We were all born somewhere and of someone.
This is another inevitable, shared characteristic of ours, with no exceptions, which can in many ways push various aspects of our selves into the Shadow.
For a start, we do not choose our place and time of birth. Nor our parents. Besides, we bear the weight of our historicity, without being asked; some ancestors determined our route through life with their choices and actions. Moreover, our immediate environment had already imagined us before we emerged into this world, loading us with expectations.
The future mother, in particular, will have already built a whole cradle of dreams, wishes, meanings and feelings for her future child – and it is natural that she should imagine the child in accordance with images that are familiar to her and confirm her identity (Carotenuto, 2012).
That is, when we are born we are already in debt, our identity already stigmatised with the signs of an unseen kind of betrayal, that our birth brings about and refers to:
• (a) The pain of separation (as the mother’s body does not want to let us go).
• (b) Disappointment (as it is in practice impossible to match up to the expectations of the mother and the environment).
• (c) Various disagreeable responses from the mother, who, apart from what she offers, often experiences the denial of her expectations and our own ontological independence in various ways: anger, depression, withdrawal, aggression, etc.
• (d) Our own guilt at the consequences of our birth (apart from the celebrations, the cheerful songs and the good wishes). It is as if we took on a responsibility to satisfy the Others’ expectations for the rest of our lives; as if we were responsible for alleviating any possible pain in Others resulting from the fact that our life is bound to contradict their expectations to some extent. In other words it is as if we have always to struggle to counterbalance the “original sin” of our very appearance in this world; as if we are agreeing informally that we will not sadden the Others even when they attack and violate our boundaries; as if we were accused and convicted by the Others for the simple fact that we are alive (Carotenuto, 2012).
For all of us, with our birth, the primary wholeness
formed of mother and child is inevitably broken (the child escapes from the mother, betraying the cradle that had been prepared for it).
However, even on a physical level, if this whole is not broken and we remain in the mother’s body, we will die, as will the mother. Our birth is a natural consequence, actually and symbolically, of transformation – that is, we must at some time be born and start following the path of our uniqueness.
However, to generalise from an existential perspective, every differentiation and each act of autonomy in our life is a sort of betrayal of the expectations of Others – contrariwise, every differentiation or act of autonomy on the part of an Other with whom we have a close relationship is as if that Other betrays us.
It is, so to speak, a game of mutual betrayals; as we differentiate in our lives we inevitably betray, and are betrayed.
On the other hand, for all of us, to accept our differences from other people
is a precondition for adult life. It seems that if we do not take the one-way street of our individuation (albeit paying the cost of this betrayal), we countersign an agreement to be slaughtered by the needs of the Others or by the impersonal rules of collective life. The less our ability to differentiate ourselves, the more the Gordian knot tightens – the knot of our parental and dependent attachments in general; or, the more we surrender passively to the expectations of the Others, the more we become unable to build relationships as adult men and women, still remaining sons and daughters.
The collective whole demands homogeneity for its survival
and so is threatened by individuation and difference. It does not encourage awareness of the differences between us, nor that we should attach personal meaning to life or to our relationships. Further, for understandable reasons, it is not easy to touch on such delicate issues as the consequences of our initial differentiation from the mother’s body or the symbolic mutual betrayals we just spoke of above. For this reason we may often feel that we are strange, foreign, intrusive, uninvited, without rights to citizenship in reality (Carotenuto, 2012), without the courage to set ourselves up against a world that betrays and vulgarises.
However, at times, even as adults, we also betray our own authenticity and identity,
when we accept the asphyxiating pressure of collective demands. To betray ourselves is to lock ourselves into a world of meanings foreign to our needs and personal stance in life; as a result, we start defining ourselves with our successes in the outer world as our main criterion,, moving further and further away from our authentic personal needs.
To be sure, when we thoughtlessly swallow the rules of our environment just to avoid our differentiation, the cost is great.
Actually, we are projecting onto the social reality an angry parental figure – the mother’s aggression when we separated from her body with our birth.
In any case, the more we consent to unconditional surrender either to a natural or to a symbolic parent, the more our rebellious aspects will take the road to the Shadow.
The theme of this book of Shadows
is about how some aspects of ourselves seem to escape us and, even if they are non-conscious and non- mentally perceived, they are able to critically affect whatever we are doing or not doing at any moment. It is a visit “down there”, at the sanctuary of our moments and of our selves.
This book is actually a thorough study and at the same time a proposal
about (a) the grandeur (and the drama) of how our experience is composed on both a micro (no-conscious) as well as on a macro (conscious) scale, (b) the architecture of the Shadowed “home” of what is usually called “inner child” – who is not only sad but also very angry…
SHADOW: our silent companion through life’s journey
INFO: [378 pages] [14,2 X 20,2 cm] ISBN 978-618-00-1371-9
1st edition in English: 100 numbered and signed copies.
This edition is published by the author and is to be distributed exclusively
in Greece or delivered in other countries only by order to the author:
A video in first person on the central
ideas of the book and its features
2 short videos (no-words) on the ideas of the
SHADOW and the INNER CHILD