This excerpt from a Mid-Life Perspective: Conversations With The Unconscious, begins Part One — Confrontation with the Unconscious — Dethronement of the Ego — following the Prologue.
The Mid-life Process
The mid-life transition begins with a confusing influx of unconscious emotional demands. It supplements the one-sided perspective of causal thinking by exposing its inadequacies in confronting the inner world. This re-orienting phase is marked by changing relationships as the growing insistence of the unconscious begins to intrude in the form of repressed feelings. The images attending this stage are often of a sexual character, symbolizing the creative life-urge of the unconscious, as well as the motive forces of instinctual functions which are more emotional than sensual. Psychologically, Jung saw sexuality as a function of relationship. Studies of primates suggest that promiscuous sexual activities within the group serve the purpose of social cohesion. These are the dark beginnings of culture. On a higher level, the dual nature of mind and body serves a similar role within the psyche as the two poles seeking a gradient for spiritual development: the deeper shift in values that occurs between them at mid-life.
THE DARK PRINCE.
Cast to the flames of a sacrificial fire —
Nakedness, crudeness in unholy choir —
The spirit of Nature with Time will conspire
To turn into ashes her own desire.
The animal’s heated moan is heard
Deep in the body unconsciously stirred
With lust to entice the intimate vice
Of the apple of Eden’s sacrifice;
Fixed to an image his youth has crowned —
Still to a primitive energy bound. The pretense of love dissolves and emerges
As frantic obsessions with sexual urges
Embracing another in secret fashion
Transfusing his own with the other’s passion.
Idols undressed in an intimate tryst
Are clothed in the dream of the image he kissed;
Obscured by the lure of the heightened need
To transcend himself in the concrete deed.
Selfishness grows into frenzied caprice
Unconsciously seeking the Spirit’s release. His naked desire is then transformed
Into an object erotic, deformed;
Conceived as need in a sensual feast
Of animal functions exposed and released.
Nakedness glows as a sumptuous sight
Devoid of love and impelled by the might
Of a ravenous ravishing appetite
Consuming his senses in crude delight…
Bedazzled by erotic fascination —
Yet in the animal stage of creation —
He’s forced in his darkness to yield all control
To this secret excitement concealed in his soul.
Ribbons of touch flow over his skin
Alluring and hazy drawing him in.
Worlds of paradox dance before his eyes;
Earthly pleasures whisper and in the darkness lies
The secret co-conspirator in lusty grinning guise
Who barters sex for love through his compulsive ties.
Passion’s loneliness seeks him out
From the desperate to the devout.
For many years he has fantasized
That the flesh should hide the gift he prized.
From urge to compulsion his mind has run;
Round and round have his senses spun Blindly hoping to reach through the veil To find a passion now grown pale; Stripped of form by the inner eye Ravaged by greed and left to die — Then to be strewn in the dark expanse:
The seed of his nature in Time’s advance;
Compelled by fate to fecundate
The fertile spirit who lies in wait.
The grin will vanish and through Love’s guise
A more discerning man will meet his eyes. Will he in Faustian surprise salute
The higher nature of this lowly brute?
Or fan the flames of his naked desire; Genuflect to the world of men Admit his weakness before this fire
Confess the paradox and then — Ignore the flame of fate within? Whatever choice will not avail him long
For this dark voice will soon become too strong.
Where impulse, need, and fear ring round
Nature’s urge to consciousness is found.
Has he the courage to implore
This demon-spirit in the dark?
Stripped of the manly clothes he wore Confronted by a truth so stark?
Here is he at a strange frontier
Caught on the edge of aloneness and fear;
Destined by Nature and Time to explore
The unknown magic he sought before: His naked desire where once did glow The secret excitement he longs to know.
THE UNKNOWN WOMAN.
A new relation with himself he now must seek;
Before this task the strongest will proves small and weak.
However much his nakedness has fascinated
A deeper image of his life will be created.
If the images he seeks at night engender love
Whence come the feelings daylight finds him thinking of?
The secret needs his lonely lust allays at night
Soon will find him subject to another appetite.
Ever in his naked pleasure, strive as strive he may
Passion’s night though darkly veiled must labor into day.
The fleet relations with the needs he fantasizes
On the plate of pleasure Nature’s power now disguises
Are appetizers for a different reality —
Ones when savored will consume him too as he will see.
While he sits starving now at the same old table
For the same old dish warmed over by his fantasy —
Only by the spice of fantasy made edible —
Youth’s repast must yield at last for Spirit’s truths to free.
What fare has he yet tasted whose illusory appeal Did not later seize him with the pain of indigestion?
He finds another place to eat and eats the same old meal —
Though why it never sits quite right is loathe to question.
THE ODDLY SHAPED MAN.
Has a dark shadow dissipated?
Is this the image I created?
With my own seed did I propagate
This fog of illusion — can this be fate?