Freud famously said: "the finding of an object is in fact a re-finding of it". He considered that romantic feelings always have a history and an inner life of their own. Falling in love, at any time in life, is accompanied by unearthing of a love that has already been experienced before – the complex psychological dynamics surrounding our early relationships often re-emerges, finding different forms and outlets. The way in which we love, observe and experience love as children has a profound, albeit non obvious impact on how we may love and be loved by others. Certain attitudes and roles, events – real or imagined – inspire and guide us, as we unconsciously expect others to respond to us in particular ways. We may be drawn to re-experiencing certain patterns or go to extreme lengths to avoid others.
“The subject identifies himself with someone else, so that he is in doubt as to which his self is, or substitutes the extraneous self for his own. In other words, there is a doubling, dividing and interchanging of the self, and finally there is the constant recurrence of the same thing – the repetition of the same features or character-traits or vicissitudes, of the same crimes, or even the same names through several consecutive generations.”
You may have noticed a heart in a cage. Whom does or did the heart belong to?
What comes to your mind when you think of it? Could it symbolise a new life? Maybe love? Or, given its roughness, is it more associated with ripping the heart out? A loss or death, perhaps?
Think about the cage. Is it imprisonment or protection? Or something else still?
* * *
You have seen a scene where a man and a woman dance with a cage and a heart between them.
Which words could convey the woman’s experience and why?
Used for joy. Joyless. Estranged from joy. Overwhelmed by joy. Undisturbed by joy. Growing to enjoy. Joyful.
Your own? …………….
“Side by side with the exigencies of life, love is the great educator; and it is by the love of those nearest him that the incomplete human being is induced to respect the decrees of necessity and to spare himself the punishment that follows any infringement of them.”
“A man who doubts his own love may, or rather must, doubt every lesser thing.” Freud
In the second part of the experience, you chose to follow the journey of one of the men whom you had seen in previous scenes.
Is he a strong character? What is he like when he is on his own? Does the presence of the others affect him in any way?
How would you feel if you met him in real life?
What is his struggling with? What are his desires?
What fantasies and concerns dominate his journey?
Is he happy in the end? Why or why not?
Perhaps our dreams do come true, but in forms which make us no longer recognize them?
The elements you chose to follow during your VR journey point to an interest in knowing the past in order to understand the present. You are not afraid to look back. Many people lack this capacity or appreciation for the past and how it continues to exercise its influence on them, but to you the past is important, even when it is difficult.
* * *
The path you chose to follow during your VR journey may suggest that you are sensitive to one of the most challenging of human emotions: jealousy – that of others, as well as your own. You may know its true colours and be quick to realize when it is being played out in any human scenarios. You can remain sensitive to any shifts in triangular dynamics e.g. when two people grow closer than the third party is with either of them.
The elements that captured your attention during your VR may suggest that you are sensitive to the suffering of others. Your empathy and compassion make you notice things which often pass unnoticed – in yourself and others. Under certain circumstances, other people’s suffering may matter more to you than your own joy.