psyche

Psyche and her lover

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In the distant past physiology used to be a natural consequence of psychology. The cause of a physical disorder was to be found in the psyche. Later on it became the other way around and the physical aspects were leading in research into the psyche. This reversal turned the psyche into an external concept and inner processes were described on the basis of an external, mental logic. The psyche was subjected to intellectual logic. Psychological complaints were – among other things – suppressed with the effects that all kinds of chemical substances have on the body. The cause of the symptoms, however, was not resolved in this way. Nevertheless, the external psychology does have its assets. Nowadays the field of psychology is broadening somewhat. Many psychotherapists apply neurolinguistic programming, for instance, and mindfulness training is recommended and even scientifically researched. Other therapists may use ideas from karma and chakra psychology. There appears to be a greater awareness that emotions are not solely related to selfconsciousness, but may also be neutral reactions from the personality system. But what is, in fact, the psyche?

 

Psyche-Logos

In the word ‘psychology’ we recognise the ancient terms psyche and logic, or logos. Psyche is a reference for the soul, or breath of life. And the word ‘soul’ is, in ancient wisdom, an indication for a vehicle of the spirit. Logic stems from the Greek word logos and it is the science that deals with the formal rules of thinking. It strives for the right reasoning.

Another meaning of the word logos is ‘word’. Word, in the sense of a ‘secret word’, indicating an abstract creative principle. Every appearance, for instance, be it an atom or a universe, has a logos, a spirit. When the soul is fully inspired by the logos, it will inspire the personality with it. Hence, the soul is an intermediate reality between the abstract and the personality. It is the operation between cause and effect.

The following myth will show that there is a difference between the trinity logos-psyche-personality and our reality.

 

Myth

In the Greek mythology Psyche is represented as a royal daughter who is so beautiful, that nobody dares to marry her, on which the oracle indicated that she was destined to be the bride for an immortal lover who was waiting on the top of a mountain.

On this mountain top stood a marvellously beautiful castle, but she met her lover there only at night, in the dark. As Psyche’s sisters had told her that Psyche’s lover was a monster, Psyche begged him to stay until it would become light, so that she could see him. When, however, he did not respond to her request, she decided to use an oil lamp. The lamp revealed that the most beautiful of the gods was lying next to her. But a drop from the lamp fell on her lover, which awakened him and he instantly flew away, saying: ‘Love cannot live where there is no trust.’ And then Psyche found herself with her sisters on a desolate plain and her sisters died as they tried to climb the mountain again.

Psyche wanders around without food or drink, until Aphrodite gave her three impossible tasks. Every time Eros, her lover, appeared to have helped her. At her last failure as well, he helped her by touching her with one of his arrows. Finally Zeus sent Hermes to earth to fetch Psyche. When Psyche arrived at the Olympus, Hermes gave her a cup of ambrosia to drink, which made her immortal. Psyche and Eros were reunited, on which Hermes remarked that Eros would never be able to tear himself away from the problems he would get, but that their marriage would be eternal.

 

Restlessness

The myth, here in an abbreviated version, tells of a divine lover and the incIredibly beautiful Psyche, who comes from earth. Psyche was destined for an immortal lover and she was so stunningly beautiful that no mortal dared to marry her.

Psyche’s restlessness, after all, is a symptom of the vicinity of the logos, represented by Eros, for whom she is destined. Only there will she find rest. And here it is shown to us that Psyche does not yet know the game of immortal love. It is indeed her attempt to get to know Eros through her ‘I’, the ego, which makes her lose him. The myth tells how Psyche, in her urge to get to know her lover, focuses on the experience reality of her sisters and thus finds herself in a seemingly hopeless situation. In this myth we can read between the lines that there might be a different psychology, an actual ‘science of the soul’. Not a broadened psychology, but one that can cure the underlying ‘deep restlessness of the soul’ and therewith also that of the personality. While the personality suffers from its belief to be an ‘I’, the story enlightens how it could be cured of this impossible ‘disease’, for being inspired by the ego is a heavy burden for the personality.

 

Love

It is all about the unification of Psyche and Eros into a real human being. In other words: this psycho-logy has a different starting point. It is not anymore about primarily explaining, and perfecting selfconsciousness by selfconsciousness itself. In the logic of that lamplight the logos disappears from sight and mere nuances are changed within the I-condition, leaving the original disease untouched.

The ‘restlessness of the soul’ puts the person in an impossible situation if he tries to calm down the ego-inspiration using selfconsciousness. The immortal lover, after all, remains in the dark to the selfconsciousness. It is the unknowable that frightens the sisters. Fear is a strange counsellor , it leads Psyche from the mountain to the infertile plain, where she starves. Conversely, it is the invisible divine lover who nullifies Psyche’s inability and quenches her hunger and thirst for him. Psyche cannot force the unification in her state of being and her sisters die in a renewed attempt to climb the inner mountain.

Hence, the psychology that transmutes is already there; it comes from Eros. It can shed a light on the reality between the person and the unknowable and thus show what man essentially is. But Eros shows this to the soul in his own way. Outside of the ‘I’, the love ignites at this extraordinary meeting place on the mountain.

 

Hedonism

Besides ‘secret word’, the Greek ‘logos’ has yet another meaning: ‘lost word’. The lost word of the lover will inspire Psyche again in a new, infinite way. That is why the end of the myth (not cited here) tells about Hedone.

From the unification of Psyche and Eros a child comes forth known as the goddess Hedone. Hedone means pleasure and delight, which, of course, could be translated as a sensation that ‘someone’ has. After all, hedonism is about the question of what it is that gives the most delight. But contrary to the earthly delight, which is generally meant when people use the word ‘hedonism’, the issue here is infinite delight. This myth is very clear in this respect: the marriage is eternal. Hedone, the fruit from the unification in this myth, does not refer to relative delight. So it does not concern a type of ethic that someone practices as an attitude towards life; the ‘correct reasoning’ appears in the not-I. It is the unconditioned ‘silent joy’. Not an emotion that one is attached to. It is the free being, without cause or reason. It is what Sanskrit calls ananda. Thus we can find Eros, Psyche and Hedone in the sat-chit-ananda – the Old-Egyptian Osiris-Isis-Horus, the Latin animus-anima-persona and the Christian father-son-holy spirit. The real man: spirit, soul and body in one.

 

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