The Separation of Mind and Feeling
What C.G. Jung has to do with Vampyres
I’m reading Jung right now. A wise man, I like his revolutionary and anti-mass thinking of his time. With his theses, after initial restraint, he even stood up to his friend and teacher Freud. He was a time traveler who dared to look back and thus created a new future – with his ideas on the unconscious. In a time when psychology was still in its infancy and the unconscious was seen as a suppressed and not independent part of the personality, a change in the way we deal with our own feelings and needs became apparent.
People, who previously had to deal with everything on their own, trusted themselves again and found a new approach to themselves. They had to overcome the way of thinking that had been trained by the excessive use of reason and convention – not everything could/can and will/should be rationally explained.
Jung likes to cite “primitives” as an example of this, primitive peoples who for the most part still live(ed) as the “civilized” world itself did a few centuries and millennia ago, before understanding and its tools became the new promised land. Before words and abstract concepts replaced emotional and pictorial symbols and images – and so we blocked the access to our own unconscious. Logic and the capacity for abstraction brought us instead the railroad and the smartphone.
Certainly, progress has brought us unbelievable riches: none of us here (First world…) has to go hungry, no one has to be bored, everyone can pursue their dream job, pursue hobbies, learn and love whomever they want (ideally…).
But the price seems to have been high. In order to guide our thinking, we had to create a language that would make room for commonly used definitions like “transmitter” or “ultrasound”. But for this, symbols, images and emotions had to give way. The dialogue with your own environment? – Unthinkable! Nobody speaks with a stone today without being looked at diagonally. Those who do and thus discover a part of themselves in this conversation are a minority who are smiled at by an intellectual majority without access to themselves – who is stupid now?
His thesis about this speaks of projections on the environment, which in turn is able to hold up a mirror to us.
An example: “The wise oak advises another child? Sure, we do!” means something like: “I wish for another child, but it is only through the unconscious projection onto an external entity that I can allow myself to do it – the advice of Mother Earth should be followed.
In the meantime, however, man has marginalized his emotions and instincts in favor of other more materially weighted objects. I do not want to appear ungrateful. All of this has its value. I am happy with my bed and the full refrigerator. But I also mourn for all the vivid colors and for the world whose access I have to fight my way back to myself piece by piece.
Jung uses an example to describe how instinct and feeling have been replaced:
In earlier times, when instinctive ideas appeared in the mind of a person, his consciousness was able to integrate them into a coherent pattern. But the “civilized” person can no longer do this. His “progressive” consciousness has robbed itself of all means by which the helpful contributions of instincts and the unconscious could be assimilated (note from my side: what is meant is that man no longer perceives unconscious currents, or worse, perceives them, but cannot integrate them into his being and thus his actions). (…) Today, for example, we speak of “matter”. We describe its physical properties. We carry out laboratory experiments to show some of its aspects. But the word “matter” remains a dry, inhumane and purely intellectual term, which has no psychic meaning for us… How different was the earlier image of matter – the Great Mother – which expressed the deep emotional meaning of Mother Earth. (…)
I recognize myself in it – I recognize that I do not recognize myself and I do not recognize the world.
How often do I stumble upon a feeling that I can only express mediocrely through words. How many metaphors does it take to bring an experience in all colors to someone else – and more importantly – who even takes the trouble anymore?
Countless times I capitulated to the effort of communicating, out of social conventions (“You don’t do that!”), because of the effort (“How do I make him understand?”) or because I simply fail to perceive my whole being (“What do I really want?”).
Well, and what does that have to do with vampyrism?
The real question is, with what has this loss of the own human identity and this big part of the psyche nothing to do?!
My inner vampyre symbolizes a part of me that wants to be perceived. Something burrows through me, sends clues and begs for attention – and I try to perceive it and not to push it away again and again “because it is inappropriate”.
So my task is to let words be words every now and then, to trace feelings, to give images and dreams a meaning they deserve, to trust instincts.