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#aging #shadow #suffering ✱ Robert A. Johnson

linger, thou art fair

In Christopher Marlowe’s play “The Tragedy of Dr. Faustus” (late sixteenth century) Faust was to pay for twenty-four years of restored youth by yielding his soul to the devil and led away into the flames of hell by a triumphant Mephisto in the last scene.

Unlike Marlowe, Goethe teaches that the unlived life can be caught up, restored, recovered, and experienced without doing basic damage to one’s inner life. Faust indeed causes a great deal of damage in his Mephistophelean journey, but he can remain safe spiritually if he refrains from attachment to any of his experiences.

… (they) go to a tavern where Faust, for the first time in his life, experiences what it is like to be an irresponsible youth; it is not fascinating, as he had imagined it might be. Mephistopheles replies that he promised Faust youth and vitality, not happiness. Part I of Faust is a chronicle of the hungering of a middle-aged man for the youth he missed; it ends in profound but conscious suffering.

Faust succeeds in seducing Gretchen; she is soon pregnant and in her childlike way utterly dependent on Faust. Mephistopheles takes Faust to the witches’ sabbath, where every form of sensual nonsense rages out of control. When Faust returns, he find that Gretchen, blinded by her misery and shame, has killed her newborn child and committed suicide.

Tat Tvam Asi

linked mentions for "linger, thou art fair":

  1. materialism - not a solution for the unlived youthfulness
    The American ideal of perpetual youthfulness dies very hard in us. We are so materialistic and so enamored of the power of will that we refuse to
  2. symbol, ceremony, art, and imagination
    The problems of meaninglessness and loneliness, the results of our unlived lives, can be made conscious. We can find an alternate interior
  3. tempering of one by the other
    … the only redemption for either of a pair of opposites is the tempering of one by the other. Faust is redeemed by the love of Gretchen;
  4. pain provisional mode of realisation
    The terrible truth that pain is a mode through which man may realise himself exercises a wonderful fascination over the world, it is rarely in the
  5. Perspective on Psychological Work
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