Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Love And Will 1

I have been reading Love And Will by the psychoanalyst Rollo May. It was published in 1969 although I have a 1989 edition. In some parts it is dated and rather heterocentric but generally I find it rather 'good stuff' and along the lines of my own thoughts about the nature of the human condition. I have been thinking of writing about some of the ideas in this book related to Eros, the life force which drives everything on to express ever new and changing forms and in so doing shows the void's pregnant possibility. And also the whole question of apparent separateness and the desire for unity. Many of the concepts in the first few chapters of the book are explored with the aid of classical mythology and I think that it is fair to say that what are being perceived are Jungian Archetypes. Anyway, when I feel so inclined, for whilst the excitement of juggling ideas and seeing connections and possible 'truths' might stir the muse, the distillation of the flavours in my mind into some coherent blog post requires her full charm, I will post on all that. But for now, what stirred me to post as well as just getting going with the ideas to be posted, was a paragraph of William James' on getting out of bed! I laughed at this and in so doing had the thought 'ah yes, what is the tension between which incompatible elements (in the mind) which gives rise to the need for its release through the shuddering in the body and the attendant light in the bodymind?' Although the words in my head weren't quite so articulated as that when the basic idea first popped in. James describes lying in bed on a cold morning knowing that one must get up and get on with 'the duties of the day'  yet being disinclined due to the contrast between the warmth and comfort of bed and the cold of the room and goes on;

'Now how do we ever get up under such circumstances? If I may generalise from my own experience, we more often than not get up without any struggle or decision at all. We suddenly find that we have got up. A fortunate lapse of consciousness occurs; we forget both the warmth and the cold and; we fall into some revery connected with the day's life, in the course of which the idea flashes across us, 'Hollo! I must lie here no longer'- an idea which at that lucky instant awakens no contradictory or paralyzing suggestions, and consequently produces immediately its appropriate motor effects.

I am sure we have all been there.