Excerpt About Animal Soul
Civilizing the Soul by Disowning Her Animal DimensionThe animal soul is originally run by drives and instinctual appetites, but it is not particularly destructive or grossly and intentionally selfish, but similar to animals in the wild. However, because it is disowned, it loses contact with the other elements of the soul, and becomes distorted and extreme in the intensity of its aggression, worse than actual animals. Society has learned to civilize the soul not by transforming her animal dimension or harmonizing it with her overall psychic economy, but by disowning, controlling, repressing, and splitting it off; this recognition is among Freud's most enduring contributions to our knowledge. Our animal qualities are seen as bad, and the superego functions to control the impulses of the libidinal soul, so that they do not penetrate to consciousness or get acted out. This separates the animal dimension of the soul from true learning and civilization, and also from being impacted by spiritual aspects of the soul. Thus in the course of inner work, when we first get in touch with the libidinal soul we find it in this split off and hence distorted and exaggerated animalistic form. We feel then justified to continue our rejection and revulsion; but when we observe them with nonjudgmental awareness, it may transform to its original animal form, with its grace and power.