Handbook of Imagination and Mental Simulation by Keith Markman, Julie A. Suhr, William M. P. Klein (Psychology Press) Editors Overview: Since the early 1980s, researchers have been examining fascinating questions regarding the nature of mental simulation: the act of imagination and the generation of alternative realities. Some researchers have focused on what happens in the brain when an individual is mentally simulating an action or forming a mental image, whereas others have focused on the consequences of mental simulation processes for affect, motivation, and behavior.
The purpose of gathering these essays is to achieve a novel and stimulating integration of work on imagination and mental simulation from a variety of perspectives. It is our hope that such a mul-tidisciplinary volume will encourage an exchange of ideas that will benefit psychology. Although a number of excellent volumes have recently been published that examine the role of time perspective in decision making and social psychology more generally (e.g. Loewenstein, Read, & Baumeister, 2003; Sanna & Chang, 2006), we have elected to cut an even wider swath. Thus, the present volume includes chapters on mental representation; simulated movement and its relationship with actual motor movement; visual imagery; and how individuals use mental simulation to infer the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of others. Our goal is to forward the notion that a wide range of mental simulation phenomena share a commonality of underlying processes. To so, we have invited neuro-scientists, developmental psychologists, cognitive psychologists, social psychologists, and clinical psychologists to unite under the same umbrella. By the end of this book, it should be clear that men-tal simulation is associated with a multifaceted but well-integrated array of biological, neurological, psychological, and social processes.
Before moving on to a description of the contents of this volume, we would note that this book was inspired by several seminal papers on mental simulation, including Kahneman and Tversky's (1982) initial propositions regarding the simulation heuristic; Taylor, Pham, Rivkin, and Armor's (1998) article on mental simulation and coping; and Johnson and Sherman's (1990) chapter entitled "Constructing and Reconstructing the Past and Future in the Present" that appeared in Higgins and Sorrentino's Handbook of Motivation and Cognition (Volume 2). We thank these individuals for their imagination, creativity, and foresight.
The book is organized into six sections that, we believe, offer a cogent characterization of the current state of mental simulation research.
I. THE MENTAL SIMULATION OF ACTION AND BEHAVIOR
Section I begins by describing some neurophysiological and cognitive underpinnings of motor behavior, empathic understanding, planning, and intention formation. In the opening chapter, Decety and Stevens (Chapter 1) review neurophysiological evidence indicating that actions are centrally represented in the brain, and that these action representations lie at the interface between individuals and their physical and social environments. According to Decety and Stevens, simula-tion of movement precedes and plans for upcoming physical action and activates the same cortical and subcortical structures that are responsible for motor execution. Moreover, they argue, motor simulation provides a "gateway to human social understanding" by allowing the motor system to resonate when it perceives the actions, emotions, and sensations of others. This capability of the motor system provides individuals with the primary means by which individuals can understand each other and can therefore be considered a basic form of intersubjectivity.
Beilock and Lyons (Chapter 2) also focus on the important role of motor simulation in account-ing for performance differences between experts and novices. According to the work reviewed, skill expertise is not merely reflected during actual (i.e., on-line) unfolding of performance but is also observable off-line in terms of experts' superior ability to mentally simulate skill-relevant actions. In turn, recent work demonstrates that individuals need not be explicitly attempting to act for them to call on the motor systems used during the actual execution of a task. Apparently, skill-level differences also exist with regard to this type of covert action simulation during speech and text comprehension, and such differences can have an impact on preference judgments for encountered objects. In all, this work suggests that the manner in which experts mentally simulate mastered actions may be just as important for the study of skill learning and performance as understanding the on-line production of such actions.
Kosslyn and Moulton (Chapter 3) continue to stress the utility of motor simulation in their chapter about mental imagery and implicit memory (i.e., memory that cannot be voluntarily called to mind). Kosslyn and Moulton review evidence suggesting that imagery can be used to access implicit memories and describe how imagery can actually be used to alter such stored information (via mental practice), which in turn can affect behavior. In particular, these authors devote significant attention to the notion that imitation via observation of another's actions (either real or imagined) is a crucial mechanism underlying mental practice because it bridges observation and action, and they review the neural bases of such imitative learning.
Chapters 4 and 5 shift the focus from the representation and simulation of motor actions to the implications of associative representations stored in memory for mental simulation and subsequent behavior. In Chapter 4, Amit, Algom, Trope, and Liberman note that pictures and words have always been used as different means of representation, and they apply construal-level theory (CLT) to eluci-date the idea of a distance-related difference between pictures and words. According to CLT, proximal and distal events are processed in a different manner, and extending this idea to words and pictures, Amit et al. propose that words typically serve to represent objects that are distal in time, space, society, or culture, whereas pictures serve to represent objects that are proximal along dimensions of distance. An important consequence of this distant-dependent means of representing words and pictures is that people tend to think of recent events in pictures but of more distant events in words. Moreover, because a word is at a higher level of construal than is a picture, the former is better able to function as a conveyor of information. Thus, perhaps pictures are not necessarily "worth a thousand words."
Faude-Koivisto, Wuerz, and Gollwitzer (Chapter 5) conclude this section by contrasting imple-mentation intentions and mental simulations with regard to how they function during the plan-ning stage of goal pursuit (see also Oettingen & Kappes, Chapter 26). According to the evidence reviewed, mental simulation (a planning process by which possible means or paths to a goal are explored) is associated with an explorative, open-minded processing style, whereas implementation intention formation (a process that leads to the selection of a critical situation, which is then linked to a goal-directed response) is associated with a closed-minded processing style. Moreover, the differential activation levels of the mental representations of implementation intentions and mental simulations underlie the distinct information-processing modes that these two self-regulation tools trigger. In addition, Faude et al. provide novel insights into the process by which implementation processes promote goal attainment by demonstrating that the formation of an implementation intention enhances the coactivation of the two components that comprise such intentions, namely, the mental representation of the anticipated situation and the goal-directed behavior.
II. MENTAL SIMULATION AND MEMORY
The chapters in Section II examine the role of mental simulation in producing false memories (Chapters 6 and 7) and explore commonalities and differences in the processes that underlie individuals' ability to engage in "mental time travel"—to remember the past and to imagine the future (Chapters 8 and 9). Bernstein, Godfrey, and Loftus (Chapter 6) review recent findings on false memories (i.e., memories for experiences that never occurred) and propose several potential mechanisms to account for the creation of false memories. According to Bernstein et al., the probability that an individual will come to believe that an event is generally plausible and that it likely occurred in the past depends, in part, on the ease with which the event is processed. Moreover, for processing fluency to increase plausibility and autobiographical belief, they hypothesize that individuals must be unaware of the actual source of the fluency. Thus, the creation of false memories depends on misattributions of processing fluency. Bernstein et al. then describe the results of studies employing a "revelation" paradigm in which individuals unscramble key words in the context of remembering life events. Their data suggest that successfully unscrambling life event-related anagrams produces an experiential "rush" of fluency that is misattributed to confidence that the related event did, in fact, occur.
Next, Lynn, Barnes, and Matthews (Chapter 7) review the extant evidence regarding the usefulness of hypnosis as a recall-enhancement procedure and conclude that hypnosis often produces false, yet believed-in memories. Lynn et al. then focus on mechanisms that might account for the creation of false memories via hypnosis. In particular, they examine the role of expectancies, arguing that prehypnotic beliefs that hypnosis facilitates recall, as well as suggestions implying that hypnosis involves an altered state, generate expectancies that hypnotic and posthypnotic recall will be improved. Moreover, because individuals expect that hypnosis will enhance the accuracy of their memories, hypnosis increases individuals' motivation to search for memories and to report imagined events or guesses as real memories.
In Chapter 8, Szpunar and McDermott examine the premise that recollection of the past is, in fact, a fundamental component of envisioning the future. Invoking the notion of autonoetic con-sciousness initially forwarded by Tulving, Szpunar and McDermott explain how in simulating the future individuals sample elements of remembered events to help generate potential future scenarios. Thus, episodic memory appears to be an inherently constructive system that enables people to simulate both their personal past and future. Empirical evidence to support this notion comes from two sources. First, it has been shown that personal past and future thoughts are selectively impaired in populations known to show deficits in episodic memory (e.g., amnesiacs, depressives, young children), and second, recent neurophysiological data indicate that several regions in the brain's posterior cortex are similarly engaged during personal past and future thought. Interestingly, however, Szpunar and McDermott also note that various additional brain regions consistently show activity differences in favor of simulating the future relative to remembering the past, and that these regions are the same as those that have been identified in studies that require participants to men-tally simulate motor movements, harkening back to work described by Decety and Stevens (Chapter 1), Beilock and Lyons (Chapter 2), and Kosslyn and Moulton (Chapter 3).
Whereas Szpunar and McDermott (Chapter 8) focus on commonalities between retrospection and prospection, Van Boven, Kane, and McGraw (Chapter 9) focus on their differences. Van Boven et al.'s basic premise is that past tense mental simulation (e.g., imagining a vacation that occurred 2 years ago) is more constrained—more subject to "reality checks"—than is future tense mental simulation (e.g., imagining a vacation occurring 2 years in the future), and that the greater constraints on retrospection than prospection reflect a general temporal asymmetry in retrospection and prospection. The judgmental implications of such a temporal asymmetry are numerous. For instance, Van Boven et al. present evidence indicating that mental simulation in the past tense feels less imaginative and more difficult than mental simulation in the future tense. Moreover, individuals' mental representations of past events tend to be more concrete than their mental representations of the future (see Amit et al., Chapter 4), people think about emotional events in the past in a less-extreme fashion compared with their thoughts about emotional events in the future, and they tend to have more optimistic views about their futures compared with more realistic and mixed views about their pasts. In all, Van Boven et al. argue that temporally asymmetric constraints in imagining hypothetical and real events are important to consider if one is interested in achieving a more accurate understanding of mental simulation in everyday life.
III. COUNTERFACTUAL THINKING: SIMULATING THE PAST
The chapters in this section explore antecedents to and consequences of counterfactual thinking—the consideration of alternative past possibilities. Although several other chapters in this volume make contact with the counterfactual thinking literature (Chapters 9, 13, 26, 27, and 28), the three that appear in this section are completely devoted to expanding our understanding of counterfactuals. Byrne and Girotto (Chapter 10) describe the effects of context on (a) the inferences that individuals tend to draw from counterfactual conditionals and (b) the sorts of features that individuals focus on when they simulate counterfactual alternatives. With regard to the first, Byrne and Girotto demonstrate how knowledge of the facts (i.e., known facts vs. presupposed facts) affects the inferences that individuals are willing to make when they reason about counterfactual possibilities, and with regard to the second, they describe recent empirical evidence indicating that an individuals' role—reader of a hypothetical series of events versus actor actually experiencing those events—can differentially affect the construction of counterfactual alternatives. Specifically, readers tend to focus on a protagonist's controllable actions, such as choices, whereas actors, who have more information available to them regarding the features of a problem-solving phase, are consequently more likely to generate counterfactuals that focus on problem features.
Chapters 11 and 12 both examine the influence of counterfactual thinking on creativity, problem solving, emotion, and motivation, but they do so in different ways. Wong, Galinsky, and Kray (Chapter 11) focus on how counterfactual thinking has an impact on subsequent task performance by instantiating a "mindset," or process of thought that tunes information processing, attention, and thought production. The initial work described by Wong et al. uses a counterfactual priming procedure to instantiate a mindset that elicits a relational processing style—"a structured form of thought involving a consideration of relationships and the associations between a set of stimuli" (Wong et al., p. 168). Priming this mindset has the effect of enhancing decision-making accuracy and performance on creative association tasks. Next, Wong et al. describe how the relational processing style is more likely activated by generating subtractive counterfactuals (i.e., those that remove antecedent elements when reconstructing reality), whereas generating additive counterfactuals (i.e., those that add antecedent elements to reconstruct reality) tend to activate an expansive processing style that broadens conceptual attention. In support, the authors present empirical evidence indicating that additive counterfactual thinking mindsets enhance performance on idea-generation tasks, whereas subtractive counterfactual mindsets enhance performance on association tasks.
In contrast to Wong et al.'s (Chapter 11) focus on process activation via counterfactual thought, Markman, Karadogan, Lindberg, and Zell (Chapter 12) examine how counterfactual thought con-tent has emotional, motivational, and behavioral consequences for the individual. The first part of Markman et al.'s chapter focuses on the functional benefits of counterfactual thinking as specified by the reflection and evaluation model (REM). According to the REM, the emotional and motivational effects of counterfactual thinking occur via an interaction between counterfactual direction (upward vs. downward) and counterfactual processing mode (reflective vs. evaluative). Counterfactuals that elicit negative affect are more likely to have preparative and motivational value, whereas counterfactuals that elicit positive affect are more likely to reap emotional benefits. In turn, the motivational effects of counterfactuals are moderated by the regulatory fit between the counterfactual and contextually salient goal means. Markman et al. then shift their focus to considering some dysfunctional implications of counterfactuals, including the role of upward counterfactuals in eliciting self-blame, the possibility that downward counterfactuals can lower personal standards of moral and ethical conduct, and the self-defeating and ruminative consequences of upward counterfactual thinking in nonrepeatable situations and for individuals who are depressed and state oriented.
IV. ALTERNATIVES AND ALTERNATE SELVES
The chapters in Section IV examine the judgmental implications of considering alternative out-comes and explore the phenomenology and motivational consequences of simulating alternate selves. Sanna, Schwarz, and Kennedy (Chapter 13) lead off the section by proposing and describing evidence for a general model of judgmental biasing and debiasing. According to Sanna et al., the production and reduction of judgmental biases are a function of the joint influence of accessible thought content and accompanying metacognitive experiences. As a default, individuals consider their metacognitive experiences relevant to what they are thinking about and thus draw on such experiences as a source of information that qualifies the implications of accessible thought content. Thus, focal thoughts give rise to bias when they are easy to bring to mind (see also Bernstein et al., Chapter 6) but attenuate bias when they are difficult to bring to mind. Conversely, thoughts about alternatives attenuate bias when they come to mind easily but increase bias when they are difficult to bring to mind. More generally, what individuals conclude from their metacognitive experiences depends on the nature of the experience and the particular naive theory of mental processes that is applied. However, if the informational value of the metacognitive experience to the judgment at hand is discredited, judgments will instead be solely based on accessible declarative information. Sanna et al. apply their model to a range of judgmental phenomena, including the hindsight bias, temporal confidence shifts, the planning fallacy, and the impact bias.
Chapters 14-16 focus on the phenomenology and motivational effects of imagining alternate selves. Taylor, Shawber, and Mannering (Chapter 14) examine the phenomenon of imaginary com-panion creation by young children, describing the typical features of an imaginary friend and exploring whether invisible friends are experienced as extensions of the self or as autonomous agents. In addition, Taylor et al. cite empirical evidence suggesting that children develop personal relationships with their imaginary companions and posit that invisible friends provide a vehicle for communicating narratives. Despite children's detailed descriptions and emotional attachments to their invisible friends, however, the vast majority of them appear to understand that invisible friends are pretend.
Klinger's chapter (Chapter 15) examines daydreaming, which he defines as nonworking thought that is either spontaneous or fanciful. After establishing some basic properties of daydreams (e.g., dimensions of thought flow, duration of thought segments, proportion of thoughts that are day-dreams), Klinger describes the critical role played by goals and current concerns in determining daydream content. According to Klinger, a current concern (i.e. having a goal) sensitizes an indi-vidual to respond to cues associated with goal pursuit, and for this reason goal-related cues are pro-cessed automatically, receive priority in processing, and are reflected in daydream content. Klinger also advances the proposition that daydreaming is a mental default, a notion that is supported by recent neurophysiological evidence indicating that mindwandering entails activity in neural path-ways that are known to be associated with the resting mind. Speculating on the evolutionary advan-tage of a default state of mental rest that spontaneously processes goal pursuits, Klinger suggests that (a) while a person is occupied with one task, such a system reminds the individual of their larger agenda; (b) the system provides opportunities for spontaneous problem solving; (c) daydreams serve as a form of mental rehearsal; and (d) daydreams act as a form of review of past behavior that can help individuals gain insights that might improve their future performance.
To conclude the section, Green and Donahue (Chapter 16) describe a psychological theory of transportation into narrative worlds that suggests that becoming immersed in a story can have powerful emotional and persuasive consequences. According to Green and Donahue, during transportation, readers' imaginative resources have them feeling removed from their surroundings and completely engaged in the world created by the author. After outlining how transportation is related to and distinct from other forms of mental simulation, the authors focus on some of the psychological processes underlying the transportation experience. For instance, transportation appears to link vivid images with beliefs implied by the story and thereby increase the story's persuasive power.
Moreover, transportation appears to facilitate belief change by reducing counterarguing about the issues raised in the story, making narrative events seem more like personal experiences, and inducing character identification that subsequently leads the reader to place greater weight on statements made by those characters. Green and Donahue conclude their chapter by considering some evolutionary advantages to transportation, including enhancing the complexity of individuals' theory of mind (see also Saxe, Chapter 17), adapting to the social world, creating a sense of immortality, and enhancing natural selection benefits.
V. PERSPECTIVE TAKING: SIMULATING OTHER MINDS
Section V examines the psychological processes (e.g., theory of mind, empathy, perspective taking) that individuals use to infer the mental states of others (see also Decety & Stevens, Chapter 1). Saxe (Chapter 17) leads off the section by reviewing developmental, social psychological, and neurophysiological evidence suggesting that the same theories of mind that are used to explain and predict our past, present, and future actions are also used to explain and predict the actions of others. Citing results from brain-imaging studies, Saxe notes that (a) certain brain regions (the right temporoparietal junction, in particular) are implicated specifically in explaining actions in terms of mental state causes; (b) these brain regions are distinct from those implicated in action execution and action perceptions; and (c) these same brain regions are used for attributing mental states to one's self. Moreover, Saxe posits that the brain regions that are implicated in theory of mind for others would not be recruited while individuals actually acted or reasoned based on a false belief but would be recruited when individuals subsequently explained those actions in terms of false beliefs.
The main thrust of Batson's chapter (Chapter 18) on empathic concern is to draw a distinction between two different ways of perceiving another's situation: the imagine-other perspective, by which one imagines how another person sees their situation, and the imagine-self perspective, by which one imagines how one would see the situation if one were in the other's position. According to self-report data, when confronted with a person in clear distress, an imagine-other and imagine-self perspective each produce an emotional response, with the former producing other-related thoughts and relatively pure empathic concern, and the latter producing self-related thoughts and direct personal distress. In addition, Batson reports neuroimaging data supporting the notion that an imagine-other perspective evokes empathic concern: activation of motivational-affective areas of distress or pain coupled with a lack of activation of sensory areas of pain. According to the empathy-altruism hypothesis, an imagine-other perspective should lead to relatively pure altruistic motivation, whereas an imagine-self perspective should elicit a mixture of altruistic and egoistic motivations.
Chapters 19 and 20 then tackle the issue of empathic accuracy: How good are we at correctly inferring the specific content of another person's covert thoughts and feelings? Myers and Hodges (Chapter 19) suggest that over time people increasingly rely on schemas and mental simulations (i.e., internally generated constructs as opposed to externally cued ones) to infer what another per-son is thinking or feeling. Interestingly, these authors take the position that although reliance on such heuristic strategies can occasionally lead to inaccuracies, for the most part the use of mental simulations and schemas/stereotypes improves empathic accuracy. Among the beneficial consequences of employing simulations and stereotypes cited by Myers and Hodges are that (a) they allow one to fill in gaps of information about another that are inaccessible or unavailable to the perceiver; (b) they reduce the amount of effort required in an interaction because the perceiver does not have to expend as much energy detecting subtle cues provided by the target person; and (c) even when the use of simulations and stereotypes leads to inaccuracies, the consequences of such inaccuracies are often not nearly as negative as one might fear.
Although Epley and Caruso (Chapter 20) generally agree with Myers and Hodges (Chapter 19) that "the ability to accurately adopt someone's perspective is better than chance but less than perfect" (p. 296), these authors elect in their chapter to focus on barriers to accurate perspective
taking. First, they argue, individuals need to actively think about another's mental state when it is appropriate to do so, but in fact empirical evidence suggests that individuals often fail to activate the mental process of perspective taking. Second, to experience, simulate, or infer the perceptions of others, people must get over their own perspectives. In fact, empirical evidence indicates that initial egocentric assessment is likely to serve as a starting point in judgment, and subsequent attempts to adjust or correct such starting points tend to be insufficient. Finally, overcoming one's egocentric perspective often requires using some other information in its place to infer another's perspective (see also Myers & Hodges, Chapter 19). On this point, Epley and Caruso argue that, "If people are inclined to overcome egocentrism and rely on stored knowledge when they are adopting the perspective of someone who appears different from them, and if self-interest is a basic piece of stored knowledge that people use when thinking about others, then adopting the perspective of another person in the midst of conflict can actually make matters worse rather than better" (p. 304).
VI. SIMULATING AND PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
The final section of the book explores how individuals render predictions about the future (chapters 21 and 22), define themselves with regard to their temporally extended future selves (Chapters 23 and 24), employ future selves as a means of self-regulation (Chapters 25 and 26), and alter their outlooks regarding the future for preparative benefit (Chapters 27 and 28). Klein and Zajac (Chapter 21) begin their chapter by identifying various dimensions of optimism, including the important distinction between absolute judgment (i.e., estimated chance of experiencing a future life event) and comparative judgment (i.e., estimated chance relative to the chances of another person or persons). It is the comparative measure of personal risk that is most commonly used to measure "unrealistic optimism." Klein and Zajac then examine how different conceptualizations of optimism might be related and report empirical evidence indicating that conditional risk perceptions—risk perceptions conditioned on changes in future behavior—are the only type of risk perception associated with intentions to change behavior, and that there appears to be little or no correlation between dispositional optimism and situational optimism. Finally, Klein and Zajac explore the causes and consequences of optimism, noting that single-event optimism can be caused by egocentrism, self-enhancement and self-protection motives, and preparation for negative feedback (see also Zeelen-berg & Pieters, Chapter 27, and Carroll & Shepperd, Chapter 28). Overall, empirical evidence appears to indicate that whereas unrealistically optimistic beliefs lead to negative consequences (e.g., lower reported intentions to stop engaging in risky behaviors), dispositional optimism has mostly beneficial consequences.
Next, Dunn, Forrin, and Ashton-James (Chapter 22) take a close look at affective forecasting errors—the tendency for individuals to be miscalibrated with regard to their predictions for how they are going to feel in the future after certain events occur and their actual emotional responses to these events once they do occur. To account for such errors, Dunn et al. use Epstein's cognitive-experiential self theory (CEST), which posits that humans make sense of themselves and the world around them via two distinct information-processing systems: the rational system and the experi-ential system. According to Dunn et al., forecasters tend to adopt an analytical approach toward imagining their emotional responses to future events, but this approach is problematic because emo-tional experiences often stem from more holistic responses to events. Moreover, the cold, logical approach of the rational system neglects to account for either the psychological defenses initiated by the experiential system or the hot, visceral factors that will shape future feelings and behaviors and overly relies on abstract, quantitative information in generating affective forecasts, when in fact such information has little influence on actual emotions. Finally, Dunn et al. present evidence that discrepancies between forecasts and responses to the emotional experiences that those forecasts are meant to predict can be reduced, by both usurping the rational system's resources—leaving the experiential system free to take the lead in information processing—and enhancing forecasters' ability to tune in the experiential system.
According to early instantiations of temporal self-appraisal (TSA) theory, past selves are tem-porally extended selves that can vary in proximity to the current self. In Chapter 23, Perunovic and Wilson illustrate how the TSA approach may also be extended to the investigation of future self-appraisal (see also Libby & Eibach, Chapter 24). To begin, these authors note how subjective prox-imity has an impact on subjective valence, as individuals appear to be more motivated to evaluate close temporal selves favorably because those selves reflect directly on current identity. In addition, individuals appear to reap the benefits of anticipated future glory by drawing it subjectively closer to the present while viewing threatening future failures as more remote. Finally, Perunovic and Wilson present recent evidence suggesting that anticipated future goals have a greater motivational impact when they feel psychologically imminent rather than remote. Thus, subjective temporal distance may play a pivotal role in self-regulation for effective goal pursuit.
In a related vein, Libby and Eibach (Chapter 24) examine how imagery perspective functions in defining the temporally extended self (see also Kosslyn & Moulton, Chapter 3). Illustrating this connection, recent work is described indicating that those who were told to reflect on the broader meaning of a specific life event for their life as a whole were subsequently more likely to visualize it from the third-person perspective than those told to focus on the details of the event in isolation. Furthermore, in a study on high school memories, participants reported experiencing more third-person imagery when their past selves were inconsistent with their present selves than when they were consistent, regardless of whether those past selves were perceived to be negative or positive. According to Libby and Eibach, thinking about events in terms of their relations to broader themes in one's life rather than focusing on the concrete experience appears to be responsible for the effect of self-change on imagery perspective (i.e., from first- to third-person perspective). Finally, Libby and Eibach report that picturing voting from the third-person as opposed to the first-person perspective the night before election day led voters to be more likely to turn out to the polls the following day. Overall, then, imagery perspective appears to function in defining the temporally extended self-concept, influencing judgments about the self and guiding behavior.
Chapters 25 and 26 explore how future selves can be employed as a means of self-regulation. Oyserman and James (Chapter 25) devote significant attention to the motivational consequences of possible selves—future-oriented aspects of self-concept that represent what one expects to become or hopes to avoid becoming. According to Oyserman and James, possible selves serve a self-improvement function insofar as they link vivid images of oneself in a future state to current action that can be taken to move toward positive and away from negative future selves. In addition to linking possible selves theory with other self-regulation models, Oyserman and James outline a process model by which possible selves are likely to influence self-regulation and outcomes. Elements of this model include (a) whether the discrepancy between the present and possible self is clear; (b) whether the possible self seems attainable or preventable; (c) whether the possible self is linked to another possible self in the same domain but of opposite valence; (d) whether the possible self is linked to strategies; and (e) whether the subjective experience of effort at working toward a goal is interpreted as meaning that the goal is important. According to Oyserman and James, if these and other requirements are not met, individuals are likely to be oriented toward the present rather than the future and so will not engage in persistent self-regulation.
In Chapter 26, Oettingen and Kappes describe self-regulatory mechanisms that allow individu-als to successfully respond to negative feedback. The first part of the chapter describes Oettingen's model of fantasy realization (see also Klinger, Chapter 15), which posits that conjointly envision-ing the future and reality (i.e., mental contrasting; see also Markman et al., Chapter 12) links them together in a manner suggesting that reality obstructs the realization of a desired future. This link-age elicits a necessity to act that activates expectations of success. When such expectations are high, individuals will actively commit to striving for the desired future, whereas when such expectations are low, individuals will refrain from doing so. In turn, Oettingen and Kappes describe recent evidence indicating that mental contrasting with high expectations allows individuals to process negative feedback effectively, protect their self-views from the threat posed by negative feedback, and explain negative feedback in an optimistic way. Moreover, mental contrasting effects appear to transfer from one task to another and across domains, suggesting that acquiring mental contrasting as a self-regulatory strategy can help foster achievement on a more general level. In all, the fantasy realization model contributes to research on goal pursuit by specifying the processes by which individuals form goal commitments.
The final two chapters in the book (Chapters 27 and 28) examine mental strategies that individ-uals use to prepare for the future. Zeelenberg and Pieters (Chapter 27) point out that when decisions are important, individuals tend to think about how they would evaluate their outcomes in light of the outcomes forgone (see also Chapters 10-12). Such prefactual thoughts often arouse feelings of anticipatory regret, and according to Zeelenberg and Pieters, decision makers tend to regulate their regrets by behaving in a manner that minimizes the likelihood that they will actually experience this emotion in the future. The authors then describe a regret regulation perspective that specifies the various types of strategies that decision makers might use to prepare for their anticipated experi-ence of regret. These include goal-focused strategies, such as decreasing one's standards; decision-focused strategies, such as improving decision quality, delaying or avoiding decisions, increasing decision justifiability, or transferring decision responsibility; alternative-focused strategies, such as ensuring decision reversibility and avoiding feedback about forgone alternatives; and feeling-focused strategies, such as bracing for the worst (see also Carroll & Shepperd, Chapter 28).
Finally, and fittingly, Carroll and Shepperd (Chapter 28) close out the volume by examining pre-paredness—a need state that represents a readiness to respond to future uncertainty. According to Carroll and Shepperd, "preparedness provides the proximal motivation that drives people to utilize the functions of mental simulations and expectations to prepare for possible future outcomes before they arise" (p. 437), and it "provides a framework for understanding the translation of memories into mental simulations that generate the future expectations, which in turn guide plans and intentions to respond to future uncertainty" (p. 437). Thus, Carroll and Shepperd use the preparedness construct to link together many of the processes described in other chapters that ultimately subserve this need state, including the link between retrospection and prospection (Chapters 8 and 9), the prepara-tory and affective functions of mental simulations (Chapters 11 and 12), emotional inoculation via downward revision of future outlooks (Chapter 22), and the manner in which mental simulations elicit expectancies regarding future behavior (Chapters 5, 6, 7, 25, 26, and 27), as well as a general readiness to act (Chapters 1, 2, and 3).
It has been said that your imagination will set you free. We hope that the work described in this volume stimulates psychologists and nonpsychologists alike to reflect on our ability to simulate the past, the present, and the future and to consider the implications of this ability for feeling, judging, thinking, knowing, and behaving. As the reader shall see, mental simulations have the ability to both enhance our lives and lead us astray. In all, however, it should become clear that how we imagine, what we imagine, and why we imagine are essential components of what it means to be human.
The Fantasy Principle: Psychoanalysis of the Imagination by Michael Adams (Brunner-Routledge) Contemporary psychoanalysis needs less reality and more fantasy. It needs a new principle - what Michael Vannoy Adams calls the "fantasy principle."
Freud insists that we conform to the reality principle. He assumes that there is only one reality and that we all define it in exactly the same way. Reality, however, is not given. There are many "realities" and they are constructed from fantasies that occur in us continuously. Fantasy, Adams declares, is what transforms consciousness.
This book is distinctive: it radically affirms the centrality of imagination. Adams challenges us to exercise and explore the imagination. He shows us how to value vitally important images that emerge from the unconscious, how to evoke such images, and how to engage them decisively. The Fantasy Principle explains how to apply special Jungian techniques to interpret images accurately and to experience images immediately and intimately through what Jung calls "active imagination."
The Fantasy Principle argues for the recognition of a new school of psychoanalysis -the school of "imaginal psychology." As Jung says, "Image is psyche." The school of imaginal psychology emphasizes the transformative impact of images.
Excerpt: I was privileged to be the director of the Psychoanalytic Studies program for the first three years of its existence. The curriculum that I designed allotted equal time to both the Freudian and Jungian traditions (Adams 1993). In addition to courses on Freudian and post-Freudian analysis and Jungian and post-Jungian analysis, that curriculum included such courses as "Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies" and "Psychoanalysis and Social and Political Thought," as well as a lecture series of guest speakers from all of the different schools of psychoanalytic thought.
The cartoon of Jung and Freud sitting together, the one smoking his pipe, the other smoking his cigar, was my idea. The artist William Bramhall drew the image beautifully, brilliantly, with all the humor that I had imagined. (Free associate, if you will, to that very phallic cigar, with Freud's fingers so ready to flick red-hot ash right into Jung's lap!) For me, the cartoon is an especially apt illustration for this book because it evokes a fantasy of just how imaginative (and just how much fun) psychoanalysis might have been had Jung and Freud remained colleagues. Just imagine!
The New School University used the cartoon of Jung and Freud to promote the Psychoanalytic Studies program in advertisements with the headline "Earn the Degree of Your Dreams." Not everyone, however, appreciated my effort to establish a Freudian–Jungian program. Eventually, I was replaced as director of the program, and the curriculum was redesigned, effectively to exclude Jung. Sadly, the program has been defunct for the last few years. The Graduate Faculty offers occasional courses on psychoanalytic topics and now plans a psychoanalytic concentration in the Philosophy department, but it does not currently grant a degree in Psychoanalytic Studies. Perhaps one day it will again. As for me, I continue to
teach psychoanalytic courses at Eugene Lang College of the New School University, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to do so.
Freud never taught at the New School University, nor did Jung, although many other analysts have done so over the years. Sandor Ferenczi was the first, in 1921. Alvin Johnson, the first president of the New School University, recounts the following anecdote, which includes an ironical commentary on the law-and-order priorities of that period in New York City:
Anyway, Ferenczi proved to be a most charming, cultivated gentleman, and his course drew such a fleet of limousines to Twenty-third Street that the local police captain felt called upon the investigate. He was an upstanding young fellow, attended by half a dozen ordinary cops. He explained to me that, seeing such a lot of limousines, he wanted to know what was going on, perhaps a lecture on physics or — or
`Birth control," I suggested.
"Yes, that is what I suspected."
"Well, it's nothing of the kind, but a lecture on psychoanalytic psychology. Come in and hear it."
Soon the police captain and his squad retired to the door. "Pity that old boy can't speak English. I couldn't understand a word he said."
(Johnson 1952: 284-5)
A few of the many analysts who have taught at the New School University include: Alfred Adler, A. A. Brill, Fritz Wittels, Wilhelm Reich, Karen Homey, Erich Fromm, Clara Thompson, Ernst Kris, Melitta Schmideberg, Robert Waelder, Sandor Rado, Peter Blos, Gregory Zilboorg, Theodor Reik — as well as these Jungian analysts: Eleanor Bertine, Frances Wickes, Edward F. Edinger, and Edward C. Whitmont.
I am glad to say that in my personal experience many contemporary analysts in the Freudian tradition are pluralists who have a very positive, inclusive attitude toward Jungian psychology. It especially pleases me that I have many good friends who are Freudian analysts. Unfortunately, however, in many universities (all too often from either ignorance or prejudice) Jung is persona non grata. Jungian psychology remains marginal as an academic subject. (A new organization, the International Association for Jungian Studies, seeks, in part, to redress this situation.) In addition, very few psychoanalytic institutes in the Freudian tradition offer any courses in Jungian psychology. I hope that this book will encourage more psychoanalytic dialogues between Freudians and Jungians.
Although I am a Jungian analyst, I respect all of the other schools of psychoanalytic thought, including the Freudian school. As Michael Eigen says: "We all stand on the shoulders of the giants Freud and Jung" (1986: x). Eigen makes psychoanalytic use of an aphorism that many individuals — among them, most famously Isaac Newton — have used, usually as a demonstration of modesty. Robert K. Merton, who has written a marvelously ironical book that attempts to trace the origin of the aphorism, quotes Newton as saying: "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants" (1965: 9). The aphorism itself, to which Newton alludes, may be rendered as follows: "Pigmies standing on the shoulders of giants see farther than the giants themselves." Other translations substitute "dwarfs" for "pigmies." In effect, Eigen says that in the history of psychoanalysis we are all pigmies or dwarfs in comparison with the giants Freud and Jung and that only by standing on their shoulders may we see farther than they did.
Merton lists 47 individuals who have used the aphorism for one purpose or another. The last individual on the list is Freud himself, who modifies the aphorism into a sarcastic retort against Wilhelm Stekel. Ernest Jones reports that Stekel felt that "he had surpassed Freud" in the ability to interpret symbols. Jones continues: "He was fond of expressing this estimate of himself half-modestly by saying a dwarf on the shoulder of a giant could see farther than the giant himself. When Freud heard this he grimly commented: 'That may be true, but a louse on the head of an astronomer does not— (1955 2: 136). From a Jungian perspective, what is a louse? Marie-Louise von Franz says:
The louse in symbolism usually carries the meaning of a completely autonomous thought; something that sticks in your mind, though you don't want it, and sucks your blood. It is a beautiful symbol for thought obsession: an idea that stays in your mind, obsesses all your other thoughts, and at the same time sucks your blood, takes away your psychic energy.
(Von Franz 1995: 44)
Psychoanalytically, the louse is a small parasite (a "complex," Jungians would say) that consumes the "libido" of a larger host.
Are we all pigmies or dwarfs who see farther than the giants Freud and Jung? Or are we merely so many immodest lice? It seems to me that if we have any aspirations to be far-sighted analysts, we need properly to acknowledge the gigantic contributions of both Freud and Jung. Otherwise, we are just lousy analysts, whether we be Jungians or Freudians.
As the subtitle of the book indicates, this is a study in what I call psychoanalysis of the imagination. Among the various psychoanalytic psychologies, Jungian psychology is an imaginal psychology. What is unique about Jungian analysis is its emphasis on images, as well as its methods for interpreting and experiencing those images — the techniques of explication, amplification, and active imagination. Psychoanalysts who master these three Jungian methods and apply them with the necessary discipline are in an enviable position accurately to analyze the images that emerge spontaneously and autonomously from the psyche.
To me, the purpose of psychoanalysis (including Jungian analysis) is simply to increase consciousness. In that respect, this book is an attempt to demonstrate the practical value of contemporary Jungian psychology, both clinically and culturally. Among the topics that I discuss are fantasy, dream interpretation, archetypes and archetypal images, mythological knowledge, sex and gender, racism and multiculturalism, fathers and sons, cannibalism and suicide, and blasphemy. Some of these are issues that I have addressed in my previous two books, The Mythological Unconscious (Adams, 2001) and The Multicultural Imagination: "Race," Color, and the Unconscious (Adams, 1996). What is distinctive about this book, however, is its radical (and deliberately provocative) emphasis on the utter centrality of the imagination in psychoanalysis.
"A curious thing," James Hillman says, "is that there's never been a single piece of true doctrinal dispute, theoretical dispute, among the Jungians." He conjectures that Jungians are not disputatious (at least about doctrine or theory) because they are, instead, so stylistically imaginative. According to Hillman, the Jungian style is to imagine rather than dispute. "Imagination," he asserts, "does not argue" (1983b: 35). I myself, however, imagine Jungians arguing with other Jungians (as well as with non-Jungians) over doctrinal or theoretical issues – and doing so imaginatively. I do not consider imagination and argumentation to be mutually exclusive. Jungians do not need controversy merely for controversy's sake, but they could very much use some controversy over serious issues – as well as some criticism (if at least some of them could develop a capacity not to take that criticism personally). What interests me is the possibility of Jungians who are not sensitive to criticism and therefore defensive about it but who are receptive to criticism and reflective about it. A receptive, reflective ego in effective relation to a constructively (and deconstructively) critical unconscious is what I consider to be the sine qua non of any psychoanalysis. It is a necessary (if not sufficient) condition for each and every increase in consciousness.
Finally, I should emphasize that I apply the word "psychoanalysis" to all of the various schools of analytic thought, including the Jungian school. I do not consider myself an "analytical psychologist." I call myself a "Jungian psychoanalyst." Jungians are just as much psychoanalysts as Freudians or any other analysts.
Michael Vannoy Adams is a Jungian psychoanalyst in New York City.
For more information about Jungian analysis, visit Michael Vannoy Adams's website www.jungnewyork.com
Eros and Chaos: The Sacred Mysteries and Dark Shadows of Love by Veronica Goodchild (Samuel Weiser: Nicolas Hays) is a provocative book that reminds us that our soul's primary longing is for love and then explores that longing. Veronica Goodchild explains that our most important task is the growth of our consciousness and that this cannot be accomplished apart from an awareness of the complexities of love and its shadows. It takes the reader into that domain where Eros' arrows thrust us into those shadowy depths where our keenest vulnerabilities and woundings and our deepest imaginings and longings are hidden.
Eros and Chaos is about the very difficult phenomenon of love, a difficulty that arises because love cannot be separated from its shadows. Since I argue that love is best figured in the form of eros, and that the shadows of love lead one into the domain of chaos, my discussion of love and its shadows is situated within the context of eros' relation with chaos. This view radically challenges the more familiar coupling of chaos and order, a paradigm that is at the root of many of our personal, cultural, and collective crises.
Love always evokes its shadows. We cannot love, then, unless we are able to come to terms with our shadows, with our own darkness, and be in relationship to it. I also regard love as an achievement of maturity, an achievement of consciousness that necessarily involves an awareness, following the work of C. G. Jung, that there axe other centers of being in the psyche beside the conscious ego personality. So although many children seem to have a natural facility for love, I am not going to focus on the complexity of their experience in this book as it is not their task to bear the burden of consciousness, of loving consciously. That task is ours.
Although the story that begins this work does not include within itself its shadow, its shadow can be said to reside in the fact that I am unable to remain within the compelling and refined state of love, the state that I fully experienced with the being of love in that unknown land. Much of the time‑probably like most people‑I fall back into those chaotic states of ignorance, fear, and inconsiderateness, those falling apart places that so often have at their origin the vulnerable gaping wounds inherited from childhood, culture, or incarnational destiny, that prevent our ability to love and simultaneously keep us humble and very human.
Paradoxically, it is these humiliating gaping wounds that also potentially open us to the divine realms and a larger destiny, and to that difficult work of loving. In moments of grace‑that admittedly I have worked twenty some odd years toward achieving, by seeking to know and differentiate myself‑I am able to love with soft eyes, sweetly, passionately, fiercely, kindly, sexually, erotically, darkly, and pathetically. I especially love the word "pathetic," because it means in its root "filled with soul."
I also tell the story in the Prologue because it raises the specter of an anomalous or ontologically ambiguous experience. What is the nature of such an experience as I had on the airplane, an event that seemed neither dream nor situated in the outer world? In moments of chaotic breakdown‑of either an individual or collective nature, when our familiar and cherished positions become unraveled‑or alternatively, in those delicate moments of deep loving, we are perhaps most open to such experiences. Are we on such an unraveling edge, both personally and culturally? In this book I suggest that we are on such a frontier, and that what appears to be breaking through in our personal and cultural moments of breakdown is the archetypal and cosmic field of eros/love. In this regard, my experience on the airplane is, itself, the kind of event that we have relegated to the shadows, and these experiences are now seeking reentry into our lives.
As a Jungian psychotherapist and teacher for twenty years, I know that dreams and fantasies are considered real, psychically real, and are to be taken with the utmost seriousness and consideration as providing symbolic clues to the nature of one's psychological reality. But other kinds of experiences that do not fit our prevailing scientific and technological paradigms of reality tend to remain marginalized in depth psychology's (or our culture's) shadows. Such experiences put in question the familiar psyche/world, inner/ outer, either/or, real/not real dichotomies. This marginalizing of certain events that do not fit our collective view of what is real is all the more curious because Jungian psychology, and certainly many of Jung's own experiences, also challenge these prevailing dichotomies. But then Jung always said that he thanked God he was Jung and not a Jungian! Mention a UFO encounter, a crop circle, a past life memory, an experience of bi‑location, or a visitation by an angel, even a lucid dream, and eyebrows tend to start rising‑even among Jungians.
Yet with the emergence of quantum physics in this century, an emergence that parallels that of Jungian psychology, a whole new worldview has come into being; one that is noncausal, discontinous, synchronistic, and potentially very creative. We tend to remain stuck in the old Newtonian, causal, mechanistic worldview, however, as being the only take on reality. Yet there is also a move in our time to speak out about anomalous kinds of experiences, such as near death encounters (NDEs), and visitations with fairies, angels, and beings from other planets, dimensions, or time frames, all experiences challenging the old, familiar paradigms. Such experiences open up a third ontological domain, a distinctive realm of being, residing somewhere between our sensory world and our intellectual capacities. This subtle landscape is more consonant with the imaginal experiences of soul than the dualistic distinctions and divisions of mind versus matter.
The word imaginal derives from the Islamic scholar, Henri Corbin, who in recovering the multi‑tiered cosmos of Sufi mysticism, calls this in‑between but nevertheless entirely real dimension the mundus imaginalis. He makes a clear distinction between its ontological reality to which individuals may go, and the term imaginary, which, by contrast, is equated with the unreal. Jung's emphasis on psychic reality, or the reality of the psyche‑a world that he describes, too, as neither spirit nor matter,' but perhaps the place where spirit and matter both "touch and do not touch"‑is perhaps more precisely equivalent to Corbin's mundus imaginalis.
Jung, however, can be confusing about the nature of this imaginal soulscape or psychic reality, at times suggesting that it is an inner world of dreams, fantasies, images, ideas, and affects, an approach to psyche that preserves a Newtonian-Cartesian inside/outside, psyche/world separation. At other times Jung, especially in his later work on alchemy, synchronicity and its parallels in quantum physics‑work that seems to reveal a hidden yet glowing acausal and nonlocal connection between inner and outer‑revisions his theory of the nature of the archetype. In this work the archetype is no longer described as exclusively an inner psychic structure that arranges our perceptions and experiences. Rather, it is described as psychoid, that is, as a factor that extends seamlessly from the inner world into nature, matter, and the cosmos. More accurately the psychoid aspect of the archetype is like an invisible field that surrounds and holds psyche and matter together. What I wish to emphasize in this book is that this psychoid field as "the invisible in things" is an a priori reality structured by cosmogonic love, and that in our times it is increasingly trying to draw our attention to its presence.
Synchronistic events, for example, are crucially important to Jung as they seem to point to this basic underlying unity of all being, what Jung also describes as the unus mundus, a unity that sometimes appears as a material fact, and sometimes as a psychological event, but more often as a subtle body field or presence that is neither outer fact nor inner event, yet curiously embraces both. Indeed, it is my view that the god Eros lurks in this compelling desire of matter and spirit for each other to recover a lost wholeness. It could be that Jung's guide, Philemon, is, as Jung hints at, both a dream or fantasy figure and also an imaginal being, an inhabitant of the mundus imaginalis, a being from another dimension. Such an observation suggests that Jung's psychology recovers a multi‑tiered cosmos, an observation that has perhaps not yet been made explicit enough in his work.
In Jung's worldview there are inner psychological events and images that require introspective reflection and "as if" symbolic understanding. The outer world is other and different from this world. And then there is another domain, the psychoid realm that discloses the unus mundus or mundus imaginalis that we can travel to as Corbin describes, or that at extraordinary moments perhaps intersects with our world. Genuine synchronicities reveal this world, as do perhaps certain active imagination processes, certain dreams and visions, and the phenomenon of UFO encounters. My story in this prologue, that I felt emphatically was not a dream, may have been one of these visits to another dimension, for one of the curious features of the journey, like the UFO encounter or a journey to the mundus imaginalis, is that we cannot tell how we got there.
It could also be that the inner world of dreams, the psychoid realm of the archetype, the mundus imaginalis of Corbin, the world of synchronicities as illustrated for example by UFOs, and the outer world of our daily concerns, reflect five qualitatively different tiers or dimensions of being and reality. My point here is not to clarify or distinguish in any precise way what these levels are, but only to point out that the issue of what constitutes psyche, soul, or the imaginal, their "where" and their inhabitants, is a complex one, and that there are in all likelihood potentially different domains that intersect each other and to which we have access. It is this possibility of multi‑leveled vibrational fields of being to which I wish to draw attention, for I fear it is not adequately addressed in Jung's psychology. Such awareness might make room for experiences that otherwise often remain hidden or unacceptable for people.I wish, therefore, to approach the complex realm of love and its shadows through stories that couple chaos and eros, rather than the more familiar linking of chaos and order, while simultaneously making space in my text for accounts of events that reach into parallel and synchronistic worlds that ask to be witnessed and addressed. In any case, love, like most of the important experiences in life, is always a matter of fate and synchronicity that we can never make or cause to happen. An underlying theme in this text, therefore, is that the whole project of depth psychology--not to mention its parallel in quantum physics and string theory--has opened up a realm of experience and experiencing with which we have hardly begun to come to terms, and for which our familiar, rational modes of apprehending are entirely inadequate. Love and its attendant shadows are perhaps the most important factors in a life that reach into this mysterious and unknown territory.
The style of this book is as important as the content. I intend to forge a link between my own experience and its moments of chaos and breakdown, moments of woundings and passions, and those transpersonal and imaginal realms that come through these fractures in my own being. Said in another way, I am attempting a visionary writing, a work that blends deeply felt experience of the topic and its cultural and archetypal elaborations with its articulation. Hence the format will be a blend of experiences (including dream, vision, and reverie), which are set in italics, and reflections.
In this study, I shall probably err on the side of unashamedly letting my passion about my topic be my guide, as I try to, let the juiciness of the chaos/eros fields of experience find their own enlivening or devastating expressions. I do not intend to indulge in mere sentiment or confession. But I also do not intend to write with a misplaced notion of objectivity, which would falsely separate me from my subject.
My aim is to cooperate as much as possible with a feeling-mind, and with a metaphorical consciousness, that is, a consciousness that is both differentiated but not split off from what also wants to be spoken, a consciousness that is participatory, and one that opens the imaginal depths of the world. In being related to the material, in wrestling with it, my aim is to let the material transform me, as much as to bring new aspects of these age‑old themes to light. In this sense, writing this book is a vocation, a calling, a creative act‑with its own demons and limitations‑of the individuation process. I am not distanced from my theme; on the contrary, I am grabbed by these potent archetypal, indeed cosmic, realities through my own joys and wounds, my own love and its failures, and my deep concern for the crisis of love in our times. This is perhaps both the book's strength and its flaw, its value and its inadequacy, its eros and its chaos.
In the same way, I invite the reader to enter this text via his or her own wounds, which will transform the text for each reader, making it perhaps something quite other than either I intended, or it intended for me. I suppose the greatest compliment a reader of a text could give is that the material grabbed her, and in so doing, changed her in some way, making the act of reading, like writing, an act of transformation. But perhaps we never even approach a piece of writing unless something in it already draws us near. Certainly we do not remain with a subject, or do not learn anything from it, if there is no emotional involvement. In this regard, eros or its absence informs all our relations, and all our learning.
So, I shall be guided by my experiences and allow my enthusiasm for my topic to be my companion. My own individuation process has been about an increasing uncivilizing of my being and attitudes. Like many women of my generation, I have been an adaptive father's daughter who has been in search of her own authentic expression, her own feminine voice, in life and in work. Thus I must try not to lose my position and perhaps fall into the fantasy of producing a perfect piece of scholarship. To do that would be a betrayal of that to which I ethically feel called to be true. I cannot therefore so much write about my topic as much as out of, and with it, in a spirit of love with its shadows, a writing with passion and with eros as my companion.
One of the difficulties of writing this book for me has been the willingness to risk staking out a position, taking a firm stand. Jungians‑especially therapists or analysts‑are mostly taught to consider possibilities and to hold ambiguities in awareness, to stand back and to reflect back, to be present to the other and to keep our own views out of the situation as much as possible, rather than to impose them. It is certainly not considered good therapy to impose anything!
Such psychological attitudes, however, become like a noose around your neck when it comes to writing. In committing to a written text, you have to take a stand, otherwise you give neither yourself nor your reader anything to grapple with. As an author, you might change your mind ten minutes after the text is fixed at the printers forever, but if you waffle or stay on the fence there remains nothing substantial, or even quirky enough, with which the reader can be engaged. This is why authors write more than one book!
They are always trying to catch up with their new ideas. In my own case, I had to eventually edit out a tendency to support my ideas with too many references to other authors as "authorities." I was hiding behind others, and keeping myself from making my claims, and inhibiting myself from putting across my own views. I think that one has to risk taking on a certain kind of boldness‑even exhibitionism‑in committing one's ideas to paper and hoping that others will read them.On the other hand, we do not always know where our ideas come from, whose they are, who supports them finding a form, or for whom they are intended, even though it is our hands at the keyboard. In the end, a book may or may not find its way to a publisher, may or may not find its way into the world. I like to think of a book as a living being that also has a life apart from its author, and that, like The Red Violin, has its own incarnational destiny. We cannot finally be the judge of our own work. But we can be responsive to those ideas that visit us and try to be responsible with what they seem to seek from us. For the rest, we must let go and trust in that Something that seems to urge us on, even though in the end our frail efforts may fall into oblivion. One of Jung's strongest commands was "not to imitate." This vital injunction is both a blessing and a curse, for in its freedom lies a terror from which we can be protected if we make the spirit of his work into a dogma or a theoretical system. Writing, much like love, involves a tremendous risk, one that opens us to chaos!
Embrace of the Daimon: Sensuality and the Integration of Forbidden Imagery in Depth Psychology by Sandra Lee Dennis (Samuel Weiser: Nicolas Hays) Some call the imaginal the realm of the archetypes, the home of the gods and goddesses, the land of the daimon, or the source of creativity. Others simply call it the soul. Building on the Analytical Psychology of Jung and following upon some of the pularistic insights of James Hillman Dennis offers a very accessible book for both theraphist and client that encourages one to face the grotesque and weird that emerge in life and therapy. The daimon of the imaginal world facilitate the incarnation of soul into the physical body, and transforming these dark energies allows us to progress as spiritual beings, to live life from a more conscious view. Dennis suggests that attitudes devaluing the erotic, feminine, embodied, instinctual energies particularly those of sexuality, and destructiveness and the marginalization of bodily sensation itself, block these daimonic soul images from incarnating. She discusses our tendency to block these transforming forces and offers suggestions on how to embrace and reclaim them to allow for a more integrated existence. She explains sensations associated with daimonic imagery fragmentation, rage, anxiety, pain, also the other side ecstasy, bliss, orgasmic release understanding that all of these sensations form the basis for profound change in the sense of self.
From Preface by Thomas Moore
Nothing is more important than reflection on the daimonic, which is the source of both human creativity and human depravity. It is rare to find an exploration of the daimonic that is not moralistic, that doesn't try to spare us from encountering its power. And so I am writing in support of this thoughtful foray into the world of darkness that tries to shed some light and offer sore guidelines while all the while acknowledging the obscurity of the task.
It is not easy to stand in the presence of the daimonic, with the intention of arriving at a creative position at the other end of the encounter, without succumbing to the literalization of the myth of the hero. That myth fades in and out of this book, but for the most part it retains its mythic and therefore poetic nature. Of course, faced with uninvited images and characters that are obscene and disgusting, we want to move somewhere and get something. But the St. George fantasy of slaying the dragon is always a temptation, especially for those of us who try to be smart and subtle. We may not realize that our sophisticated language is simply our version of the saint's long, sharp lance. This book comes to the edge of that kind of heroism here and there, but then it recedes back into complexity, and the subject of its attention, the daimonic, continues to live.
I am especially drawn to Embrace o f the Daemon for the many passing insights that are expressed so beautifully and tersely. I will cut them out and make them my appendix, my guidelines for my dealings with the Devil. For example: "Every union leads to yet another separation, as round and round the cycle goes, bringing the soul into earthly existence." It is refreshing to reach the dynamic whereby we give soul earthly reality instead of psychologizing experience into the bodiless ether of pure reflection.
This book has led me to think about the body in ways I haven't precisely considered before. Here the body is neither literalized nor intellectualized. Again, we remain in the midrealm of soul where we may not be clear and secure about what we're talking about, but neither do we lose the imagination or our physical existence. Sensation is indeed a form of imagination and is a potent way of encountering the figures of the soul.
We live in a world that moralizes against the daimonic incessantly and then goes on to enact its darkest possibilities. As has often been said, when we repress the daimonic, it metamorphoses‑undetected‑into the demonic. We need courageous, imaginative, and intelligent tracings of the daimon, such as offered by Sandra Dennis.
I confess I do not agree with everything presented here. But I admire the subtlety of approach and the intelligence brought to very slippery areas‑the connection between soul and body, generalizing about stages in the processes of the soul, treating gender poetically, and deliteralizing such things as goals, endings, and success.
One of my disagreements has to do with the way the Marquis de Sade is treated. I suspect that he was not stuck at an early stage of nigredo but rather found, in the alchemical vessel of his prison cell, the way to the anima. He tells of a dream he had, just before embarking on the thousands of pages of fiction, of Laura, Petrarch's muse, whom Sade's family honored as an ancestor. I image his writing not as the expression of his timidity but as his way of unheroically daring the confrontation and of doing exactly what this book champions‑feeling and sensing through to the heart of the daimonic.
If the reader is looking for a way to avoid the dark nights and days of the soul, or to squirm out of them when they come along, there are many other books that speak for her literal stance. This book is different in that it is truly sensitive to the soul. It doesn't offer a clear, direct, one‑dimensional path through the swamp of the daimonic, although at times it speaks to and from that wish. Instead, in spite of itself, it gives us sufficient fresh imagination of the problem for us to survive and even thrive. The soul demands equal courage and patience on the part of the reader to reveal its mysteries.I'd recommend reading these pages with, in Emerson's words, the flowers of the mind rather than its powers. Let its labyrinthine nature lead you to deeper imagination, while successfully avoiding conclusions. Allow yourself to be taken down many alleyways, the natural haunt of the daimonic, where light is sparse and the shadows are full of monstrous spirits that bear strange gifts.
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