I took a look through the entries I’ve posted on this blog so far and it occurred to me that I’ve been a little grouchy and emotional almost the whole time. This is not entirely bad, but it requires a clarification. The blog is entitled Psyche and Sophia. Psyche means soul in Greek and Sophia means wisdom. So, in this space, I am looking for the wisdom of the soul and, well, the soul expresses itself through pathology. Sigmund Freud, C.G. Jung, and a bit later, James Hillman—all exceptional cartographers of the soul’s multitudinous dimensionality—discovered this fact early on. Hillman even created a word for it: pathologizing.
Pathologizing means that the soul grows and develops by embodying symptoms, which is another way of saying that suffering creates new and more self-knowledge.
Unfortunately, prevalent views on which attitudes we should hold throughout life privilege light and happiness and emotional stability above all other things. It is up to us to do yoga and engage in self care so that we are bouncing around like luminous little sunshine balls, smiling and laughing and being joyous. Anything else is regarded with suspicion. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why so much self care and yoga are required to achieve this happy outlook on life. Indeed, according to Hindu cosmology, we are living in Kali Yuga—the age of destruction—and yoga was created as a way to cope with the hideous darkness of the iron age.
Anyone with two eyes and a brain can see that life is hard, and it is hard because the soul places big demands on us that we can’t always meet. The truth is that in addition to living a life in the normal way, we are also living a life on an inward level. An inner life is what we all have and this inner life is, in fact, the larger life which controls the events of the outer one. Religious people call this the will of god—a clear admission that we are not in control of our own lives, that a transpersonal entity called god is actually in charge. In depth psychology, this power-wielding god is the unconscious. The unconscious is the inner world and it speaks to us in the language of symptoms and pathology, and, of course, through images in dreams, mythology, and art.
I will write more about images in a later post. For now, I simply wanted to clarify the raison d’être of this blog. Let’s just say that here there be monsters (and dragons, and snakes, and spirals). We need courage to face the truth of the soul—that it is dark as well as light. And facing this truth openly is the definition of wisdom.