Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jason and the Psychonauts

I saw an opportunity to change a good enough seascape into something more particular. In general I don't like the Photoshop excesses, which are everywhere. But the shot seemed to be asking for manipulation. Also it seemed as if my horizon was, for once, dead level and made for a straightforward selection job. It was a very dull day without a great deal of sky detail but the sea looked choppy and threatening. So I opted for wide angle lens and then cropped the image to the centre. The sea invariably symbolises the unconscious, undifferentiated and formless. Terrifying eh? It's shapeless and dark and might have monsters in it. Am I speaking of the sea or the unconscious? A journey through the sea of the unconscious is what we embark upon in analysis. Paraphrasing Shankaracharya's "sea of passions", whoever crosses the sea with its demons and massive waves can be said to have travelled to the ends of the earth and have departed to the beyond. I have always felt that anyone setting out in analysis is a brave person embarking on a difficult and even perilous voyage, so the sea provides a good metaphor. Like the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts, the analyst and analysand must together confront, overcome and ultimately integrate whatever is in the unconscious. That's why some of us like to call analyst and analysand after the Argonauts. We are Psychonauts, forever piloting our ships across the sea of the unconscious.