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Shame and depth psychology

The study of the unconscious is about probing human experience, the inner work of stripping an individual down to his real self. An obstacle to this pursuit, however, is masculine shame - both the fact that man is ashamed, as well as the fact that he is even ashamed because he has not faced his shame. Shame can be used in the unpacking and disassembling of patriarchy, and the development of new meanings and metaphors for masculinity. Through it we may find a way forward, toward a respectful, unified, interdisciplinary integration of knowledge which does not simply steamroll over distinction and difference. Perhaps the recognition of this kind of shame can lead to a unification of Freud and Jung’s ideas on the basic problems of life, the synthesis of animal instinct and transcendence, body and spirit - the duality of Lilith that reconciles us to our human lot. And in this pursuit we can begin with what both Freud and Jung knew without a doubt: that the “return of the repressed” comes back with a vengeance, so the best we can hope for is to lessen the quantity of evil we spawn.

Thompson (1981) describes what he calls Seraph , a transcendent form of the Eternal Feminine created by the vibrations of music and mathematics. Her being manifests in a thousand eyes that glisten like facets of a diamond. Thompson’s being is an angelic one whose “consciousness is not polarized between crotch and crown, genitals and brain” [the masculine places shame has been repressed], but is “completely holographic.” This image evokes very different feelings than Cezanne’s Eternal Feminine, painted by the artist as a stripped female body with bloody eye sockets. By envisioning the inevitable shame of humanity in order to make it visible, mankind may be able to turn destructive energies to a creative use - diabolized eyes transfigured into diamond eyes. Besides, the enormity of our crises cannot afford the politics of masculine conquest and the garnering of power that has created them in the first place. We’ve been repeating the same societal plot of domination, power over, sadism, masochism, oppression and victimization - the projection of masculine shame and the denial of the maternal feminine - for many thousands of years. In this turn of the spiral of history masculine heroics of ego and materialism are self-destructive. Is it presumptuous to imagine that depth psychology might claim to be able to address a problem of this magnitude?

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