Article — March 18, 2017 — love, language, lucidity
Two days ago, a number of puzzle pieces clicked together in my mind, and suddenly I saw a plausible answer to the anima/animus problem
Different people see the anima in different places. A few people who look at this will be really, really turned on. (source) The problem could be stated like this: when you encounter a living person who belongs to the very same archetype as your own anima/animus, what do you do?
Anyone who’s had this experience knows it’s a problem in urgent need of a solution. One thing that can happen is, as soon as you see him/her, you get smacked in the face with beauty beyond anything imaginable.
It’s like something out of a psychedelic trip or a lucid dream, but you’re still in ordinary waking reality. You don’t know what to do with yourself anymore. You only know you need to do something. What is it?
The universe presents you with a question you cannot avoid, and you must answer.
In the culture of romantic love, the normal answer is marriage. After some centuries of experimentation, it turns out this is a very bad answer, most of the time.I won’t explain why; it’s beyond the scope of this article. If you want to explore the topic, I recommend starting with this five-minute video. So, we need another one.
You only need to change two assumptions to transform heterosexual monogamous marriage into pansexual polygamous marriage. It’s a good start. (source) The range of possibilities here is very wide. To get a sense of it, start with the observation that marriage is a social structure. It consists of assumptions, such as “we’ll be in love forever”, and “we shouldn’t love anyone else this way”. Changing any of those assumptions creates an entirely different social structure, which might still be called “marriage”.
These cultural assumptions create expectations which govern the behavior of married couples, to a very large extent, whether or not they’re conscious of it, and whether or not both partners share the same assumptions, or agree with them.
We are ruled by culture, for better or worse. That doesn’t mean we’re powerless; it only means that to change our own behavior, we must change our culture.
I live in rhythm with the sun, and I am surrounded by amazingly tired, sleepy people. (source) In my own mind, I’m developing a new culture. Some parts of it, I already live.
Some parts I can’t live, because they aren’t shared with anyone else, and they require the participation of more than one person.
Some parts aren’t fully developed, yet. My answer to the anima/animus problem is one of these.
I’ll describe it as best I can, with the disclaimer that it’s a work in progress, and it isn’t easy to understand – partly because it’s very far away from what exists today.
Unfamiliar lifeforms ahead. Possibly friendly. Take care. (source) I don’t know any culture, living or dead, that has a social structure anything like this – it bears no resemblance to marriage at all.
A couple details are similar to a patient-therapist relationship in the culture of transpersonal psychology; the commitment is more or less the same, as well as the intention to deeply explore the soul.
In the overall shape of it, though, it’s utterly different.
A museum may, optionally, be housed in one or more buildings. But only very futuristic-looking ones. (source) It’s a type of partnership, with two roles. I call them “artist” and “muse”. The partnership itself, I call a “museum”.
You may be a museum of one, if you love yourself. This is challenging. (source) A museum might include any number of partners, as long as every artist has at least one muse, and vice-versa.
More than one role can be held by one person, simultaneously or in succession. You might be the artist of one and the muse of another, and couples might alternate roles.
The purpose of a museum is for the artist to love the muse. This is artist-muse love; unlike romantic love, it is asymmetric.
It has three stages:
First, the artist perceives the beautiful truth within the muse. This may happen instantaneously, at a glance, or it may be a deliberate process.
The artist is challenged to be absolutely non-judgemental: to love the truth, whatever it may be. The artist may try to draw more of the truth out of the muse, questions, provocations, or any other kind of intervention, without any intention to change the muse. The right attitude for the artist is to see the muse as already whole and perfect, and to stay in that mindset no matter what is perceived.
Taking a picture of yourself and releasing it into the public domain is an excellent thing to do, as a muse. (source) The muse is challenged to practice authentic self-expression: to show all that is true, unconditionally, hiding nothing. This includes showing the parts of ourselves we do not like. It includes expressing thoughts and feelings that are dangerous to express, because they challenge the artist more. The muse must learn to be fearless: to reveal ever greater and weirder depths of the soul, despite the risk of driving the artist away.
This process can take place anywhere, in any context, with or without the focused attention of artist or muse, with or without any particular method of uncovering the truth.This sentence remains true even when you add “in bed” at the end. Try it!
Second, the artist makes art. That means giving form to the beautiful truth, so that it can be perceived by others, too.
Usually this is a solitary activity, and usually the muse isn’t involved in it. Other than that, it has widely varying manifestations: painting, sculpture, music,“Music” shares a common etymology with “muse”. It once referred to any muse-inspired work of art, not only the practice of making beautiful sound. writing,Have I mentioned I wrote a book? poetry, performance, graffiti, and so on and so forth and so on.
The beautiful truth within the art is not necessarily the same as the beautiful truth within the muse. This is important to understand.
The art may have nothing to do with the muse, or everything, or anything in between, no matter whether it appears to or not. It will, at least, have something to do with the artist.
Once upon a time, we thought information could be property. (source) Third, the art is given to the public.
Neither artist nor muse are necessarily involved, at this stage. What they think and feel about the art they produced is largely irrelevant. They can be transformed through the process, and by receiving feedback from the world at large, but all that is beside the point.
What matters is to give away what happened between artist and muse, because to keep it as a private treasure would be a crime against the soul, and to share it enriches the world.
There should be no thought of gaining material profits from the art. Releasing it without any conditions at all is best. If the material wellbeing of anyone depends on the art, we all suffer – especially the artist.
Saying “it belongs to the Earth” would still be greedy. (source) It should be clear, from the beginning: the art does not belong to the artist, the muse, or anyone else. It is free. It belongs to the world.
A museum is a public institution, by its nature.