Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where is the Soul 24?

Old tyres make a good fence at the donkey sanctuary, Caulonia!
 Ventura continues in another letter to Hillman on his ideas of therapy. In his last letter he used the metaphor of the therapist helping the client or patient to “get his/her act together” as the central task of therapy. In the present letter he uses yet another metaphor, this time it is the age-old religious one of being lost versus being found. The patient is, as it were, lost like the sheep in the New Testament while the therapist is the Christ-like Good Shepherd who helps him to find himself. In this understanding of it, therapy is all about orientating the patient or client, setting him or her on the right or true path.

Ventura also adverts to boundaries and which of us has never heard of that old therapeutic chestnut of knowing and appreciating boundaries? Especially in issues of relationships and abuse, we have all heard of overstepping or crossing boundaries. However, Ventura widens out our notion of boundaries here to include boundaries between intimate time and business time; between home and work; between night and day; between individual and corporate; between private space and public space; between environment and psyche. These are what he calls succinctly “fuzzed boundaries” or “[a]reas once distinct that now bleed into each other. Dislocated time. Timeless space.” (Op. cit., p. 115)

Ventura also uses the word “avalanche”, yet another metaphor, this time to describe the huge pressures and changes in society which literally sweep modern man away from his real identity. Adding to modern humanity’s alienation are the multitudes of “expressions of voracious collective hunger that is, in effect, eating the boundaries of sanity on all sides.”

View of Lungomare, Caulonia!
I’m not so sure if I understand Ventura as clearly as I should but I believe he goes on in the present letter to describe how humankind was literally catapulted from a primitive world of light and darkness, divided only by the movement of our little world in reference to our sun to one which we could then bring into focus by the use of artificial light anytime we so desired. This literally freed us from the prison of darkness. Quite literally the world which was strange and other and huge and frightening was brought down to size, and all because of the invention of the light bulb. There is a lot of wisdom in Ventura’s contention here!

In all of this onward development there emerged the gradual sense of the individual and individualism. Judaism, according to Ventura always had and still has a sense of nationhood and of being a chosen people saved as a race while “Christianism”, his word by which he obviously means Christianity, helped develop the sense of the individual as the person was saved by knowing Christ as their personal saviour.

Tree, Lungomare Caulonia, April, 2011
This sense of individualism or individuality has come with a price – a dear and expensive one at that – that of alienation from the physical world, from the intimate connection with the motion of our planet through the movements of the earth in dividing day from night and vice versa; alienation from our own real self and the frightful feeling that we are really lost, and in the prophetic words of one of my favourite poets, songwriters and singers, Bob Dylan, literally, lost “with no direction home.”

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