When we react to real world stimuli e.g. sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell only a small fraction of what is in our consciousness is recorded into our awareness with the rest going into the unconscious. Even those data that have been perceived consciously have gone into the mind and thus have become psychic events whose nature may then become unknowable to us.
Generally speaking these unconscious aspects can be revealed through the dream not as rational thoughts, but as symbolic visions.
Because unconscious information takes up so much room in the psyche it can have an enormous effect on our lives if not brought into our awareness, our consciousness and dealt with. This unconscious material can in effect rule us irrationally.
This is precisely what constitutes neuroses. When too much of our mind becomes split there is what psychologists term “dissociation.” Primitives termed this as a “loss of the soul” and often it was what they referred to as the “bush soul”, or the animal soul, that was lost. Many rituals would be performed by the local shaman to help heal, or at least balance the split caused when a person radically dissociated their psyche. For the American society this is the job of the local psychiatrist, psychologist, or clergy.
In our dreams the split can show up as someone who is two faced. It can also show up as a mask hiding something grotesque. It can come to us as a shadow figure pursuing us through dark corridors.
I see this split pervading the society as a whole and I wonder if the society has split itself off from the deeper parts of its psyche? There seems to be a societal dissociation that has revealed itself in our severe polarization. It separates nearly everyone from their inner nature and has caused a cultural neurosis the symptoms of which seem to be a frantic effort to fill a non-existent void (I say ‘non-existent void’ because I think we have only misplaced our bush soul and not lost it altogether).
We try to fill what appears to be missing through the neurotic acquisition of things such as clothes, cars, houses, “newageisms”, populist ideology, right religious expression, money, right spouses, the best team, children, and diplomas. It shows up in our lust for the newest thing in technology, or foods, or diets, or husbands, or wives, or sex. It shows up when we follow the political phenomena of, “Throw the bastards out!” as an attempt to correct the perceived wrong done to us by our politicians.
But it’s not “out there” where the problem lay, it’s in the collective “in here” (point toward your own heads and hearts).
Our consciousness has become fragmented, disrupted if you will, and has left us chasing after ephemera. We have lost our connection with our soul. I think that we can only find our hidden soul by looking into the recesses of our unconscious and reconnecting the disparate parts of the psyche.