Sunday, 29 October 2017

On Storing Emotions

"An anthropologist friend of mine once tried to explain to a female elder of the Indian Api people about the idea the ‘inner child’ as a term we used for storing emotional experiences from our pas. On hearing the term ‘inner’ the woman looked puzzled. She started turning her head left and right, and looking behind her as is she expected to see someone standing there. After some confusion, it turned out that she could not conceive of ‘inner’ in relation to a person so she translated into ‘behind’…Tribal people express all their thoughts, feelings, wants, and desires quite openly for the rest of the tribe to see…the concept of using the inside of a person as a storage facility is a strange one. In the end, my friend explained it to her by using the image of a box to represent the person, and then having something inside the box that related to the past. She responded with horror and said it sounded ghostly. Someone with an ‘inner child’ must be possessed. As opposed to coming from the ’inside’, primitive people are more likely to see emotional influences such as these as ‘attaching’ to you. Once they are ’in’ they have taken you over. and you would need treatment from the tribe’s medicine person or even excluding from the tribe altogether." C.G. Browne

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