“I guess you’d call it suicide, but I’m too full to swallow my pride…” (Sting, The Police)
The ego has to die for ourSelves to move forward.
Soundtrack for reading [click play and read on :)]:
I noticed a reoccurring type of thought within me during a time of intense introspection through which I was trying to overcome emotional distress. Just to give some context, the cause of the psychological breakdown was most probably a combination of: months of career and life transition, a tooth infection that resulted in tooth-removal in another country, while mind-fucking myself with a 36-hour visit to a bunch of family and friends I’d not seen in months, followed by 10 days of taking painkillers some of which contained codeine and had a strong narcotic effect, and then as the climax of all this – being rejected without explanation in a newly thought-to-be-forming relationship.
At one moment, after days of self-deconstructing agony, I realized there is a type of thought that makes me do certain things which sometimes seem rebellious, impulsive, deviant, and at times brave. When I isolated it, the only way I could describe it was “death drive”. This term sounded so specific I was sure I did not just coin it (although that would have been awesome) so the first thing I did was to see what Google has to show – and I was not disappointed. I will go into the details in another post soon, until then, here’s a teaser of Jung’s thoughts. Now, however, I wish to expand on the way this recognition opened me up to accepting myself and is slowly freeing me up to express it with more freedom.
MY DEATH DRIVE
The death-drive is strong in me. It has always been, and it pushed me to who and where I am today, it gives me courage. It manifested in various ways, some healthy and progressive – breaking free from the shackles of a bad relationship, leaving an unfulfilling career, moving alone to an unknown country; others destructive and stagnant – for example drug use, tattoos, risky decisions and procrastination. But whatever it did, it was the same transcendentally sensible, ever-true notion of “doesn’t matter, we are all gonna die anyway, any day”.
As a result, some of my decisions are fundamentally based on the following idea: the universe is limitless, and my body is limited. So, what truly serves me is the broadening of my external and internal world by adding newer and more extreme experiences. I’ve come to believe that the more you expand outwardly, it mirrors in an inward expansion of your internal universe; and vice versa: you will notice more of the world around you if you notice more of the world within you.
WALK IN THE DARK, A WALK IN THE PARK
constant risk taking vs. extreme obsession with control;
naked, yet, in heavy armor;
the fight of two internal forces;
Art is born at this point.
Shia Labeouf, when asked what do he and his collaborators get out from their work (episode 21.11.2016 of Jimmy Kimmel Live), said:
“You go from self-examination to self-love to people-love. And then, you know, it is really joyful on the other side of these projects.”
What creates art is the pushing of limits, it is that sensation of soul pain, an overload of thoughts and complex emotions, which make you think, re-think, cross-check, and evolve. When everything is mild, your soul does not expand. Dig deep, deeper. Acknowledge what you are afraid of, listen to you most hidden desires. You push the edge of your consciousness, your universe, things you can imagine and make happen. Growth is happening both inward and outward; and you find joy.
”One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.” (C.G.Jung)
L’art pour l’evolution
Art (actually l’art pour l’art) is what I think separates us from other animals. And you cannot create art without becoming conscious. Conscious of the present moment, of the micro and the macro cosmos, the corners and depths of the psyche, the ways of society. Engaging in artistic expression also demands from us to acknowledge that we are children – because our consciousness is still a child. Meditation can put this child to sleep, give it a rest and wake it up with more focus. But we, as children, will inevitably do stupid things. One of Nietzsche‘s ideas is that our consciousness is in a process of slow development, and “Before a function is fully developed and mature it constitutes a danger for the organism” (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Book One: 11). With a leap of thought this means: we are safer, i.e. we will live longer, both as individuals and as a civilization, if we stick to our instincts, our ‘animal’ self. But then, we would not evolve. To evolve requires us to use our consciousness and it, by default, means we will fail. “Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.” (C.G. Jung)
Evolving our consciousness is a strenuous process involving risky decisions and potential errors, but these acts test our reality. Through the ‘learnings’ of these trials we fine-tune the relationship between the ‘animal’ and the ‘conscious’; just like children do with the rules of their parents. Art is an outlet where you can test your conscious limits and potentials, make mistakes and cultivate your spirit.
Experience – reflect – act – experience – reflect – act…
with the reassurance that whatever you do, one day, it will all end.