Living in two centuries, it is natural to long for the centuries of antiquity. The 20th century with the folks still alive who remembered the later half of the 19th century is a nostalgia that coincides with being young and wide-eyed. It was a world where happiness was 99% anticipation. Too young for regrets, the world laid endlessly ahead like a blank canvas stretched clear to the horizon.
As Exit from Narcissism begins to take shape, I am allowing myself the freedom to say that I am writing a book.
The central theme of this manual involves the study of duality as it presents itself in the form of mental conflict. It is important to keep in mind that mental-conflict bears little resemblance to neurosis or any other illness based model of the mind.
The brain/body matrix manifests the mind and that mind can not be reduced to a singularity. The human mind is experientially and subjectively a duality which is inherently in conflict. Nothing reduces to one. Anything can be split in two. The idea of oneness is both an illusion and a delusion. It is an illusion because our perspective is a projection of our own perceived oneness. We tend to look out onto the universe from the singular perspective of “I”. It is a delusion because we want the comfort of oneness, and we are prone to accept reality only after we have washed it with the suds of our perspective.
Both the perspective of “I” and the perspective of our deeper awarenesses co-exist with little to no consciousness of each other. The acknowledgement of duality is only experienced when the deeper nature is deliberately called up from consciousness by the ego we call, “I”.
We wander between and among perspectives against a backdrop. Awareness of our duality is barely noticed. A deliberate command can access the deeper perspective; however, long before we come to understand our nature of duality we have been subject to its massive potential for internal conflict.
Issues of morality and issues with authority plagued us long before we became conscious of our unconscious mind. Becoming conscious of the unconscious provides us with further information than we would have with consciousness alone. The idea that all behavior is purposeful and guides our decisions our thoughts,and feelings is a result of the academic study of duality. Beginning with Freud and Jung as the fathers of psychology we have moved through over a century of deciphering meaning from word and symbols.
Whether our mind is a burning cauldron of creation or an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge, there is no denying the conflict that arises as a simple and crucial aspect of living. All of our thoughts and sensations have a meaning. This fact we have inherited through the scientific and literary history of civilizations.
How are we to make use of this psychodynamic fact of life?
The meaning of conflict and our growing academic understanding of conflict as a question begs for an answer. It is equal in scope to what previous generations asked about the nature of pain in a world created by and all-good God. Conflict stands out from a backdrop of comfort and alerts us to an internal or external condition that requires our attention. Conflict can appear in the form of anxiety and is registered as a sensation or feeling that erupts into consciousness. Because it does not necessarily rush into consciousness with words what we experience is a sense of urgency and to make it worst, it is an urgency that provides no direction.
Because it is experienced as an intrusion, it is in our human nature to want to destroy it. It is the classic killing of the messenger. What ever meaning was intended is lost in the battle that ensues between perspectives of the mind. The unconscious knowledge is not wanted because it threatens to disturb the sleep of the world. We ignore or deny the knowledge of the deeper consciousness to protect the singularity of the ego. The ego does not want to be wrong and does not want to be caught in a less than perfect light. Since the ego is the position of the “I”, it carries a great deal of weight toward preventing knowledge from the body to impact the singularity of the self.
The resolution of conflict becomes what life is about. Resolving questions that arise from conflict promotes success and effectiveness. Recognizing the conflict within and applying resolution is the process of adult developmental psychology. Living is the perpetual resolution of conflict. It is deliberate and is never over until life is over.
Our task is not simply to live it is to live well within the parameters created by needing to resolve all the aspects of organic life. It is through the resolution of perpetual conflict–(when we are through taking a breath, we need to automatically resolve taking the next breath), that this successful application becomes the source of joy and enthusiasm.
To access the depths that are within requires a conscious contact, a deliberate attempt to find the source of the body knowledge that holds the DNA of our antiquities. It may seem a contradiction to invite in a perspective that may cause a conflict, but it is the resolution, not the denial of conflict that creates room for joy and contentment and happiness to thrive.
Living well is only difficult when we insist on our singularity. When we become comfortable with conflict as an aspect of the mind that will not go away, we can begin to understand the requirements necessary to govern ourselves. It is this understanding that psychoanalysis aims for. Having arrived at concluding a peace with inner conflict we will have achieved a level of adult development that we call maturity.