Tuesday, April 12, 2011

on caroline myss' woundology

it took me a while to even come round to reading caroline's work in this area. i've been reluctant mostly out of a sense of outrage. people from diverse walks of life are permitted to speak casually or powerfully to their historic experiences, but victims are supposed to shut the fuck up. like gabor mate suggests, and i'm paraphrasing, they get fucked over once, and then fucked over again and repeatedly for being fucked over the first time. or as hitchens puts it in service of a whole other profiterole, you're made in the image of sickness and then commanded to be well. even the term 'victim' is putative at best and can't be spoken with anything like the respect and consideration it deserves. but lest i be understood to be suggesting here that victims and victimhood ought to be invested icons for the times, let me deconstruct.

i agree with just about everything caroline has to say on being stuck in the wound and not healing, and as to why it seemed to take the collective trauma of the warring 20thC to bring the chaotic flowering of the 60s and 70s and its healing new age to the task of highlighting our myopia about our 'civilization' and what was going on behind closed doors, man being more often a wolf to his fellow man than shepherd.

it seems safe to generalize that emerging human phenomenon seeks to explore itself until it becomes the opposite inevitably called forth in this persistent pendulum swing of the ages. certainly there's a winsome rhythm observable in all cultures. we blossom quite naively into too much of a good thing that quickly needs must defecate in it's own mouth and die before the tension of opposites that it represents can be neutralized, bringing forth a progressive tertiary position that itself will be undone as it degrades into its own either/or tautology.

progress in the matrix is three dimensional. we aspire to the vertical, expand in manifestation in horizontal spread where the quadrangle of matter shows up in stark illuminations just which deva and dakini of mind is cornering respective pockets. when we get tired of the inevitable triteness of these four corners of argument (light and dark aspects of the dyadic equation) we aspire again to stand on the heads and shoulders of exhausted archetypes and take up the span of the next ladder rung, moving on up into infinitely more nested and nested hierarchies of intellection and bio-wisdom.

thusly, we've come to fear and resent victims because as caroline points out, the wound has power, but its the power and charisma of a stalemate. we're collectively locked into writhing in the dried blood and muck because we're ripe and ready for a shaming. we want it and need it badly but just can't quite bring our pride, our blindness and ourselves to its threshold. in fact, those that resent the wounded most are those who've never directly encountered the darkness of the truth of human nature, a truth we give endless nuclear-level power to for all our pious and self-righteous disowning.

we resent victims because we want to pretend that these stories and case reports are rare or exaggerated, that life is more good than bad rather than often being right down the middle. victims remain stuck in their wounded glory because collectively we haven't emerged at the next level of resonance that can take in their stories without snide judgement and 'get over it' smugness. we haven't accepted that we are collectively capable of inflicting the wounds in the first place. not us, with our bleached white teeth, promisory religions, and positivist consumer tautologies.

of course its not the world that can do the changing. even in the bible it says that the less advantage you have, the harder you'll have to work and the more unfairness you'll have to creatively adjust to. in the long gaze of justice it would seem only righteous that truth and reconciliation become cultural facts at the level of street, neighbourhood, and family table before anyone gets pressed to 'get over it.' yet just as important, and in the same spirit, we need to look at the way we treat those who abuse and betray the human trust. we push our 'monsters' to the margins and sequester them in prisons which baste the 'criminal' in juices of resentment, anger, and more slow burn lust for vengeance against innocence and apparent lucky advantage in the world. thusly do victims keep holding space for the pain of life to match our denial, while offenders hold space for lack of respect and love for life to match our hubris.

on a personal note, reading caroline's thoughts on woundology, when i finally allowed myself to stop resisting, was an abiding re-revelation. i've met many of the stereotyped 'survivors' like those described and i have to admit i lost much in the way of my own self-understanding by viewing them as examples of something of which i'm not representative. this allowed me to feel somehow superior to the behaviour and yet remain in my unchecked outrage and wound-holding at the same time.

this wound-holding was also, i was happy to at last see clearly, a huge source of eros and passion in my life. this pain of mine defined every relationship, friendly, casual, or otherwise. in squeamish hindsight it strikes me to admit, it seems i've been constantly on the hunt for someone to take in every detail of the sorrow i've worn, expecting my intimates to go back in time with me and rewitness every moment, every agony, every betrayal. staying in touch with my past was something that had become a daily, even moment-to-moment practice, especially when i conned myself into thinking i was living in the present and its rush of activities. in truth, no experience could be engaged afresh. especially in interpersonal matters, it was beyond me to respond with a blank slate or without my set of prejudgements and scripts. i brought the canvas of my history with me and assumed a role and character fit for those stories... a center-stage role for myself at the expense of other people's own needs and feelings, a grandiose healing and indulgence being my implicit, demanding expectation. worst, i excellently played at being a fuck-up so as to permit the sleepwalk with my masochist into the arms of actors suited to replaying old plots, confirming the worst of my self-concepts, repeating deep harm.

fact is, i've been withholding this 'healing' turning point even while demanding it of life out of displaced identity issues. without my pain and my history i have no idea who i would be. none. and yet this is the rite of passage that all must inevitably haul ass to cover ground on, because no fixed identity can carry us forward the whole distance of our lives.

uncertainty is only a stress when we forget that there's still a silent witness and a complete knowing within us. we can lay down the past to one side and consult the void in its wake for answers instead of old scripts with confidence that there is someone, a me, inside there. but to do this, we have to have the courage of the flying leap and be thoroughly disenchanted with preserving personal history. no small feat, but then again, nothing worth doing in this world ever is.

from earliest memory i've been looking for my liberator to come. he is me and he, at last, has come...

No comments: