‘The slippery slope of staring into the abyss too long’

Dear readers,

Slowly, but steadily, I wanna continue sharing insights and stories about topics related to ‘strenght‘, ‘wholeness‘ and the ability to ‘thrive‘ ones lives in a higher gear.

My ‘mission statement’ for this website stays the same, and the fact I haven’t been writing much, doesn’t imply I haven’t been working on these themes in my daily life.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to juggle all the balls in the air so to speak.

The mission of SOL might sound abstract on first sight, but I think these are all known themes all of us struggle with on a daily base.

Most of the articles on this website are, therefore, intended to become more sophisticated at ‘the art of life’. Since it is my own interest to study and practice these things, could it be that the stories don’t resonate with you or simply don’t caught your attention. However, if it does interest you, keep on reading and share some of your feedback below 😉

So today, I would like to start of with a very interesting concept Nietzsche speaks about in his book ‘beyond good and evil’. In general, it is a concept which is paramount in every day life, either consciously or not. At least that’s my take on it.

He might have phrased it differently, but fundamentally he said something along the lines of; ‘don’t stare too long in the abyss, for the abyss will stare back’

The word ‘abyss’ is an interesting word to begin with. From what I have read and understand of philosophy, psychology and mythology, the ‘abyss’ is a commonly used word to describe a fundamental theme in everyday life.

It literally means ‘a bottomless pit’ or ‘a never ending dark place’. The deep and unknown ocean or scary night could also be used for the same literal meaning of staring into ‘nothingness’ and getting a touch of the ‘primordial chaos’ that lures within the human psyche.

Another way of describing the abyss is seeing it as the ‘false personality at play’, wherein the personality is mostly driven by fear and acts out these shadows of the human psyche.

Below a nice overview of the etymology of this word;

https://www.etymonline.com/word/abyss

Figuratively, it could be personified with Satanism or monsters that lure in the dark. Metaphorical or mythological, it could be symbolised as the ‘dark night of the soul‘, where one has to face its own shadows and ‘slay their dragons’ so to speak. It’s not without reason Joseph Campbell speaks about the phase of ‘the belly of the whale’ in the hero’s journey, wherein the hero undergoes a trans-formative period during ‘dark and reflective times’.

So why would staring into the abyss for too long or staying in that dark and trans formative place in one’s life could form some issues?

Or become a ‘slippery slope’ to find stability upon so to speak?

Better put, why does staring into the abyss lead to a path of action into disaster?

The most straightforward thing to say is that the abyss and all the monsters in the abyss act as a mirror for the human psyche to reflect upon. And by reflecting upon the abyss one can learn how to discern and integrate the abyss in a constructive and wholesome manner rather then letting it play out unconsciously.

However, it becomes a disaster, when ones stare starts ‘to look back’ and gets an active role to play in our lives.

This process can be a very troubling and uncomfortable experience. To realise that the cruelty and reptilian nature of human history is still a big and deeply embedded part in our consciousness, isn’t easy. What is even more troubling is that each one of us is capable of cruelty or criminality and that it is often an ignored and overlooked part in our daily lives when people are showing of the presentable strengths;

Your presentable strenght – The concept within a concept (keesbergsol.nl)

That ‘shadowwork‘ is mostly ignored and unconscious makes absolute sense. For most it is too troubling to acknowledge the validity and existence of their darker sides, in whatever way this darkness presents itself from the abyss. It is much easier to judge the criminals who act these parts out more in public so to say, rather then realising that we, in maybe similar upbringing and situations could have shown the same behaviour.

As far as quantum-physics is concerned, the observer and the observed are interrelated and connected. You could even say that in a certain system there exist some form of entanglement. Individual parts of that theoretical system could have interactions among each other that cannot be described by causality. Einstein also described such a phenomena as ‘spooky action at a distance’. The reflection could, therefore, become the persona.

So when one would do ‘shadow work’ with him or herself, he or she could get identified by the shadow that is at play. There is this saying that ‘one can become by what he or she fights or rejects‘, and by staring into the abyss, many monsters and parts of ourselves could be dis-covered and/or re-flected upon. I think most people feel uncomfortable realising that we all have the ability to act out parts of the human psyche which aren’t idealised or recognised as ‘normal’ in contemporary society.

Therefore, the ‘primordial chaos’ could be acted out unconsciously when people either don’t validate the existence of it or get too strongly identified by it by ‘staring too long at it’ so to speak.

To put it very bluntly, one could say that what we resist, will persist and this happens by ignoring it or by trying to control it. Which makes it a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t kinda thing’ hence the article how to swing ones sword;

You need to know how to swing your sword – The concept within a concept (keesbergsol.nl)

Another way of explaining this concept would be when Alan Watts said something along the lines of;

bread only tastes well with a pinch of salt in the dough’.

It’s hard to escape the dark pages of humanity, and, therefore, we should try to embrace the fact that each one of us have something inside of us which isn’t pretty or ideal. Without that pinch of salt we wouldn’t be human so to say..

Therefore, one can get a very strong message out of this concept. A message that nobody is perfect or ideal and that what makes us imperfect is actually that what makes us human. That salty part could help us in reflecting which side we wanna lean too so to say.

Being aware of the shadows, could therefore, empower us to consciously choose the brighter sides of our personalities and have a better impact on our direct environments.

Hopefully this was an interesting read, and if it was, leave some replies on the streets.

Cheers,

Kees

Author: Kees Berg

I'm a practitioner of holistic healing, a student of social-economical systems and like to move around throughout the day to write during the night. Currently living in the beautiful city Breda. Hit me up on the street or come by for a visit at my place if you dare or find some other way, or just telepathically, depends on the circumstances. It is pretty hectic these strays. Can enjoy adventurous travels or just some couch hanging obviously with a nice snack, refer to exchange list.