5/3/2013 0 Comments
Working with Images
The context of this article relate to images, the Abbild, I use the German because the English "image" almost always evokes the idea of picture. So from a psychological standpoint any dream or visual image in one's mind while engaging life or others, is an Abbild, a representation of what goes on always beneath the surface of consciousness.
That being said, my experience is that it is a sad fact that this rich under-surface of Abbild / representations / images / etc. which we all have goes largely unappreciated. The most regular forms of it, of course, are the dreams we have each night. I say "each night" because the "problem" is that for most Westerners the dream is forgotten almost as quickly as it comes in the morning. So to "capture" the dream requires an intentionality -- the desire and determination to write it down, for without this these Abbild of the "underneath" of life go unheeded.
Now back to my statements (which, BTW, occurred in order):
1. Isn't it a wonderful grace that each problem in life, symptom, tension, restlessness, aimlessness, is at the the same time an evocazione?
So this morning, I was struck by what a wonderful thing it is that we, as human beings, have the possibility to "listen," what some have called in-hearing, or to "see," what some have called in-sighting or seeing through to these Abbild.
And furthermore, as one, who "takes care", in the sense of therapeia of many who suffer greatly in life, I do feel it as "grace" in the sense of "unmerited favor" that the "problem(s)in life, symptom, tension, restlessness, [and the] aimlessness" that many who come to me might feel are at the same time Abbild. So for me, every one of these "so-called" problems are evocations -- a calling out from the depths. And it goes without saying that as a physician and therapist, I feel these as helpful, perhaps essential for the suffering souls that "grace" has brought to my door.
2. A possibility to "find" the image, perhaps in a dream or expressed in the plasticità of the arts or in movements made by the hands or feet.
Here, I was reaching out to the suffering souls to perhaps "believe" (not sure that's the right word) that the Abbild is there all the time. The challenge is to find it, among all the noise of life, to get quiet to listen, to see. And then my thoughts shifted to all the wonderful ways in which these images come. To me, they came first in dreams. I began to have a series of complex and impenetrable dreams in my late 30's. Inside myself, I knew they were significant, but didn't know how to approach them. Here I was a neurologist and psychopharmacologist, a lapsed Freudian (never did completely track with Freud as a young psychiatrist-in-training nor did I do a Freudian analysis), who despite years of training didn't know how to work with my own dreams. So I grappled in the dark for many years.
Yet through my experience, and then from my experience in medical / psychological practice, first a Jungian-oriented practitioner and then as an Jungian Analyst (after I finished my training in Switzerland) I slowly became aware that these images came to people in many different ways. This is what I meant in my words "plasticità of the arts or in movements made by the hands or feet."
Plasticità is Italian and roughly translated "plasticity or suppleness." In Italian, nouns have gender and plasticità is a feminine noun. However, in America, we only have the word "plastic" which, at least to me, feels cold, hard, mechanical -- the manufacturing plastic products for the masses. While this, in itself, is neither good nor bad, the Western association to it, in my opinion, is somewhat fixed. One could say that "plastic" is "hard" and plasticità is "soft" -- of course, this is an oversimplification, but somewhat touches on my point here. So another way to express the living Abbild is to to draw, to sculpt, to create and express an artistic plasticità.
Any finally, my last statement, "in movements made by the hands or feet." This is perhaps a reaction to the persistent Western focus upon achievement. What I mean is that in America we tend to make everything a project or a goal or something we must get proficient in. And my experience is that this is so even in creative activity, such as in the arts (as mentioned in the above paragraph) regardless of whether one regards themselves an artist or more often, one who "plays" with art for fun or because they feel it inside themselves and express it on the canvas or the form that holds that expression. So, this statement appeals to the possibility to regard movements of all kinds, such as gardening (e.g., as something down with the hands) and walking (e.g. as something done with the feet) as creative expressions. And sometimes these Abbild are ones not expressed in dreams or not remembered from the dreams, or perhaps not understood from the dreams.
Anyway this is a very involved topic that I could write pages on.
3. The image or dream, a risonare, a "once again," a shout, a whisper, a sense upon the skin, can you hear it? Can you feel it?
Here, I was playing with the language, particularly our English words that begin with "re-" such as: re-verbation, re-sound, re-play (I add the hypen to help you see the "re-" in each one). By this I mean the "calling" back of an echo, that is the concrete expression of hearing a sound once again. So, this use of the Italian risonare, a verb that captures (at least I suppose it captures for Italians, all that I explained: the reverbation, the echo, the effort to replay a tape, a record, an MP3 file) is my feeble way to express something new, "can you risonare for a moment ... to the Abbild that lay within yourself? These are the "words, sound, voices" within a dream and the physical feelings, both in dreams and our dayworld, that are part and parcel of all emotions. I do understand that this is the difficult thing to accept for the more rationally-thinking-oriented people.
First a word of explanation, as a Jungian, I accept his distinction between feelings and emotions that a feeling is a value (at least that's how it is expressed as a concept, by the thinkers) and a tapestry / texture / mélange (French for a kalidescope of colors and shapes, which from a more Germanic conceptual framework are a mixture often of incongruous elements). The latter perhaps captures a bit what the feelers might experience of what the thinkers call "feeling values". I find that very few people can grasp the perception of a feeler's feelings, yet we must try. The mélange for the visual and the tapestry for its quality of inter-weaving and completeness. All terribly inadequate metaphors.
So this lame "can you hear it? Can you feel it?" is my way of caring for the suffering, the thinkers and the feelers, who may experience "emotion" in the bodily (the rapid heart beat, the sweating, the skin reaction, the difficulty breathing). These experiences are Abbild too and to allow this frame gives one imaginal possibilities that may help.
4. Can you allow in the “festina lentamente”? The lentaggine of Petrarch’s re-spect, or ispirare rispetto, a looking back? or a looking ahead?
This is my last statement and feels like the end of a flow of ideas and Abbild. I love the Latin statement "festina lente" -- the paradox of "hastening slowly". What a metaphor? So beautiful, so poignant, yet so true, at least in Western life. And here I was playing with that antiquated Latin phrase. So it felt right to allow the "lente" the verb to change into another word. First, to the Italian "lentamente" which is an adverb meaning "slowly," but then this continued to evolve, "wanting to be a noun" (now I do know that this experience may sound strange, a word evolving or moving. But this is what happens inside when one allows the Abbild some room to move on their own. One cannot pick where they go.). So that is the origin of the lentaggine, the Italian feminine noun, meaning "slow-ness", like, I imagine, the lentaggine of a turtle (Please, my Italian friends chime in here to express how you might use the word).
So my experience continues, and here it becomes girded in history, in Petrarch, Francesco Petrarch (July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374), an Italian scholar and poet. So to look back with respect, the "rispetto" of Petrarch, means to be in awe of what we see from the inside. This is the wonderful reverence of being a human being, of being alive to experience the richness of the inner life and that this inner life is the religious life, the holy and wholly present life.
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