There are people who fantasize about suicide, and paradoxically, these fantasies can be soothing because they usually involve either fantasizing about others' reactions to one's suicide or imagining how death would be a relief from life's travails. In both cases, an aspect of the fantasy is to exert control, either over others' views or toward life's difficulties. The writer A. Alvarez stated, " There people ... for whom the mere idea of suicide is enough; they can continue to function efficiently and even happily provided they know they have their own, specially chosen means of escape always ready..." In her riveting 2008 memoir of bipolar disorder, Manic, Terri Cheney opened the book by stating, "People... don't understand that when you're seriously depressed, suicidal ideation can be the only thing that keeps you alive. Just knowing there's an out--even if it's bloody, even if it's permanent--makes the pain bearable for one more day."This strategy appears to be effective for some people, but only for a while. Over longer periods, fantasizing about death leaves people more depressed and thus at higher risk for suicide, as Eddie Selby, Mike Amestis, and I recently showed in a study on violent daydreaming. A strategy geared toward increased feelings of self-control (fantasizing about the effects of one's suicide) "works" momentarily, but ultimately backfires by undermining feelings of genuine self-control in the long run.
I maintain, then, that scientific psychology (and, it may be added, the psychology of the same kind that we all unconsciously practise when we try to "figure to ourselves" the stirrings of our own or others' souls) has, in its inability to discover or even to approach the essence of the soul, simply added one more to the symbols that collectively make up the Macrocosm of the culture-man. Like everything else that is no longer becoming but become, it has put a mechanism in place of an organism. We miss in its picture that which fills our feeling of life (and should surely be " soul " if anything is) the Destiny-quality, the necessary directedness of existence, the possibility that life in its course actualizes. I do not believe that the word "Destiny" figures in any psychological system whatsoever — and we know that nothing in the world could be more remote from actual life-experience and knowledge of men than a system without such elements. Associations, apperceptions, affections, motives, thought, feeling, will — all are dead mechanisms, the mere topography of which constitutes the insignificant total of our "soul-science." One looked for Life and one found an ornamental pattern of notions. And the soul remained what it was, something that could neither be thought nor represented, the secret, the ever-becoming, the pure experience.
Prayer assumes need. “Prayer and helplessness are inseparable.”116 Jesus described this in a parable of two churchgoers in Luke 18. One man, a religious leader, pronounced his self-sufficiency, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income” (Luke 18:11-12). The other, a tax collector, prayed a simpler prayer: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). The tax collector knew more about prayer than the religious leader did. Prayer requires a humble awareness of our need for God.
Psychic change, as Todorov has recognized, subverted the genre in another way, by revoking the cultural taboos, the social censorship, that had prohibited the overt treatment of psychosexual themes, which then found covert expression in the supernatural tale. 'There is no need today to resort to the devil [or to posthumous reverie] in order to speak of excessive sexual desire, and none to resort to vampires in order to designate the attraction exerted by corpses: psychoanalysis, and the literature which is directly or indirectly inspired by it, deal with these matters in undisguised terms. The themes of fantastic literature have become, literally, the very themes of the psychological investigations of the last fifty years.
One clear-cut fact does, however, emerge: placebos, prescribed for a paranoid schizophrenic by his authority referent, had served to inhibit for approximately two or three months, not imaginary pains, but somatic ones. This finding is probably the most striking of all the findings reported herein for either Joseph or Leon. It demonstrates most dramatically the positive effects which can be achieved by suggestions originating with the paranoid schizophrenic's own delusional authority figures. This finding is all the more remarkable when one remembers that paranoid schizophrenics are typically negativistic, that, because they view other people with suspicion and mistrust, they resist suggestions that others make. But our data clearly suggest that paranoid schizophrenics are, like everyone else, quite capable of following positive suggestions when they originate with positive referents. In this respect, the major difference between normal people and paranoid schizophrenics lies not so much in the fact that the schizophrenics are less suggestible but in the fact that they have no positive authorities or referents in the real world; if they have any at all, these positive referents exist only in the world of their delusions.
Father Brendan Flynn: "A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew - I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' she asked the old man. 'Was that God All Mighty's hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered her. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you gut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' she said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' she said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!
I immersed myself in my relationship with my husband, in little ways at first. Dutch would come home from his morning workout and I’d bring him coffee as he stepped out of the shower. He’d slip into a crisp white shirt and dark slacks and run a little goop through his hair, and I’d eye him in the mirror with desire and a sultry smile that he couldn’t miss. He’d head to work and I’d put a love note in his bag—just a line about how proud I was of him. How beautiful he was. How happy I was as his wife.He’d come home and cook dinner and instead of camping out in front of the TV while he fussed in the kitchen, I’d keep him company at the kitchen table and we’d talk about our days, about our future, about whatever came to mind. After dinner, he’d clear the table and I’d do the dishes, making sure to compliment him on the meal. On those weekends when he’d head outside to mow the lawn, I’d bring him an ice-cold beer. And, in those times when Dutch was in the mood and maybe I wasn’t, well, I got in the mood and we had fun.As the weeks passed and I kept discovering little ways to open myself up to him, the most amazing thing happened. I found myself falling madly, deeply, passionately, head-over-heels in love with my husband. I’d loved him as much as I thought I could love anybody before I’d married him, but in treating him like my own personal Superman, I discovered how much of a superhero he actually was. How giving he was. How generous. How kind, caring, and considerate. How passionate. How loving. How genuinely good. And whatever wounds had never fully healed from my childhood finally, at long last, formed scar tissue. It was like being able to take a full breath of air for the first time in my life. It was transformative. And it likely would save our marriage, because, at some point, all that withholding would’ve turned a loving man bitter. On some level I think I’d known that and yet I’d needed my sister to point it out to me and help me change.Sometimes it’s good to have people in your life that know you better than you know yourself.
The result of this one-sided patriarchal stance, demonstrable in all areas of life, is an un integrated man who is attacked by his repressed side and often enough overwhelmed by it. This transpires not only in the fate of the individual man as seduction by a "lower" anima, but equally through seduction by a compensatory ideology, for example materialism, to which "spirit" men are especially susceptible.The man wants to remain exclusively masculine and out of fear rejects the transformative contact with a woman of equal status. Negativizing the Feminine in the patriarchate prevents the man from experiencing woman as a thou of equal but different status, and hence from coming to terms with her. The consequence of the patriarchal male's haughtiness toward women leads to the inability to make any genuine contact with the Feminine, i.e., not only in a real woman but also with the Feminine in himself, the unconscious. Whenever an integral relationship to the Feminine remains undeveloped, however, this means that, due to his fear, the male is unable to break through to his own wholeness that also embraces the Feminine. Thus the patriarchal culture's separation from the Feminine and from the unconscious becomes one of the essential causes for the crisis of fear in which the patriarchal world now finds itself.
If we are enveloped in images, we are also enveloped in forms, in spirit, which is nature, and in nature, which is spirit. Daily and continually we associate with this unified world of nature and spirit without knowing it. But only the person to whom this association has become clear understands what is meant when we talk of Sophia as a heightened and spiritualized earth. But this formulation is already distorted as well. The earth has not changed at all, it is neither heightened and spiritualized: it remains what is always was. Only the person who experiences this Earth Spirit has transformed himself, he alone is changed by it and has, perhaps, been heightened and spiritualized. However, he too remains what he always was and has only become, along with the earth, more transparent to himself in his own total reality.Here also we must differentiate between the reality of our total existence and the differentiating formulations of our consciousness. Certainly, our consciousness makes the attempt to separate a spiritual from a natural world and to set them in opposition, but this mythical division and opposition of heaven and earth proves more and more impracticable. If, in the process of integration, consciousness allies itself with the contents of the unconscious and the mutual interpenetration of both systems leads to a transformation of the personality, a return to the primordial symbolism of the myth ensues. Above and below, heaven and earth, spirit and nature, are experienced again as coniunctio, and the calabash that contains them is the totality of reality itself.
The Earth and the Underworld seen as a descent but also as a process of transformation not only corresponds to the experience of many individuals in the process of individuation, but it can also be demonstrated to be a collective event in modern culture as a whole. The analysis of this state of affairs falls outside the scope of our present consideration and has already been partially accomplished elsewhere. The task that remains for us is to investigate whether and how a change is arrived at in the meaning of the Earth archetype in the individual's experience of depth, and what the implications of this are.Submission to and acceptance of the darkness, the shadow, the negative aspects of the anima and animus, the affective and instinctual side of human nature, and assimilation of the unconscious in the sense of an integration of the personality: these, as you know, are some of the most significant phrases that characterize the decisive beginning of the psychic development of modern man. But even these days the alchemical sentence still stands as a motto over this process of transformation: "visitetis interiara terrae," "visit the inner parts of the earth." We are all still "descenders" if we venture into the unconscious, which for that very reason is also topographically designated "under"-conscious; we set out from the head, from the outer layer of consciousness, and descend into the "deeper" layers of our psyche and of our symbolic body, and in so doing the symbol of depth, still valid today, is derived from the archetype of Earth, gorge and "depths of the abyss."As in religious history, the archetypal inhabitant of these female depths is the snake. Just as in Crete and in Greece and with Nathan of Gaza, so even today we are still met there by the snake of the abyss, the Devil, who is at the same time the snake of Mercurius, the spiritual principle that animates the depths, the "Earth Spirit." Seeing this masculine snake-companion of the Great Mother in a phallic sense as a symbol of sexuality corresponds to one of the infinite possibilities and realities of interpretation. On the highest level we are often obliged to interpret it in this way, but never only as such. Even Hermes, the guide of the soul, who is the same god as the alchemists' Mercurius, has a phallic, snake aspect. But whoever mistakes the snake for the penis and the gorge for the female genitals-and without question it is an issue of the earth's womb-offends against the lower as well as against the higher gods by restricting their field of effectiveness and transformation.
There is no religion and no philosophy that can give us a comprehensive answer to the whole of our problems, and the abandonment and isolation of the individual who is given no answer, or only inadequate answers, to his question lead to a situation in which more and more cheap, obvious solutions and answers are sought and provided. As, everywhere and in all departments of life, there are contradictory schools and parties, and an equal number of contradictory answers, one of the most frequent reactions is that modern man ceases to ask questions and takes refuge in a conception that considers only the most obvious, superficial aspects, and becomes skeptical, nihilistic, and egocentric. Or, alternatively, he tries to solve all his problems by plunging headlong into a collective situation and a collective conviction, and seeks to redeem himself in this way.