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Learning the Language of Soul: How Your Unconscious Tries to Get Your Attention Through Movies


Have you ever gone back to the theater to see the same movie multiple times? Is there a TV series that you’ve watched over and over? Your Soul speaks through your unconscious, grabbing onto images in movies, and TV shows to get your attention. Exploring those images is similar to that of exploring the meaning of images that show up in your dreams.   

 

In my mid-forties, I watched all 178 episodes of the original Charmed series produced by Aaron Spelling—six times. I cried at the end every time, but I didn’t know why. Today, as I linger in the memory of the last scene, my tears make sense.


The seventy-five-year-old version of Piper and her gray-haired husband Leo ascend the steps in the family home. Piper had played the role of matriarch in the trio of sisters, and Leo was an angel who gave up his transcendent powers to be in a relationship with a human. Through their eyes, you take in the wall of photos that track the years and two new generations since the three sisters became the Charmed Ones.


I suspect my tears reflected a semi-conscious awareness that something other than this TV show would be coming to an end—my marriage and the way I had been existing in the world.

 


The Coincidental Timing of the Invention of the Moving Picture & the Field of Psychology


Jung didn’t say much about film, but Research Professor of Media Analysis and Jungian analyst Luke Hockley saw his theories as useful in exploring the meaning of film from both an individual and collective perspective. I found it interesting that the moving picture was invented alongside the emergence of the field of psychology.


There were two concepts that helped me explore my film viewing experiences. The first was Jung’s notion that there was so much more communication going on between you and another person—or experience—than you consciously knew. It’s like four different conversations happening at the same time, the first conversation at the conscious level, where two people believe they know what they intend to communicate and how they intend to respond. Your unconscious is also receiving messages from the other person’s conscious and unconscious and vice versa. The ego interprets what it believes to be unconscious messages from the other person, but like an iceberg, most of the conversation is happening at an unconscious level—between the unconscious of both parties. Neither person is aware of what is going on at that level.


The second concept was Luke Hockley’s idea of the third image, which you can read more about in Jung & film II: The Return: Further Post-Jungian Takes on the Moving Image (2011). Think of the third image as meaning that is created in the space between you and the film screen, your TV, laptop, the radio, or the stage on which a performance is taking place. This meaning may have little to do with what you consciously think the story is about or what the director intends. This space is a playground where various contents from your unconscious react with the images, and an effect is produced—an insight, a new question, an emotion, or new meaning. In this psychological space, you may feel partially awake and partially in a dream world where your ego has loosened enough to receive something unexpected.


Could it be that the desire to see life mirrored on the movie screen reflected an unconscious need for making sense of modern life? Perhaps today, there is more urgency in being open to receiving insights to make sense of the chaos of today.


A perfect example is my experience of viewing the film Aquaman (2018). Enjoy a new episode of Dose of Depth Podcast (The Film Aquaman and The Book of Revelation), where I read a blog post (the Hidden Meaning of the film Aquaman) I wrote about how I found personal and collective insights by exploring my experience of viewing the film Aquaman soon after I read a Jungian interpretation of The Book of Revelation.






Learn How to Find Meaning in Your Film Experience


To be entertained by more stories about my experience of how I found meaning in film throughout my life or to learn more about how to explore your personal experience with film images, check out my book, Your Soul is Talking. Are You Listening?


You can listen to Chapter 23, What Movie Are You Living? on Dose of Depth podcast, or you can purchase a copy of your own it on Amazon or bookshop.org.


Be entertained & inspired!



Thanks for being a self-reflecting human!


Dr. Deborah

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