“…And start dying little by little, piece by piece,”(1) I was chatting with a friend today, at Peets of course, and we were talking about our parents and the end of their lives. I started thinking about my Dad’s death on January 9, 2013 at 9:09 a.m.
While chatting with my friend I started to realize that my Dad suffered with depression his whole life. He did not know what do about it, since I doubt he could acknowledge it, and he just started dying little by little piece piece when he realized(probably unconsciously) that he was not going to live out of his authentic self. Depression takes that ability away from us if we let it.
I think that is what the tension of the opposites is an expression of in this culture today. The archetypal energy that has been present in life throughout time immemorial is being negated by the rational self that we seem to think is how we should view the world. Jung calls the archetypal energy the “matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences…”
“But tommorow’s fall in number in number one by one…
You wake up and you’re dying you don’t even know what from”(2)
The result of this dismissal of that part of us, that primordial self, is where the dis-ease we are living with culturally is manifesting. If depression is truly going to increase over 500% in the next 25 years, we are going to see more and more of the rational self fighting to negate that the cause is the continued suppression of that energy, that the energy that we cant figure out, but which drives us towards where it is that we are going to.
“Give a soul a night of fearless sleep”(3)
Here is where I draw on Hillman. He talked about creating vessels, containers where we can express our pathologies. That is what 12 step recovery is about. I was at my favorite meeting this morning and we got to talking about how we used to deal with energy that I call shame. That energy that drove us to drink and use drugs to such an extent that we were self-destructive and hurtful to those around us.
We talk about behaviors, that elicit laughs and other expressions of energy from us, which other people would see as tremendously tragic. It is not that the events were not hurtful, usually to ourselves, but we have learned to collectively share it with each other such that most of us dont have to go out and act that way any longer. We found a way to express that which most of the culture suppresses. We express this “darkness”in many ways so that we dont end up acting out in behaviors that lead us to live in fear of acting out again and/or being punished, shamed, ostracized for those actions by society.
We, and I can only speak for those who have practiced the principals of the twelve step programs, have found a vessel to express our pathology. Many of us eventually get a night of fearless sleep because we realize we are not alone in that punitive state of shame of who we think we are. It is a powerful experience.
(1) Bruce Springsteen Racing in the Street; (2) Bruce Springsteen Point Blank (3) Bruce Springsteen High Hopes!