Recently, I was reading up on Freud and Lacan psychoanalysis, and I learnt from this article that Lacan has built on the foundation of Freud’s works and developed his theories on the real, imaginary and symbolic.
According to the above-mentioned article, the real is always necessarily outside experience, and denotes what we might imagine as the blissful state of pure being, whereas experience is only possible in the symblic. To me, this implies there is something deeper beyond the surface of life on earth. After all, there has to be more to life than just the physical activities such as being born, eating, walking, and so on. As the article noted, “we start off as no more than mindless animalistic subjects awaiting access to the world of meaning”. Perhaps this is where literature and psychoanalysis come into the picture, to serve as tools for us human beings to uncover deeper meanings beyond the surface of life itself.
The article also says “The human imaginary begins with the mirror stage. What this means is that a child identifies with another (an image of itself in the mirror or some other similar figure like a child of the same age). The ego is made up of successive layers of such identifications but is fundamentally nothing in itself.” This reminds me of the similar theory of Girard’s theory of mimetic desire, which can be positive or negative, depending on whether it develops into mimetic love or mimetic rivalry. Maybe the gospels in the bible is meant to be a mirror in which people see themselves and understand their true nature of love, when seen through the mirror of Christ, and vice versa.
I think it is especially helpful to see the bible through a psychoanalytic perspective because it helps me to see Jesus as a physician/psychoanalyst who came to help humanity embrace their own brokenness and pains. I was reflecting that perhaps like Jesus himself, I am also battered, brusied and wounded by the societal system of the world. His life and teachings encourage me to tune out from the distractions and delusions of the world system, and tune in to the frequency and sensitivity of the spirit within, to recognise that life is suffering since we experience pain and sorrow when we encounter loss, death, harsh words, callous treatment from the inhumane system. I learnt from this article that the attitude adopted by the power structure is called “triumphalism”.
“Triumphalism is the attitude or belief that a particular doctrine, religion, culture, or social system is superior to and should triumph over all others. Triumphalism is not an articulated doctrine but rather a term that is used to characterize certain attitudes or belief systems by parties…”
Such societal attitudes in power structures (principalities and powers) often hurt us and inflict emotional wounds, and hence psychoanalysis can help us heal from our wounds, when we identify the sources of our hurts, and acknowledge and embrace our wounds. We can also take comfort in knowing we are not alone in our sufferings as Jesus has gone through similar sufferings before too – this is something I would remind myself as a consolation.