My unconscious normally gives me a clip round the ear when I have gone too far, and today it did so, I fell off a ladder and banged my head which I see as me trying to knock some sense into myself. This is a technique I have used several times over the years with limited success.
I have recently had the experience of a moment of 100% immersion. A few actually. Now, it might be assumed from what is written about SL that this is the aim, the goal of our disembodied lives.
I now have to re-evaluate that previously accepted stand-point.... bear with me...
Jung admires Levy-Bruhl for his genius use of the term ‘participation mystique’ to denote a consciousness where the object and subject are not differentiated.
“When there is no consciousness of the difference between subject [typist?] and object [avatar?], an unconscious identity prevails. The unconscious is then projected into the object [avatar?], and the object is introjected [reverse of projection] [back] into the subject, becoming a part of his psychology.” (Jung, for source see below).
So, this is how I see the 100% immersion, the self is nowhere to be seen, I am lost in my unconscious-made-manifest and reabsorb my unconscious back as a part of my personality. Like a very small child (which can be irresponsibly nice at times...but not necessarily as a permanent situation).
The situation changes immediately we begin to be conscious of this projection... and I have written of this before and the healing possibilities of SL.
“But if the unconscious can be recognized as a co-determining factor along with consciousness, ... ....then the centre of gravity of the total personality shifts its position. It is then no longer in the ego,which is merely the centre of consciousness, but in the hypothetical point between conscious and unconscious. This new centre might be called the self.”
This is Jung’s Philosopher’s Stone, the “individuation” process leading to the birth of the self. I have talked of it before in these pages.
...”the confrontation with the unconscious usually begins in the realm of the personal unconscious, that is, of personally acquired contents which constitute the shadow [previous posts on shame and fear], and from there leads to archetypal symbols which represent the collective unconscious. The aim of the confrontation is to abolish the dissociation [between the conscious and the unconscious].”
Seen from the point of view of our disembodied existence, it would seem to me that this means the two extremes, typist becoming avatar or typist making avatar into typist, are both lost opportunities in that the confrontation is avoided..
Confrontation is here a positive force for change and I have mentioned it before.
“In order to to reach this goal, either nature herself or medical intervention [or SL?] precipitates the conflict of opposites without which no union is possible. This means not only bringing the conflict to consciousness; it also involves an experience of a special kind, namely, the recognition of an alien “other” in oneself, or the objective presence of another will.”
Now, this is an experience which we almost understand... there are hints and feelings... our avatar is....” different”... I know a few people who think their avatar is more clairvoyant than they are. Jung does hint that the paradox of a consciousness within the unconscious may be real. [possibly the source of synchronicity?]
“The alchemists with astonishing accuracy, called this barely understandable thing Mercurius, in which concept they included all the statements which mythology and natural philosophy had ever made about him: he is God, daemon, person, thing, and the innermost secret in man; psychic as well as somatic. He is himself the source of all opposites, since he is duplex and ‘utriusque capax’ (“capable of both”).
If “capable of both” is Jung’s polite way of saying bi-sexual, then the VW gender issue becomes somewhat irrelevent too.
“As well as being an irrational experience, this confrontation is a process of realization. Accordingly the alchemical opus consisted of two parts: work in the laboratory, with all its emotional and daemonic hazards, and the ‘scientia’ or ‘theoria’, the guiding principle of the opus by which its results were interpreted and given their proper place. The whole process, which today we understand as psychological development, was designated the “philosophical tree”, a poetic comparison that draws an apt analogy between the natural growth of the psyche and that of a plant.”
So, the conflict of avatar - typist could be seen as a conscious - unconscious conflict, and therefore, a potential union, our Opus.
We are among the first people to be facing these issues, there is no previous rules and regulations, no written etiquette, no 'knowledge base' to guide us on how we lead these different lives.
We are making culture,
We are alchemists.
all quotes from C. G. Jung, Alchemical Studies. vol 13 of Complete Works.