Psychoanalysis. Parts of the Brain applied on the Four Noble Truths and Rites of Passage

Essay, 2015

7 Pages



In the old times, they thought that the soul resided in the heart. Nowadays, scientists tell us that the soul is the unsubstantial thing which gives energy to the body. Shakespeare considered the divergent soul is reflected in the whole kingdom (Shakespeare 200). This belief can be traced to Celtic-Buddhism, where it was believed that during the reign of a righteous king, one could not travel easily in the forest because of the abundance of fruit and honey. On the contrary, when the king fails to come up to his duty, famine strikes (Monaghan 289).

If we look at the above background history of the soul concept, one could see that it gives the impression of interrelatedness between the soul and the universe. In Buddhism, the Yogi is a person who is the highest member in this belief, and is in complete unity with the Life Breath. In Shamanism, the dancer performs certain movements in order to be with total unity with the universe, and the dancing movements are expressions of physical and spiritual perfection. Buddhists, and Theosophists, considered the soul different from the spirit; the spirit is what connects the soul to the body (Blavatsky 200). And when the person is dead, the spirit goes to purgation; a place where the soul is redeemed by consuming the spirit. Celtic Buddhism, being almost the father of all other beliefs other than the three heavenly religions, can be taken particularly to see how a Yogi accomplishes total unity with the universe.

Buddhism is well-known about the four noble truths; suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of carving, and the end of suffering. When these principles are looked at from a different angle, they can be seen as a kind of principles; selfishness and chastity! In other words, they mean the heading towards the super ego, and the denial of the id. To substantiate the above argument, it can be added that a Yogi has to contemplate a lot, fast many days, eat roots of trees and endure unmeasurable amount of torture. Thus, these four noble truths mean the heading-as previously said- towards the angelic part of the human psyche, away from the devilish one. Buddhism, by its morals, confronts with Victor Turner's Theory about the developing character in society. To stop here for a while to explain Turner's Theory.

Turner was not alone in figuring out the main steps in a developing character's phases; Arnold Van Gennep preceded him and based his conclusions on observation and the conclusions of the Golden Bough. The Golden Bough notices that the human race has dealt with religion in three impressions: firstly as magic, then as faith and thirdly as science. (Frazer 210).Upon these conclusions, Gennep based his conclusions that a developing character goes through three main steps; separation, transition and reaggregation (reincorporation). Then came Victor Turner to emphasize his predecessor's outcomes, but devoted most of his time to observe a satge between the first and second steps, which he called "liminality"(Boltwood 3). The term is Latin and is derived from the word "limen" which in its turn means the threshold of conscious feeling. If one goes to Freud's outcomes, he will find that the human brain is divided into three parts; the id, the ego and super ego. Turner argued that in separation, the person or initiand is deprived of all his labels, clothes social class name and his identity is restored to the "naked humanity"( Boltwood 2). In other words, this is the id phase in human psyche. The second phase is transition and the ego is well-known of being the channel between the id and the super ego. In other words, it is the means by which our desires are communicated and fulfilled after being approved by the super ego. The last phase is reincorporation. To link Freud's conclusions with Turner's, one has to add that during the transitional phase, new principles are acquired. These principles form the basis for the new initiand to acquire a higher social level than he used to occupy before the intiation process. In other words, he has reconciled with his angelic part; the principles (the super ego).

Jung used myths in order to explain the "archetype" figure (Boeree 7). In other words, myths were invented in order to personify an absent figure, who used to fulfill certain feelings in our psyches, but we failed to find him, so the urge to fill the empty space was fulfilled through myths. Thus, myths were invented as an unconscious expression of the longing for a kind of feeling, should be fulfilled, but the specified person who should fulfill this feeling is absent. Due to the need to fulfill this kind of longing, myths were used as reserve source for the real feeling given by the absent archetype. Archetypes are many, so we will deal with the urges or drives, because the archetypes are supposed to satisfy the drives or longings. To take an example for the archetype, one whose mother had died during his early childhood –according to Jung – should associate himself with a general figure like Mary or the nation or the sea. In other words, he uses a kind of alternative figure to fill the empty space allocated for the mother. Since this is the case, it can be added that the archetype in all humans should be the same.

Therefore, all of us have archetypes in our unconscious part of the brain. Hence, one can go back to Freud, where he would find that the brain is divided into three parts; the id, the ego and the super ego. Every part has its urges; the id is desiring and needy, the ego is the channel and a communication tool between the id and the super ego. The super ego is the principles. The id is the devilish part, and there are all kinds of desires asking and pressing upon the super ego to be fulfilled. In other words, the id longs to have food from the mother or to fulfill sexual desires from a wife! The super ego aspires to the higher level of principles. This means that the super ego has to aspire to the angelic part of our brain known nowadays as the conscience. The word conscience, by dictionary definition, is "Motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions". Thus, calling the super ego by the name "angelic" is not farfetched. Moreover, in the word's definition, we notice the reference to ethical and moral principles. According to Freud, the ego develops out of the id and the super ego develops out of the ego. Therefore, faith or belief is in the ego, and depending on the ego, the super ego (principles; conscience) developed! If the ''angelic'' part would like to satisfy its own longing, it cannot, for example, associate with a sex-object, or a food provider! It would associate itself with the thing or substance which it was firstly estranged from! It is the Life Breath in Buddhism and Theosophy; God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (Blavatsky, Old Testament, New Testament and Quran).

Thus, our id longs for the mother in childhood, for the second half in manhood, the ego longs for normal needs such as food and is a channel through which the id's desires are conveyed to the super ego by creating an acceptable means by which drives and urges are fulfilled. The super ego aspires to the Spirit of the world, which this soul has been estranged from. A final word here is, Man's life is dedicated to reconcile with himself

Taking the final conclusion as a key for the argument, one can remind the honored reader that in Shamanism, music and drums in particular, in order to achieve unity with the universe. In this belief, it was thought that eating the roots of plants helps in initiation process. Fasting was thought to very helpful.(Endl 1). In Yeats's play The Countess Cathleen, the land is ''famine struck", and one of the characters mentions his sole food being the "dandelion'' and roots. Sure, Yeats was well aware of the Shamanic belief in Ireland before Christianity. The story of the play is as old as the Druid times. At the end of the play, the devils- who were gods but Christianity demised them- buy the Countess' soul. It is a symbolic reference to the collective soul of the Irish, but the literal meaning is the reunion with the Life Breath used to be unified with prior than Christianity.

To take this collectively or individually, it will be the same in the following discussion.

In Islamic culture, the prophet and his early followers were besieged for more than a year. They used to eat tree leaves, and experienced the utmost level of hunger, which can be regarded as a kind of compulsory fasting. All these historical incidents have their intended purpose before Christianity and not only Islam; as referred to earlier, helpful means for spiritual aspiration in the initiation process. Even today, Muslims use a special newly-cut bough of a desert plant known as Arak, to brush their teeth with before prayers. Moreover, Muslims fast for thirty days each year. All these rituals have been linked well with the old belief of them being helpful in initiation process. Now are they archetypes?

Sure they are! If this is the case, is the Holy Quran a kind of archetype too?

To answer such a question it is easy to say that all of us have minds, but only one version of this Book is available. Then, it is not an archetype! To substantiate the above argument with evidence, since the Holy Quran gives moral messages, mostly conveyed by stories, it should be the alternative source for fulfilling the urge or the longing for the Life Breath or God! And this longing could not be fulfilled without this Book, so a prophet was sent, and the Book was revealed to this prophet, by the real archetype; God. How come that Man, by himself, fulfill the need to reconcile with the Spirit his soul was cut off, without this Life Breath! Even the Holy Quran describes itself by the verse "And thus We (God) have revealed to you (the prophet) a spirit". The word "spirit" refers to the Holy Quran. Thus, in order to fulfill the need for the Life Breath, the Holy Quran was revealed to the prophet, to fulfill the longing of soul to its Creator. This Book has been given the aura of being able to compensate this longing by bearing traces of the Life Breath. Therefore, religion is an archetype.

The two bold conclusions can be merged together to say that in Buddhism, Yogis are travelers. They used to travel in order to find wisdom, which in itself is a kind of unity with the universe. In other words, Yogis travel to be with total unity with the universe, and learn wisdom from Nature, which is also a kind of means by which he unifies himself with the life Breath. Thus, we have established the first archetype; unity with the Life Breath.

Since it is an archetype, humans have to associate themselves with it, or search for a less convenient alternative in order to fulfill this innate urge for unity with it. Myths mention gods and how the normal men had to appease them by offering a specific kind of sacrifice. Archaeologists have found out that human beings were used as a kind of sacrifice, and used to be thrown in bugs; where it was believed that the other world inhabitants lived. Cauldrons and other kinds of metal object and even metal coins were sacrificed to the other world creatures.(Monaghan 308). Synge, in his play The Well of the Saints, mentions such an historical fact. These documentations are historical and literary since the book is in psychiatry. These case are of the alternative archetype. In Celtic myth, a poet could punish the king by his severe verbal satire (400). If one follows the archetype of this myth, he would find that it is found in the Bible; when it starts with the sentence, "in the beginning, it was the word'' In other words, the archetype is that there is One who could change the real world by word. From this belief, descended the belief in Celtic myth – which in its turn was used by the Irish dramatists – that romanticism can be turned into realism. Even Shakespeare, used the concept in his most popular tragedies; Macbeth and Hamlet. Hamlet performs the play and then applies it, and Macbeth becomes the King as the witches promised him to be. Since this is literature, it is good to say that some people, especially nowadays, try to personify with certain characters inside the fictitious works in order to fulfill the empty space allocated for the Life Breath. Literature is the invention of the id in order to fulfill the super ego's innate search for the Life Breath. This means that the least amount of feeling is achieved through the literary work or any kind of work of art. However, they are developing! Since stories have moral messages, the reader gets the moral message, and is initiated inadvertently. Therefore, literature is the modern alternative archetype of the Life Breath or Holy Books in particular.

Now most literary works are about traveling, or adventures in general, or a revisit of history or philosophical. Being so, literature readers are the modern Yogis: the reader is initiated, taught and journeyed to new places. Literature readers are searchers for themselves between the lines. In other words, they are enforcing their principles. And principles form the super ego. Thus, really a literature reader is more civilized than a normal person. But is he more civilized than a Holy Book reader? Absolutely not! Since Holy Books were revealed By the Life Breath, sure they will have a bigger doze of wisdom, morals and psychological effect. Moreover, some literary works have side effects; some of them diverge the reader's morals. By the way, literature is still good! Thus, Holy Books are archetypes and literature is the alternative archetype.

Being so, it is, then, better to use Holy Books in psychoanalysis instead of myths as Freud and Jung did.

The Holy Quran mentions three types of psyches. The first is "the first winners" the second is the "right-handed" and the third is the "left-handed". Moreover, it clarifies the types of any living or dead man's psyche. Muslims consider it the mirror of the soul. To take the three divisions and measure them upon secular scales, they are Freud's three divisions of the brain; the id, the ego and the super ego. Those who aspired towards the angelic part of their souls have won. Those who were moderate are the believers, but with no aspiration towards spiritual perfection. And the last party are the lustrous. Another division is between the believer and the atheist. The Holy Quran labels the believer to be "alive" and the atheist to be dead. Sometimes the latter is equaled with animals, and other times animals are glorified in comparison with him. The verses explain why this is the case by mentioning that the atheist's biological organs are disabled, especially the eyes and ears. It even clarifies that an atheist has a troubled psyche. Shakespeare, in his play Macbeth, explains the cause of psychological disturbance, and shared with the world his view of a troubled-psyche personality. He mentioned that Lady Macbeth walked in her sleep. In other words, unable to see or hear. O'Casey, on the other hand, showed that Nora had eyes that "show of insanity" and looking inwards and not outwards. Psychiatrists look their patients in the eye. If the pupil is opened, they know that the patient is not well, and he is still looking inwards. Thus, it is true that an atheist cannot see or hear. But why? It is the id which is working to find answers for everything, but in vain. Therefore, the eye looks as if looking to the inside, and the ear stops to be able to hear. The last findings are relative until this very moment. Oedipus, as a kind of self-punishment, blinds himself for not seeing the truth. Thus, it is an archetype that there is a kind of symbolic blindness!

Even more, when Oedipus was given physical sight and symbolically blind, he was punished. However, when the case is reversed, he is forgiven! Thus, it is symbolic sight that redeemed him! What is symbolic sight? It is the enough guidance to see things clearly; in other words, light! Light means guidance and guidance comes from God. Then, it is correct that an atheist is blind! Light is an archetype.

Jung, in his encounter with many people of different cultural backgrounds, observed that many people who experienced a death-bed encounter have seen long tunnel, with bright light at the end, religious figures and deceased relatives waiting for them(Boeree 7). Therefore, the soul returns to the Light of the world; Life breath; God. In this way, we have accomplished our mission.


Blavatsky, P. H. The Key to Theosophy. Washington: Theosophy Trust, 2006

Boeree, George. Personality Theories. Shippensburg: Shippensburg UP, 2006. ]6/4/2013

Boltwood, Scott. Ed. Renegotiating and Resisting Nationalism in 20th-Century Irish Drama. Great Britain: Collin & Cmith, 2009

Donaldson, Stewart. Applied Psychology London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2006

Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. New York: Facts on File. Inc., 2004

Pamukova, Gordana. Constructing the National Canon in Ireland: The Function of Folklore in the Plays The Countess Cathleen and The Land of Heart’s Desire by William Butler Yeats and Their Role in Strengthening National Identity. Canada: University of ST. Andrews, 2011.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. London: Faber and Faber, 2001

Green, Viviane. Emotional Development in Psychoanalysis, Attachment Theory and Neuroscience.USA: Routledge, 2003

Yeats, Butler, William. The Countess Cathleen. London: Thomas and Hudson, 2012


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Psychoanalysis. Parts of the Brain applied on the Four Noble Truths and Rites of Passage
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Youssef Al-Youssef (Author), 2015, Psychoanalysis. Parts of the Brain applied on the Four Noble Truths and Rites of Passage, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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