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The Necessity of Mourning

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posted on Jan, 28 2017 @ 10:13 AM
As I sit across from my dog, me, immersed in my book with bose noise-cancelling headphones on my head to cancel out the sound of renovation in the basement, I catch a glimpse again and again of my dogs face.

She wants to sleep, but the sharp and abrupt sounds intermittently wake her. I brought her up on the couch - not something I generally allow - because she seems bothered - and the subtle discomfort and fear she feels spurs me into a response. I put her up on the couch, and find myself reflexively looking at her, giddy inside that she is here with me on this morning, to sit with me, and to be with me.


My dog suffers without knowledge of her suffering, so there is no higher 'recursive' world in which she is 'embedded' - witness to her suffering from which she can find no escape. No. The dogs suffering is open only to a creature who can witness - the Human - and even the littlest suffering - the littlest discomfort in her, can inspire me into action.

What is this point of this conversation? Consciousness, this wondrous property of mind we have - offers both fruit for existence, as well "bristles and thorns". My dogs discomfort immediately becomes my own because of my care for her - and my care for her is reflexive: something I cannot help feeling - as natural to a Human as flying is for a bird.

This openness of my mind to suffering is not unique to me - but to all of us. A consciousness such as we have opens us up to the good and the bad - and the good is always the fun, joy, pleasure, love, care and support we receive from Others, and the bad is always related to the abortion of the former - some breakdown within our relational life that 'puts into us' a feeling from which - still - we reflexively look to others for guidance and coherence. These are the interminable facts of our existence: we exist in the world of 'good and bad' - as the Bible says, we all eat 'from the tree of good and evil', and indeed, in a world of work - of physical manual toil to make a living - in relying upon others to make our experience coherent, together, the meanings we make constitute a collective effort to 'make sense' of where we are.

But the tree of life - the source of meaning, clearly, has to do with the relational events that happen between us. That is - our we objects, statues - is the idol more real than we are? Or, is the idol - the idea, the object - the fantasy and ideal - a "transitional object" in the language of D.W. Winnicot? There to soothe our confused minds until the time comes when we can be liberated from a world - relationally generated - stuck in the pits of its projected confusion?

The Necessity of Mourning

Is it a coincidence that the seeding of a satanic cabal into Americas government is said to have been aided by the help of Russia? To me, it isn't.

Of all the horrors of the 20th century, it is arguable among historians which regime was more brutal: the Nazis or the communists? The Nazi death camps or the Russian gulags? Indeed, it has often been said that the 'ghosts of our ancestors' live through us, and this idea only seems more plausible and real in light of 21st century systems biology, epigenetics and the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying 'developmental trauma'.

Why not Germany? Look at Germany today, and witness what the power of mourning can do in transforming the dynamics of Human affectivty. We often joke in our culture about the German - and are pretty quick to make references to the Nazis when we want to make fun of them. Yet, look at them: how did this transformation of spirit happen?

Following world war 2, the German people had to bear witness to the spectacle of the Nuremberg trials of 1945-46, and later on the Frankfurt trials of 63-65. German historians and philosophers - led above all by Jurgen Habermas - have sought to acknowledge and 'metabolize' the significance of their actions - the suffering they caused, but above all, they sought to understand the conditions thatunderlined the rise of Nazism - and in doing so, came to a healthy realization: the need to mourn.

Indeed, any traveler to Germany today - particularly - will be exposed to plaque after plaque naming where Jews once lived - indexing for passerby the memory of a horror - or a persecution - and a timeless trauma.

What happens to the Human brain when it internalizes the suffering of others, instead of expunging it, denying it, and objectifying it with reflexive recourse to a "redemptive narrative" (i.e. justification for its happening)? Tears begin to flow - awareness happens - but above all, something even deeper and more metaphysical seems to be happening; for the German population (not all, of course, but a good majority) the demons of their ancestors - of their parents and their parents: those who paved the way for Nazism - were 'laid' to rest when they focused their minds on the sufferings of Jews, gypsies, communists and other victims of the Nazi horror. What was laid to rest, but the spirit of dissociation - or refusing to acknowledge, know and recognize the same Self that exists in the Other?

To me, feelings flow when recognition happens - whereas it is stifled, mutated, and distorted, in its absence.

Today's Russian people likewise have settled into a culture of relativism, and for many, nihilism has become a plausible - and sustainable - philosophical position.

What is this but the unacknowledged ghosts of Russia's past, animating the minds of today's generation - fueled by a government motivated by power, excess and greed?

Russia proves the point - that recognition - attunement to the reality of consequences - of our 'encirclement' with one another - needs to happen for the 'demons of the past to be purged'.

Alas, the infection has spread, and another people - also haunted by the ghosts of its past (i.e. slavery) - has become animated by the same demonic forces - arising within those with a similar non-recognition of the actions of their ancestors - and the way those actions, unmetabolized, unrecognized and unknown, tarnish perception and pervert cognition.

Where trauma occurs, a void is opened - both in the traumatizer and traumatized - they both lose an important dimension of being: the actor, possessed by the demons of his unmetabolized past - his own traumas, transmitted as always through parents and society - and the traumatized - a victim of the breakdown of Humanity - a 'sore' which the demons of others cannot bear knowing.

Mourning is there to re-equilibrate and restore the 'system' of our body to a state of coherence. The transformation of German society into todays leading opposition (to Trump) is not a coincidence, but an effect of the healthiness of mourning.

Dissociation is nothing more than a delay of the inevitable.

The bird flies, the fish swims, the dog smells, and the human recognizes the experiences of others.

posted on Jan, 28 2017 @ 11:04 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

An excellent and we'll written thread, S&F given and I agree and think grief and mourning are essential, fundamental parts of human development, we learn more from our grief and sadness than we ever can from joy, a sad event inspires us not to let it happen again, to ourselves definitely but also in many cases it inspires us to act to make sure it does not happen to others either, like you say but humans tend to avoid anything seen as negative, bad, evil or hard but it it is in the pondering of these things that the subtle truths of reality are found... that life is supposed to be a balance of negative and positive emotion because if we were happy all the time, we would be content and to be content stifles any need for change or evolution.. so society can always do better and we can always feel worse ...

I enjoyed your thread very much and logged in for the first time in a while just to comment and give you a well deserved S&F, these are the kinds of thread I love on ATS, the intelligent philosophical threads that have been a little bit more sparse of late.


posted on Jan, 28 2017 @ 12:23 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Excellent thread indeed!

Nothing comes close to coming out of mourning.


posted on Jan, 29 2017 @ 10:35 PM
Like the sun before sunrise, the trees before spring, and the labor before birth. Mourning is a necessary detachment for our human psyche in order for us to move on to start anew. But it does not only occur to us humans, if we can apply this understanding to our environment. We would come to the realization, that our environment is a reflection of our minds.

Therefore, soon after the sun will rise, flowers will blossom, and a new life begins.

I hope this little advice eases everyone who is in the process of mourning.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 08:11 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Last year, in reading Year Zero by Ian Buruma, I came to understand more of the background of WW2 in Europe (as well as Asia). Antisemitism was not confined to Germany, but Germany alone instituted its program of extermination. I came to understand why, when the Allies arrived at the concentration camps they made sure photos and other documentation of the horrors were the first things to be done. It was not to send back such news to their respective countries. It was so that the German people would be made to view the horrors that had been committed by them and in their name. As you wrote

instead of expunging it, denying it, and objectifying it with reflexive recourse to a "redemptive narrative" (i.e. justification for its happening)

leading to

What was laid to rest, but the spirit of dissociation - or refusing to acknowledge, know and recognize the same Self that exists in the Other

On an individual level, it is true, that we face many "deaths", losses, in Life. And we can only come away a better person when we acknowledge instead of expunge, deny or justify. When we mourn these little deaths, we become a better person. We focus so much on gaining in Life, that we forget what it means to losing.

From personal experience, it is not easy to mourn even the smallest of "little deaths". To finally acknowledge that we must give up something we have held close, especially something not in our best interest, a personal fault, for example, is never easy.

So, yes, from national to individual, mourning is the only way to become better. Hmmm, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin comes to mind now, humanity as evolving. It certainly does not seem that at times, especially now. Yet, humans are evolving, just not all at the same time. But, in general, yes.

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