SHENJIVA
A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality
Richard Dagan

Studies Index...

It's only your imagination...

7 February 2013; Updated 22 February.

Perhaps I would do well to take this slowly, work through my thoughts and emotions with quiet detachment before sitting down to write. Indeed, that approach proves quite useful in practical and ethical matters.  But writing "automatically" is much more effective for me when working through existential and psychospiritual problems.

I don't mean automatic writing  or psychography  per se, as W.S. Moses employed the term in his 1878 treatise.
What I'm about to do here is similar, but somewhat different.

While I do not experience myself as the creator or originator of the words that come, I am engaged in the process, conscious and aware of what is being written. I am an opening, a receiver. Entranced, deeply focused, I listen to internal voices, and experience the irruption of ideas and emotions as an almost physical event. The language and content are not "alien" but somehow of me,  whether about me or not.  Received material has immediate impact on cognitive structures; the effect is more pronounced as and when the words are written.

It's not as if I were possessed,  or serving as a medium or channel,  but rather, that I have become opened to an inner transdimensional essence that projects in any of many forms but is never seen, experienced as immanent divinity, an architect of all-encompassing scope. What I receive is precisely related to "where I am at", so that simultaneously I am working through my problem and being taught by authority I know and trust intimately.

"It's only your imagination," she tells the child, "these voices you hear, these things you see."

This delivery and content of this statement conveys several messages. The child does not have these experiences in reality, because the "imagined" does not describe a consensual reality, or at least one that others feel free to talk about. His assertion is disbelieved and he is cautioned against holding to the misapprehension if he wants to be accepted.

And perhaps it's true. Maybe he has made a mistake. It certainly could be  that he erroneously attributed agency to a self-creation not self-intimating as such. If he accepts that interpretation of his reality, say, on the basis of his unmet narcissistic needs, he's made a bargain: He abnegates his interpretation of his experience in return for implied acceptance and nurturance. This is an investment in the "other", and it fares well or poorly on the basis of object constancy; if the object proves untrustworthy, the bargain is vitiated. The bargain may also be abandoned if repeated struggle is not relieved by the power of the object, and experience makes clear that not-listening  and not-seeing  don't work. That well-being depends on this so-called "imagination".

As internal stability is achieved in personality over time, imagination may be appreciated in different ways, as inspiration, for example, or as a divine language. On the other hand, testing in the field may reveal that things "seen" and "heard" do not reflect the outer-world reality that he and others experience. What then?  Clearly, one might adopt the belief that one has access to knowledge of an extraordinary nature in an unconscious effort to compensate for a sense of inferiority and inadequacy, express an exemplary rather than mediocre capability, build self-esteem, demonstrate uniqueness or perhaps superiority, cope with loneliness and isolation. The psychological underpinnings of such a performance may be complex indeed, and difficult to mediate.

The 11 schema.

I've made errors like that, thought I'd understood something, made a statement on the basis of what I'd "seen" or "heard", and been in error.
The results have tended to be problematic.

By choice or circumstance, through lack of social interaction and intimacy, the recluse loses opportunity to build new memories which strengthen self-concept and ground identity. "Imagination" may make it possible to cope with this deficit through dissociation, enabling cathexis of characters or alters with whom to relate. This might also represent a crisis of what Erich Neumann termed "centroversion", defined as "...the innate tendency of a whole to create unity within its parts and to synthesize their differences in unified systems."1 Such a crisis might lead to the discovery of active subliminal realities (agencies, alters, sub-personalities, essences), much in the manner of Chiron encountering shapes of himself in Hades2 or, in this case, resulting from lack of social connectedness.

Source: Carl Jung and Jungian Analytical Psychology
Gregory Mitchell. Trans4Mind.com. Accessed 22.02.13.

The development of the personality as described by Neumann is threefold. First there is adaptation to the outside world, extraversion, the man of action. Second is inward adaptation to the psyche and archetypes, or introversion, acquiring wisdom. Third is centroversion, or individuation within the psyche itself for which self-transformation is the goal.

With centroversion, left and right brain are in good communication, there is whole-brain thinking, divergent meeting convergent, and the "Unified Ego" equates with Individuation. This makes a much sounder basis for transcending the ego at a higher mystical level, than one centered on nondual reality which by definition (no separation) has no place for self whatsoever.

Nondual consciousness is certainly a dimension of mystical consciousness, but it cannot be the whole of consciousness, or there is no self remaining to be enlightened. So it's two sides of a coin, viewed simultaneously as whole - not just one side mistakenly viewed as the whole (which is what one normally hears from new-age, religious or materialist viewpoints).

Centroversion occurs as as one pulls oneself together and becomes mindful, with a higher viewpoint or state of consciousness than both introversion and extraversion. Consciousness turns vertically to become aware of the Self. There is a shift of emphasis from the Ego, with its thrust to power in creating a niche for itself within society, to the Self. [...]

Where personality is comprised of multiple transpersonal principals acting cooperatively in gestalt of Self, and where "I" communicate with them in an identity of intimates, does that connection extend beyond the personal to reveal anything of transpersonal connectivity?  The work at this site is addressing that question, I think, among others. The following is excerpted from a wonderful but somewhat difficult to obtain book by John Curtis Gowan (1912-1986), a psychologist and educator who focused on the creative capabilities of children and gifted populations, as well as on psychic or psychedelic phenomena as they relate to human creativity. The book is available (free) in HTML format.

Source: Trance, Art, and Creativity: A Psychological Analysis of the Relationship between the Individual Ego and the Numinous Element in Three Modes: Prototaxic, Parataxic, and Syntaxic
John Curtis Gowan. Creative Education Foundation; 1st Edition (1975:31;2.23 Unstressing)

The effect of the juncture of the conscious ego and the numinous elements results in some kind of behavioral outlet, which represents resolution of the psychic tension generated thereby. The overwhelming quality of this union produces some dissociation, which can be relieved by a discipline such as a religion, artistic, creative, or meditational procedure. Since the joining is usually incompletely cognized in a mode other than the syntaxic, it is externalized in prototaxic ways, such as hallucinations and headaches, or in parataxic examples like archetypes and dreams. The psychic tension must be expressed in some outlet (dancing, shaking, glossolalia, ritual, art, creativity and healing), which may be honored and respected by the peer society. Thus the discharge of psychic tension, originally an individual urgency, comes to have social benefit as well.

John Curtis Gowan proposed three modes of cognition: prototaxic, parataxic, and syntaxic, which he amplified as trance, art, and creativity. They indicate the styles and degree of immersion or cooperation between the ego and the preconscious. They range from dissociation, to propitiation, to conscious contact with the irrational and numinous element — from unconscious instinctual response, to (usually symbolic) self-conscious ego processes, to inner, paranormal "uncanny" aspects.

I find myself increasingly detached. No less caring, simply less present. Or rather, present in another manner.
Seeing from a fundamentally different perspective. As if a world were opening...

But perhaps it's only my imagination.