Author Topic: the Necessary River  (Read 3555 times)

Sealchan

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the Necessary River
« on: January 15, 2008, 03:11:51 PM »
There is flowing through my own sense of dreams and how I interpret them something essential about the idea of a river and what they indicate about the inner landscape.

This notion of a "necessary river" goes back to my childhood when I went to the beach with my family.  One of my favorite things to do there was to find a place where a small stream, the smaller the better, emptied out onto the beach to flow to the river.  I would spend hours manipulating the course of the stream, trying either to dam it up into a lake, or if there was a lake, to drain it out in a faster coursing stream.  Sometimes the stream, whether in rocks or sand would sink below the surface.  My job then was to "daylight" it and make it run over the top by digging in and guiding the various fragmented stream-lets together into one main channel.

It is this activity which I feel serves me as an alchemical metaphor for my understanding of how libido "flows" in our psyches and how we are always making efforts to manipulate that flow one way or the other.

The necessary river is the idea that into our psyche's pours an amount of libido like a stream coming off of the land and entering the transitional beach area.  The waters hit the shifting sands or rocks and break up into separate channels...or they gouge out a main channel through those rocks.  In our psyches we find the same natural forces at work and our inner libidic streams are either fragmented or focused.  The development of the ego is the manipulation of these libidic streams and channels. 

The goal is to get the stream to the river without letting it sink below the surface prematurely.  In other words, it is necessary for the river (libidic energy) to get from here to there above the surface (consciously).  The from here to there isn't so important all though I have thought of it as the flow of sensory input from the world into the nervous system, through the beach of the cortex and back out to the ocean of the world via the nervous systems manipulation of the body's musculature.  And so life pours through our bodies literally as a river of energy via the natural processes of the body with particular emphasis on the nervous system and its orientation to differentiate "information" (land-stream), to coordinate the needs or "instincts" (beach) and to effect action in the world (ocean). 

When the stream flows too strongly there is a separation in the psyche with elements constellated to either side.  Crossing this powerful stream one experiences the Wound of that separation. 

It is necessary though that the river get to the ocean and this seems to be implicit in the idea that the psyche must satisfy the instincts by responding to sensory input and generating the necessarily muscular output and do this within a finite span of time.  These are the energic environmental factors under which mind as physical brain function must operate.  We can't procrastinate against the forces of the instincts without being overwhelmed by relatively unconscious factors.

Usually there is just enough water such that it is a bit of a challenge to get the libidic stream to flow all the way to the ocean.  Often intervention is needed recurrently to keep the channel open.  Sand tends to flatten out and cause the stream to widen increasing its likelihood of sinking beneath the surface (habituation?).  Then there is the ocean itself which will smooth out any channels you try to connect to it as it undergoes its frequent oscillations (waves).

There are many more analogies I could draw.  But the idea is that of the basic energic economy that results from this admittedly artifical situation.  But is this not like the battle we face to create a consciousness in a natural inner landscape that is both pre-disposed towards and against such a development?  At least making our own self-aware process for stream management sophisticated enough to adapt to all the natural elements is a life-long challenge.




Sealchan

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Re: the Necessary River
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 06:15:00 PM »
The Necessary River overlaps with the spectral whole in that the course of the river arbitrarily takes one course and not a variety of others.  In this sense it can be seen to be preferentially biased towards one aspect of the whole although that orientation is arbitrary and there is no clear conscious motivation behind that choice.

Sealchan

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Re: the Necessary River
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2008, 03:07:23 PM »
Okay, I had to search pretty hard to find this picture on the web...



You can just make out two separate lines of moisture in the sand here.  These two lines are probably places saturated with water that has run off the land, down through the rocks and onto the sand.  If I were there I would be highly tempted to try to dig those two channels together in such a way as to encourage the water to make it all the way to the ocean (I doubt they actually do although that isn't clear in this picture).