Book Review: The Master and Margarita

I believe that genuine love between two people is possible. Any attempt I make to express this always appears inadequate and yet, images of a breathtaking dance as two melt through and into one another, magnetic lips fastening as a voltaic current sweeps through the body until it ends as both whisper to one another face to face deep into the night, her fingers intertwined through his as she draws her nose towards his neck, her hair gliding down over his chest as she slips away into a long and safe sleep. But they are dreams that cause me nothing but anguish as I can never truly explain the authenticity, the existential aesthetic, the timelessness and whether it is merely me and only me that can love as deeply as I know I can feel. But to reach that authenticity, one needs to truly understand themselves and to understand God or that we are in a universe much greater than we can ever comprehend. When I read the following by Mikhail Bulgakov in his novel The Master and Margarita it almost clearly explained how I felt about the eternal and the indestructable that is expressed between two genuine people who meet one another:

She was carrying some of those repulsive yellow flowers. God knows what they’re called, but they are somehow always the first to come out in spring. They stood out very sharply against her black dress. She was carrying yellow flowers! It’s an ugly colour. She turned off Tverskaya into a side-street and turned round. You know the Tverskaya, don’t you? There must have been a thousand people on it but I swear to you that she saw no one but me. She had a look of suffering and I was struck less by her beauty than by the extraordinary loneliness in her eyes. Obeying that yellow signal I too turned into the side street and followed her. We walked in silence down that dreary winding little street without saying a word, she on one side, me on the other. There was not another soul in the street. I was in agony because I felt I had to speak to her and was worried that I might not be able to utter a word, she would disappear and I should never see her again. Then, if you can believe it, she said:

    “Do you like my flowers?”

    ‘I remember exactly how her voice sounded. It was pitched fairly low but with a catch in it and stupid as it may sound I had the impression that it echoed across the street and reverberated from the dirty yellow wall. I quickly crossed to her side and going up to her replied: “No”.

    ‘She looked at me in surprise and suddenly, completely unexpectedly, I realised that I had been in love with this woman all my life.

Mikhail Bulgakov was born in the Russian Empire in 1891 and is considered one of the greatest playwrights and authors of fiction amongst other greats such as Tolstoy, Gogol and Dostoyevsky. His novel is both a comical and a frightening fable that pirouettes between the literal and the metaphorical. The story is broken into a framed narrative concerning morality and reality that entertains the decline in Russia’ commitment to spiritual love both individually and within a social and political atmosphere during Stalinist era. The plot links the love story between the Master, a writer in despair, his lover Margarita and her sacrificial and almost divine love for the Master verified through the machinations of Satan who tries to tempt her away from such love, along with the symbolic conversation between Yeshua or Jesus with Pontius Pilate.

Allegorical and highly imaginative, the clarity of the semblance between the story and the Stalinist era is easy to discern. Woland, or Satan, delights in the power he has over others, his cruelty almost cheerful and calm and this disinterest is clearly accommodating the characteristic of Stalin himself. One of the particular aspects of Woland’s behaviour is the torment toward the intellectual community of Russia, a resemblance to the painful experiences Bulgakov himself had endured at the time. Initially careful with his artistic approach and early in his career able to successfully write and produce plays, following his move to Moscow the playwright struggled with anguish as is similarly seen with the Master character in the novel as his plays were continuously banned and criticised. By 1929, however, all work by Bulgakov was forbidden and while he sought to emigrate, remained and continued to work despite the authoritarian measures against his creativity. It was during this period he began working on the Master and Margarita.

For Bulgakov, there appears to be an artistic triptych regarding the nature of our existence, namely there exists a psychological line segment where on one end you have good and on the other evil, with the mean being love. The formula, as such, of reaching the midpoint between good and evil is usually followed by proof, a test that verifies the intent and is usually authenticated by taking a leap of faith. The outcome is subjective, but independently so that even through temptation or fear, one can confidently choose love and thus, the midpoint is almost transcending anything that is actually good or evil. “Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil” [F. Nietzsche] Margarita, despite not being with the Master neither knowing his whereabouts, nevertheless remained dedicated to him. This ‘faith’ in him and the strength or the eternal nature of her love for the lost and tormented soul of the Master is a unique expression between the plotlines of good and evil. Namely, her love is unconditional, transcending the biblical rules or divine laws and overriding any utilitarian or deontological modes of moral action. She loves him and neither good nor evil can change that. “Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved” [E. Fromm].

Unconditional love therefore involves this sacrificial element, demonstrated biblically with Jesus and in addition to the story there stands another narrative based during the time of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, where a conversation between Yeshua and Pontius Pilate takes place. This biblical aspect to the tale noticeably contrasts with the story relating to Satan or Woland, the Good vs. Evil, thus it is clear that the purpose or intent of the novel itself is about Good vs. Evil in both the individual and in society, the story between the Master and Margarita being about personal love and the rest being about the importance of a divine love or love of God socially and culturally. Under Stalin and Russian Communism at the time, the absence of God and religion in society is symbolically seen through the interactions between Pilate and Yeshua, the former a representation of Russia and the latter of the divine, and becomes an analogy that the absence of faith would ultimately lead to ruin. While rational, Bulgakov used fiction as a prophetic warning that an immoral society as in Russia at the time will lead to disaster and only a moral society can produce a positive and contented environment that is sustainable. “The more the drive toward life is thwarted, the stronger is the drive toward destruction; the more life is realized, the less is the strength of destructiveness. Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived life”[E. Fromm]

Love, therefore, is the ultimate maxim and clarity to reach this pinnacle of consciousness can only be done so through choice, through free will as Margarita proved by the choice she made for the Master; the freedom of ones Will is often influenced not just by temptation but also by fear. Lars Svendsen explored the nature of fear in several different areas including political, social and the emotional and purports that fear is caused by our environment – socially and domestically – as it dictates a fear to think independently and be free, thus ‘tempting’ society to trust in the whole outside of oneself [society, family etc &c.]. “[F]ear has become a kind of culturally determined magnifying glass through which we consider the world” [Svendsen 2008]. This is comparative to the Stalin era as is also mentioned by Svendsen, who ruled with Machiavellian tyranny and that the threat of an impending difficulty unconsciously forces one to second-guess the decision making process as an automated reaction and thus mind-controlled. Bulgakov satirised what was essentially a waning morality in Russia at the time. This period was of significant instability and totalitarian violence under the communist regime and the eradication of religious – namely Christian – values. The opening chapter itself finds the devil having a conversation with two who confidently discuss the non-existence of Jesus [biblically referred to a culture forming an ‘anti-Christ’]. The novel parodied disappearing individuals that at the time were a reality under the regime of Stalin as seen by the reactions following events and this is perhaps the reason why Woland or Satan placed particular interest in Margarita, as she herself appears to be the only person who is fearless. “Cowardice is the most terrible of vices”[M. Bulgakov]. In doing so, her fearlessness is the reason for her capacity to love genuinely.

Questions about good and evil are raised through the plotlines, particularly the latter and why evil exists in the world. From an Augustinian perspective, it is due in part because “evil” is not a thing that is created and therefore the source of its existence is merely the will to turn away from what is essentially our nature, our nature being naturally good since all that God created is good. Thus, it is the choice to avoid, turn aside or corrupt the will away from goodness, thus perverting the will and ultimately becoming evil. “Since God is the highest good, he would not allow any evil to exist in his works unless his omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil”[St. Augustine]. Kant offered a secular theory toward the concept of evil, whereby humans by nature are naturally inclined toward goodness but also evil under the umbrella of a radically free will. As a consequence, only by free will are we able to choose what is right and thus when we do not make the choice to do good, we are thus evil. But the latter ‘evil’ is graded into several levels, being:

“The possibility of hubris is accounted for by the concept of freedom. There are thus three levels or gradations of evil: (1) mere counterlegality, (2) the lower level of countermorality, occasional single-cases of evil, and (3) the worse level of evil  “as a rule”… full-fledged evil designates the constitution of an agent or of an agents maxim”[O. Hoffee, 2007].

Thus (1) is a type of failure of will, a morally right person who slips or is too weak to maintain a strong will to commit to any lapse in judgement, whereas (2) is a corruption of the will, an intent of not wanting to perform morally right actions unless there appears an incentive for doing so, thus moral goodness is merely self-interest hidden under the guise of morality. On the other hand (3) is wickedness, that one narcissistically places the self above all moral laws and conforms only to moral laws as a way of promoting the self. This includes an act in which an individual wills with intent to commit evil solely because it contradicts moral laws, a type of wilful arrogance. Whilst it has been argued that Kant’s claim of the worst kind of evil is objectionable since an indication of evil is the level of harm that it produces, it is according to Kant the subjective motive that is evil and not just the outcome. In this instance, perhaps consider a sociopath and the fact that there are many sociopaths who are not actually violent, the latter perhaps because it is not in their own best interest rather than for any moral worthiness.

The similarity with Johann Goethe’ Faustus, a satirical play about striking a deal with the devil, is clear, particularly with the division of the work whereby with Faustus the play is divided into two parts with the first set in reality and the second figurative or subjective. Faust is considered noble in character with his utmost desire for knowledge until Satan or Mephistopheles claims to God that he is capable of luring him away from righteousness. Faust himself is struggling with the existential crises that befalls those that became aware or conscious of the vanity of such pursuits and whilst attempting to alleviate the struggle through ethereal or magical attempts toward an infinite knowledge – since infinity would imply a type of combustion of vanity – he sadly realises the futility and perhaps the trickery of such an attempt. Finally, Faust is seduced by the temptation set by the Devil, particularly through Gretchen with whom Faust is attracted to and ultimately their relationship ends in sorrow and death, only Gretchen herself – when rejecting the final advances to be removed from prison by Faust – is ‘saved’ leaving Faust to remain grievously ashamed.

While it is knowledge or access to knowledge otherwise inaccessible to the human mind and cognition in general that became the desire compelling Faust, his fatal relationship with Gretchen or, ultimately, his failure to understand that love is the answer to his quandary and that the very ‘infinite’ exists in a free will that chooses righteously, the ultimate result is a cyclic return to the very same point of his initial misery. His thoughts at the beginning of the fable when facing his existential crises compelled him to the idea of suicide and thus an exposure of his unhappiness. The outcome of this unhappiness that led him to agree to the advances or temptation of the devil also led to the misery and death of Gretchen and members of her family. This result was Goethe’ exposure of the importance of our moral responsibility toward others as part of our endeavours toward reaching happiness. “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honour.”[Romans 12.9] Hence why Mephistopheles, or the Devil, is banished to the ‘Eternal Empty’ or symbolically the unhappy place of living without the fulfilment one receives when choosing the will to be good. It is a dark or heavy feeling where one can never be satisfied or that place lacking in the longevity required for a peaceful approach toward the entrance gates of infinite happiness that Faust longed for. Since one cannot know love save for the love that they have within and what they are able to give to others, the riddle to love itself is unknown as this ‘within’ or subjective self is infinite, hence why love surpasses knowledge and becomes the very purpose of existence that Faust initially craved for. In the choice to commit to love through our own free Will can the scales between good and evil truly balance. Faust finally tames the desires for war and of his own nature that he experiences happiness, becoming conscious and thus the devil is unable to take his soul due in part to Gretchen’s unconditional ‘sacrifice’ through forgiveness of Faust and in part because of Faust’ dedication to reach the infinite, albeit doing so imperfectly.

The Master and Margarita is a gripping story based within an entirely corrupt Moscow, inhabited by citizens with loose morals and a waning spirituality. Bulgakov manages to entrance the reader by capturing the approaching story in the very first chapter, when Satan himself and his extraordinary entourage gracefully stroll into the city with almost a haughty, arrogant elegance. While fantastic in nature, the bizarre fictional themes reveal within them the very nature of the book, of good and evil and the purpose and power of love. It can be said that reaching happiness is our ultimate motivation, however happiness is reliant on its sustainability and longevity. Desires and a passion for ultimately futile endeavours eventually result in the sorrow and misery one initially attempts to escape from, as seen from the opening scenes of the play of Faustus and continues through with Faust’ relationship with Gretchen. This is the paradox; that in order to reach a state of happiness, one must first traverse through the murky realms of knowledge toward the gates of love; that love surpasses knowledge and yet it is not in knowledge can one attain happiness. From the multiple layers of narrative, stories within stories, metaphors, satire and political and spiritual agendas truly makes the Master and Margarita one of the most successful and inspiring novels of the twentieth century.

Bulgakov is certainly among the very few great writers to have ever lived who is capable at combining fantasy and satire into one complex yet simple whole, just like my other favourites writers Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Haruki Murakami. His capacity and concern for ethical problems that he is able to express using metaphors and surreal situations or plots is irresistible, skilful and admirable.

Authenticity and a Theory of Love: Wisdom Is A Process of Mind

Wisdom is synonymous with self-awareness, a state of mind where one is conscious and accountable for their behaviour and who epitomises an authentic person with good sense and judgement. It is clear that our environment impacts on how we develop perceptions of ourselves as individuals living in a world external to our subjective experiences, thus it is not only biological or genetic factors that play a role in our understanding, but social interaction, family and the culture we are a part of amalgam to potentially disturb our genuine capacity to perceive things as they are. While consciousness is a state of mind where an individual is receptive to external properties, the fact is our knowledge of existence and responsiveness to our surroundings is dependent on how we interpret experiences. Our mental state enables us to interpret experience from a first-person point of view and I have long questioned the authenticity of these explanations. I favour the believe that a combination of mind and brain activity together enables our conscious mental state – both physical and non-physical – that is self-awareness is a product of our experiences over time and constructed into a narrative through memory, and our brain a physical tool to conceptualise external experience along with epistemological influences, all pooled into a totality where we become conscious of ourselves. There may be some with biological, genetic or physical dysfunctions that impair the cognitive capacity to become self-aware of our own personhood, including intellectual disabilities or brain damage, but there are also those who experience trauma or difficulties either during their developmental stages in childhood or due to their environmental or social influences that challenge an adequate capacity to translate experiences accurately. Their behaviour and responsiveness exemplifies this failure, particularly with the choices that they make and how they approach relationships with others.

Freud – notwithstanding some of his ideas that I consider objectionable – nevertheless provided a metaphorical clue as to the workings of the psyche that enabled an enhanced appreciation of the network of memories and emotions. This network is layered in a triptych of three areas of the mind, namely the Ego or our individual experience of the external world, the Id or our instinctual drives and the Superego or our conscience and moral ideals.[1] The ego acts or applies behaviour to the external world, the superego functions to evaluate those actions and inhibits together with the ego the instinctual responses with moral and behavioural injunctions. The Id is representative of basic drives that motivate function and being intense seeks an immediacy to satisfy tensions as instinctual drives do and therefore being automaton conflicts with the Ego and the Superego as they prevent the fulfilment of these impulsive drives. Management of these instinctual drives that almost coerces immediate relief can lead one to hallucinate in order to fulfil, to sublimate so that the drives are socially acceptable, or repress to inhibit the drives entirely so as to manage the spontaneity of the overwhelming sensations. Whilst we can easily think of sexual drives, there are other survival instincts that displace these tensions using defence mechanisms so as to avoid feelings of anxiety. If we experience a trauma-related incident such as a car accident, our instinctual drives immediately repress the shock and distress as it seeks to circumvent the anxiety and tension quickly. This repression is due to an additional three layers of mind, namely the conscious, the preconscious or subconscious, and you have the unconscious. The Id is entirely unconscious as it is purely instinctual whereas the ego is conscious since it is mostly about our interaction with the external world, however it is also partly subconscious since, as mentioned above our experiences or memories with the external world can be repressed and partly unconscious as we could be completely unaware that we have even repressed these experiences or of even having them. The superego is also categorised under all three levels of consciousness and communication between the three consists of conflicting forces all trying to manage one another. This is where we develop mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, neurosis and other emotional and behavioural problems.

It is through the identification of the Id’ defence mechanisms that will enable causal reflection of the effect it is having on our behaviour, particularly repressed memories or inhibited drives that remain at subconscious level and ultimately impact on our emotional well-being. Reflection of the reasons why some experiences become repressed through an awareness of our self-defence mechanisms requires a combination of factors including intellectual – since language and our understanding of the world enables us to articulate experiences – as well as biological or physical [including genetic]; philosophical insight, or the superego being a repository of moral demands, is especially important and why I consider philosophy a language. Moral awareness and our freedom to understand why we may fear or adhere to particular moral points of view is an essential factor to explain why we may repress or inhibit thoughts and experiences.

psyche

The Triune Brain Model also involves three areas of the brain that attempts to explicate similar behavioural processes. This evolutionary model consists of the Reptilian or the part of the brain that is instinctual, automatic and responsible for survival instincts, Mammalian that expresses emotions and sensory perceptions, and finally the Neommalian is the thinking brain that involves cognitive processing and informative perspectives.[2] These explain the frontal lobe system [thinking brain], the limbic system [feeling brain] and the autonomic nervous system [sensory brain] or the Triune Brain.[3] In a trauma-related situation, the autonomic nervous system shuts down other mental processes as the brain attempts to survive until the threat ceases, where it thus restores the other two processes to enable the individual to deal with the shock afterwards. However, sometimes this shift or return does not adequately occur, holding the survivor in continuous anxiety as they avoid the sensory and emotional feelings of the experience and propel confusing and intrusive thoughts.

Physical reactions and how the body can convey emotional communication can be see by those who experience PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder]. With stress hormones including glucocorticoid continuously increased following the trauma-related incident along with the amygdala – located as part of the limbic system – that contributes to emotional behaviour and identifies threats and risks continues to be activated long after the shock or distress of the trauma. In addition to this, the hippocampus is effected by the constant elevation of glucocorticoid and the interruption results in the exasperation of its function, which is the area of the brain that forms new memories into a past-tense experience and therefore the individual is unable to correctly consolidate the experience. The result is a person increasingly wound-up and feeling threatened that they become paranoid, anxious and in a state of constant panic with intrusive thoughts and memories amplified. The survivor thus attempts to manage the confusing sensations that the avoid reminders relating to the incident that they lose their concentration, unexpectedly become emotional and sad, and have trouble sleeping, exposing how physical reactions effect the brain and body becomes representative of these reactions. When one thinks of depression or anxiety – the former alters the mood to one feeling low and sad whilst the latter is tense and restless – notwithstanding the chemical imbalances, exhibits the same physical reactions related closely to past memories and emotions. All of them are recoverable mostly through communication or psychotherapeutic treatments that expose how conscious awareness of the memories that are impacting on the brain and the body can result in the management of the emotional and physical reactions that are attempting to convey the problem that language or semantics is unable to articulate. It is not simply just chemical imbalances of the brain but rather the imbalance itself is directly a result of the conflict between our external experiences and inability to effectively make synaptic connections fused with our failure to put the experience into words.

It is the reason why communication is the key to stimulate the eventual clarity of these experiences and why our bodies, dreams and our emotions or moods – whilst appearing to impair or disrupt our functioning – are essentially indicators that unidentified experiences are repeatedly attempting to communicate an error through the rigidity of our embedded self-defence mechanisms. The awareness of these barriers enables the process to function with more clarity, that our consciousness of the defence-mechanisms inhibit the experience to transform into ‘past-tense’ enable the brain modality to restore or re-frame the trauma and enable a proper consolidation between mind and brain. To put it simply, it is to become honest to oneself about the trauma and while preventing self-defence mechanisms from influencing and suggesting alternatives to acknowledge the experience or even the inadequacy of the mind to articulate how the experience affected them, one is able to consciously command the ebb and flow of this natural process. Happiness thus becomes continuously restorative, where access to ‘past’ memories awakens the individual to the ‘present’ and they are no longer caught in a continuous loop where they confuse past with present.

A hidden matrix of experiences is hidden within the psyche, the subconscious becoming a repository for memories that are stored when one is incapable of dealing with or understanding the experience [age or trauma-related] until the opportunity to reactivate these memories by raising it to a level of consciousness, enabling the individual to articulate how these experiences may have impacted them. Signals that there is an emotional imbalance needn’t be expressed linguistically, but the body and physical reactions such as sleeplessness, excessive fear, a very low mood, panic etc &c., all expose that the mind is attempting to talk and convey the subconscious issues that may have been repressed through primitive self-defence mechanisms. The theoretical models of the psyche – such as Freud’ structural model or the Triune Brain model – exemplify an effective neuroanatomical explanation of our mental peculiarities that enhances our understanding of this subjective repository, in turn enabling a better management of our emotions and past memories. In addition to these triptych models, our own control of these experiences vis-à-vis the brain can render us capable of appreciating and applying our day-to-day actions correctly. This includes our relationships.

“Immature love follows the principle: ‘I love because I am loved.’ Mature love follows the principle: ‘I am loved because I love.’ Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’” What you love in the person is represented by who they are: to say “I love through you the world and back into myself.” 

It is why human intimacy and relationships play a defining role in our existential well being since how we approach relationships with others is representative of the clarity and authenticity of our emotions and ultimately our frame of mind. Erich Fromm stated that our impediment is despair and as a consequence the individual forms symbiotic attachments with others to treat the feelings of despair. This despair is the awareness of our sense of isolation and separateness from the world around us, something we seek to avoid by forming false connections. “Immature love follows the principle: ‘I love because I am loved.’ Mature love follows the principle: ‘I am loved because I love.’ Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’”[4] What you love in the person is represented by who they are; to say ‘I love through you the world and back into myself.’ Immature love is the same with New Age theories of well-being that attempt to treat the emotional discomfort and distress at surface level through incorrect mindfulness teachings that merely manage the feelings rather than getting to the core of the issue. For Fromm, mature love is the union between two people who have both individually achieved an understanding of this despair by overcoming the isolation and separateness to the world around them through love; they no longer expect love but have learnt to give love and not simply to one object but to all. Achieving this maturity, the two individuals together preserve this integrity by decidedly supporting and retaining both their individuality with mutual affection. The triangular theory of love[5] functions in a similar manner, where mature love is correctly applied only when three forms of love are applied together at the same time; passion or our instinctual, sexual drives is amalgamated with intimacy or feelings of closeness and togetherness with another person, along with our commitment, the latter moral in nature. A mature form of love must have all three. Otherwise, the form of love that has just commitment but does not have intimacy or passion is considered ‘empty’ while ‘companionate’ contains both intimacy and commitment, but has no passion.

Love is metaphorically exemplified Biblically and while the following quote from Jung is certainly true: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making darkness conscious,”[6] the path towards building the confidence to face the darkness [the darkness being repressed memories] needs to be guided correctly. That is, the path towards the transcendence to conscious self-awareness requires an understanding of morality [the superego’ moral intensity initiates the fear that has a profound impact on our behaviour] and therefore attempting to ascertain why we have fears and doubts first requires an understanding of our moral position. When one thinks of the biblical notion “You must be born again”[7] it is metaphorical of having to change the process of how we think; to develop a clean slate by transcending all that we have been taught of and learnt of morality, to think rationally and philosophically as to the correct method of moral consciousness. To no longer have a conception and apply moral acts only through imposed or external properties directed outwards to within, but to transcend any countervailing factors and use the mind as an apparatus to draw rational inferences both with past and present experiences and apply a moral system from within outwards. It is a system or a process of thinking through self-awareness or to put it simply, it is wisdom. The bible contains the parables and moral substance that has simplified an understanding of love and moral well being by leading a person to the ‘short and narrow’ path towards this transcendence to individual, moral consciousness.

As God is infinite, to love God is to love all and whilst we clearly are incapable of grasping God or the infinite, it is symbolic that all things are interconnected. Our existence is representative of God’s grace, thus our capacity to give unconditional love or to give mature love. Righteousness, such as punishment of wrong, is not substantiated through an absence of love, on the contrary justice and human rights is an extension of – deliberately and intelligently – or the very application of love. Since I believe love to be moral consciousness, the application of moral consciousness to the external world of an autonomous moral agent is ethics [the act of righteousness]. As this act of giving love is unconditional, it is eternal in its permanence but only achievable when consciousness itself is fundamentally free from irrational interferences that possess an individual in a number of ways including external institutions to our very own subjective emotions that all crucially impact on our behaviour and opinions. This moral agent is a rational agent and features prerogatives and characteristics that are analogous to the attributes associated with God, perfect in nature and free from evil, avoiding the collision of moral judgements with irrational objectives. This freedom from evil is an authenticity, whereby freedom being a voluntary conception of moral consciousness and acceptance of our own accountability that heightens consciousness over environmental influences and institutional clouts. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”[8] The Holy Spirit is the authenticity, the very inspiration that enriches and enables us to comprehend and interpret our experiences that ultimately renders morality and love to become accessible. If we were to assume that our capacity to give authentic love is to love God – that is to love all – the following makes more sense: “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”[9] That authenticity – what is true, leads to the light – what is clear and known. Faith in God is a practical stimulus that manoeuvres and motivates moral thoughts toward an alignment of what is good and loving with our subjective thoughts and objective behaviour to and with the external world, where we become in control of our environment and our mind. It is a vigilance and accountability towards our behaviour and this authenticity enables genuine and eternal feelings of happiness. It becomes our capacity to give true love.

 

 

[1] See Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id, Martino Publishing (2010)
[2] Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton, Clare Pain, Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy, WW Norton and Company (2006) 5
[3] Susan Hart, Brain, Attachment, Personality: An Introduction to Neuroaffective Development, Karnac Books (2008) 12
[4] Irvin D. Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy, Basic Books (1980) 8 – see Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving.
[5] See Robert J. Sternberg, The Triangle of Love: Intimacy, Passion, Commitment, Basic Books (1988)
[6] Roger Brooke, Pathways Into the Jungian World: Phenomenology and Analytical Psychology, Psychology Press (2000) 181
[7] John 3:1-21
[8] John 3:8
[9] John 3:21