Friday, November 16, 2018

Symbolism: Wolf

[An overview will be written at some point in the future.]

The vulgarity of eating

Symbolism: Flying

[An overview will be written at some point in the future.]

The vulgarity of eating

Symbolism: Earth

[An overview will be written at some point in the future.]

The vulgarity of eating

Symbolism: Body

[An overview will be written at some point in the future.]

The vulgarity of eating

Symbolism: Food/eating

[An overview will be written at some point in the future.]

The vulgarity of eating

Reference: The vulgarity of eating

Because wolves are the personification of hunger – one is hungry as a wolf. So when he protects the corpse from the wolves, he [Nietzsche's]is protecting it from being eaten by the appetite in himself which he tries to forget. You will remember he says of his hunger before, “And all day it hath failed to come: where hath it been?” This means that he did not realize his hunger for his body; he forgot his body altogether. Therefore, the body died; he overcame it. But the hunger ought to convince him that he should eat his body; then he would return to his humanity and become an ordinary human being. If you want to be an extraordinary human being, don’t eat: people who eat become vulgar. Therefore, many people make a point of not eating before others.


Sipphas [followers of a religious sect] believe that it is indecent to feed before each other, so they turn their backs when they eat, or find a place where nobody sees them. To them it is just as indecent as the opposite functions of the body. Eating before others is understood by many people as a sort of taboo; there is mana in it which can easily turn into its own opposite. And here Zarathustra protects his body against the wolves because he tries to make sure that his sanctity or his superiority shall not become injured through the vulgarity of eating, which would put him down to the level of common humanity. To fill himself with physical matter would make him heavy and he could not dance any longer. He could not fly, he would be fettered to the earth. Therefore, in ascetic forms of religion people refrain from eating in order to attain spirituality; in a certain season of the year, or on certain day of the week, they make themselves light by not filling the stomach. They assume that in eating they consume all the dirt of the earth and are fettered by the earth by the heaviness of the belly. So eating is a sort of symbolism…

- C.G. Jung, Nietzsche's Zarathustra


See also:
Anorexia Mirabilis

Friday, November 9, 2018

Symbolism: Diagonal lines

Diagonal lines give a feeling of dynamism, as well as a lack of balance. By comparison, vertical lines are associated with righteousness and moral rectitude; they are “upright.” From the post on the symbolism of the plumb line, which measures the vertical line:
Plumb-lines are reliable and objective, and offer the user a true vertical reference. They’re also a measure of an “upright” life, and helps us judge our actions based on objective standards.

"Isaiah 28:16-17: In verse 17, the plumb-line is defined as justice and righteousness. We have seen that already in our word “upright,” a synonym of “vertical.” What is upright is righteous, and God will judge according to that standard. He will set us up so that we can see—and He can see—how close we are adhering to godly judgment and right doing. He and we will see how much we are living by the standard.

"Amos 7:7-9: In construction, the plumb-line tests whether what was erected is perpendicular to the square, that is, if it is straight up and down, if it is upright. It provides a standard against which one can measure what he has built. Metaphorically, when God draws near with the plumb-line, He is looking for those people who are living and abiding in His grace and His law. The Israelites' moral standards had degenerated, so their religious profession was not verified by the right kind of works. They were not upright; they failed the test."

John W. Ritenbaugh, “Prepare to Meet Your God!”

"The 'Plumb' admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the Square of Virtue, ever remembering that we are traveling upon the Level of Time, toward 'that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns.'  The divine requirement for uprightness and rectitude in all walks of life."
Symbolism: Plumb-bob

Diagonal lines also suggest motion:
Diagonal lines are unbalanced. They are filled with restless and uncontrolled energy. They can appear to be either rising or falling and convey action and motion. Their kinetic energy and apparent movement create tension and excitement. Diagonal lines are more dramatic than either horizontal or vertical lines.

Diagonal lines can also appear solid and unmoving if they are holding something up or at rest against a vertical line or plane.

Compared with vertical lines:
Vertical lines are perpendicular to the horizon. They are filled with potential energy that could be released if they were to fall over. Vertical lines are strong and rigid. They can suggest stability, especially when thicker. Vertical lines accentuate height and convey a lack of movement, which is usually seen as horizontal.

They stretch from the earth to the heavens and are often connected with religious feelings. Their tallness and formality may give the impression of dignity.
The Meaning of Lines: Developing A Visual Grammar (Vanseo Design)

The diagonal line is one of my favorites. Unlike the steady vertical or placid horizontal, it’s the line of dynamic energy and motion. It's the relationship of the diagonal line to the frame edges of the image that gives it energy. Something is going up, or coming down. It’s a rocket shot into the air and the fall of a roller coaster.

A diagonal line tends to create triangular shapes as it interacts with the frame, thereby creating the sensation of  “three’s.” The number 3 is psychologically powerful, sometimes even mystical. Think of parents and child, the love triangle, the Pyramids, the Holy Trinity. Think of the Three Stooges and the Three Little Pigs.

Diagonals are most interesting when they interact with horizontal lines and an opposing diagonal, which creates complex sets of triangles that may converge on an element in the image, lead the eye in different directions, or create an intricate mosaic and constellation of facets, like crystals. Long diagonals may create big triangles that act as arrows that lead the eye to the corners of the image, which may or may not be a good thing.

Although some people think that strong diagonal lines can be too obvious and a bit contrived, they do catch the eye and drive home a point. More subtle diagonals created by delicate lines, background patterns, or psychological connections among elements (like a person’s line of sight), can lend a subliminal feeling of energy to the image.
The Diagonal Line (True Center Publishing)

Diagonal lines are lines of movement; compared to vertical or horizontal lines, they are dynamic, either going up or sliding down. They also suggest a certain moral flexibility, compared to the “upright” vertical line, or the lackadaisical horizontal line.

(Image from True Center Publishing)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Symbolism: Eyebrows

Eyebrows seem to express one's personality - sharp, angular eyebrows, or softly rounded ones; high eyebrows or low - when one thinks of a face, their eyebrows tell a story about that person's character.

In Chinese physiognomy eyebrows are one way to determine a person's temperament[1]:
  • People with long eyebrows are righteous, helpful, and friendly. those with short eyebrows are restrained and have few friends.
  • Thick (as in width) eyebrows are masculine, active, impulsive, and focused on the big picture. Narrow eyebrows are feminine, passive, indecisive, and detail oriented.
  • Dense eyebrows are sweet-tempered and active, although if overly bushy they're cunning and self-centered. Sparse eyebrows are cool and unemotional.
  • High eyebrows are sweet-tempered and family oriented. Low eyebrows are realistic and consider immediate rather than long term interests.

From an excerpt of Lauren Valenti's article "What Your Eyebrows Say About You,":
1. Curved: "A creative person." 2. Straight: "A confident and assertive person — if a woman has straight brows she can be quite masculine." 3. Angled: "Sensitive and private, but women with apex eyebrows can also be stubborn." 

1. Bushy: "Masculinity and an excess of male hormones in a woman's body. If the hair is shiny, it reflects an individual with high sexual energy." 2. Thin: "A feminine, gentle personality."

1. High: "If they are too high, they are dreamers." 2. Low: "They look too carefully at everything and often don't have time for others."

"What Your Eyebrows Say About You," Lauren Valenti (Marie Claire, November 2014)

In style identity (David Kibbe's system is popular but there are many), examining one's features tells us what fashion style helps us look our best. Although our actual personality may be different, each style identity is definitely associated with a certain kind of temperament. The styles are:

Dramatic: These people appear to be intense and theatrical
Grace Jones

Natural: Laid back and friendly

Jennifer Anniston

Gamine: Playful and boyish

Audrey Hepburn

Classic: Proper and reserved

Zhang Ziyi

Ingenue: Sweet and girlish
Elle Fanning

Romantic: Sexy and confident

Christina Hendricks

Ethereal: Spiritual and otherwordly

Cate Blanchett
(From "Style Identities," (Truth is Beauty))

Of course, while one's style identity can be different from one's actual personality, it definitely does give a certain impression to others. Someone who's dramatic will be judged to be unconventional and perhaps over-the-top, while an ingĂ©nue will probably be assumed to be sweet and adorable (even if these things aren't true). Eyebrows are an important part of this perceived personality typing.

The only thing about eyebrows in mythology or religion that I could find was the proscription against plucking eyebrows in Islam:
Hair which we are forbidden to remove, which includes the eyebrows. The action of removing the hair of the eyebrows is called al-namas. It is also forbidden to remove the hair of the beard.

The evidence for that is the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Allaah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows (al-naamisah) and the one who has it done (al-mutanammisah), and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allaah.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5931; Muslim, 2125)
- Islam Question and Answer

Here eyebrows, or altering them, is seen as a way to heighten a woman's sexual appeal. This seems to go along with the Muslim practice of women covering themselves. These are both seen as ways to for a woman to preserve her modesty.[2]

There's another element to the proscription; it can also be interpreted as encouraging people to be natural, be oneself, the self that God gave you. It is rejecting what society tells you. Others may say that something about you is a flaw, but that thing comes from the Self and is, therefore, a part of the authentic you. To try to change that is an offense against the Self, and your truth. Look at Cara Delevigne, or how important Frida Kahlo's unusual eyebrows were to her art, and her self-expression. Painting herself with her thick, unconventional eyebrows was a statement to the world, that she'd rather be herself than fit society's idea of what was beautiful... and that arguably made her even more beautiful.
Some people are beautiful in appearance and some are not; that’s just how it is and the entire matter is entirely in the hand of Allaah. Therefore, it is essential that you be patient and seek reward with Allaah, and not transgress His sacred limits for the sake of your looks. Just think….even if the whole world were to tell you that you look beautiful with your eyebrows shaped, would it even be worth a dot or an atom, if in Allaah’s eyes you were ugly? And if the whole world were to tell you that you are ugly, would it really matter as long as you were beautiful in front of Allaah????
- "Plucking Eyebrows: A topic we pretend does not exist," by Asma bint Shameem

So, eyebrows reveal (or seem to reveal) one's temperament and personality. In addition, highly groomed eyebrows are associated with sexuality, while natural ones are modest, further adding to the association of eyebrows with personality. What a person does with their eyebrows is a reflection of how they present themselves; do they "shape" their eyebrows/personality to fit societal values? Or do they present themselves in a natural, authentic way?

1. Meanings of Eyebrows in Physiognomy
2. "What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it?," (Arabs In America)

Outside link:
Face the Truth - What Can You Tell Just by Looking at Someone?
Narcissists have thicker, denser, more distinct eyebrows, according to a new study
Whom do we fear or trust? Faces instantly guide us, scientists say

Friday, October 26, 2018

Jungian Views on Aging Pt. 9: The purpose of suffering

This is a final part of an edited series of a talk by Lionel Corbett. To read the entire series, start here.
What about suffering in late life? As [Edward] Eddinger points out suffering in any age can be understood by the ego as the attempts of the Self to incarnate. The way it feels to the ego when we’re suffering is unpleasant but it’s often simply God trying to incarnate. It means this process trying to occur from below so to speak, because the ego doesn’t know the intention of the Self. If the ego knew the intention of the Self it wouldn’t hurt so much. Jung writes about this; he says as we extend our consciousness into the unconscious we contact spheres of a not yet transformed God, so as the ego in later life brings this material up and thinks about it and articulates it, that helps to transform the Self or helps to transform the as yet unconscious God, or aspects the Self. I don’t mean God literally here, I mean the way Jung meant it, as an image of God in the psyche, or the Self.

The losses of old age, which seem very painful, actually enhance our own differentiation. As Jane Will writes, we have to take back our projections from the world. We project onto the world the way we think it is. When all those things die off those projections have to be taken back, and we see things the way they really are. We have to find what was lost on the outside, symbolically, on the inside. That’s the idea of finding the whole world in the microcosm, or, as the Gospel of St. Thomas also says; whoever finds himself is superior to the world.

See also:

Jungian Views on Aging, by Lionel Corbett
Maggie Kuhn
Joseph Henderson, Thresholds of Initiation
Heinz Kohut
Erik Erikson
Ellen Cole, The New Old Age

Friday, October 19, 2018

Jungian Views on Aging Pt. 8: “I am God’s child and son and He is mine”

This is a continuation of an edited series of a talk by Lionel Corbett. To read the entire series, start here.
Now I want to talk about the transformation of the Self, or the transformation of God, and the creation of consciousness in late life. In the second part of life you don’t need to be as rigid about yourself as you do in the first part of life. In the first part of life to build the ego, to build reality and a place in the world you have to develop preferentially. But you can let go some of that defensiveness and rigidity in late life. You can widen your identity and your sense of who you are, and the more you do that the more you discover your full potential, of course.

Now, all your full potential was present when you were a baby, and what you’re trying to do now is realize more of it in late life. You had to sacrifice it for the sake of adaptation and ego development. There’s nothing wrong with that. The child is often imaged by Jung as a symbol of the Self. Jung also talks about the hermaphrodite as a symbol of the child because the child is sexually undifferentiated; he’s the equivalent of Freud’s polymorphous perversity. It’s an image of pre-consciousness in early childhood, and of course what he calls the post-conscious essence of the child by analogy is an image of life after death.

Anyway, the child is an image of psychic wholeness but undifferentiated and relatively unconscious. Just as there’s an inner child, or an archetype of the divine child, so I believe there’s an archetype of aging, or an inner elder. Just as the child can be imaged as hermaphroditic, in an undifferentiated sense, or certainly the fetus can, so the old person can be imaged here ideally as androgynous. That’s one of the meaning of the phrase “God gets younger; as we get older God gets younger;” the Self in late life becomes as androgynous as the Self in childhood.

So the dream images God as an androgyne, and invites the dreamer to develop likewise. If she takes her rightful place in this relationship she’ll complete the analogy of divine to human. God gets younger also refers to the fact that the Self in late life becomes more similar to the primal Self, the Self in infancy, because that Self in infancy contains all potentials but without the boundaries and the categories. What ego consciousness does is it makes categories, but they weren’t there in infancy. In both cases, the Self in infancy and the Self in adulthood, all those opposites and conflicts are all there but in late life the Self is incarnated, it’s come into flesh. It’s come into the world. It doesn’t just exist as potential, it’s been transformed by human consciousness, by ego.

Individuation means on the one hand incarnation, and on the other hand differentiation. It means both. As the images come up from the unconscious throughout life as revelation, that makes new consciousness possible, and new ego consciousness makes that process happen. The ego/Self relationship is circular: the Self births the ego in childhood - the ego somehow comes out of the Self - but then in late life the ego returns the compliment. It’s as if God makes the baby in childhood, but in late life it’s reversed because as ego consciousness develops it helps more Self to come into the world. The Self in the baby of course is very old - it’s Jung’s 200 million year old man - but it’s relatively unconscious as far as the baby’s ego is concerned. So, by realizing its potential the developing ego allows the Self to constantly get born, and this is what Meister Eckhart means by “the birth of God.”

One of the major difficulties that we have is the ego thinks that ego knows how the individual ought to be. The difficulty in old age is that the losses of old age and the physical changes of old age change our identity, and we get very upset. But we are not who we think we are. It’s very important for us to let go of our ego ideas of who we think we are and not have too fixed a smaller self-concept because we need to discover more how the Self thinks the ego ought to be. So the function of old age is the culmination of this lifelong process of clarification, what Freud and Scott Maxwell calls “discovering your essence,” and making conscious all your disparate parts of yourself with the aid of ego consciousness, or, as Jung says, helping the creator to become conscious of his creation. Or developing the ego into a model of the Self, which it really is, or as he quotes Silesius: “I am God’s child and son and He is mine.” That’s what that means psychologically. The Self that’s present at birth can become more conscious of itself throughout life. Then psychological development and spiritual development are absolutely synonymous, only the words are different, but the process is the same.
Concluded in Part 9.

See also:

Jungian Views on Aging, by Lionel Corbett