In the post on Necromancy, Necromancy – When We Dance with death, I tried to illustrate some arm chair thinking I have been doing on psychology. Since I am not a paid sophist with a vested interest in defending a particular point of view I can play a little.
I think that the external and the internal may be somewhat artificial designations. Sure valid distinctions may be drawn but the question may always be posed regarding the hermeneutics and canonization of certain historical ways of thinking on such matters.
In the interest of play:
It seems to me that in light of galactic black holes and sub-atomic, black holes that pop in and out of existence there may also be, at least metaphorically, psychological black holes. Black holes in physics are severe space time distortions that defy our current understanding of the universe. Physicists use the term “singularity” to describe the phenomenon. They also use this term to describe the state of the Big Bang before the bang. In physics a singularity is a mathematical failure and generally speaking, highly undesirable for new theories. Black holes defy our imagination and put us into question.
I think certain extreme traumas may also create physiological black holes. The death of a mother, a bad LSD trip, a lost love, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, etc. can be the mechanism for their genesis. The immediate results are not the consumption of stars and planets but the consumption of what I have called “Soul”. The consumption dominates and errodes our childlike capacity with the five stages of dying:
These symptoms have a cyclical effect. They tend to be obsessive and highly infused with emotion. Just as all matter is drawn into orbit around the vortex of a black hole – symbols, projections, and erratic emotions are cyclically drawn into the psychological black hole. The brain was designed by evolution to solve problems but these types of traumas are unsolvable. The brain recoils on itself and a whole litany of deep rooted emotions seem to be enmeshed in the trauma.
At the event horizon of a black hole everything including light is inescapably drawn into a black hole. I take this as Freud’s Mystic Writing Pad – the unconscious. Light cannot illuminate the unconscious by definition. For psychology, we only see its effects in behavior like the trenches made on the writing pad after lifting the plastic (consciousness) has concealed the initial trauma. When the trauma becomes unconscious it can take on a kind of life on its own. It can come out in dreams and un-expectant emotions years later. Yet it is undecided whether or not therapy can ever resolve the dilemma. It can allow one to live more peacefully beside the condition but the perforation and psychological scar may be permanent.
I think that from a more philosophical point of view it may be that these psychological black holes are perforations of infinity. They defy our best theories and best attempts to shed light on them. They gain a kind of independence from the spotlight of consciousness. Perhaps this makes possible the human capacity for reflection, awareness of death and finitude. I have just started reading David Loy’s book on “NonDuality” but, for now, perhaps the possibility for duality is rooted in the fact the humans can be unconscious of themselves and yet peripherally aware of the absolute split in their being. The Other, the radical disjuncture, the diachrony that Emmanuel Levinas writes of may also have an essential component within our own psyche.
I would also add that I do not think the traumas I am thinking about are common and numerous as some neurotics would have it. I think that the frailty of the human psyche may only be able to deal with a few of these such traumas before the possibility of soul, of residing in “hobbit-land” are diminished and human behavior gets more and more like the randomness of an act of nature, a tornado. Perhaps criminal behavior and Republican, fundamentalist Christians can be explained with such an analysis (;-).
In any case I think it is possible that our “experience” of God or the radical alterity of the Other may acquire an ally in our own fragmented and de-severed mode of being in the world. I would be hesitant to reduce God or the Other to the human psyche because that philosophically bites off too much but I do think that the windows through which we gaze into the infinite may be none other than the black hole of the psyche.