The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority
January 2015 Issue
And although truth in the sense of the scientific true-false distinction is on principle out of the question for psychology, it can find—produce—its own truth within itself, through the opus of absolute-negatively interiorizing into itself whatever is given to it as its "prime matter," regardless of what this may be in each case. This inwardization of the matter is the process of releasing it into its truth, through the "matter's cold march of necessity"—a march where to? Of course, into nothing else but the matter's going under into itself, into its inner logic or syntax—its truth, its soul (Wolfgang Giegerich, 2010, The Soul Always Thinks, p. 581).
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR MEMBERS!
The ISPDI Executive committee wishes all members of our society the best for 2015.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our members for their continuous support and enthusiasm for the society. With the time and energy offered to the ISPDI we are rewarded with the opportunity to share with like-minded people our passion for psychology. As you all are well aware, the foundation of our society rests upon the refocusing of the entire concept of psychology as the discipline of interiority and the movement into its depth or truth. Through insights into Wolfgang Giegerich's remarkable prolific writing, the work of realizing this new understanding of psychology continues.
We are excited to announce the date and place for our next or third international conference to be held on May 12th-14th 2016 in Malibu California, USA. The place where we will reside for the three days of the conference is at the Serra Retreat located in Malibu, at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, overlooking, and within walking distance of, one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world.. We hope that many of you will be able to attend. We will be posting the details of the Conference as well as the call for papers soon on our website. With the wonderful experiences of the last two conferences, we look forward to interesting presentations as well as to the discussions and questions they evoke. And of course, our time at the conference will also be a chance to spend time together socializing and sightseeing.
In conclusion, we want to extend a wish that 2015 be a healthy and satisfying year for all members and that your psychological reflections and engagement with PDI in 2015 yield soulful insight and depth within all aspects of your life.
The Executive Committee
John Hoedl, President
The Online Teleconferences will continue through 2015. Further dates to be announced shortly.
ISPDI Members are reminded of the Discussion Forum accessible through our society's website. There are many in-depth discussions in the forum, accessible after login via the index. A search feature is also available.
"A Myth is as Good as a Smile" ... Or is It?Intimations of Ancient Myth in the Modern Psyche
David Miller, Ph.D.
Venue: Spillian: A Place to Revel
Friday, June 5 – Sunday, June 7
The quotation in the title is from a poem by E. E. Cummings, which itself is a riff on the folk saying, "a miss is as good as a mile." Cummings' parody may well be seriously confirmed by contemporary depth psychology. Everyone knows the link between Freudian theory and mythology (Oedipus, Eros, Thanatos, Narcissus, etc.). And there is the often repeated line by the mythographer, Joseph Campbell: "Mythology is psychology misread as biography, history and cosmology." Perhaps myths have something to do with psychotherapy (smiles!). The psychological tradition of C. G. Jung has often supported such a perspective.
The seminar will address the uses and abuses of mythology by psychology. Especially the issue of the petitioning of mythology by the Jungian psychologist, Wolfgang Giegerich, will be compared and contrasted with the uses of myth in the Archetypal Psychology of James Hillman.
We will initially review theories in the study of mythology from 1685 until the present moment. It will then situate the clinical practice and theory of Jungian psychology with regard to myth and mythology in this history. The focus will be on three Jungian aspects of psychological mythography: namely, (1) Jung's own uses and theories concerning myth; (2) the uses and theories of myth and mythology by archetypalists (James Hillman, Patricia Berry, Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig, Rafael Lopez-Pedraza); and (3) the critical analysis of Jungian psycho-mythography in dialectical psychology (Wolfgang Giegerich, Greg Mogenson, Toshio Kawai).
It would seem that for Jung a myth is indeed as good as a smile. For Hillman a myth is as good as a frown. And for Giegerich, there may not be much to smile or frown about, but mythology is still important to psychology in other ways.
Details on pricing and reservations coming soon. http://spillian.com 800-811-3351
February 28, 2015
THERE IS PSYCHOLOGICAL PROGRESS.
CAN THERE BE PROGRESS OF PSYCHOLOGY?
From The Soul Always Thinks, Collected English Papers, Volume 4
By Wolfgang Giegerich, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst
Facilitated by Santo Tarantino, Ph.D.,
One of our members, Giorgio Tricarico, has just published a book through Karnac: http://www.karnacbooks.com/product/the-labyrinth-of-possibility-a-therapeutic-factor-in-analytical-practice/35660/
The Labyrinth of Possibility: A Therapeutic Factor in Analytical Practice
What exactly happens between the patient and the analyst when therapy is effective? Profoundly unsatisfied by the orthodox but vague explanation that "the therapeutic factor is the relationship", the author Giorgio Tricarico explores a hypothesis that is able to comprehend many different methods of both therapy and analysis. Starting from his own clinical experience, Tricarico runs into the image of the classical labyrinth (Daidalon) and a deeper analysis of what this symbol implies, revealing it as a symbol of "Possibility". The worldwide presence in different cultures and ages of the labyrinth as such a symbol may indeed point to the existence of an element beyond it, whose activation in the relationship between patient and analyst could be a fundamental factor for psychic change. Different methods of cure, seen through the lenses of the hypothesis expressed, may share a common factor of transformation. With the help of clinical cases, the concept of "impossibility" in analysis is also explored. Situations in which every change seems to be impossible compel us to widen our concept of possibility and to return to its original meaning, far away from the omnipotent one the Western world blindly keeps repeating.
Recently the Members Discussion Forum has been discussing the examination of Myths through the lens of PDI.
Members must log in to view the forum. If unclear how to do this, contact Josef J Kalicun the webmaster for assistance.
The VAMPIRE Phenomenon
by Samina Salahuddin
“I woke up from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that a) they were falling in love with each other while, b) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately” (Twilight-the-secret-history-part-1-Stephanie-Meyer/eonline.com).
The above quote is a dream dreamt by a modern Western (American) individual Stephanie Meyer on June 2nd 2003. Its most noticeable element is the portrayal of the vampire as “fantastically beautiful and sparkly,” which is in stark contrast to its mythological description of a “bloodsucking creature.” Transforming the dream into a book, Meyer wrote a complete novel, Twilight, published in 2005. Named as the Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and New York Times’ Editors Choice, Twilight eventually became the “Twilight Saga,” a series of 4 novels and 5 romantic fantasy films. The series grossed over 2 billion dollars in worldwide receipts.
Interestingly enough, during the last few centuries, the phenomenon of the “vampire” has become extremely visible. Its presence is felt not only in dreams, but in many other aspects of modern popular culture of the West, specifically America. At no other time in history have there been so many books, movies, television shows, video games, and web-sites 1 created on on and the same topic. It almost seems as if the population’s infatuation with the vampire has taken on a life of its own. Based on its strong hold, one can either discard the “vampire” phenomenon as being only “fictional” and “imaginal” or raise the question: What is the psychological meaning of the “vampire” phenomenon?
So far, according to my own research, the vampire phenomenon has been analyzed only through an archetypal approach to psychology. For instance, Jungian analyst, Julia McAfee, in her article The Vampire in Myth and Psychology (Spring 53, 1992), suggests the vampire to be an archetype that can manifest itself “objectively, physically, as well as psychically, in someone’s life” (p. 139). McAfee finds literal and archetypal parallels to vampire lore where behind the image of the vampire is seen standing the image of the mother or father, as a devouring mother or shadow of incest, respectively. Similarly, Jungian analyst Robert Johnson views the vampire as an archetypal figure from the collective unconscious which has been cursed and denied eternal rest because of some unredeemed sin against collective mores or religious taboos—a scourge of the community (Vampire, the Archetype: Tallahassee Center for Jungian and Gnostic Studies). And, Jungian psychologist Richard Noll (1992) amplifies the archetype of the vampire in the modern complaints and sufferings of real people for whom vampirism is a real affliction. He implies that in such syndromes, or at the root of vampirism, is seen the presence of not only the ancient notion of supernatural origin, but also the extramundane forces that cause it to be malevolent and Evil—in the most primitive sense of the idea (p. xvi.) Also, both McAfee (1992) and Johnson view the vampire as a religious figure, like the Christian devil (but older than Lucifer) that more truly depicts the dark image of Christ, and the vampire myth as the reversing of the symbolism of the Eucharist. The Vampire archetype and the Redemptive archetype (Christness) are described as being polar opposites of the same archetypal energy that emerges from the collective unconscious as a dividable pair wherein one enters the ego space while the other takes up residence in our personal shadow. And, both are viewed as great forces which we all must bring to consciousness and confront(Vampire, The Archetype: Tallahassee Center for Jungian and Gnostic Studies; Jungian info/library.cfm).
The current article is an attempt to view the vampire phenomenon in light of psychology as a discipline of interiority. The goal is to explore how a particular phenomenon, such as the “vampire,” representing the logic of the real in its phenomenal display, can be reflected from within, through absolute negatively interiorizing the phenomenon into itself, thereby releasing it into its own truth. With an understanding that there needs to be an ad hoc usage of the same name “vampire,” it is an attempt to comprehend what exactly a given vampire phenomenon means in its given, specific and historical context through its being reflected at three different levels: 1. the old popular belief (folklore) in the living-dead, ghosts, blood sucking monsters, i.e., at the “mythological” level; 2. the phenomenon of the “vampire” from the 19th century to recent times and its meaning, e.g. (a) the “vampire” as a modern literary motif (in poems, popular novels, and films), (b) the vampire-aspect as an intellectual “category” or “trope” in economic-philosophy (Marx: commodity, fetishism, consumerism, the vampirical character of capital, etc.), (c) the vampire phenomenon depicting the psychological situation of the soul and its truth: the absence of mythical and metaphysical beliefs (c.f. Baudelaire’s paradis artificial; Hegel, Nietzsche, etc.); and lastly, 3. The “vampire” phenomenon in the dreams of modern individuals as inverted reversed desire.
The question that the article addresses is: What is new, and what is this 19th century vampire phenomenon psychologically about—in contrast to the former folkloric or mythological one? Also, is the vampire phenomenon in the dreams of modern individuals again something possibly different, and in different dreams does each vampire phenomenon represent a different motif?
1. The old popular belief of the vampire at the mythological or folkloric level
WHAT is a vampire? Vampires are called the “Living Dead,” the “Walking Dead,” or the “Undead;” while sucking blood seems to be their most remarkable trait. The definition of a vampire in Webster’s International Dictionary is: “A blood-sucking ghost or re-animated body of a dead person believed to have come from the grave and wanders about by night, sucking the blood of persons asleep, causing their death.” The Encyclopedia Brittanica describes the vampire as: “a bloodsucking creature, supposedly the restless soul of a heretic, criminal, or suicide.” The Vampire Encyclopedia describes the Vampire as a mythological or folkloric being who subsists by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or living being (Bunson, 1993, p. 219).
In European tradition, vampires occur occasionally in fairytales and folklore. It is difficult to make a single, definitive description of the folkloric vampire, though there are several elements common to many European legends. Vampires were usually reported as “bloated in appearance, and ruddish, purplish or dark in color—indeed blood was often seen seeping from the mouth and nose when one was seen in its coffin and its left eye was often open—its teeth, hair, and nails may have grown” (Barber, 1998, p. 42). However, there seem to be two main characteristics of a vampire common to all folkloric legends: its origin in a dead person and its habit of sucking blood or life energy from a living one.
Now, it needs to be questioned as to how it is that the people of Europe or the Western world in general showed such a great deal of interest in the subject of the vampire at all? Consider first, what they did believe. The notion of vampirism had existed for millennia. Cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, Romans, all had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. However, despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folkloric entity known today as “the vampire” originates almost exclusively from early-18th century South Eastern Europe when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published (Silver & Ursini, 1993, pp. 22-23).
The vampire also seems to long predate Christianity. In 2000 B.C., the early Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh clearly described vampires. The Ekimmu, or Departed Spirit was the soul of a dead person who for some reason could find no rest and wandered over the earth seeking to seize the living. As in later vampire tales, the Ekimmu and its victims had some mysterious psychic connection, which made the victim particularly vulnerable to attack. The Ekimmu could walk through doors or walls to take up residence in a house. It would then drain the life from the household, usually killing the owner and many of his relatives and servants. The epic tells us that among the ones most likely to return as vampires were those who had died violent deaths, those whose corpses had remained unburied or uncared-for, and those who had left certain duties undone. Various magical texts and incantations list the possible connections between Ekimmu and its victim (The epic of Gilgamesh: courtesy of Tallahassee Center for Jungian and Gnostic Studies).
After the arrival of Christianity in Greece and other parts of Europe, the vampire began to take decidedly Christian characteristics and started to look more human-like in appearance. It could now be affected by the religious symbols of the cross, church, and so forth. The transformation of vampire myths to include Christian elements happened throughout Europe. According to author Regina Hansen’s essays on Belief and Rituals, as various regions of Europe converted to Christianity, their vampires also became “Christianized” (2011, pp. 42, 44-51).
2. The vampire phenomenon from the 19th century to recent times and its meaning: (a) the “vampire” from a modern literary aspect (in poems, popular novels, and films)
In contrast to the folkloric or mythological vampire, the 19th century vampire was reshaped into the character aspect of a prominent figure. As depicted in popular literature and films of the times, he appears not only as a “blood-sucking-monster” and “heartless killer,” but also as a utopian ideal. He became far more than the mindless animated corpse of folklore by being served as a symbol of evil, predation, aberrant sexuality, and abusive power. Lord Byron was credited with the first prose fiction concerning vampires, “The Vampyre”(1819), which was highly successful and proved to be the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. Byron transferred the “vampire” from a mythological character in folklore to the form of a rich lord weighted down by dissatisfaction and boredom— an aristocratic fiend preying among high society. The “vampire” aspect of Byron later inspired such work as “Varney the Vampire” and “Dracula.” Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel that provided the basis of modern vampire fiction. The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre.
The 20th century saw a new vampire trend, which nonetheless was still rooted in the tradition established in the 19th century, of a charismatic and sophisticated vampire. The cold-hearted killer was now reformed into a sympathetic character with a conscience, who explored complex issues, such as, the nature of morality, the need for community, the aesthetic principle, the equality of the sexes, and a quest for knowledge and identity. He represented the changing society of the times in which ethical behavior depended upon replacing the patriarchal and religious absolutism of the 19th century with relativism of the 20th century. This also set the vampire trend of a tragic hero rather than an embodiment of evil. And in terms of its religious context—as opposed to the old version of the vampire who could be affected by the cross, church, and so forth—the modern vampire was totally unaffected by any religious symbols and actually, like a tourist, liked to admire the architecture in churches. He did not suffer from foolish superstition, but instead used his common sense and innate feelings of right and wrong to make his way into the world. A very interesting and noticeable element in the vampire of 20th-21st century, was its emergence in both sexes—as male and female forms—in modern literature and media, portraying the equality of sexes as a changing trend of the times.
(b) the vampire-motif as an intellectual “category” and “trope” in economic-philosophy
During the late 18th and 19th century, the vampire also appeared as an intellectual “category” in economic-philosophy of the West and as a “trope” for powerful modes of production within the global economy, particularly during the era of accelerated globalization, when individual identities were often traded like commodities. The famous Western philosopher, Francois Voltaire’s entry for “Vampires” in his Dictionnaire Philosophique (1764), expresses how the end of the 18th century coincided with the decline of the folkloric belief in the existence of vampires but that now “there were stock robbers, brokers, and men of business, who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight, but they were not dead, though corrupted. These true suckers lived not in cemeteries, but in very agreeable places” (p. 144). Similarly, Western philosopher Karl Marx, in his famous work of Das Kapital (1867), uses the vampire as a metaphor to describe the most exploitative and undemocratic properties of capitalism. He describes the vampire as one figure that expresses the monstrous, excessive, and unruly character of the flesh of the multitude. Marx defines capital as “dead labor which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.” In his work, Marx repeatedly refers to capital as a vampire because of its monstrous metabolism and capability to suck living labor out of the workers and to transform into an integral part of itself. He says that “in this way the capitalist bourgeois becomes the next parasitic class” (147), which like vampirism (of turning its victims into vampires), spreads consumerism by converting the victims to its own point of view thus, “one capitalist always kills many” (p. 147).
Now, the questions arise: what is the difference between the folkloric or mythological experience and belief in vampires versus the 19th century one. Also, what is the relation between the 19th century vampire as “modern literary motif” on the one hand, and the vampire as an intellectual “category” or “trope” in economic philosophy on the other? Do they stand side by side, simply as two manifestations during the 19th century, or are they intrinsically related, maybe even “the same,” although not alike? In an attempt to answer these questions, we need to first look at the folkloric or mythical aspect of the vampire, which was believed to be an evil spirit with no real identity of its own. It needs to be remembered that, during folkloric times, the experience and belief in the vampire had its mythical meaning within the imaginal symbol of the vampire itself. Thereby, the idea and concept of the vampire felt immediately real because the interpreting mind naively took it at face value believing it to be an object per se. Thus, it appeared, more or less, like a creature or an animal. One can say, that in the folkloric (blood-sucking, creature-like) vampire was reflected the soul’s mode of being-in-the-world in its mythological stage wherein consciousness was still embodied in naturalness.
In comparison, to the folkloric or mythological experience of the vampire, the 19th century vampire displays the dissolution of oneness or union of consciousness with nature. This difference also reveals the birth of soul from mythos to logos. Now, instead of being merely a positivistic image, the vampire phenomenon manifests a very different psychological reality. Here, it is important to keep in mind that the 19th century vampire is a new formulation of the vampire phenomenon, which transports into a new frame of mind for experiencing it. The latter therefore has a very different meaning than the former. The transition from the former to the latter as such is not a continuous development or resurgence of the same phenomenon. Rather, it represents a new vampire phenomenon. It is discontinuous. And, even though both, have the same name: “Vampire,” the latter represents a historical rupture and an entirely new and different vampire phenomenon than the former.
It is interesting to note that as long as the vampire appeared in the form of a symbol or image, in the folkloric experience, it could only be withheld or contemplated as if it were an object. But in the 19th century, the former mythical vampire image or symbol could no longer be naively taken at face value and believed in as an object per se. Rather, it could now be seen as a “conventional sign” or signifier to be read and interpreted, and not to be unreflectively believed in and enwrapped by. This fact displays the development or initiation of consciousness into reflection as an immediate function of the mind whereby, the interpreting mind could now represent the vampire as a “modern literary motif.” The vampire-motif now had its meaning outside of itself and could now be viewed as a metaphor instead of a symbol, which means that it could no longer be taken for granted, but expressly thought and reflected upon. The “vampire” had now already come down to a mere literary allusion wherein the modern mind was conscious of the Vampire being a “motif” in a modern literary tradition.
In comparison to the “modern literary motif,” the 19th century vampire-phenomena as an intellectual “category” or “trope” in economic philosophy, shows reflection as infinite negativity and alienation (i.e., alienation from the mythological and metaphysical beliefs.)In this sense, the latter reveals the true spirit of the times now reflected in money, accelerated globalization, media, technology, and so forth, thereby eventually becoming a commodity factor itself. So, while the 19th century vampire as “modern literary motif” reflects the state of consciousness in modernity as such. The latter, i.e., the vampire as an intellectual “category” or “trope” in economic philosophy displays the logic of modernity, or the soul’s own truth and logical reality of the times. In this sense, the two together represent two sides of the same coin.
c) the vampire phenomenon as depicting the psychological situation of the soul and its truth
Seen from a philosophical-psychological perspective, the modern day vampire phenomenon seems to reflect the psychological situation of the soul and its truth: the absence of mythical and metaphysical beliefs. As such, the popularity of the vampire—in its predominant characteristics of romance, exoticism, and mystical powers—might yet be another obsession and avoidance of the abandonment feelings within the Western modern culture, in despair of a meaningless world of the times, and its craving for more felt-experience, terror, thrill, and entertainment for the Modern man. According to Western philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel (1807/1954), it is in the development of the spirit or thought, within the history of the Western world, responsible for its population’s obsession of finding solace in unrealities to make up for the godless times (p. 33). Hegel explains that in the development of Western thought, the analytic intellect has attacked all that is sacred and profound that was embedded naively in the religion, the law, and customs of a people, transforming them into shallow and superficial, abstract and godless, generalities. And, due to this transformation, the spirit of the people is driven to flee from the present into the regions of the ideal, in order to find reconciliation within themselves, which they can no longer find in a reality filled with conflict (p. 33). In a similar sense, vampire’s popularity can also be viewed as an “addiction,” which according to Western philosopher Charles Baudelaire, seems to create “artificial paradises” that make one exit the reality of a meaningless world into a world of fantasy. In his famous book, Artificial Paradises (1860), alcoholism and drug abuse are only part of Baudelaire’s broader view of the world of artificial paradises which, in his poetic framework, include any form of artifice used by humans to escape from the miserable condition of a godless, meaningless world. In this condition, Baudelaire says, “adherents in England and America consider supernatural phenomena such as ghosts, [vampires], and specters, etc. as the manifestation of a divine will vigilantly endeavoring to awaken in man’s mind the memory of invisible realities” (p. 39). Baudelaire emphasizes that by artificially introducing an element of the supernatural into his or her life and thoughts an idle person wishes to be an angel, but has instead, become a beast, temporarily very powerful, if one might call power an extreme sensitivity that is lacking the will to moderate or exploit (p. 47). All in all, Baudelaire notes that for people belonging to a godless time, “Magic dupes them and kindles a false joy, a false light” (p. 69). With a different twist to the idea of a godless time, Western philosopher, Friederick Nietzsche, in his book Ecce Homo (1888/1967), brings forth yet another aspect of the vampire phenomenon as morality itself being vampirism. He says that “he who unmasks morality has therewith unmasked the valuelessness of all values which are or have been believed in” (p. 103). For Nietzsche, this morality is only a mask hiding the real truth that religion and metaphysical is no more.
In its being a craving or obsession for more felt-experience, terror, thrill, and entertainment for Modern man, the vampire phenomenon also seems to depict the psychological situation of the soul’s own truth. As psychologist Wolfgang Giegerich notes, “it is not accidental that the motif of the Vampire became so successful in popular literature and movies during the 19th and 20th centuries, although it depicts a very special aspect of this psychological situation with additional complications” in the absence of any mythical and metaphysical beliefs, the motif of the vampire in modern Western culture also depicts the psychological situation of the soul and its truth (2013, footnotes, p. 98). Giegerich explains Modern man of the West as being, in his psychological nakedness and timidity, not interested in the truth and does not have his psychological locus on that level on which alone he could be open to the absolute negativity of the soul or truth; instead, he is exclusively oriented towards the positivistic, utilitarian aspects of reality, its pragmatics (2013, p. 97). He says,
Modern man has been born out of soul altogether. This is why he is psychologically identical with the “civil man”; and he is as such psychologically metaphysically naked (just like a baby is physically naked after birth). And because he is naked, that is, divorced from ignorant of, and immune to, soul and devoid of a mythic garment (e.g. of Christian faith), he craves for emotion (felt experience, terror, thrill, entertainment, as well as, on a more refined level, “spirituality,” “meaning,” “partake of the sacred,” “his personal myth,” and utopian world-improvement or world-rescue ideologies) as a modern substitute for truth and confuses strong feelings with soul events. The gaping metaphysical hole craves to be filled with something, no matter what. Emotions are positivistic events and positivistically accessible. The positivistic ego is on principle (i.e., logically, not always in its literal behavior) a consumer if not an insatiable ‘junkie’ (Giegerich, 2013, p. 97).
But, here is the catch, that even though it seems as if it is the modern ego that is obsessed or captivated by the modern-day vampire phenomenon and its “thrilling experience;” yet, what this “thrilling experience” as such IS—is its inner nature, i.e. the subject experiencing the thrill is most probably the soul itself. In this sense, it is a representation of the inner logic of the soul or the historical locus that modern man and his consciousness are in today. One could say that, the objective purpose of the “thrilling experience” is the need and demand of the soul, in the process of its development, to reach its highest fulfillment. As explained by Giegerich,
Thrill is the form in which the ego is captivated in and for the Now! But the actual subject of the modern mode of bliss is not the ego. It is the subjective psyche, “the soul,” “the Self.” Thus, not all thrill is a subjective emotional state, consciously felt by the ego. It is possible too, that on the ego level a video game or one’s Internet surfing is performed quite routinely, quite matter-of-factly, just like ancient rituals were, while in the background, remote from ego feeling, “the soul” experiences its highest fulfillment (Giegerich, 2007, p. 337, footnotes).
3. The “vampire” motif in the dreams of modern individuals as inverted reversed desire
In interpreting dreams through psychology as a discipline of interiority, Giegerich’s suggestion is to keep in mind that a dream interpreted at some other time in history would not be the same dream because the interpreting consciousness and the qualitative moment in time are part and parcel of the dream itself. And, even though a dream is described by the experiencing subject of the dreamer, the devotion and focus, while interpreting the dream, needs to go to the soul and appreciate the dream as something in its own right (unpublished notes). In lieu of these thoughts, and in terms of our current context, it is important to view the vampire-motif in each presented dream phenomenon as different and, regardless of its similar image, to be seen on an ad hoc basis.
As a case in point, let’s look at the dream that this article starts out with. It cannot be called a genuine VAMPIRE dream because the charismatic vampire in the dream is the tamed, domesticated, already civilized version or processed form and thus traditional. In it, the “vampire” has already come down to a mere literary allusion. Within itself, the dream is already conscious of the Vampire being a “motif” in a modern literary tradition and has the status of a self-reflection of the one dream figure. As such, it might be seen as vampire-lite or an unthreatening version of the vampire. But what follows, are some examples of genuine vampire dreams dreamt by different modern individuals, representing at times—a terrible EXPERIENCE.
I was in my Sunday school attire and about to enter the church when a nun standing at the door informed me that I could not enter until I confronted the “beast.” The beast—a vampire—was inside a cage in an underground cave. It was held on each side by a nun and a priest. It had big teeth and claws and was making horribly loud grunting sounds. Many people stood dumbfounded around the cage, giving out gasping cries. It was very frightening. The hair on my body started to crawl up as the vampire looked into my eyes and smirked. I got so frightened that I literally froze and could not move.
I was standing in a queue to enter a huge theater and fearfully noticed a big wolf-like vampire with bloody teeth and claws sitting at the front. It was surrounded by a few strong heavy-weight individuals who made each person stand still while the vampire sucked blood from them. When it came to my turn, I could not withstand the whole proceeding and tried to run away. At that very moment, the vampire jumped forward to attack me. I woke up with a loud scream.
I was in a huge old church accompanied by three tall priests in priestly gowns. In front of us, on a table, was a newly prepared silver plate embossed with a peacock. A discussion was going on between them. They were talking about the head priest who had turned out to be a “vampire.” The decision was to be made as to how to keep him in the church (with his current position of head-priest) even after his true identity had come forth. I wanted to leave, as I felt my presence in this discussion was not required; but I was informed that my presence in this decision-making process was necessary and that after the decision was made the silver plate peacock will appear in full colors. At that moment, an image of the vampire-head-priest appeared on the church wall. He wore priestly clothes but had a terrible murderous look on his face.
Although, all these dreams present a vampire phenomenon yet, in each case, it represents a different vampire-motif with an ad hoc meaning of its own. For instance, the first dream portrays the vampire as “devil-like,” “caged,” and held within the “clutches of a priest and nun.” In being imprisoned, the vampire seems to be held down from doing its bidding—whatever that might be. Within the devil-like vampire then might be hidden a deadly truth that the soul fears and wants to deny. It might be implied that the dream vampire is made to appear as evil, dark, and devilish, by the soul itself, in order to keep it apart from soul consciousness. By making it appear as such, the soul rails against the vampiric truth that it needs to face, which in reality is the soul’s own truth. The vampire-motif then, seems to manifest the soul’s flight from the truth. Thus, interiorized into itself, the dream vampire is not a dark shadow of the divine or a devil. Rather, it carries within itself a truth—a truth that the soul is not yet ready to accept and integrate into itself.
In the second dream, even though the vampire appears similar to the first dream, the motif is different. Here, the vampire is not caged or imprisoned. Rather, it is being openly acknowledged and given blood. The vampire’s drinking blood is an implication of the soul’s own need to be fed with new energy and be nourished with blood—given life. Drinking of blood or bringing death might also be seen as a negation of life or as fundamental negation of the natural, abstract-emotional life, into absolute negativity. The vampire-motif here, appears to be an anticipation of the soul’s acceptance and integration of the truth that the vampire in this particular dream seems to imply.
The vampire in the third dream, once again, represents a very different motif than the previous ones. Here, the vampire is a “head priest.” In the discussion between the three priests is reflected the difficulty of making a decision of accepting him back into the church. This seems to suggest that, even though the vampire does not fit-in as a church priest, yet he cannot be totally alienated either. The conflict reflects the dilemma of the soul wherein the vampire-head-priest seems to be not totally destructive or absolutely evil. Rather, he seems to bring forth something more, or something new, which maybe is what the soul absolutely needs and why it portrays the vampire as a head-priest; or one might say, as its own “other.” The anticipated integration of the “other,” and a probable alchemical transformation of soul consciousness, is depicted in the silver peacock plate that is to appear colored after the decision to admit the vampire-head-priest is finalized.
Seen dialectically, the vampire-motif in the dreams of modern individuals is inverted reversed desire, and a compensation for the true reality of the times—a desire of the soul itself. It is then “the soul” that puts before itself the image of the vampire as a new artificial presence whereby, the soul wants to emancipate itself from itself. It can thus be implicated that, although in each dream phenomenon a different vampire-motif is presented, yet the vampire in all three dreams appeared as a “psycho-pomp,” with the psychological purpose of initiating the soul into its own truth.
In reflecting on the ad hoc dialectical logic and psychological meaning of the “vampire” phenomenon, most noticeable was its strong distinction at three different levels, i.e., the folkloric motif; the motif in 19th century literature and philosophy; and the motif in modern dreams. Reflection at the three levels (interpreted as each occurrence in its own terms), shows each vampire phenomenon to be an expression of the soul’s logical life and as evincing the soul situation in its given historical context. In other words, they each were not subsumed by an archetype, but expressed the truth of their historical and cultural situation as seen from within. The important point is that there are different vampire phenomena (rather than one phenomenon) that go through a series of historical changes. And, even though the NAME stays the same, but each phenomenon may be something else—with an ad hoc meaning of its own. Each vampire phenomenon is thus a new formulation, which transports into a new frame of mind for experiencing it. Thus, it is not a continuous development or resurgence of the same phenomenon.
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Nietzsche, F. 1888/1967. Ecce Homo. (edited by Walter Kaufmann). New York: Vintage
Noll, R. 1992. Vampires, Werewolves, & Demons. New York: Brunner/ Mazel.
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1 Books/Novels: Dracula (Stoker, 1897); I am Legend (Richard Matheson, 1954); Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1979); Salem’s Lot (Stephen King, 1975); The Living and the Undead (Gregory Waller, 2010); Reading the Vampire (Ken Gelder, 1994); The Naked and the Undead (Cynthia A. Freeland, 2000); Twilight series (Stephanie Meyer, 2003 0nwards); and many more.
Movies: Horrors of Dracula (1958), Dracula (1973), (1979); Undead (2003); Shaun of the Dead ( 2004); Planet Terror(2007); Dawn of the Dead (1979); I am Legend (2007); Near Dark (1987); Brain Dead (1992); The Addiction (1995); 28 Days Later (2002); Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2005); Let the Right One In (2008); Twiight Saga (2005) and many more;
Televison shows: HBO’s “True Blood” based on “The Southern Vampire Mysteries,” a novel by Charlaine Harris (2008), is now HBO’s second most watched television series ever, second only to Sopranos (Benjamin Toff “Victims for NBC, MTV, and “True Blood”, The NY Times, 15 Sep. 2009).The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” television series, based on the “The Vampire Diaries” novels by L. J. Smith, premiered in 2009 and drew the largest audience of any other television series on the CW network since the network began in 2006 (Carina Mackinzie, “The Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev on Elena’s look alike and more,” Los Angeles Times, 21 Jan. 2010, p.1);
Video Games: the role playing game: “The Masquerade” has been influential upon modern vampire fiction and elements of its terminology such as: “embrace” has been widely used. Popular video games about vampires include “Castlemania,” which is an extension of the original Bram Stoker novel Dracula and Legacy of Cain . Vampires are also sporadically portrayed in other games, including the “The Elder Scrolls IV” and “Fallous 3” [175, 176]; and many more.;
Internet web sites: Facegoth.com; VampireSocial.com; Vampirenextdoor.com; Darknesswakes.com; Evilsaga.com; Victorianhater.com; Darknesswakes.com;VampsRus.com; Occultplanet.com; VAMPIRE.com; Covenofvampires.com; TheMist&theDarkness.com; VampyrSanctuare.com; Vampirewatch.com; and many more.
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