Stay with the Image

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Known                        -                    Unknown
Conscious                   -                    Unconscious
Manifest                      -                    Latent


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[...] the point is that consciousness floats; a psychic fluidum, as Mesmer might have called it, wrapping around and all through the analytical session.

It doesn't belong to either party.

Sometimes the patient has an insight, and another moment the analyst is conscious by simply being reticent, and another moment the consciousness is really in the image.

For instance, a black snake comes in a dream, a great big black snake, and you can spend a whole hour with this black snake talking about the devouring mother, talking about the anxiety, talking about the repressed sexuality, talking about natural mind, all those interpretive moves that people make, and what is left, what is vitally important, is what that snake is doing, this crawling huge black snake walking into your life [...]

[...] and the moment you've defined the snake, interpreted it, you've lost the snake, you've stopped it, and then the person leaves the hour with a concept about my repressed sexuality or my cold black passions or my mother or whatever it is, and you've lost the snake.

The task of analysis is to keep the snake there, the black snake, and there are various ways for keeping the black snake [...] see, the black snake's no longer necessary the moment it's been interpreted, and you don't need your dreams any more because they've been interpreted.

But I think you need them all the time, you need that very image you had during the night.

For example, a policeman, chasing you down the street [...] you need that image, because that image keeps you in imaginative possibility [...] if you say, "Oh, my guilt complex is loose again and is chasing me down the street," it's a different feeling, because you've taken up the unknown policeman into your ego system of what you know, your guilt.

You've absorbed the unknown into the known (made the unconscious conscious) and nothing, absolutely nothing has happened, nothing.

You're really safe from that policeman, and you can go to sleep again.

[James Hillman]
A Blue Fire, p.74


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The content of the symbol is not easily replaceable by content one already knows. Its manifestation is its most appropriate expression. There is no way to replace it.

[Jung] disliked for anyone to forget this point and just interpret dreams according to ready-made theories or known ideas. His warning, "Do anything you like, only don't try to understand [dreams]," reflects his attitude well.

[...] we would appreciate the importance of both understanding a dream and nonunderstanding a dream.

Or we might spend our entire effort on interpretation, while also remembering nevertheless that that is not the primary importance of the dream.

Amplification [...] is an effective method. Similarly, using the contents of amplification also has two directions, understanding and nonunderstanding. We cannot forget that both are important.

[...[ by the amplification of nonunderstanding, we open ourselves to discovery.

[Hayao Kawai]
Buddhism and the Art of Psychotherapy, p.134-5


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Amplification.

Elaboration and clarification of a dream-image by means of directed association and of parallels from the humane sciences (symbology, mythology, mysticism, folklore, history of religion, ethnology, etc.)

Since the unconscious, as the result of its spatio-temporal relativity, possesses better sources of information than the conscious mind - which has only sense perceptions available to it - we are dependent for our myth of life after death upon the meagre hints of dreams and similar spontaneous revelations from the unconscious.

As I have already said, we cannot attribute to these allusions the value of knowledge, let alone proof. They can, however, serve as suitable bases for mythic amplifications; they give the probing intellect the raw material which is indispensable for its vitality.

Cut off the intermediary world of mythic imagination, and the mind falls prey to doctrinaire rigidities. On the other hand, too much traffic with these germs of myth is dangerous for weak and suggestible minds, for they are led to mistake vague intimations for substantial knowledge, and to hypostatise mere phantasms.

[C.G. Jung]
Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p.348, 411


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He had told Richard that his Hopi friend was involved in a very vast and complicated struggle that was taking place on many levels. The old man's cancer was only a small part of this whole struggle, and he explained that things like this needed to be seen in a wider context.

It is always necessary to be aware of and consider the entire situation. 

It is always necessary to be cognizant of what the spirit wants.

It is a mistake to think that the only way to help a sick man is to take away the illness.

[Doug Boyd]
Rolling Thunder, p.202


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[...] the label gives the viewer [...] too much, it pacifies him too soon.

To see a poem or a picture as fulfilling a category is to reach a premature sense of it. Naming or labelling is important because it is the most effective means of making something familiar, and familiarity is necessary if the arts are to be managed.

The snag is that the familiarity comes too soon, the label imposes local clarity by ridding the work of its mystery and releasing the viwer from his hesitation. But it's hard to make this point without giving the impression that I want people to remain hesitant or insecure forever.

I want them to postpone their security.

Most cultural forces are working towards making the arts comfortably familiar. The problem is how to break off the impression of familiarity in time to let the force of the artistic vision come through.

[Denis Donoghue]
The Arts Without Mystery, p. 77


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A lot of hostility against art is based on people's misapprehension that they're supposed to be understanding it, and failing to.

Actually, this failure is a sort of success, because it leads us away from habit, from repetition, from recognition.

[Momus]
'Derstand, understand, un-understand'


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My idea about ideas [...] is that we burn them up too quickly. We get rid of them by immediately putting them into practice. We only know one thing to do with an idea: apply it; convert it into something usable. And it dies right there in the conversion. It loses its generative power.

This sterilizing of ideas happens often when I give a talk. Someone in the audience asks, "How does that work?" "Can you give an example?" These are questions from what's classically called the Practical Intellect, whereas my talk was ideational, another aspect of reason altogether.

Explain means to lay out flat [...] when a speaker puts out an idea and then answers a question about how it works, he or she is depriving the listener of the full impact of the idea and where it might carry the listener if pondered. My answer tends to channel the thought only in one direction, generally my direction.

Again, it's that latent child in the head who believes himself, herself, unknowing (innocent), who asks questions and expects someone else to carry the work of thinking.

[...] we don't have places for entertaining ideas. And that is precisely what we're supposed to do with an idea: entertain it. This means having respect for ideas in themselves: letting them come and go without demanding too much from them at first [...]

That word "entertain" means to hold in between. What you do with an idea is hold it between - between your two hands. On the one hand, acting or applying it in the world and on the other hand, forgetting it, judging it, ignoring it, etc. So when these crazy things come in come in on you unannounced the best you can do for them is to think them, holding them, turning them over, wondering awhile.

Not rushing into practice. Not rushing into associations. This reminds of that: this is just like that. Off we go, away from the strange idea to things we already know. 

Not judging. Rather than judging them as good and bad, true or false, we might first spend a little time with them [...] Putting the idea in practice stops the play of ideas, the entertainment from going on.

[Ideas] give you eyes, new ways of seeing things. Ideas are already operating in our perspectives, the way we look at things. We take our usual ideas for granted, and so, ideas have us rather then we have them.

For ideas to be therapeutic, that is, beneficial to the soul and body politic, they must gather into themselves, garnering force, building strength, like great movers of the mind's furniture, so that the space we inhabit is rearranged. Your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories have to move around in new ways, because the furniture has been moved.

Viable ideas have their own innate heat, their own vitality. They are living things too. But first they have to move your furniture, else it is the same old you, with your same old habits trying to apply a new idea in the same old way. Then nothing happens except the loss of the idea as "impractical" because of your haste to make it "practical"

A long-lasting idea, like a good poem or a strong character in a movie or a novel, continues to affect your practical life without ever having been put there. Ideas that live, live in us and through us into the world.

[James Hillman]
We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy - And the World's Getting Worse, p.142, 143, 144, 145, 146


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[My artworks are] numbered for a reason. They’re numbered because you should have your experience.

Why should you be bogged down with my titles and how I thought about it and my poetic reasoning? No, that’s not necessary. Either you’re going to be drawn into it [or not]. It’s a black hole; gravity should pull you in and you should have that experience. Why should I actually infringe and dictate? It’s ridiculous.

I learn more from people who have lived with the works. … They go out, people get to live with them, security guards get to stand around them in museums, and they know more in the end about that whole experience, and they tell me things. I listen and I hear and it’s like, “Wow, I hadn’t thought of that.” It’s beautiful.

But if I were shut off, and said, “This is what it’s supposed to be about, this is how are you supposed to think about it,” that’s stupid as hell. Why would I want to get in the way of that?

In a way, I’m also being educated. It should be not only a synergy, but a complicity between the viewer and the artist, and so I’m wide open to that.

[Leonardo Drew]
'Leonardo Drew and The Mother'


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[...] what deconstruction finds at work in Mallarmé's text is the very reverse of a rich multiplicity of sense attaching to certain privileged 'themes'.

It is the effect of an endless displacement of meaning, one that constantly baffles and frustrates the desire for some assurance of thematic unity or grasp.

A phenomenological reading would assimilate these words to a complex of themes which could then be traced back - at the end of many fascinating detours and delays - to some ultimate source of interpretative unity and truth.

But this is to ignore the problems that arise as soon as one follows out the intricate logic that relates each of these terms in a series of endlessly self-effacing gestures.

[...] It is only by a certain conceptual strategy - a move to repress or contain these effects - that writing can be held within the limits laid down by any kind of thematic or phenomenological approach.

[Christopher Norris]
Derrida, p. 59, 60


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