina Spielrein 1918
I am grateful to my colleague, Jungian analyst Ilona Melker who has done extensive research on Spielrein and who confirmed for me in her unpublished presentation at the Jung Foundation how much Spielrein was not only used as a muse by both Freud and Jung (even that without any acknowledgement, as Melker points out) but how many of her findings were appropriated and contributed to the emerging theories of both Freud and Jung. How closely her ignored paper “Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being” is related to Jung’s understanding of transformation and how much life needs death to renew itself and to Freud’s concept of the death instinct. Acknowledged only in footnotes. Sabina Spielrein, a pioneer and one of the first female psychoanalysts perished together with her two daughters, both of whom were talented musicians. They were shot dead along with the many thousands of Jewish residents by an SS squad in 1942.
Women as footnotes. We tend to oscillate between how much has changed and our denial of what has not. We are entering a new political climate with renewed hostility towards the feminine and psyche, and therefore also on women as the main carriers of projections of the feminine. All are under renewed attack by a now seemingly institutionalized form of greed and indecency by a changed and potentially dangerous political atmosphere, where climate change denial, ruthless exploitation of the planet’s resources, attacks on women and anyone who fits the definition of “the Other” are fighting to become the new normal. From demanding obedience to the law without pondering questions of ethics and morals.
Patriarchy is a dying. But not dead yet. It may take a few more generations. We are in the midst of a political backlash to prior attempts towards a more integrated culture. Authoritarian structures wrestle for the upper hand. If we can, we need to be vigilant. If we can, we need to show up with a voice. But if the voice is not there yet, if we cannot yet hear what needs to be said, then we need to sit patiently until we can hear what needs to be said.
And then, if one can tolerate the passing of time without judgment and surrender to the timeless nature of psyche, deo concedente, a word, a thought appears that wants to become flesh.
The Annunciation by El Greco