The Virtual Psyche Part 2

It is clear to see for those with any capacity to pay attention to the commonalities between people, that the virtual (and its varying, specific mediums) and the human psyche are now very closely intertwined.

Specifically they are are connected in the way that the virtual may now serve as both a literal and symbolic replacement for ego consciousness and its varying functions. Chief among these functions are (and it must be said these are vastly simplified):

i) The ability to dissect unconscious projections upon the world and introject them so as to create a abstract "world of concepts" along side unconscious, natural reality.

ii) The function of balancing and mediating unconscious aspects (archetypes and complexes which form personality like existences) and conscious existence.

iii) Observation of unconscious contents through various practices, ie meditation asceticism, rituals or behaviour which follows archetypal and ritual lines.

iv) Serving as a pacifying mediator and "center" of personality (until the self replaces this center as the all encompassing transcendence of duality).

v) The final transposition of ego-centric consciousness which ideally may incorporate the entire personality, and transcend the limitations of both the human conscious and natural unconscious realms.

The virtual has been developed to a sufficient capacity as to where it can replace the ego-perceiving functions in the first four of the above aspects. The virtual as a whole, not just its social media aspects serves as an unrivalled repository for information that is acquired through ego-perception; meaning that the contents of the internet are no longer purely symbolic/conceptual, but have been advanced to a point where they are almost material. Not only are these contents capable of conceptual and/or literary in nature, but also of being a kind of symbolosis (a new word I just invented which means the human interaction with and integration of archetypal/symbolic psychic contents). With the variations of art that were once the only ones available to us (all art being the a creative demonstration of either the synthesis of consciousness and unconsciousness, or pure mana-projections charged with the unbridled potential and magic of the unconscious), we were forced to settle for a kind of symbolosis which could only occur with a certain degree of psychological distance between the content being integrated and the integrating/interpretary ego. Now, with the virtual realm at our fingertips; a realm inside which all the archetypes dwell may be interacted with in the same fashion as children do with games set in the real world. The only difference between the archetypal game-playing of children, and the symbolosis of archetypal contents through the internet is that so far, the renditions of virtual symbolosis are incomplete; they lack the reality and life of the true unconscious which one may interact with through ego-dissolutive practice. This is not to say that I encourage outright dissolution and destruction of the ego, as many dissolutive cults and religious sects do (chief among them are religions of the East, namely Taoism and early Brahmanism). The dissolution of ego, whether it be through voluntary sacrifice or through accidental encounter, is only beneficial by good fortune of luck and timing. Too often may one see many blind shamans and false profits created by an unprepared exposure to "easy-access dissolution", who are in truth pathological, but are lost to the unconscious and its numinous tendencies. One must be either born with the personality traits to allow the re-building of the previously dissolved consciousness, or creative enough to have already had a solid connection with the unconscious, so as to not be overwhelmed by its dissolutive influence.

Until the rise of the virtual realm, and the vast turning inside out of our collective psychic contents, it was solely through spiritual and medicinal (shamanic) practice that the productive form of dissolution could be achieved; save the exempted exceptional few who are born visionaries. Now though, it seems that the spiritual (and religious) experience is available cheaply for all to witness. The only price one must pay, is the voluntary control of one's soul; which despite my exaggerated language, is in fact a small price to pay. We do not pay in the hopes of returned happiness nor pleasure, but that which is more fundamentally sought after by all human beings: meaning. It is precisely modern man's starvation of meaning that allows him to fall such easy prey to the projected dissolutive aspects of the unconscious, which not only rear their heads in our personal psyches, but now are everywhere represented in such a way that reduces them to singular one dimensional aspects. I ask, who would not sell their soul for access to a boundless realm of predetermined and easily accessible meaning? Only the very wise, or the very pathological.

Each video watched, each story witnessed, each video game brought to a conclusive end is a participation in the constant process of archetypal symbolosis. It is thus, despite our belittling and ego-blown view of it, a religious and numinous interaction with transcendental aspects of humanity. The contents and motifs of all stories are the same, they find their origins in myth, which is also the birth place for religion. Who is Iron Man but a modern reflection of the concepts behind the Egyptian god Horus? Or the Greek Prometheus? Who is Thor but a literal integration of a once religious figure? All of this goes on in the annuls of the unconscious, and we are pitifully unaware of it. The virtualisation of these contents archetypes however, is the purest form of projection that the collective ego has ever dared to create. Thus they lack all the mystery and power of the natural unconscious, as a result of being direct creations and perceptions of the ego. These creations, which are experiences (as all art is) are charged with meaning because they are made up by that which constitutes the translation and creation of meaning (symbols), and are enticing beyond compare because of the residual happiness and pleasure that happens of a side effect of meaningful experience. The kinds of meaningful archetypal experiences which one may find in the virtual realm are however by and large those which produce or imply pleasure as a side effect, and this pleasure inherently becomes meaningless because it does not occur naturally by chance but it manufactured. This process supplants the personal ego and its functions, which are inherently capable of generating not just the by-products of meaning but meaning in of itself, which is so often associated with the natural continuum of natural human emotion, rather than the hyper-experiencing of one singular emotion. There is no effort required on the part of the ego to interact with or interpret, and thus generate meaning, out of these virtual archetypal experiences, as they are meaningless by design.

No depths need be explored, no world need be discovered, one need not go outside the controlled confines of their own home in order to experience the kind of life which may generate boundless meaning. But as soon as the virtual is turned off, and the weight of reality must be bared once again on unprepared shoulders, the pathological addiction to this boundless, easy meaning is created. Thus there too is no need for true introspection, no need for discovery of the self, for why would one exchange the unending meaning and adventure of the virtual, for a what is almost always a difficult and burning need to bear the responsibility of living by discovering what it means to be alive? The weakening ease with which anyone may participate in that which was once held scared and held close to the chests of shamans and keepers of divine mysteries, is a double edged sword. On one hand, the readily accessible "divine" may server as a means to further the psychological development of the masses, but on the other, the sacred becomes no longer sacred once it is commonly available. It seems that no longer have we only sacrificed God to his own image (as in the Christian mythos) but we further spit on the idea of the divine by un-sanctifying all that is archetypally sacred. Whether this desecration is for good or evil remains to be seen, and may be judged upon by the reader. My purpose here is not to delve into the pitiful and ham-fisted realm of morality, but instead to get to the root of the matter.

Luckily for those few concerned with the exploration and discovery of the numinous, the life bringing and sacred realms of the unconscious it remains there as a constant to be explored. It, as a necessary predicate for human existence, shall never leave us despite how much we choose to ignore it.

The issue with the virtualization of symbolosis is that the essential dynamism and vitality of the archetypes are stolen away, and they become one dimensional "dead images" upon which one may only project the intended projection of the created archetype. Thus they lack the potential for transformation and integration. We contain in all of us the unconscious, natural, and vitality-infused which are what make us human and not gods. The distinction after all between God and Man being our fallen state, which precisely constitutes our divinity. To be in our position; between the natural and sensuous, and the divine and unyielding, is the privilege and curse of consciousness, for it is the tension between these two self-created aspects of existence that allow us to be conscious at all. Our mediatory position allows us access to the foundations of reality, whether we choose to believe it or not (this capacity for belief being one of the side effects of this psychic position, I might add). This duality is very much a psychological as well as a metaphysical reality, meaning that the intersection between what we call physical reality and psychological reality is what we are and what we mean. This is why it is so dangerous to supplant ourselves with a mechanism that is not fully capable of replicating our psychological function. The virtual replacing the ego-consciousness (with which the vast majority of philosophy and religion has been associated with up to this point, including science) is what we are witnessing in our age. The ego has for the first time began to create a replicant of itself, which is dangerous and incomplete because of its lack of psychological distance between the ego and its projections. We are as it were, too close to the problem to be aware of it.

The projections which the virtual now harbours are indeed partial archetypal contents, but they are false and incomplete apparitions with which the collectively active ego may ignorantly interact with. The self respect we once had for the sacred and transcendental within ourselves is long gone. The death of God was not just the rejection of the father figure which held tyrannical sway over the psyche, it was also the rejection and repression of the archetype which was associated with the divine within all human beings. We in a sense, threw out the baby with the bathwater. The death of the transcendent within us is part of the fragmentation of the uroboric archetype out of which all life springs (see Erich Neumann's Origins and History of Consciousness), and now hundreds of years later we arrive at the psychological precipice of our time, once again taking place in the cyclical development of humanity. The danger of our time, is not the same as previous epochs (save for the fact that it is also new and dangerous). It is not a battle this time against nature nor a fight for emancipation of consciousness from a dominating archetypal figure, but now the danger is of taking our old fight too far. Our adversary is no longer an adversary in of itself, in so much as it is no longer conducive to our psychological development to paint it so (as we did previously with the mother and the father archetypes). It is now a negotiation with the other within. For the personification of our symbolic battle is no longer so un-integrated as to be considered "other", but as to be the unacknowledged and resented aspects of ourselves which refuse to bare the responsibility of living and thus possess us.

We have mistakenly and unconsciously chosen the material, and thus the virtual (as its psychic extension) as a means to complete the psychologically essential process of integration which our ego has evolved naturally to do. I will say however, that the evolution of the virtual as an extension of a hyper-active ego-consciousness is also "naturally evolved", as its creation was naturally determined by us. Our interaction with it however, is reserved for the realm of religious experience and divine practice which is by definition unnatural. Herein lays the danger which pursues us, for we have allocated for an interaction with archetypes that does not require that we learn anything to participate in it. This ease with which we may interact with psychically influential symbols is dangerous because the vast majority of us, in our omnipresent stupidity, have not earned the right to do so. It is as it were, access to unearned wisdom. The interaction has become too passive, and thus loses its difficulty and meaning. And so the psychically weak and wretched may participate in collective psychic action, without learning first to be strong enough to contend with the archetypal images which threaten to possess them. As a result, what do we see today from the masses? Blind acceptance of pathological ideology, hedonism, blind acceptance of psychic impotence with no effort thereafter to become strong, and general lack of character, vigour, and lust for life. It is the trap, not of a meaningless existence like so many "philosophers" of today claim, but of an attitude which refuses to create its own meaning out of an inherently meaningless reality. Thus the immaturity of our time becomes self evident, as the arrogance and self victimization with which we are encouraged to approach reality becomes akin to that of teenager.

This aside, I cannot deny also that the virtualization of reality may also bear fruit, and act as the perfect mirror for further insight into ourselves (see my essay The Perfect Mirror). But until we may utilize this mirror consciously as a powerful integrative tool, we will continue to be possessed by the archetypes projected therein and by extension, the ideas and patterns of behaviour which they represent. And worst of all, this possession will continue so long as we call it fate, and refuse to recognize the stupidity of our ways.

So what then, are we to do as a collective? How may we prevent the tragic fate of a world possessed by its own ideas? What actions may we take against the onslaught of our pitiful self-ignorance? It is here where I must end with an honest and resounding "I have no idea". My own insight into the situation as a whole is limited, and thus I cannot say with any degree of certainty or dignity what we as a race should do about our self-possession. Perhaps with the further development of my learning I may reach an answer. Perhaps not. What matters is that you have lasted to the end of this extensive paper, and may now do as you will with the insight provided herein.

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