An Essay on Psychological Integration From Within a Fractured Culture
As some of you know, I’ve had my battles with addiction and personal demons. We share the struggles of life, though they take on different forms.
Where substances of abuse are concerned, the last decade of my life has been lived in tension, twisting between states of attachment and avoidance. When I give myself fully to self-indulgence, I become controlled by my passions. When I completely negate my cravings and avoid the triggers, I am still being controlled by my addiction from the opposite side: aversion.
A guitar string is tuned to make music; I feel as though this tension pulls my soul taught, creating sound that gives meaning to suffering. I am no longer addicted to the substances, it’s the tension and cycle of inner conflict I have begun to crave. I fear that if I lose it, I will lose myself, my ambitions, my inspiration. Losing the tension between personal Heaven and personal Hell, I feel as though the world will simply dissolve.
To become free of this cycle, I address the underlying cause, starting by questioning the culture I identify with.
The general western mythos is one of heroism: the knight slays the dragon. Hercules removes a Hydra head and two appear in its place. In battle, our hero learns that he can stop new heads from sprouting by cauterizing the stump. He cuts off each head, one-by-one, burning the stumps until one remains. This final head is the root demon. It is immortal.
Since Hercules cannot kill the final head, he removes and buries it, banishing it into an Earthly prison, where it still lives to this day.
Christian mythology approaches the devil in a similar way: you go to keep the Devil down in the hole. If you remember the story, God creates the Angels. His favorite one, the most perfect, is guilty of a cardinal sin: spiritual pride. This Angel goes astray, much like the mind of a man driven to greed by material excess. He forgets his place in the whole, rejects the natural order, and creates for himself (and all others who follow his example, including a good many who don’t) a world of suffering.
Our culture is born from this mythology and as much as we try to separate from it, it has laid the foundation for our cultural understanding. By way of cause and effect, our history shapes the world we see today. We can choose science & atheism, but we cannot deny that our roots play a large part in our overall cultural behavior.
In the mind of a schizophrenic patient, there can be multiple personalities dissociated from one-another, yet they are all operating inside one mind. Analogously, Angels and Demons are all aspects in the mind of God.
Just as our conscious, subconscious, and unconscious states are operating from the same mind, the Angels and Demons are no more separate from God than a drop of water is from the ocean.
I am not giving fault to God. I am simply advocating for us to respond to the conflict with empathic action. Consider that God requires our help as much as we require His. Consider that it is our duty to feed the Devil not what he wants, but what God needs of Him, and what the Devil needs of himself. We are able to be transform our demons and integrate these fragments of ourselves into one complete, harmonious mind.
This separation of Lucifer from God causes the duality of Heaven and Hell. God banishes His faulty components to lower realms, the realm of subconscious & unconscious, where destructive behavior and primordial impulses wreak havoc.
In this same way, we cast our demons away when we encounter them. We repress and suppress our darkest impulses. From this darkness, they can wreak havoc upon our lives.
Ever wonder why you get triggered randomly? Why lose your temper? Why you ruin promising relationships? Why you seek to numb your feelings just so you can get through your shift at work?
It’s simply because we choose not to be conscious of our darkness. We turn the lights off, pull the shades, and numb ourselves.
When we become aware of our darkness, our demons & dragons, we can begin to heal & reintegrate them, resolving their conflict, forgiving them, transforming them, and placing them back into Heaven’s kingdom (into the realm of conscious understanding.)
If Hercules had resolved to tame the Hydra, he could’ve put it to much better use. If God chooses to look empathically inside Lucifer, to see himself suffering in a world of hellfire, and then resolve the conflict and welcome Lucifer back home, the fracture between worlds can be healed. The Devil wants to be better than God, but what he needs is trust and humility. How would the Devil feel if he were trusting/trusted and humble? Understood & loved, at peace & whole, and at last, dissolved.
Hell’s Canyon would no longer be filled with cries of agony; it will be embalmed in a calm & cool silence, like a soft desert wind. In this same way, our own peace of mind can be initiated.
The world as we know it rests upon this tension. This unifying of conscious and unconscious will mark the end of life as we know it. It’s a step toward power, but also a step into the vast unknown.
This fear of the unknown keeps most of here, cycling between states of addiction and aversion, depression and elation, war and peace. I often fail to transcend my own force of habit for fear I will dissolve completely without the tension. No sound will be heard, no world will exist without this suffering I cling to. Both Heaven and Hell must renounce their bitter feud; it’s not enough to consider only one side.
When we can resolve our own inner opposition, we can resolve our inner conflict en masse. I expect the outer results would show themselves as a much different world than the one we know today.