Eros, Thanatos and the drives — Ecopsychology — *notes and illustrations, creativity, depression

So, let’s talk a little about depression as a symptom again — from a depth perspective — I’m going to show you a couple of pictures I took yesterday.  To illustrate what therapists call “the drives.”

These are examples of sunsets.


To be in a place of Thanatos is to be very depressed.  What it feels like is darkness, just like this.  Like there will never be any light again ever.  Is that true?

In terms of the sunset, no.  Because we know there is going to be another one tomorrow.

When a person is very depressed, they see this extreme darkness.  It is because of the soul itself?  The soul is crying.

What is the soul crying for?

There are many theories on this — but, know that the opposite of Thanatos (Freudian) is Eros.  What is Eros?

If people are in a state of Eros it looks like this!




















Here is the Wikipedia on Thanatos:

In classical Freudianpsychoanalytic theory, the death drive (“Todestrieb”) is the drive towards death, self-destruction and the return to the inorganic: ‘the hypothesis of a death instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state’[1]. It was originally proposed by Sigmund Freud in 1920 in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where in his first published reference to the term he wrote of the ‘opposition between the ego or death instincts and the sexual or life instincts’[2]. The death drive opposes Eros, the tendency toward survival, propagation, sex, and other creative, life-producing drives. The death drive is sometimes referred to as “Thanatos” in post-Freudian thought, complementing “Eros”, although this term was not used in Freud’s own work, being rather introduced by one of Freud’s followers, Wilhelm Stekel.[3]

The Standard Edition of Freud’s works in English confuses two terms that are different in German, Instinkt (“instinct”) and Trieb (“drive”), often translating both as instinct. ‘This incorrect equating of instinct and Trieb has created serious misunderstandings’[4]. Freud actually refers to the “death instinct” as a drive, a force that is not essential to the life of an organism (unlike an instinct) and tends to denature it or make it behave in ways that are sometimes counter-intuitive. The term is almost universally known in scholarly literature on Freud as the “death drive”, and Lacanian psychoanalysts often shorten it to simply “drive” (although Freud posited the existence of other drives as well).

Depression is a state of psychic numbness.  It’s like a dark space inside of a person?  So you can imagine that this is what it feels like inside when you look at the top picture.

I’m going to show you an intermediate picture now.  That is between these two.  Let’s look at the red.

What Eros does, is engage the eye — and the soul — towards movement.  This movement is the opposite of Thanatos — which can be seen as the absence of movement in a way.

We can look at what Plato had to say on Eros, again from the Wikipedia:

Plato refined the concept of eros. Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction”. Plato also said Eros helps the soul remember beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to tell the truth by eros, the god of love. The most famous ancient work on the subject of eros is Plato‘s Symposium, a dialogue among seven men (including Alcibiades), reclining in a Greeksymposium, in which Socrates reveals his knowledge about the nature of eros, inspired by the teaching of Diotima of Mantinea. Eros, in the Socratic logos, can be defined as the longing for wholeness or completeness, a daemon whose aim is to reach wisdom without ever owning her and is used to describe fulfillment between man/woman and man/Gods.

Plato considers eros to be philosophy, the love or desire of wisdom. Wisdom is the greatest of virtues and eros is the desire for the greatest of goods. Eros is, therefore, the desire for wisdom. Philosophy literally translates to a love of wisdom. It is important to note that Plato does not suggest that love must be for something physically “beautiful”. In fact the greatest of goods will be eternal and physical beauty is in no way eternal. Yet, to achieve possession of the beloved’s inner beauty and goodness will fulfill their need and emptiness to produce happiness. Happiness is the experience of knowing that you are participating in the good.[11]

Thomas Jay Oord defines eros as intentional response to promote overall well-being by enhancing or appreciating what is valuable or good.

When Jung writes about Alchemy and Depth Psychology, he refers to this period of “reddening.”  Red is like a fire in the soul.  It adds heat and warmth.  It begins the process of looking outwards at “something.”

In analytic theory, in terms of Depression that is what we notice first — the “looking out.”

Is that present or not?

If not?

What we do is create a window for it, on paper.

What concerns me when I look at the symptoms many emo people are having is that they have no window out.  They are using cutting for that window?  But they don’t have to.

If we think of Eros (the drive) as a happier state?  A non-depressed state?

A question is — well, what does happiness look like?

If everything was so dark there was barely any room for any happiness — if you made a picture of that what would it look like?

The first thing to do is to “show” that creatively.  Most emos understand technology, totally.  In fact it is almost their playground.  At this time in the world, when they grew up, they all had it?  They are focused “in” on it.  But, when do they look up or out?

One of the things that Eros is interested in is differentiation for the self.

So, that project I’m working on called The Alchemy Project — is a place to start by making a place to have “differentiation.”

If you think of a blog as a place to begin to let out some of the “red” inside — what you could do is create something.  Of yourself.  Of yourself as an individual.

Jung used to talk about something called the “Dark Night of the Soul.”

What he meant was something like that top picture.  But if you look really carefully at that picture you are going to see a boat.  You can see a tiny mast.  That is called, “The Night Sea Journey.”

What he meant by that was, that sometimes we can feel like we are in a little boat, totally in the dark like that.  What begins to lift the darkness of depression is creativity.

It works every time, and for everyone.

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