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In Defense of the Devil, Summary

I have placed here the book's two central chapters, plus what I hope is a detailed enough summary of the rest to make it a readable whole.

I. TO DECLARE ONESELF CONTENT

This chapter describes the difficulties I experienced in creating the theory behind my thesis, Personal dialectics, presented in 1975. I was 24 when I began, and the task of making a theory that was integrative for the Outsiders soon felt all too hard for me.

That was my scientific question, nevertheless, or my existential task, if you will. It was to take me ten years to answer it. The 4-Room Apartment was the answer.

For another description of this intellectual/existential adventure, see The Four Rooms of Change, Chapter V.

II. THE HOLY QUATERNITY

This chapter describes a writing experiment I made around the New Year 1980-81. I had climbed the Statue of Liberty in October 1980 (as described in The Four Rooms of Change), having had quite a strong peak experience there, and I was still in that experience's aftermath, feeling both confused and inspired. The writing experiment led to the discovery of an extra, possible use of my theory I had not thought of. This was to give the Devil, the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ a room each in the 4-Room Apartment, which left the forth one to God.

The idea completes a thought by C.G. Jung to »reinvite« the Devil and thereby change the Trinity to a Quaternity. Jung sees the Self - the half unconscious center of the psyche - as »an archetypal quaternity, bound together by inner antinomies«. Antinomy means opposition. These four archetypes correct and are corrected by one another through their antinomies, and as a quaternity they create a perfect equilibrium. They make a mandala - one which is immediately broken, however, the moment the Devil is thrown out, denied his membership.

This result of my experiment was so overwhelming that I afterwards almost forgot to reflect upon the technique, which had led to it. This technique is interesting in itself. I had given myself two special writing disciplines, both quite original: egocentricity and megalomania. Together, they meant that I was not to dismiss an association - the beginning of a thought - because it felt egocentric or megalomanic. The megalomania I had no use for until afterwards, when I looked at the discovery I seemed to have made. The egocentricity, on the other hand, turned out to be effective in the launching phase.

In rocket launching the space capsule is loosened from the rocket, which was necessary to surmount the forces of gravity. The downward pull, which egocentricity as a writing discipline surmounted analogously, was, I think, the pressure to adjust. The Law of Jante, the self-doubts, all this which in one's everyday life holds back one's thinking.

When writing the two chapters in English, which are presented here, I omitted most of the notes, wherein the writing experiment resulted, up and until the idea of the Holy Quaternity itself. Here, I want to translate one section, which contains reflections on the difference between art and psychology, which still feel important to me.

Never again do I want to be objective, I thought last summer. We made love in the garden, by the foot of a tree. Afterwards I looked up into the sun-speckled foliage, into the green, and thought: Never again do I want to be objective.

Robert Musil:

»We have - except for Nietzsche's unique and grandiose attempt - no books about man, no systematizers of life. /.../ Artistic and scientific thinking still don't touch each other. The question of a middle zone between the two stays unanswered.«

The perpective of art: observe, just observe, and shape. The perspective of psychology: explain, with the purpose to change.

Art is subjective. Art defends the incomprehensibility: this makes art see more freely, more truthfully. But this is not enough. Art gives no tools, which psychology does.

But psychology is or wants to be objective and just that, I suspect, makes it A DAMNED STUPID SCIENCE, for it is impossible. Psycholgy struggles to be objective, just succeeds to make itself boring (with a few, brilliant exceptions).

Both the artist and the psychologist are truth and change agents. The artist is an agent with the right to question. But not to answer! If he/she wants to answer, one says: Thou shalt not think YOU are anything! The psychologist is an agent with the right to answer. But he/she is not allowed to question anything - that is, she is expected to shut up until she has discovered something and feels certain. The psychologist has no right to stand in the attitude of a seeker, of showing uncertainty, of just formulating the questions. She is robbed of the right to stand in YES-, in Confusion.

To create, as to live, is to alternate between Good Judgment and Force of Initiative. In balancing, such as on a fence, for example, the wise question is, as everyone knows: Where is it best to fall, if/when I fall? The artist has the right to lose his Good Judgment but not his Force of Initiative (his creativity). The psychologist has the right to lose her Force of Initiative (and God knows many have) but not her Good Judgment.

The artist falls into YES- but for the psychologist it is safest to fall into NO-. To summarize:

PSYCHOLOGY

- explains

- focuses on the comprehensible

- is an agent with the right to answer (but not to question)

- gives priority to Good Judgment, falls into NO-

ART

- observes

- defends the incomprehensible

- is an agent with the right to question (but not to answer)

- gives priority to Force of Initiative, falls into YES-.

These are the weaknesses of accepted, psychological treatises:

- a weak, unnecessarily conventional NO+ since the psychologist does not give herself the liberty to play with thoughts, play with words

- a weak, unnecessarily porous YES- since the psychologist does not give herself the liberty to show uncertainty, conflicts, shadowy traits

- a weak YES+, lacking ecstasy, or wildness, since the psychologist does not give herself the liberty to show herself egocentric, megalomanic and goofy.

Wherefrom does psychology suffer, lacking these liberties? From a sorely swollen NO-!

I doubt that I can now swing myself over to the perspective of art. I am not sure that I want to either. I want the »magnificent both/and«. I want to write »centaurishly«. The centaur was half man, half horse. I want to write psychological essays, containing thoughts one can ride, but I want to ride my thoughts myself, walking, trotting, galloping, with the freedom of art: to be subjective, to be incomprehensible.

Go to The Holy Quaternity.

III. THE HOLY QUATERNITY IN PRACTICE

This chapter gives practical examples of psychological effects of the contact with the Devil. These demonstrate convincingly why the Devil was once called Lucifer, the bringer of light. To be in touch with the Devil brings light, equaling consciousness. The chapter also shows how the Devil corrects and is corrected by Jesus Christ, when they have an open dialogue with one another.

Go to The Holy Quaternity in Practice.

IV. CREATIVITY AS A DISAPPEARANCE NUMBER

This chapter concentrates on the probably central, existential dilemma within us all, the dialectical tension between ordinariness and originality, as this manifests in creativity. The Holy Quaternity seems absent in the text. Afterwards, however, I can see that the Devil, the Holy Ghost and Christ have been operating as a kind of continuously present, invisible »auxiliary lines« - and just so can they be used in creativity, as in the rest of life.

V. RESISTANCES

This chapter describes resistances I had, myself, against the Holy Quaternity. The writing experiment seemed to have had the effect of making me pass through them at the time, with the consequence that I had to struggle with them afterwards instead. My resistance towards God disappeared when I realized that it is not necessary to presume God's existence, just that he (or she) perhaps exists. I still feel a strong »resistance to Jesus« (which seems to be weakening, year by year) and an intense resistance against all collective faith and all the rites and rituals connected with it (which is on the contrary strengthening).

VII. THREE STRANDS OF HAIR

The sixth and last chapter puts the Holy Quaternity (HQ) in its psychological context, the archetypal realm of the psyche. My book has the subtitle, »Archetypal Psychology«, and for another example of that, I summarize the book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves. The central message of the chapter, which is also that of the book, is that man lives in two realities, one of which is well known, the other (almost) unconscious. An authentic life presupposes an orientation in both.

When I define myself, I can take in messages both from the outer, agreed upon, wordbound (rather than earthbound), cultural, objective, collectively arranged impersonal, »unwild« reality, where I am numbered, and from the inner, voluntary, silent, natural, subjective, archetypally structured, personal, wild reality, where I am not numbered.

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