Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where is the Soul 23?

Many Selves


Lungomare Caulonia, April 2011
It is a truism to say that we are constantly defining and re-defining ourselves. Within the psyche there are many sub-personalities and it is up to us to shape a composite one into what becomes essentially the self or my Self. At least that is this present writer’s understanding of the psyche in Jungian terms. In a letter Ventura writes to Hillman he recasts the tenor of what I have said here by saying sagely that humans are actors. In this regard let me here quote Ventura:

The phenomenon of acting as it relates to the phenomenon of psychology. Through varying degrees of effort and mistake we partly discover, partly invent not who but how we are – our roles. Then we play that part, some days poorly and some days well, for all its worth and for as long and for as long as we can get away with it, until we are forced to change. “Getting your act together” is so central to our being that it is possible to dispense with psychological jargon and describe the crises of our lives purely in theatrical terms...
One can only marvel with Ventura at the versatility and extraordinary emotional range of brilliant actors like Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Betty Davis, James Cagney, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwick and so on. I would add such greats as Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, and the inimitable Humphrey Bogart to this list. There are of course so many more. Again, with Ventura, I thoroughly agree that these are actors who have mastered an enormous repertoire of behaviour and understanding of subtle nuances of such behaviour and that they could produce the most delicate shadings of those behaviours on cue. This, my friends, is what makes these actors into stars – this sheer brilliance of understanding and interpretation of human feelings and behaviours.

Therefore, the task of the therapist, according to Ventura, is to help each client or patient to get his or her act together.

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