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  • Writer's pictureAlice

What Do I Mean When I Say You Are Gothic?

Discover all the potential you have inside and embark on a new personal journey


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When we hear the word "Gothic" the first thing that comes to mind is the image of someone dressed all in black and depressed.


To begin with, not all depressed people dress in black or feel like they are Goths, nor are all people who consider themselves Goths depressed or always dress in black. In fact, in the world of academic Gothic, there is a lot of colour.


Things get even more complicated, at least in Spanish, when we realise that the Germanic tribe known as "The Goths" was translated into Spanish as "los Godos" and not as "the Goths", causing great confusion even to this day, since in England the term "Gothic" was maintained both for the tribe and later, for a certain type of architecture, literary genre, clothing, and even music.


But leaving aside the complications, which already arise only with the translation of the term and/or concept that concerns us today, in this entry I want to focus on what the term "Gothic" can mean for you, beyond the aesthetics, which also has subgenres and evolves according to new users.


Under this approach, and since we are in December, today I invite you to discover all the potential that you have hidden away, and that you probably don't know how to take advantage of, either out of ignorance or misinformation about the term "Gothic".


Let's begin.


DEFINING OUR WORST ENEMY: UNCERTAINTY


Many people have had a deep and personal relationship with horror films all their lives, fear of the unknown, uncertainty, the uncanny, the unheimlich, described by Freud as that familiarity that becomes strange or makes us feel insecure. Even with that morbid fear that can take us a lifetime of investigation.


Remember that fear is a very important part of being human and yet the only thing we try to do is eliminate it because it causes uncertainty, that thing we don't usually get along with. The reason I think we don't get along well with uncertainty is because this term contains within itself the meaning of “transition.”


This is how Wikipedia defines uncertainty:


Uncertainty refers to epistemic situations involving imperfect or unknown information. It applies to predictions of future events, to physical measurements that are already made, or to the unknown. Uncertainty arises in partially observable or stochastic environments, as well as due to ignorance, indolence, or both. It arises in any number of fields, including insurance, philosophy, physics, statistics, economics, finance, medicine, psychology, sociology, engineering, metrology, meteorology, ecology, and information science.


Furthermore, uncertainty makes a clear appearance during transitions, moments in which it seems to camp at ease and in which it even seems to gloat, especially if we are in a hurry to go to the next level.


This occurs very clearly, for example, when we are waiting for confirmation if we have been selected for a job, when we are asked the question of when we are going to start billing in our new business, or when awaiting some test results, we despair.


All of these uncertainties can occur simultaneously, increasing our stress levels. It's like being in the departure lounge at an airport: you know where you're coming from and where you're going, but you don't know what the waiting time will be like.


Waiting is what can make us impatient and unbalanced, even more than the flight itself.


THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS THAT THE GOTHIC DEALS WITH


One of the ultimate goals of Jungian psychology is to help us embrace and reintegrate all the different parts of ourselves that were mutilated as we grew up.


Mid-life crisis is very real since there is an awareness of everything you have built up to then and you begin to evaluate where you want to go from that moment on. The 50s crisis can be an extension of the crisis when you turn 40, if you did not manage to overcome the latter.


In Jungian terms, that kind of internal explosion that we feel when everything we knew until then is dispelled translates into putting back together all the parts that we had mutilated to feel complete again. This is what is called "individuation" and it is a process that can take us the rest of our lives.


Being in constant change, individuation becomes a challenging exercise, especially for cognitively inflexible people, since they will surely not even consider this option as a tool to get out of their mental circuits. Therefore, two of the basic ingredients to successfully complete any process are, in my opinion and experience, patience and curiosity. Something you can develop if you stop to listen and savour the present.


One way to access all these parts of yourself is through the knowledge of Gothic literature, or productions with Gothic elements, since they are directly connected to our unconscious world.


As my analyst told me in our penultimate session:


"The collective unconscious offers us a very gothic mythology"


Professor and academic Dr. Nick Groom spoke very well about this in his plenary conference: "The Gothic, the Nation, and the Inklings". In it, he named many of the Gothic elements that connect directly with psychology, and that we can see, for example in the work of J. R. R. Tolkien.


Some of these elements are "dreams, visions, hallucinations, drugs, sleepwalking, madness, personality splits, mistaken identities, doubles, mental drunkenness, ghostly presences, forgetfulness, apparitions or monstruosity."



KNOW YOURSELF BETTER AND SUCCEED IN EVERYTHING YOU WANT BY ENTERING THE WORLD OF GOTHIC


Knowing yourself better is not only a personal obligation but it is also a sign of respect towards the people with whom we interact.


These wise words, which my sister, eleven years younger than me, told me one day not long ago, are the elixir of harmony and happiness. The problem is that we are not always willing to take the journey to the centre of our darkest side. One of the reasons is the fear caused by not knowing what we are going to find on the other side. Once again, the uncertainty we talked about before takes hold of us with force and paralyses us.


Surely the connection between the Gothic and your daily life for you does not go beyond entertainment, of disconnecting from your routine to forget your problems. Maybe for you, Gothic is just a fashion, or a type of architecture, at most you know that there is a type of Gothic music.


But Gothic is much more. Gothic is a tool through which you can get to know yourself better both on a personal and professional level since it takes us by the hand, in an entertainment format, to face fears that are lodged in our unconscious.


The only way to discover how Gothic you are is to delve deeper into its knowledge, and thus discover its practical application.


The fact that you are here is already an indicator that your intuition suspects what I am talking about.


And, whether we like it or not, Gothic is everywhere. Here I give you some examples:


  • If you are a researcher, you surely often encounter inexplicable loops or unexpected results that do not seem to have a logical explanation.


  • Unusual events or circumstances that arise from the technology itself are called “the ghost in the machine,” a term originally used to describe and criticise, which speaks of “the mind existing together and separate from the body,” just as Wikipedia tells us.


  • In the field of science, there is something called apoptosis or “cellular suicide”, a form of programmed death that our body uses daily to be balanced, something that can also occur in cellular microorganisms such as yeast.


  • Jungian psychology talks about the dark side of archetypes and “our shadow” to refer to those parts of ourselves that we like the least or that we consider negative, but also where the least developed qualities are found on a conscious level.


  • How our bodies can become hosts to parasites that come from nature and that have proliferated as a consequence of our vandalistic acts towards it, is what those academics refer to through the study of Ecogothic. This concept works, for example, with the zombie consequences that Lyme disease produces in the individual.

These are just a small sample of the places in which the Gothic is manifested beyond cinema, television, and reading.


The world, as we know it today, is a terrifying place due to the devastating actions of a few powerful individuals over the rest. But in this world in which we only want to buy our immortality or not think too much about the day when we will cease to exist, we become the culprits of our misfortunes. This automatically turns us into Gothic characters by definition.


Behind every unsatisfied desire lies the Machiavellian manipulation of a few who control the rest through new technological and scientific discoveries, creating that kind of zombie brain numbness.


Understanding these dynamics can give you advantages on a personal level since you will be working on the shadows of your unconscious. On a professional level, you will be able to see what patterns your psyche and that of the people around you follow. This can be converted into opportunities to get to know yourself better in your human relationships, to learn to set limits and make yourself respected, and to find your ideal clients.




DECIPHERING THE MESSAGES OF THE GOTHIC WORLD THROUGH ITS MONSTERS


The current situation that we are experiencing, together with some of the elements that I have mentioned previously, form the ideal breeding ground for the Gothic to sneak through all the cracks, producing all kinds of monsters in our minds, triggering stories in the case of those who are writers, but also showing ourselves under other forms of expression in other fields.


It is interesting to see here what the typical monsters of Gothic literature and horror productions tell us. Let's think for example of vampires, ghosts, witches, werewolves, and zombies, to name a few. But others are born from new fears and represent the historical times in which we are living.


Not only have we become our own threat and our worst nightmares, but we are strangers to ourselves.


We keep trying to find answers in the outside world for what is actually found within ourselves.


Thus, vampires, in very broad terms, can represent the fear of the unknown but also the fear of power, the fear of bleeding to death. In the best of cases, the vampire can grant us the power of immortality, which we can also see as a curse.


The zombies of our time may refer to a similar feeling of domination of our brain by dumbing down by social networks. Neuroscientists are constantly telling us about the consequences that toxic exposure to the need to be rewarded with likes, subscribers, and so on has on our mental health.


As for new monsters, I think we could talk about two types: the group of increasingly blurred monsters that take possession of our bodies in a very subtle and almost invisible way, and the monsters that continue to emerge as a consequence of new advances and that Mary Shelley's work, Frankenstein, already pioneered.


My statement "You are Gothic but you don't know it" contains the reflection that we are made of all those things that we want to eradicate, as happens with paralysing diseases. Some of these diseases are born from our own bodies, they are inscribed in our DNA. Therefore, we could affirm that we have never had total control over ourselves but we continue to obsess over perfection and immortality, and on that impossible journey, melancholy, sadness, and even depression begin to define us.


All of these have a direct impact on our mental stability and therefore on our relationships. In order to start something new, you first have to work on your inner monsters.


TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE TREASURE IN YOUR UNCONSCIOUS


Some studies show that people who frequent spaces such as the Gothic or Horror are people with more tools to overcome the setbacks and problems of everyday life. This is not surprising when experts explain to us that this exhibition helps us explore extreme situations from the safety of our sofa.


You may not necessarily like horror films, and therefore believe that there is nothing gothic about you. However, and as we have already seen in crime stories and documentaries that talk about the supernatural, even in stories that talk about the everyday and mundane, you can find the Gothic.


So, now that you know that there is more Gothic in you than you thought and that learning more about it can help you on your path of self-knowledge, you just have to ask yourself if you are curious enough and have enough need for change to know what hides behind the door.


Do you want to know yourself better through the Gothic-Jungian lens, and eat the monsters that prevent you from achieving your goals? Then the course I am preparing for January is for you.


If you have a curious mind, you are an entrepreneur, or a creator with a passion for the Gothic, and you want to get the most out of it both from the personal and collective unconscious, this course is for you.


For more information visit the following space:


https://www.gothicalice.com/know-yourself-better-through-the-gothic




FINAL THOUGHTS

  • The Gothic is much more than a clothing style.

  • Gothic literature is a direct door to your unconscious.

  • Uncertainty, so present in transitions, is a theme that Gothic productions work on very well.

  • The elements of Gothic literature can be great tools for self-knowledge.

  • There are many Gothic aspects in our daily lives, in addition to the fictional contexts.

  • Analysing what the monsters of Gothic literature mean in our daily lives can help you better understand your inner world and that of others.

  • Your unconscious is full of elements that Gothic literature works with and that can help you get to know yourself better.

  • The formal study of Gothic literature can expand your field of knowledge and your Critical Thinking.


Thanks for reading!


Until the next entry,


Alice


 

BIBLIOGRAPHY





Would you like to know more?


To understand and work on what is blocking you at this point in your journey, download my practical manual: "The Crisis of the hero/heroin".

Cover of the exercise book "The crisis of the hero/heroin"
Image created with Canva by the author












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