He: Understanding Masculine Psychology by Robert A. Johnson. Quotes and comments

The story begins with the Fisher King has been wounded and all the animals and plants in the kingdom and those surrounding it mourning and weeping. Then, a boy who is of so little consequence that he has no name, but called Parsifal comes. Parsifal, as a fool, will redeem the health of the Fisher King. In Biblical terms, only the innocent can enter the gates of Heaven. Parsifal wants to become a knight so he starts his quest. With several rounds of success, he enters the Fisher King Castle. A godfather has once told Pascifel to ask the question ‘Whom does the Grail serve?’ What would knighthood be worth if it were not for this noble end? However, Parsifal suffers from his mother complex and can not be the independent young man and cannot open his mouth to ask such question.

Parsifal leaves the Castle without the Grail because he forgets to ask such an important question. The young man cannot understand the power of the femininity until he meets Blanche Fleur, and develops a correct relationship with his inner woman.

Parsifal carries on with his heroic quest until one day he is greeted by an old man. This old man is the Hermit, a sage, gives him advice and critiques on his ego. But he also turns gentle and shows him the shortcut to the Grail castle.

This time, Parsifal remembers to ask the right question as his mother complex is resolved. And the Grail serves the Grail King. Rejoicing, the Grail King is now healed and in peace, joy and serenity.

The Mother Complex

There are six basic relaitonships a man bears to the feminine world. All six are useful to him and each has its own nobility. It is only the contamination of one with another that makes difficulty. These difficulties are central to a man’s passage through life. The six feminine elements are as below:

  • His human mother

The actual woman who was his mother, she with all her idiosyncrasies, individual characteristics, and uniqueness

  • His mother complex (the interior mother within one’s mind)

This resides entirely inside the man himself. This is his regressive capacity which would like to return to a dependency on his mother and be a child again. This is a man’s wish to fail, his defeatist capacity, his subterranean fascination with death or accident, his demand to be taken care of. This is pure poison in a man’s psychology.

  • His mother archetype. (the collective idea)

If the mother complex is pure poison, the mother archetype is pure gold. It is the feminine half of God, the cornucopia of the universe, mother nature, the bounty which is freely poured out to us without fail. We could not live for a minute without the bounty of the mother archetype. It is always reliable, nourishing, sustaining.

  • His fair maiden (your own personalised anima)

This is the feminine component in every man’s psychic structure and is the interior companion or inspirer of his life. It is Blanche Fleur. It is she who gives meaning and colour to one’s life. Dr. Jung calls it the anima.

  • His wife or partner

The flesh and blood human being who shares his life journey with.

  • Sophia

This is the Goddess of Wisdom, the feminine half of God, the Shekinah in Jewish mysticism. It comes as a shock to a man to discover that Wisdom is feminine, but all mythologies have portrayed it so.

Achievement and the Ugly Damsel

There is some strange correlation between the achievement of a man and the power of the Hideous Damsel in his life. The greater the height, the greater his capacity for suffering and humiliation seems: the amount of fame and adulation one gets in the outer world seems to determine the sense of failure and meaninglessness he will find at the hands of the Hideous Damsel. One would guess that accomplishment would be the surest protection against meaninglessness, but this is not so. It is the accomplished man who is most capable of asking unanswerable questions about his worth and the meaning of his life.

The Hermit Within

These few people, born hermits (highly introverted souls), must remain in the forest (symbolically speaking) in solitude, storing up energy so that they may serve mankind when their quality is crucial and of the highest value.  There are few Red knight victories for these persons and they know little of the laurel leaves of victory. Such people receive very little encouragement or reinforcement these days and they often have a lonely and solitary life to lead. But a day comes when their genius is absolutely necessary to make a transition to another stage of life. But a day comes when their genius is absolutely necessary to make a transition to another stage of life– for themselves or for someone in their environment. Just to know of this validity is a safeguard for such a person. Please be good to your own hermit quality or the born hermit in your circle of friends. If you have a born hermit as a son, don’t push him into Red Knight experiences but let him find his own forest way.

Who does the Grail serve?

I am searching for happiness, which is to say that I want the Grail to serve me. We ask this great cornucopia of nature, this great feminine outpouring of all the material of the world- the air, the sea, the animals, the oil, the forests, and the productivity of the world– we ask that it should serve us. But no sooner is the question asked than the answer comes reverberating through the Grail castle halls–the Grail serves the Grail King.

Translated, this means that life serves what a Christian would call God, Jung calls the Self, or and we call by the many terms we have devised to indicate that which is greater than ourselves.

Another language, less poetic but perhaps easier, is available. Dr. Jung speaks of the life process as being the relocation of the center of gravity of the personality from the ego to the Self. He sees this as the life work of a man and the center of meaning for all human endeavour. When Parsifal learns that he is no longer the center of the universe– not even his own little kingdom–he is free of his alienation and the Grail is no longer barred from him. Though he may come and go from the Grail castle during the rest of his life, now he will never be alien to it again.

One detail in the story is worth special observation: Parsifal need only ask the question; he does not have to answer it. Although it is the duty of the ego to ask a well-formulated question, he is not required to answer it. To ask well is virtually to answer.

Happiness

Rejoicing bursts forth in the Grail castle; the Grail is brought forth, it gives its food to everyone, including the now-healed Fisher King, and there are perfect peace, joy and well-being. Such a dilemma! If you ask the Grail to give you happiness, that demand precludes happiness. But if you serve the Grail and the Grail King properly, you will find what happens and happiness are the same thing. A play on words becomes the definition of enlightenment.

Grail:

Your goals and ambitions, the desires you have. Something eternal and beautiful.

Grail King:

The higher self, or the Self (the Grail King is sad and wounded, and then when Parsifal asked the right question, he rejoiced, and now heal-ed.) When your goals and ambitions align with your higher self, you will find happiness.

Parsifal:

the soul, going through the quest under the flow of the unconscious.

The energy moves from the consciousness to the unconsciousness when one is vulnerable and hurt. He goes through a lot of fights to get to the place where he is called hero, but he loses his Grail because he forgets to ask the question ‘who does the Grail serve?’ His ego blinds him from seeing the answer that is beyond himself. He is saying the Grail serves I. The Grial King remains unhealed. In other words, you remain unhappy. Until one day, Parsifal listens to the heed of the Hermit within and finds the shortcut to the castle. When you listen to your inner voice, the castle is never far away. This time he examines his own shortcomings and stays humble, and asks the question ‘Who does the grail serve?’ Your consciousness only needs to formulate the question, but is not required to answer it. The answer will reveal itself as you trust your own unconsciousness. The answer comes, the grail is here to serve the Grail King. You are here to serve the grail and the Grail King. The higher self that is beyond you and will see your life is to serve something bigger than yourself. The achievements and failures are not personal but just creative spontaneity of the Self.

The ‘Ten Oxherding Pictures” from Zen Buddhism

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An identical theme is found in the Ten Oxherding Pictures. This is protraying the steps towards enlightenment. In the first the young hero seraches for the ox–his inner nature; in the second he sees the foot-prints of the ox; in the third he sees the ox. The series proceeds to the ninth picture in which the hero tames the ox, forges a peaceful relationship with it, and sits quietly surveying the scene. The question rises at this point–Behold the streams flowing, whither no-body knows, whither nobody knows; and the flowers vividly red- for whom are they? Author Mokusen Miyuki reflects that these words could be translated literally into “The stream flows on its own accord, and the flower is red on its own accord.” In Taoism it can mean ‘naturalness,’ an occurring of the creative spontaneity of nature, within and without. In other words, 自然 (Tsu-jan), an occurring of the creative spontaneity of nature, as the living reality of self-realization or the creative urge of the Self manifesting itself in nature.

The series of pictures culminates in the tenth when the hero, now perfectly at peace, walks unnoticed through the village streets. There is nothing extraordinary about him now except that all the trees burst into blossom as he passes by.

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When the obedient decided to chase after freedom

I think there is an important life lesson I really really need to log down. I have always been the obedient child. But I can see that it is toxic now. I would like to change that.

The obedient do not know how to fight against the odds. The obedient care too much about what others think of them. We are too good at hiding ourselves instead of showing the world who we are. The obedient are passively aggressive because we do not like you but we pretend we do. Something shows, right?

Growing up my mom cares a lot about what I do and think. She believes everything has to be according to the social standards. That makes me sick. I am screaming ‘I am not normal’ but no one hears that. Most of the friends were too busy trying to please their parents and act ‘normal’. But I refused to accept normalcy is something humans chase after. I can see so many flaws that society will not accept in me. It is so loud in my quiet mind that I know it is impossible for me to be normal. Luckily, I was smart enough to know probably this is the state for other people in the world as well.  They just refused to accept it. I don’t know why they can’t see it, but they are good people. The end result is, back and forth I doubt myself. They say I don’t belong. They say I am marching to a lonesome defeat. But I refused to believe in the society. I refused to give up. I have given in for a long time. This tug of war is between my identity and the world in front of me. How to strike a balance and call it a win-win?

I chose myself. I became an artist. I grasped any opportunities to express myself as a person. I studied psychology and philosophy. I studied the things that constitutes normalcy from a scientific angle. I studied the so-called disabled people and read their autobiographies. I stumbled upon Carl Jung’s quotes and I think that changes everything. At the age of 14, I read about Carl Jung and for the years to come, his words painted the wall of my room and the back of my mind. In a large scale, everything I do is to preserve the selves that society wants to repress, to entertain the selves that I am scared to lose. The emotions that are running in the background, the quiet screams only those who are sensitive would notice.

However, no matter how good I am being an artist, I did not learn to use words to express my own selves in front of others. Writing is good but it is still not a direct mean to express emotions. I still shy away from expressing my own emotions to others. The idea that others will actually accept I dislike something others like is hard to take.  Adults do not like truths, they just want to conserve the superficial harmony. This is something I hate about being an adult. This is something I hate about my parents.

This was true until one day I told my colleague I got nothing to work on, and he told me that is because I have complied orders and followed instructions all my life and do not know how to find my own work.  ”Our company gives us lots of freedom, you just have to ask for permission.” He is the colleague that many others do not like because he started many things but did not manage to finish them properly. A trouble-maker. But in that moment he said those words, I was not offended. Not at all.  I think he is wise. What he said is true. I do not know how to express myself even when people allow it. People would like to see what I can offer and bring up.

It is the moment that I think the world is not working against me but with me. The feeling of ‘the world is against me’ is really hard to shake off but in that moment I turned the concept around, I can sense freedom and acknowledgment are possible in this world.

The more I work with other humans, I realised they are not really rejecting me but curious about me. They want to know I will say, they want to know what kind of surprise I will bring them. This is something never existed in my world. People in my world used to reject me because I was not following instructions. People used to show hatred and take freedom from me when I refused to obey. I lived in an authoritarian world! In the sacrifice of personal freedom, I lost interest in living but drifting into a world that no human exists. I love to draw fluffy animals and I would be the only human being in my imagination.I drifted into the world of books in search of meaning in life. I go dark. I disappeared from the reality in favor of my own reality.

Humans are extremely hard to satisfy. We all have our own ideas but only a few can articulate their ideas fully to feel understood.

Paulo Coelho said madness is the inability to communicate your ideas. It’s as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you, but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don’t understand the language they speak there. We’ve all felt that. And all of us, one way or another, are mad.

Maybe that’s the reason: the obedient have a hard time to get out of their own madness. They lack the skills to tell others what they need to know.

To escape that, you either allow yourself to be mad in front of others or you learn to communicate in various ways. I do both, I suppose.

Yesterday, I had a dream of being naked but I do not feel ashamed. I remember Milton Erikson once told his patient that God gives us the body and we should not be ashamed of showing her breasts in public while feeding her son; or giving out gasses. They are the miracles of human bodies. Being mad is also what humans do, there is nothing to feel ashamed of. I think ‘madman’ do it differently because they cannot choose when to do the mad things, but most of us have this choice. I started to scream when I am at home, especially when I feel life is unfair. I started to shout and growl like a dog at home or in the forest whenever I feel like it. It feels good, it helps with the release of anger I have, for myself and for this world. I am also working at a school setting and learning to communicate with students who test my boundaries and get rewards for free. It tested my ability to communicate and value their ideas and at the same time stay true to myself.

I have learnt to embrace the absurdity of human life and embrace the unconscious mechanisms that most people may not understand.The acknowledgment of personal freedom feels good, even though it may not be what you think it is. It could mean doing harmless silly things in front of others. It could mean being proactive and stand for yourself and the values you held close to your heart.

I Am Happy Because You are Happy?

I don’t like to say things like, I am happy because you are happy. This kind of saying has the implication that my happiness depends on you. You see? Something is wrong here. I will never be happy if you don’t like me. I am giving you the power to control my life, my interpretation of myself. If you are my boss, oh no, I think I am getting a headache now, because boss do not really feel satisfied 99% of the time. This is not right, even when that person means a lot to you, like your son or daughter or your partner. If they decided they don’t like you, I can only say life is tough, but who says it is a must for them to like you? Society. You said. Who says everyone you like have to like you back? Who says? Tell me. No one.

Being mentally unstable for a few days.

These few days I embrace a new identity: being mentally unstable. I have to admit when I should finally breathe freedom, I find myself trapped. I found myself powerless. I have no motivation to do anything, in a terrible mood for days. The idea of being like this for the rest of my life haunts me. I desperately need a way out. It makes no sense but this was me. No, this is the real me. I had been working hard during the second term of my second year. I have dragged myself to the library almost every day. Sometimes I let myself slack off for a day or two in a week. But 5 days in the library, each time more than 5 hours, that’s how I lived my life and got most of my work done.
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So, finally, my holiday came, even the thought of it was exciting. I can’t wait. But hell no, I stayed up late every single day I know I got  nothing to do. Then, after two whole hours of struggling, I got out of bed, went straight to the kitchen to get some food into my system. Sometimes after breakfast I went back to sleep, sometimes I forced myself to at least finish some chores. But every single day, I am not living my fullest. I did everything because there was a necessity there. Where are my motivations? Where are my passions? I am lost. But if you know how I lived before I went to college, you know that’s pretty normal. I did nothing until a guilt spiral began and I painfully dragged myself through the tasks I have to do.
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Two days ago I finally have to accept there is something terribly wrong with me. I have no purpose. I feel wasted. Finally the funeral question woke me up, but it did not save me. Basically, the funeral question is an imaginative question. Let’s imagine when you die, what do you want people to remember you for? What do you think the people attend the funeral will say about you? My answer is, people will only remember me being a shy girl, know me nothing. Not my art work, not my kind heart, not the things I pour my heart into. I felt my whole life is a lie. It felt so wrong, but it felt so right. That’s exactly how I live my life. I have never had the courage to show people who I really am, I have been taught to be a good student and learn to aim at being successful in the cultural standard and forget about my own dreams.

I am addicted to scratching.

This post was supposed to be a gift to someone who suffered from eczema and also anxiety and depression. But I guess she has never read it so I decided to share it out to the public. Truth be told, my life is an itch and I am addicted to scratching. Mentally what follows are: I am restless, I feel isolated, I am prone to anxiety and depression. These are what this post is about.


I have been living with eczema since I was born. People always say I will grow out of it. Many kids did, but I don’t. I am glad to see there are actually lots of people being supportive and talk about their condition openly. However, at the same time, it is heart-breaking to see some of us have to endure more than just a skin problem, but also anxiety and depression.

I truly believe eczema, as a chronic skin condition like other chronic diseases, is a mental challenge. Somehow I often see eczema more like a mental issue to tackle than a physical one, one of the reasons is stress take up an important role in relapsing, and the whole healing process requires a lot of patience. Also, the relationship between eczema and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression is a Catch 22 situation. If your anxiety level is high, you will scratch yourself more and your eczema will not alleviate. But if your eczema does not alleviate, it makes you more anxious. Anxiety and depression are disorders that can come hand in hand, which I will elaborate later. For these, I want to analyse a little bit of the psychological process behind, and help all of us to live with it more objectively.

I would not say my condition is true for everyone because I can only experience and understood the skin I live with. But hopefully it can. My atopic dermatitis is mild to intermediate depending on a plethora of confusing factors including humidity, temperature, allergies, the amount of dust I have contact/ breathed in, the amount of sunlight I get, the food I eat, the amount of exercise I had lately, the level of stress I am under, the amount of water I drink lately, how many times I have scratched myself, the quality of sleep, the time of my bath and maybe some more factors. I just know this is a disease I do not have full control. So when it get worse, logically I should not blame myself. But sadly I did.

Every time I think more about it, I care more about it, I get into the guilty trap and blame myself. I blame myself not being careful at night and scratch till I bleed. After scratching for comfort, and later it get worse, I blame myself. Besides that, I keep reminding myself how my condition is and some areas are still red and itchy, very itchy. I am not satisfied and I am angry. Why does this happen to me? Why no one understand? Why do I have to suffer? Why? If these thoughts happened to be inside my mind and I cannot get rid of them, I can guarantee I will not be able to sleep properly that night. And, it will further aggravate.

A book called ‘The Examined Life’ by Stephen Grosz has a paragraph that is elaborating on what I am saying, even though he is talking about grief, it fits. He says,

‘They suffer more because they both expect to make progress, to move forward certain stages. And when they don’t, they feel that they are doing something wrong, or, more precisely, that there is something wrong with them. They suffer twice- first from grief (dermatitis) and then from a tyranny of shoulds : “ I should have pulled myself out of this,” “(I shouldn’t feel so itchy and painful today)” and so forth.There is little room here for emotional exploration or understanding. This way of being leads to self-loathing, despair, depression.’

We blame ourselves and expect more than we should, this becomes a cycle. Anger and despair feed on these thoughts. To make things worse, many of us bottle up our feelings because many people give out the wrong advice. But the feelings does not fade away, they can become anxiety and depression. This explains why I am angry. Also, because of this misunderstanding and anger, I scratched more because I got the irrational thought ‘I just want the rashes go away’, and sometimes I become violent to myself.

Now, it becomes clear that I should not do that. Acknowledging we have no control of our skin conditions and viewing dermatitis in a more realistic way. Eczema is still a bitch, but it is no longer our fault, not entirely. Letting the guilt and blame out, is one more step to objectively living with it.

Today I woke up with blood on my hand and an open wound that should be healed by now. I thought about the things above. I laughed. If this happened before, I would be so sad and blame myself and promise myself to be really careful at night. I did not, I forgive myself, I just told myself ‘shit happens’. I get a more realistic look of my condition and I feel optimistic and hopeful, that this is true. If this is something you cannot control, why spend time blaming yourself? I heard people mentioning this before, but I never thought this can apply to eczema as well. Because I always got the illusion that I have complete control and that is why I blame myself when it get worse. No, I do not have full control of my body, neither do you.

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Sometimes I am scared of My Darkside, Can I get rid of it?

*I’m sorry if the use of language in the video is a bit inappropriate*

 

Have a look at the mirror, me and my family look so alike. I mean physically we are so alike, it must be the genes. How about mentally? There must be some genes controlling as well, aren’t there?

Looking at my relatives who love to judge people.

Am I just one of them? Selfish, judgmental, making fun of others.

Thought they know so much more than anyone, thought no one can be better, thought the world owes them….

I get tired of thinking about them, but then, at the end of the day, maybe I am just one of them. Can I get rid of it?

 

Or in a family with depression, am I just one of them?

Will I get depression oneday? Am I born with it? Is this just coincidience if one day I get it too?

All the socialization and interactions with my relatives, all the genes, everything counts.

The chain of thought started to freak me out…

Can I run away from my family?

 

Or if I have the desire to be a murderer.

Am I born with it? Can I blame it to my genes? Can I get rid of it? Am I a shame to my family?

 

”Sometime I wonder what’s inside of me, 

 my family are hiding inside me,

I never know what I do know.

Running away is something we always done well,

Well and mostly I can’t even tell what I’m running from

Corpsed into ice, I cannot ,I cannot,I cannot, run from my family” ( from the lyrics)

 

Can I get rid of the dark side?

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I cannot find the answer, but a wise young man says something remarkable that keep me thinking —the accepance of our dark sides.

”Like all people, I have a “shadow,” and I have learned that the healthiest thing one can do is to integrate this darkness into one’s self.  If you reject it and abhor it, then you only repress it, and it only gets stronger when it is not acknowledged.

As I have experienced life, and learned how to increase my capacity for tolerance and compassion, so too has my capacity for darkness grown as well.  This is natural, because balance is the rule of nature.  In order to become more compassionate, I must also cultivate the capacity for more selfishness.  In order to be more tolerant, I must also cultivate my ability for intolerance and hatred.

This sounds scary, but it is not.  Because while we all have the capacity for both good and evil, it is our choice at every moment whether to engage in decent activities or engage in behaviors that will harm others.  I have long since come into the habit of choosing compassion over hatred, and peace of mind over anger. ”

By: Seraph1m

Written on December 26th, 2007 on http://www.experienceproject.com

view the whole passage here: http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Have-A-Dark-Side/116964

In Science, We Have an Assumption

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In science, there is a very big assumption, that if something is not yet proven right, we just assume them not right until they are proven. There are many aspects of our lives are affected by this mindset, believe it or not.

First, before you can get a job, you have to go through interviews, give proofs that you are confident and interested in the job and have the abilities required. Before that, give proofs that you have the right of abode by your Id card or visa, give proofs that you graduate from whatever school or college, give proofs that you….. May be in the future we even need proof that we are human beings.

Sounds ridiculous?

That’s how this society works.

‘Give proofs, or stay away!’ They said.

Competitions. Why compete? One of the reasons is to prove yourself, or to prove some people or to prove the whole world wrong. To give evidence to the whole world that you have some kind of ability. Why? Maybe you even don’t trust yourself you have the ability. If you know that’s right there, do you need to prove it? No, that’s stupid.

‘Evidence, give me evidence!’ They shouted.

Do you believe in things that cannot be proven by science? Like spiritual incidents, the existence of ghosts,… If you are a scientist with that assumption in mind, you will say no. ‘Those kinds of things are not scientific, I don’t believe them.’ you may argue. Oh, can you see that? You now become one of them, begging for evidence.

photo credit:http://www.redbrick.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/enjoy_science.jpg