Allan Cooperstein, Ph.D. (author of (Unpublished Manuscript)
Stasis, Creativity and Personal Evolution
The excessive demands of today’s society exact a heavy toll on the individual in terms of increased stress and the need to make rapid, constant adjustments to changing personal, economic, social, and political conditions. More than ever before the needs to incorporate and process information, to make hurried decisions, to live a pressured, harried lifestyle have escalated. Stress has become a catchword on the lips of many and has figured into the dramatic increase in the use of minor tranquilizers. The upcropping of tension-reduction therapies and stress-management workshops, the growing interest in biofeedback, yoga, and meditation testify to the rising need, for those living in western society, for adjustment to ever-accelerating demands made upon them in their daily routine of living.
As we attempt to adapt and survive within fast-paced social, business, professional and personal life areas, many have become aware of the detrimental physical and psychological effects of their tremulous existences and have sought some means of escape from their hectic pace to the point of sacrificing established careers, or life-paradigms. “Dropping out” was, at one time, more a phenomenon to be found among the youth of the Sixties. Today, it can be seen occurring in established, middle-aged individuals, some having abandoned a former lifestyle entirely in order to execute dramatic career changes. In some cases, secure and lucrative situations are left behind in order to seek out a more satisfying, simplified and less stressful adaptation to life.
What are some of the factors involved in this evolving social and psychological change? What is it that many are running from…and what are they moving toward? Why should it be that the “American Dream” of material success, financial security and professional achievement is, for a growing number of individuals, a unidimensional and shallow form of being?
Elgin, in “The Third American Frontier: the Evolution of Consciousness and the Transformation of Society”(1977) aptly describes the social change as “..a frontier of social and individual change… It is the frontier of the person exploring, in community with others, the next stage of human possibility.”(p.234). Among the goals needed in this transition, he calls for a “..self realization ethic that asserts that our proper goal is the evolutionary development of our fullest human potential.” Elgin cites, as three basic features of contemporary living, increased stress associated with social change, our living environments and decision-making environments. Finally, he says “To become an able decision maker within such complex supersystems requires the processing of ever-greater amounts of information, faster learning and relearning of new skills, and increasing creativity to deal with novel situations.”(p.237).
This paper is focused on an understanding of creativity (and its loss) within the individual. It is not my intent to explore or analyze the dynamics of the creative process itself in any great detail. More in-depth excursions can be found in such works as The Nature of Human Intelligence ( Guilford , 1967), Stimulating Creativity (Stein, 1974), The Creative Process (Ghiselin, 1952), Creative Person and Creative Process (Barron,1969) and The Act of Creation(Koestler,1964). I would rather lay a foundation based upon the â priori assumption that all individuals possess creativity to a greater or lesser degree and the matrix of factors which make up creative functioning, whether manifested in one’s personal or vocational life, and is subject to intrapsychic and socially-imposed limitations.
“Normal” Adjustment and the Loss of Self
The diminution or loss of creative functioning and the petrification of personal and professional evolution are phenomena commonly associated with the advent of middle age. However, it is not restricted to that period. For that reason we might question whether creative stasis is somehow related to a “normal” social psychological process.
It is significant that Maslow (1968) suggests that normal adjustment “..implies a continued successful rejection of much of the depths of human nature, both conative and cognitive. To adjust well to the world of reality means a splitting of the person” (p.142, italics added). In his view, Maslow asserts that the so-called normalcy of societal adjustment involves elements of defense: defense against seeing too much or too little; defense against presenting one’s self as too liberal or too radical; defense against the emotions and thoughts that would lead from a position of seeming security (and stagnation) to a more vital, novel, yet threateningly insecure set of new environmental demands. A pernicious, flattening adjustment is called for, a procrustean bed upon which not only aspects of the self are lopped off but, in the service of security, the victim willingly participates in a self-inflicted deindividuation.
In Creativity – The magic Synthesis, Arieti (1976) considers the appearance and disappearance of creativity during the average life. He says:
At a certain time in the life of many individuals, generally toward
the middle years but at times as early as the middle twenties, a
sense of discouragement prevails. The individual feels he will
never be able to create. He must give up. Often, on closer
examination, we recognize that persons of this type have been
handicapped by a grandiose image of themselves… Early in life
they conceived of a grandiose self that would live up to great
ambitions and expectations… with the passage of time the person
realizes that he will not accomplish these great deeds: he then
considers himself a failure, and lives the rest of his days in a state
of renunciation (p. 380).
Although I agree with Arieti (and the homage he pays to Karen Horney’s concepts of the “Ideal Self” versus the “Actual Self”), the general pattern described by his statement calls for qualification. There is a pathological aura in his use of the term “grandiose”. This word connotes deviant levels of inflated and possibly delusional goals. The hopes, dreams and aspirations of youth are quite normal. However, bruised and abraded by personal, social and, most importantly, educational “realities socially-sanctioned limitations erode earlier targets for achievement. The anxiety-based need to adapt to consensually defined “normal” existence for the sake of acceptance and security supplants earlier desires. Risks considered worth taking as a youth are pushed aside with greater and greater conformity to the prevailing societal norms with a growing loss of zeal or passion for life.
Bühler and Allen (1972) seem to touch upon the deeply emotional aspect of, and struggle towards, creativity: “The ecstasy of creative vision and creative struggle is the only one comparable to the ecstasy of orgasmic love” (p.48). They (Ibid. p. 48) describe four basic tendencies in life which, upon closer examination, provide an interesting construct to consider: “(1) the tendency to strive for personal satisfaction in sex, love, ego recognition; (2) the tendency toward self-limiting adaption for the purpose of fitting in, belonging, and gaining security; (3) the tendency toward self-expression and creative accomplishments, and (4) the tendency toward integration or order-upholding.” Clearly, these authors do notsubscribe to a simplified Freudian notion of creativity as drive-reducing and reactive in order to maintain homeostasis. Instead, they address themselves to the notion of the individual as a proactive, striving entity, attempting to tread the midline between assertive actions directed towards the satisfaction of personal (physical and psychological) and self- expressive (creative) needs while attempting to adapt (conform, gain security) and uphold order (build and maintain structure).
These need sets are often treated as dichotomous and mutually exclusive: the individual either gratifies their needs for growth and expression or their needs for conformity and conservation. I would suggest that, much like the Piagetian concepts of accommodation and assimilation, both processes are operative reciprocally throughout childhood and adolescence. Upon entering adulthood however, the shift is dramatically towards the conservative end of the spectrum, accompanied by a loss of degrees of freedom, and a diminished capacity to adapt to novel situations.
Viewing the Bühler-Allen polarity from another perspective, Maslow(1968) refers to deficiency needs (D-needs) and growth or becoming needs (B-needs), indicating that we must “..become more fully aware of the fixative and regressive power of ungratified deficiency-needs, of the attractions of safety and security, of the functions of defense and protection against pain, fear, loss, and threat, of the need for courage in order to grow ahead” (p. 46). Further, he claims “We grow forward when the delights of growth and anxieties of safety are greater than the anxieties of growth and the delights of safety” (Ibid. p.47). For Maslow, heavily influenced by Kurt Goldstein’s work with the brain-injured, the individual struggles against the simultaneous, oppositional pulls of safety (decreased risk) and growth (increased risk). It is a struggle for authenticity as man “..not only transcends himself in various ways; he also transcends his culture. He resists enculturation. He becomes more detached from his culture and from his society” (Maslow, Ibid.,p.12).
The resulting growth vector stemming from the resolution or integration of oppositions is reminiscent of the Freudian struggle between the demands of the id against the limits of reality, causing a coping structure-the ego–to evolve. Yet within a humanistic framework, another dimension, the dimension of Self (the inner, core being versus the socially-formed self), must be considered. The two lines of thought interrelate by virtue of the struggle necessary for the birth of creative self evolution. The pain, insecurity, joy and power are part of a process necessary in freeing one’s being from the created consensually- approved self one has created in order to move towards the new form that one may yet become. May (1972), says that “Being is manifested only in the process of actualizing its power; otherwise how could we even be aware of it, let alone know its ramifications: Power becomes actualized in those situations in which opposition is overcome” (p.144). May seems to imply that power is the focused means through which the creativity of one’s essential being effects personal, interpersonal, and environmental changes, creating (or recreating) one’s own reality as a reflection of the actualizing self. That power–and its direction–makes manifest, through Being the unmanifest creative potential which is part of the process of Becoming. And with each manifestation there is an affirmation of the self being born into existence.
Without resolution of the oppositions, without giving vent to the inner pressures to grow in some actual, change-oriented way, tensions can only mount and seek negative expression through emotional reactions or as psychosomatic distress. Complaints of anxiety and depression are quite common in our society although those who report such symptoms may often not understand why they are experiencing them.
With a strong procrustean pull towards enculturation through conformity to social expectations on the one hand, what lies at the other pole as a counterforce? How is one to seek the Self that was lost or laid aside in countless instances of self-submergence in order to reclaim the creative birthright that was once its own?
Br’er Rabbit and the Myth of Proteus
Lifton (1972) identifies the counterforces and offers a suggestion for their resolution:
One response is to break open one’s life psychologically, to
engage in extensive experimentation in one’s living patterns. This
response produces what I call “protean man”, recalling the figure
of Proteus in Greek mythology, who was able to change his shape
with relative ease–we see in the protean style an interminable
series of experiments and explorations, some shallow, some
profound–abandoned in favor of still newer psychological
guests. This fluid identification to identification, whether with
people or ideas or groups or communities, seems to be less
painful, less difficult for people now (especially the young) than it
would have been for earlier generations. It is not completely
painless, however, since it is also characterized by new, more
vague, forms of guilt and anxiety protean man often feels anxious
but is not sure of the source of the anxiety” (pp. 80-81).
Lifton’s proposal appears to have much validity. For many, their life-paradigm, the silent ground or backdrop against which their life is played out has lost its meaning or value. Many of the motives that contributed towards their current existence have slipped beneath the surface of awareness leaving behind a slick of vague dissatisfaction, shifting, low-level resentments and diffuse feelings of constraint. There is however, a positive side to the emotional distress. The existence of symptoms are, in fact, “signals” which, according to Flach (1975),are a precursor to insight into the condition(s) which led to the upheaval. He refers to depression as “..a common prelude to the creative moment.”(p.9). It is as if subconscious (or preconscious) currents are converging, shifting, seeking some route to conscious awareness and expression. Although options for a protean approach to life are unseen, the need is making its presence felt.
Lifton’s suggestion, i.e. to “break open” one’s life psychologically, sounds somewhat rash and abrupt. Much as I agree that a shift from the procrustean to the protean pole is called for—even in the “normally adjusted”—consideration must be given to those intrapsychic and social support factors that maintain the individual, albeit unhappily, as he or she may be. Awareness of these defenses provide some degree of insight into how the person has elected to defend against environmental threats as well as those originating from within.
Elucidating an existential point of view, Rychlak (1973) states that for Medard Boss, “..’defense’ means that the individual is unwilling to become aware of a certain world-relationship which is under lumination. The more he tries to defend himself against this lumination, however, the more certain that the individual will adhere to it, be involved with it, and become unable to free himself from its import. He really cannot escape it through defensive maneuvers and in no case can he ‘hide’ his real character from its world oneness”(p. 458). The description finds an eloquent parallel in the story of “Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby” in which the rabbit’s initially frustrating contacts with the misperceived and misunderstood object cause an ever-increasing entanglement that finally engulfs him through his angry attempts to pull free.
In a related way, the individual seeking “lamination” engages aspects of himself, long forgotten or never before realized. Experiencing this in the Now, these aspects could be perceived as ego-dystonic (not belonging to one’s self), as if they were alien, frightening, and beyond control. Consequently, by procrustean standards, they must be excised. To do so, however, means to defend against awareness of these newly emerging possibilities for the Self, and it is through the use of such defenses that the fixation and regression (mentioned earlier by Maslow), occur.
The nature of these defenses and their origin merits some attention. Although their use indicates that a “Me – Not me” choice has been made, it is naive to assume that they derive purely from an inherent psychogenic origin.
Wilhelm Reich and the Protean Shift
Among early theorists, Wilhelm Reich (1972) offers rather interesting concepts bearing upon the origin and nature of defenses. Although once a student under Freud in the classic psychoanalytical tradition, Reich was an innovator who was not only keenly sensitive to the shortcomings of analysis as practiced by Freud, but a social critic and political activist as well. Of primary interest here is his remarkable awareness that, although one may have forgotten, repressed or suppressed innumerable compromises of the Self, the character would still maintain a record of events and the tolls paid for adjustment. Etched on, or molded into, the ego (self) would be the fossilized remnants of one’s capitulations to the demands of society.
Basing his fundamentals of character analysis heavily upon a Freudian anlage, or foundational principle, Reich (1972) says of the ego’s struggle as a buffer between primordial id impulses and the environment:
..the ego, in its efforts to mediate between the inimical parties for the purposes of survival, introjects the suppressive objects of the outer world, as a matter
of fact, precisely those objects which frustrate the id’s pleasure principle, and retains them as moral arbiters, as the superego. Hence, the mortality of the ego… is an alien component borrowed from the intruding and menacing outer world.” (p. 170).
Further, Reich says it is “…as if the affective personality put on armor, a rigid shell on which knocks from the outer world as well as the inner demands rebound,” (Edwards, 1977, p. 45). Finally, Nagler (1967) comments that Reich conceived of the defenses taking on “..an automatic mode of reaction,…a rigidity which produces a loss in psychic and physical elasticity.(p.379).
Reich postulates that the polar conflict remains as an internalized constituent of the psyche and may even find expression in the physical structure of the individual. However, he is strongly emphasizing the role of society and its repressive aspects as the major contributor of causes in the development of defenses and their incorporation within a “character armor.” This armoring may then be seen as “..the crystallization of the sociological process of a given epoch.” (Ibid. p. 379)
Questionable as many of his concepts may be (especially in the latter phases of his life), Reich’s attentiveness to the ground of the therapeutic encounter, the nonverbal gestures, mannerisms, muscular tensions, posture, added significantly to a more holistic appreciation of the individual, no longer seen as merely a symptom-generating mechanism. His humanistic leanings are described by Rycroft (1972) who states:
Reich’s advocacy of character analysis in addition or in preference to symptom analysis and dream interpretation also contributed to the realization that the therapeutic effect of psychotherapy derive not from the unearthing of traumatic memories or from the correct interpretation of dreams and symptoms but from the nature of the relationship which develops between analyst and patient… Reich opened up the possibility of discovering what really goes on between them and contributed significantly to the idea that psychotherapy really consists in a confrontation or an encounter between two real, live people. As a result, his work constitutes a formative though not always acknowledged influence … on the existentialist, contractual, and ‘encounter’ schools of psychotherapy” (p. 24).
I suspect that here, based on a Reichian foundation–although Reich was not, per se, a creativity theorist–the beginnings of the protean shift takes place. In the confrontation between therapist and client, the individual comes face-to-face with a mirror reflecting back the self he has constructed to meet past needs to adapt. Most significantly, he is encountering a representative from that society whose implicit norms and expectations have become anachronistic psychological introjects. It is in this therapeutic meeting, that a feedback loop will finally be closed, permitting the client to become aware of his own defenses and the obstructions to growth. Further, with a resolve to break free of the pupae-like casing comes the inevitable anxiety of growth into a world that the client alone must create; a world consisting of a philosophy within which levels—rather than a singularity–of consciousness exist, where creativity is valued, where a sense of universalism is to be found.
I would like to speculate for a moment on one of the questionable fundamentals of Reichian analysis and its theoretical implications in relation to the reclamation of creative functioning in the evolving protean individual: the significance of orgasm. Essentially, Reich took the position that societal introjects were largely responsible for the proliferation of neuroses and character aberrations through attempts made by the individual to stave off expression of impulses considered by Reich to be, in the main, sexual and related to Oedipal conflicts. Thus, at the root of all neuroses Reich identified the controls imposed upon sexual expression.
As a physician, Reich tried to link the psychological to the biological and, in a manner of speaking, succeeded. His failure, however, lay chiefly in not recognizing that sexuality was one crude form of a procreative or creative process. Narrowly centered only upon sexual expression and biased by Freud’s influence, the Spirit of the Times and, perhaps neurosis, he seems to have overlooked basic, biological data that would have diffused the sexual emphasis and subsumed it within a greater, more acceptable and productive gestalt.
First, sexuality is founded upon an openness to the reception of and reaction to sensual stimuli. Second, the capacity of an individual to respond spontaneously is a function of the degree of their inhibitions, or the absence of them. Finally, orgasmic capacity is largely reflexive; presence of cognitive or emotional inhibitions can obstruct or block orgasm. Sexuality can be used as an index of one form of disinhibition, for the natural, loving, spontaneous, playful elements of sex are in some ways qualitatively linked to creativity. It is this qualitative similarity that Bühler and Allen (1972) address when they compare the “ecstasy of creative struggle” with the “ecstasy of orgasmic love.”
Once sensitized and accepting of the defenses used to stabilize the world, to ward off environmental or intrapsychic threats to stability, there then comes the need to understand, respect and differentiate (with some degree of discrimination) among the types of consciousness one habitually uses or avoids.
Carl Jung: Further Evolution towards Healing, Holism and Consciousness
Carl Jung (1970) draws from medicine, biology, psychology, history, anthropology, mythology and other esoteric areas in order to synthesize a unique topography and set of dynamics of consciousness in an “open” system with transpersonal potential. Jung considered consciousness to be the “tip of the iceberg” with the average person being capable of only a limited, conscious awareness. Beneath, were layers of unconscious materials. He used dream analysis, word association and active imaginations as the mediums through which the mute unconscious could make itself heard, firmly asserting that the unconscious processes could only be inferred only indirectly.
Jung’s therapeutic process normally consisted of three phases. After establishing a face-to-face dialectical process calling for spontaneity and involvement between therapist and patient, the phase of Catharsis is begun. In this phase, the emotionally-charged and problematic elements are revealed. The second phase—Elucidation–calls for the therapist to interpret past behaviors and deal with issues of positive and negative transference. It is in this phase that, in agreement with Reich’s character analytic approach, the therapist is truly dealt with as a representative of the social system from which the client comes. It is during this phase that the frustrating or gratifying aspects of society will be reflexively projected onto the therapist and the client will react to the image and set of expectations he has himself created. Here, Jung’s Personal Unconscious material surfaces, exposing the exemplars upon which the individual has based his existence. Education is the third phase, calling upon the client to utilize his newly acquired awarenesses in a valuing way to reconstruct, by conscious choice, the direction to be pursued or the self-actualizing direction to be sought after.
It seems clear that, in gaining awareness of his many compromises of Self, in the free interpersonal relationship between therapist and client and in their joint search for the basic underpinnings of the client’s life, that an opportunity is made available for the client to be himself, to provide as authentic a presence as is possible. In being one’s Self and finding acceptance with at least one other significant person, comes the freedom to entertain other potential selves; larger gestalts of being in the world springing from the positive ground of the therapeutic relationship. It becomes part of a protean shift.
For Jung, psychotherapy is a growth-oriented process. Flach (1975) states that “..the goal of Jungian psychotherapy centers on the development of a new equilibrium among a variety of inner psychological forces, especially “archetypal” sources’ which are viewed as the fundamental wellsprings of creative human endeavor” (p. 3). It seems that with the freeing-up of the individual with the gradual disengagement from the matrix of conventions, there is a release of “..creative energy… in forms which society normally considers creative” (Ibid. p. 3). Whether such creative expression is in the arts or sciences is beside the point. What is most significant is that human potential has been released for expression through acts of will and power in those forms inherently meaningful and specific to the individual.
To contemplate the “archetypal sources” mentioned by Flach it is necessary to consider three overall elements of Jung’s topography of consciousness in a highly simplified format.
Fig. 1 Simplified model of Jung’s topography of consciousness*
Unlike Freud, Jung believed that the unconscious was largely accessible to consciousness. However, he discriminated between the Personal Unconscious and the Collective Unconscious. The Personal Unconscious “..is that part of the psyche containing all the things that could just as well be conscious” (Jung, 1970, p. 48). This repository of preconscious data contains “..recognizable material of a definitely personal origin; these contents are individual acquisitions or products of instinctive processes that make up the personality as a whole. Furthermore, there are forgotten or repressed contents, and creative contents” (Ibid. p. 40).
The Personal Unconscious represented the dusty archives of one’s personal history. Contents range from easily accessible, neutral unconscious data–such as the shoe one habitually puts on first in the morning–to the locked and guarded files on perceived defects in one’s own character, shameful or immoral self-incriminating acts or fantasies. It is within the Personal Unconscious that we not only defend ourselves from our own thoughts and feelings, but also where we store the introjects of society–the watcher at the gate of awareness–used to inhibit inappropriate’ behavior and prevent further additions to the negatively-tinged aspects of our personal chronicles. The Personal Unconscious is also the factory for the creation of the Persona; the masks donned to present the best face forward while hiding from others those aspects of ourselves considered unacceptable.
The creative aspect of the Personal Unconscious is the capacity to weaken the fixed quality of “objective” reality and permit creative recombinations of elements. Too great a conforming attachment to what seems “real”, too strong a clinging to the external world through an intense outward focus (or sustained perceptual vigilance) diminishes the capacity for psychic elasticity which would permit a multi-dimensional capability to view one’s self or one’s life.
One of Jung’s most significant contributions is his recognition of the area lying beneath the Personal Unconscious, i.e. the Collective Unconscious. He describes this “space” as having “..another class of contents of definitely unknown origin, or events of an origin which cannot be ascribed to individual acquisition”(Ibid.p.40). The Collective Unconscious is objective, impersonal, and can only express itself through the media available within the Personal Unconscious: talents, skills, etc. Consequently, its productions are subject to alterations of psychic origin: repression, suppression and defensive distortions, especially in view of the alien qualities which would possibly be rejected as “not-me”, or ego-dystonic. It is through mythological or allegorical characters and symbols that the Collective Unconscious makes its presence known. These are universal in their appearance (in various guises) throughout all cultures. Such universal symbols are the archetypes, referred to above by Flach.
Archetypes: Instincts, Obsession and the Introduction of an Energy Concept
Whitmont (1967) describes archetypes as virtually “..â priori energy field configurations which express themselves in typical representational images and in typical human emotion and behavior patterns. They are analogous to instinctual patterns observed in animal behavior. All psychic energy is channeled and directed into these basic forms of experience, behavior and emotion. Thus, the archetypes constitute the predispositions of the psyche, or the basic motivations and drives around which the conscious personality will subsequently organize itself” (p.368).
The concepts of archetypes and archetypal energy are intrinsically mysterious by virtue of the suggestion of a quasi-instinctual center of energy surrounded by “complexes” which result from conditioning. The complexes, universal “seeds” of fundamental perceptual-drive organization, seem to predispose us to perceive reality within certain limits, although there remains much room for variation due to genetic, personality, intellectual, cultural and social differences. In addition, the energizing aspects of the archetypes should then bias us towards selecting out certain aspects of our world which would be “felt” as being more meaningful than other aspects, thereby providing a form of “inner guidance system”. By “charging” us, we are motivated toward performing certain deeds that do not seem to make sense; attempting release/express the “archetypal pressure” from within, sometimes as actions, sometimes as externalized forms.
Such an archetypal drive would resemble the disturbed reality of Roy Neary, the electrician in the motion picture “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Following an encounter with a UFO, Neary became obsessed with the need to express a psychic form which he could not help but project onto the quasi-homogenous perceptual fields of amorphous materials, such as shaving cream and mashed potatoes. He attempted to shape and model the three-dimensional form of his unexpressed concept, failing, but nonetheless doggedly contemplating his aborted products saying “This is important. This means something.”
Whitmont addresses just such an experience, indicating “If the conscious ego cannot translate the archetypal expressions symbolically, their meanings will not be accessible, and the ego cannot relate to them in a way which will utilize the energy creatively… if the archetypes are denied, then compulsive, obsessive patterns will develop which in their extreme forms become psychotic” (Ibid.p.368). This is complemented by Stein’s(1975) descriptive comments: “At the start of the creative process the individual experiences a state of disequilibrium. His psychological condition is marked by disturbed homeostatic-tension arising from a lack of closure and a lack of emotional satisfaction with the existing state of affairs… The creative process, therefore, may start as an active or reactive process” (p.3-4).
For the character of Neary, the process was initially active, then reactive. The UFO encounter initially upset his view of the world. Then, the experience seemed to connect with an element in his archetypal substratum, triggering a process that threw him into a state of increasing disequilibrium, powerfully driving him forward towards some concrete form of expression. Only when there was a matching of the external form with the inner, archetypal force seeking expression could he rest. The significant meaning originating within found, in its external isomorph, the means to release the pressure.
It is only a small stretch of the imagination to apply the same principle to schizophrenic behavior. In the face of a disorganized ego structure, archetypal material cannot either be translated by the Personal Unconscious or transformed into some externally manifested phenomenon. Incongruities arise between projected archetypal symbols and external experience which cause the individual to appear as delusional, hallucinatory, grandiose, etc., for there is no coherent, organized, synthesizing pathway from the Collective Unconscious to consciousness to the external world. The schizophrenic is left in a perennial limbo, unable to find (or sustain) a meaningful existence. Jung touches upon this when he states, “If the archetypal situation underlying the illness can be expressed in the right way the patient is cured. If no adequate expression is found, the individual is thrown back upon himself, into the isolation of being ill; he is alone and has no connection with the world” (Jung, 1970,p.116).
Considering the brief review of Jung’s humanistic and transpersonal psychology, can we acknowledge the presence of a Collective Unconscious in our protean individual? May we relate the word “inspiration” to the archetypal influences that tug at our consciousness, first requesting change and later demanding it?
A Summing Up
I have tried here to bring together a variety of concepts centering about the individual’s need to grow, to evolve, to create one’s Self and one’s world. This brief odyssey has touched upon humanistic and transpersonal views and methodologies directed towards some understanding of a fundamental need to actualize and express the fullest human potential, both individual and social. Many of these same principles are found in other theorists and therapists, although clothed somewhat differently. Carl Rogers, for example, calls for an “openness to experience”, an inner locus of evaluation and the ability to freely and playfully rearrange elements and concepts. His definition of the creative process is “.. the emergence in action of a novel relational product, growing out of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people, or circumstances of life on the other” (Rogers,1961, p.350). Rogers’ belief, that “..the mainspring of creativity seems to be the same tendency which we discover so deeply as the curative force in psychotherapy–man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities” (Ibid.p.351, italics added).
Rogers asks for both the acceptance of the need to change and the acceptance of new conditions (positive and negative), the courage to alter existing conditions in a playful, experimental manner and decisions based not upon consensual standards, but centered within the core of one’s being as one seeks to construct a world congruent with their need for Self-expression. Without the centeredness as our locus of evaluation, as May (1975) indicates, “..we would feel ourselves to be in a vacuum. The ’emptiness’ within corresponds to an apathy without; and apathy adds up… to cowardice. That is why we must always base our commitment on the center of our own being, or else no commitment will be ultimately authentic”(p.13).
May calls for “perceptual courage” and “creative courage”, daring to see and to change what is seen, and that this will, in turn, lead towards “..the discovery of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built.” (Ibid. p.21).
Perhaps Freud’s metaphysical life and death instincts of Eros (self-preservation, pleasure, love, creativity) and Thanatos (destruction, death, anhedonia) were noumenal expressions of insight acquired during his final days; that he had come to realize the essential polarity of humankind in the forms of either the procrustean death of the Self through surrender to conformity and the stasis of security, or the forceful, self-actualizing and creative struggle of the protean individual. seeking to create and recreate the world–and himself–through the joys and pains of creative transformation.
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