About Face II

“I want to grow old without facelifts.

They take the life out of a face, the character.

I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made.”

Marilyn Monroe

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And the discussion continues…

and the exploration of the subject of aging.

Long before 60, I have been interested in the subject of Beauty.

Real beauty;  that which is enduring, authentic, and more than skin deep.

This is a large subject–perhaps requiring more posts or…?

 

Recent study turned to “The Force of Character and the Lasting Life” by James Hillman.

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Parenthetically, and historically, I will say Hillman’s work has not spoken easily to me.  And I do find it interesting that it is from a masculine perspective I find some grains of truth in exploring the archetype of aging, as it applies to conscious femininity.

However, his “Interlude on the Force of Face” has my attention.

I have excerpted some of his research below.

Roland Barthes makes a useful distinction between the chronos of biology and the chronos of passion, such as we see in Rembrandt’s late self-portraits where the ravages depicted are due less to the passing of time than to the effects of passion.

It is these effects, that Monroe hoped to have the courage to face.

She spoke not of the biological face, but the face “I’ve made”.

 

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…the human face as an archetypal phenomenon bears one message: utter vulnerability.

Therefore, the face will be disguised, covered, decorated, surgically altered–

or on the contrary, deprived of all possibilities of hiding, as in the abject condition of prisoner, captive and victim.

This is why our faces are so impossibly difficult to accept:  We are staring into “vulnerability itself”.

Perhaps this is why, vanity and introversion aside,

I have been loathe,  and remain loathe to be photographed!

I cannot bear the primordial image embracing my whole character, as it remains incomplete, and is still taking shape!

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“From mirror after mirror

No vanity’s displayed

I’m looking for the face I had

Before the world was made.”

Yeats

Hillman wrote that Jung did more than transcend Freud when he relativized the power of the analyst by opening analysis to the face.  Face-to-face.

And, in Marion Woodman’s evolution of the Body Soul, she found phenomenal evidence for the power of the face, and the witnessing Other.

“A face, in the end, is the place where the coherent mind becomes an image.”

James Elkins

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…I intend to find the facial courage I will need, to see what the mirror can only fleeting give, on this journey of individuation…

Vox Anima, SDM

Art Credit:   Diane Epstein Photography

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3 Responses to About Face II

  1. What a beautifully expressed exploration of real beauty, Susan! Keep it up. oxo dja

  2. susan says:

    Dorothy, thank you for your comment. Such a vast and difficult subject! I hoped it was clear enough. SDM

  3. susan says:

    Dear Readers, I invite your comments. Don’t be shy, SDM

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