Jan 29, 2023Liked by sympathetic opposition

> [CS Lewis believes that] when you let your cravings be your master & lead you to sin, your desires won’t be satisfied but will just grow bigger & needier. but when you renounce your sin & pray for help against temptation, you will often find, to your surprise, that their are moral options for actually satisfying your desires.

a) The wrong choice. This highly reminds me of this online article on the wetiko concept. (I have some 'honing' browser tabs I keep open on my phone at all times, this being one of them. is this a thing people do, like intentionally? I can't be the only one.) Anyways, "according to Native Americans, Wetiko is an evil spirit that invades human minds. It’s a “virus” of selfishness. A physic pathogen forcing the victim to feed their insatiable needs as if they were starving." And that is just a terrible state to be in; and ofc when we're in it, we're in it unconsciously, because no one would actually choose this.

b) Something like (and I do agree with Lewis here) the right choice. By another name, classic sublimation. I know, I know, the associations with Freud don't look good; but honestly from when I learned about it, this is what I take it to be. Any socially undesirable impulse has some socially acceptable/ productive/ desirable equivalent. Simple as that. (Sometimes you need to get creative with it, but there's always some other channel for it).

Anger: undesirable -- hitting your spouse, yelling, blaming; acceptable -- chopping wood, kickboxing.

I think binge-eating falls under the 'socially undesirable' category too. Because while it's not outwardly harmful, it does carry shame for a number of reasons. One of the very interesting (and happy) things I noticed was increasing (meaningful/ engaging) social interaction led this habit to (more or less) simply slip away. I do tend to agree with the idea that binge-eating is about craving life and connection (and sensation, but that's bc it again connects you to the world) -- and surprisingly, I found a sublimation where I wasn't looking for it. So that's another thing to note: sometimes your sublimative(?)/ shadow-dissolving behaviour might take you by storm, from a different corner of life.

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> i also don’t understand how i can fully accept whatever shadow aspect i’m trying to accept, if i suspect from reading people’s descriptions of shadow work, that by accepting it i might destroy it. & i don’t understand how i can fully renounce whatever shadow-aspect i’m trying to renounce, if i suspect that renouncing it will make it come back

Both accepting the shadow and renouncing the shadow are different ways of describing the same thing (I am not sure if a given experience can be interpreted either way, though I suspect yes) which is to experience the complex which was repressed. Having thoughts about the experience tends not to help, and often just interferes, whether you’re suspicious that your efforts won’t bring about the intended result or hopeful that they will.

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Once the complex has been experienced, it can be integrated into the ego. The dragon dies because it is no longer a horrible thing you don’t know if you can face which pounds on your door as you pretend to look at flowers and controls you because you can’t see how it can. But the dragon rises because its power now becomes yours. (Someone gave the example of getting a heart container after you beat a boss in Zelda, I forget who)

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i definitely agree that the commonality between shadow-eating/dragon-slaying is that you have to actually confront the repressed thing

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