The MENTAL maps

Introduction: Grünewald and the maps, 2 min. video 2021

I felt naîve as I found the complex reality I describe in the project page, my impulse was to push it away, and yet, I felt responsible to share with others the giant hole I found in the fabric of society, without any idea about how to patch it.  After years of slowly unlearning cultural and religious teachings that began with my Catholic upbringing and school days, the project became a way of breaking everything apart, searching for the original teachings, a way of trying to see the other as my brother or sister, as myself.

I proceeded to pick and assemble images from the internet, connected to the subject of the missions in diverse ways, some just glimmered, some had clear meaning, and others made me feel ambivalent, even sometimes alarmed, with their content. How could it be any other way? Soon, the exercise became fascinating, a portrait of contemporary culture, with all its complexity and contradiction, started emerging, in complete disarray, and I just allowed the pieces to fall where they may.
Then it all started weaving itself into a coherent "disonance" that turned into the mental maps I present.

It is important to mention the role of the Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, a project developed by Aby Warburg (1866-1929) and Gertrud Bing, German historians of Jewish origin. Their interest in Western classical culture, took them to devise a procedure for exploration and presentation of systems of relationships, not always obvious, through image association techniques. The result is a vast amount of multi image panels displaying relationships meaningful to them, deeply personal, heuristic and non-linear —not universal truths.

This freedom of association Warburg explored, inspired me because it allowed for creativity to play a central role, in which a series of seemingly disparate images is assembled and used to create a kind of overwhelm or swarm of associations, which, I say, can potentially push the mind into the deeper unconscious.
I believe this apparent cacophony, can help the viewer to establish a bit of distance from them due to their apparent disparity, and experience how each may have a trigger effect of internal programs that, in turn, generate emotions and memories. It is interesting to note that, probably, none of these events associated with the images, was experienced in person by the viewer, but are recreated from the historic information or from family accounts of events.

The maps are meant to be looked at from the "witness" point of view, without judgement or necessarily connecting dots, but just recognizing the content the images bring with them, as if looking at a paradox.
It is an invitation to look at things through the heart not the mind, possibly providing insights to the "idea forming" moment in the process of thought I refer to in the project page.

An intrinsic component of being human, is what Jung calls the "shadow". He suggests that, as children grow older, the parts that displease the parents, like anger or selfishness, are rejected. Paraphrasing Robert Bly, we disown them, and are placed in a bag, for the purpose of keeping the love of the parents. As this process repeats with teachers, spouses, bosses and others that represents the paternal/maternal roles in our lives, our energy dwindles and our identity grows incomplete. There are different bags we carry, our family bag contains material sensitive to our ancestry and siblings, each country has one conforming to accepted national canons, as does each racial group, and so on... as our cultural circle changes, so do the contents in the bag. [1]

Jung, Bly and others, suggest that if these traits not owned and accepted, eventually re-emerge through the unconscious, demanding their recognition and resolution; they are components of a single non-dual process we have to learn to resolve internally. In other words, what takes place and manifests in our life, particularly what we don't like, may have a 'prodigal son' attribute to it, knocking at our door asking for acceptance.

Life has its ways to bring our attention where it is needed. There was a time in my life, in which I felt arrogant and self centered. It was fascinating, and painful, to go from one humbling event to another, until I heard the message: be still and listen. It became clear I needed to become sensitive to the lives and experiences of others, to look beyond my self-righteousness and appreciate the life I have been given.
Furthermore, I understood that recognizing and acknowledging the relationship between my thoughts, and events in my life, was needed to heal.
The idea of seeing illness as a portal, is not uncommon amongst holistic healers, sickness can provide the conditions to get insights into the meaning of its presence in our life, be it through a dream, a vision, an intuitive feeling, etcetera.

I believe individuals are to society what cells are to tissue, if we could explore the contents of our minds as contributions to what we experience, both, at the personal and the societal level, we could possibly realize they may not be disconnected.
Audio for maps (recommended)             
Resonance, 432 Hz 9 min.
The maps represent arenas in my mind, identified thematically and updated as new insights arise. The first two refer to my beliefs about the nature of reality, next comes my vision of Saint Francis of Assisi and the missions, followed by two more views about Fray Junipero Serra and the painful experience of members of Native American descendant
Next come several iterations of the "shadow" mentioned above, as I understand it, and supported by the history I have been taught.

[1] *Bly, Robert. A little book on the human shadow, 1988. Harper San Francisco. P.17
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