In our last post, we looked at the two aspects of our mind (where the words come from) that are, for most people, non-existent.
The Collective Unconscious being the vast and hidden pool of ultimate creativity—full of characters and powers and Real Words. The Personal Unconscious being the normally-unappreciated workshop where energy-patterns from the Collective Unconscious and memories/concepts/words from the Conscious Mind commingle–our personal metaphysical workplace.
Here again is the straight-line, word-symbol formula (from where the Real Words are born to our practical use of them):
Collective Unconscious–>Personal Unconscious–>Shadow–>Conscious Mind–>Brain–>Body–>Screen/Paper
The next player in this wordly drama is the Shadow—often described in ways that can scare some folks but, for most writers, a very fertile field for fashioning the darker characters and themes.
The Personal Unconscious stores (and massages) the memories, concepts, and words that we sometimes call “Good”. The Shadow stores what we sometimes call “Bad”.
Most people’s anxiety (and, sometimes, mental illness) comes from the battle between their Conscious Mind and the Shadow–the Ego Mind valiantly ignoring the repressed darkness, while it cheerfully projects all its unregenerate and primitive aspects on other people–thinking that this frees the Conscious Mind from having to worry about “the other half of a Full Life”…
The Night holds its terrors and the Shadow is each person’s personal Night. We can deal with it—accept that we aren’t perfectly right and sweetly angelic—and inculcate the total darkness with the Light of Self-Reflection, a strenuous effort but work that can set us free of so many nagging or even vicious tests and trials…
Writers can definitely benefit (increase mental hygiene) from the work of rendering “bad characters”; yet, if the bad folk have no redeeming qualities (even if only potentially), the writer is only transferring to the screen or page the same dangerous Projection of the Unregenerated–not dealing deeply with the Forces of Darkness, not giving the Night a chance to taste the Day, leaving the critical tasks of life to other, more honest writers…
Please understand, the actual day-to-day labor of keeping the contents of the Shadow above-ground and in control is very hard work. Rendering fully-fleshed-out “dark” characters is just as hard. Then, there’s the complementary sin—“good” characters who have no flaws………
So, even though the full treatment of all these aspects of our minds may be compelling, it’s impossible in a blog’s format. I recommend, for readers unafraid of arduous mental effort, The Jung Page.
It’s time for a recap that focuses on the transmission of words:
Real Words are born in the Collective Unconscious. They present themselves as Useable Words in the Personal Unconscious. They pass through the Shadow (often given unique connotations) and arrive in the Conscious Mind.
Many folks think that all their word-fashioning happens in the Conscious Mind–unaware of the nearly magical and usually uncredited contributions from the Shadow, Personal Unconscious, and Collective Unconscious.
Having an active and entitized Muse is the best way to maintain an awareness that the Conscious Mind is the least powerful agent in any attempt at creative writing…
OK, we have the words in the Conscious Mind and they spill out, through the Brain and Body, to the Screen or Paper.
I envy people who never consider committing words to screen or paper. All they have to do is merrily let the words spring from their mouths, while the people they speak to do the editing :-)
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