James Hillman –philosophe and archetypal psychologist – coined the idea of the Soul Code. The concept flows something like this: Your soul lives within you and at birth houses all of your potential, (like a genetic imprint) and this subconscious inner knowledge of the soul makes us who we are. It determines who we become, guiding us along a specific predetermined path outlined in our veins and tissue and breath and whatever ethereal substance makes up said soul. So much for free will eh? I’ve presented this psycho-speak before so if you want an in depth analysis of the late great Hillman…hit the back button my friend.
I am touching the concept of the soul code because I want to carry bits of it forward and perhaps use it to tease apart a series of thoughts I’ve had about self, society, social response and … uh…tacos. It will make sense later …or it could devolve into a raucous philosophical dance party With Swedish strippers and tripod bears of epic proportions.
I live with an open heart – a seriously open heart. I take in things without filtering them and possess no system to sift them out of save for sobbing. I do so unabashedly because if I did not rid myself of the grit the accompanies living in this world, my soul would be a lump of shit. ( true story.)
I cry when I face death, destruction, violence, corruption or pain. I cry during intense emotional moments – I swear my brain has a switch that flips when emotions flare and BAM my soul taps directly into my lachrymal ducts. Sex, good food, a sweet movie, my dog looking cute, asparagus, a bad day,high heels, velociraptors – you name it aaaaand I’ve cried about it. My momma to this day calls me her “soft soul” because this sensitive nature has always been a part of me. I agree with her, I have always cried because I have always been more engaged with the beauty and suffering that is an inherent part of being alive. My heart is a compassion chunnel and all broken things that need attention and love pour through and are embraced. Sounds hokey but it’s true.
I do not lack the control or the self-awareness to stop my tears…it is quite the opposite. I have come to the point in my life where I don’t want to hinder my authentic self from developing layer by thin layer. Previously, when I was younger and less “in” my body, I tried to sublimate my emotional responses and it did not work. Doing so made me feel like a fraud or I would become so emotionally lopsided that I would morph into an angry,hulk like rage beast on a semi-regular basis. I made a conscious decision to remove the limitations I placed around weakness and crying, I chose not to throw myself against that wall.I feel what my heart and mind are crafted to feel and this leads to (you guessed it) analysis.
Sweet honeyed self-analysis. Explored with an “if then” question:
If I have always been someone who feels the world then would it not be safe to posit that this aspect of the self is something that developed as my parents clicked together strands of life and created me? Would Hillman’s theory test true were we to discover one day the ability to explore the spaces inside ourselves and then the spaces between the spaces? If the answer is yes then – I am going to have a Bill Hicks style freak out the day that happens because – I along with many other people in this world have been told that they are wrong or broken or polarized or simply bad for having non-normative responses to this world. I have been informed on more than one occasion that crying is NOT an appropriate response… but, why not? Seriously – if it’s built into me –why is it wrong? This idea can be extrapolated outwards to all natural emotional responses (anger, fear etc.) and I am sure that some sociologist hidden in the bush somewhere has an erudite reason outlining how society would have never developed if we allowed our natural instincts to rule us. Or maybe I can just tap Ryle and his theory of dispositions and be done with it.
I call bullshit.
It took me all of my 20’s to be okay with my wonderfully compassionate, vulnerable and imperfect self and I am sure it will take me the rest of my life to LOVE who that person is. It was surprisingly easy to move past the thou shalt not and crawl into the thou shall parts of my emotional garden and guess what? Society didn’t crumble at my feet. My ability to function didn’t rapidly diminish. Instead I began learning how to cry. I learned how to sit with the emotions that fueled the tears and get this one…I cry less now. Allowing myself to be authentic provided firm ground for me to feel valid in my emotions and also gave me a base to explore the nature of my tears in the moment. ” Am I crying because of a thing or just to cry? What purpose does it serve in my life? Do I enjoy the experience and have I learned from it?”
So- This was going to be a post about child rearing and how to allow space for a natural development of the soul seed as a child ages but…that fell the fuck apart didn’t it? I’ll table that for next time and leave you with this question:
If humans were given the chance to develop as their soul wishes rather than as society dictates…how would this world differ? Note that I’m not saying that it would be all roses and maple syrup (mmm pancakes) Hillman notes that there are people born with death and destruction threaded into their genes- I’m just wondering how you and I and the world might differ…
Love and zombies.
(please don’t eat my face)
- More Reflections on James Hillman’s Archetypal Psychology (footnotes2plato.com)
- On Darkness… (gatherednettles.com)
- Primordial Psyche (madinamerica.com)
- Invisible Saints (vsvevg.wordpress.com)