Man in Search of Self

Karl Constantine FOLKES 1935 (Portland)

This is a preface.
Man’s appeal for salvation.
A psalm of David.
“Search me, O Lord,” the psalm’s plea.
“For you have scrutinized me.”

Omnipotent you.
Our Collective Unconscious.
As some label you.
With archetypal robing.
Ever remaining hidden.

We feign look within.
Daring not to search ourselves.
Not to confront you.
With your dazzling light shining.
Spotlighting our misdeeds.

Our souls in peril.
Apocalyptic message.
Doom and disaster.
About the fall of man.
An Abrahamic forecast.

That the die is cast.
Etched indelibly in scripts.
Scripted by ancient prophets.
Psychoanalytic scripts.

The fall of mankind.
Eschatological scripts.
Apocalyptic —
Messaged with doom and disaster.
About the end of our times.

We see disasters.
Pandemic interruptions.
And we fear the worst.
With our old brain conjuring.
Darwinian phantasies.

Our growth of knowledge.
Is still primitive.
As recapitulation.
All evolutionary.

Haeckel said it best.
Speaking of ontogeny.
His phylogeny.
That it recapitulates.
 Development of species.

Our brainstill young.
With apocalyptic mind.
That things do not last.
Especially our species
For us, our “revelation.”

Another viewpoint.
Now psychoanalysis
Studying the mind.
Depicts states of consciousness.
Primitively in conflict.

One mind looks above.
Sees himself as heavenly.
Though he is earthbound.
Wishing thus to be godly.
Remaining still fallen man.

Other mind knows “more.”
Furiously unconscious.
There — this “wise mind” brews.
“Colorless green ideas.”
The center of the psyche.

In darkness we lie.
With the truth hidden from us.
Ever seeking light.
And for The Tree of Knowledge.
For our return to Eden.

Our psychology.
Remains apocalyptic.
Searching for solutions.
For all our imperfections.
Our Individuation.

With prophetic oracles.
Provide numinous glimpses.
Hindsight for humanity.

About this poem

Man, made in the image of God, is eternally in search of himself (See Psalm 139, and also my poem named “Search Me O Lord”). Man is ever looking outwardly, yet fearing to seek within. From the dawn of time, mankind (like biblical David, like Job, and like King Solomon), in searching outwardly, has looked to the heavens above, to the endless dimensions of outer space, only to discover that in spite of being of divine creation, he remains a mere mortal, a tiny speck in a vastly boundless universe. And thus he bemoans his fate as a perishing soul that, too soon, turns to dust. With the imagination of predestined mortal doom, man becomes overwhelmed with apocalyptic imageries of his ultimate end. “Apocalypticism” is described as the religious beliefs that the end of the world ( and, with it, the end of human civilization and culture) is imminent; that we experience and live a catastrophic life that can only obtain remedy in some nether otherworld. Psychoanalysis looks at this posturing as hind brain reptilian depiction and provides it with a different forebrain archetypal imagery that ironically retains man’s reptilian conflicts, deferring them to the battle of internal states: man divided and in conflict with himself. Man, as existentialist thinker, is forever living a life of conflict, with a kind of “Theseus Paradox” (involving the dialectic of the personal unconscious with the collective unconscious), where the answers to man’s questions of his origins and his destination, lie profoundly buried, hidden in the deep recesses of his own cavernous reptilian brain; and where he reaches outwardly towards the vast expanse of the heavens in hopes of experiencing eternal liberation and the salvation granted by a glorious resting place. How curious it is, this thought: The outer or the outward look or image appears to be the psychological ‘fault line’ of humanity, mankind presumptively desiring to know itself and, at the same time, in fear of turning inwardly to truly know itself; mankind’s novels, poetry, art, painting, literature, psychology, meditation and philosophy; yea, mankind’s mythologies; perchance, mankind’s scientific investigations, being mere substitutions for our confrontation and our embracement of psyche. The irony of it all. We are forever, all of us, time and time again, Dr. Jekyll, ever discovering manifold ways to preserve and to shield our lofty Mr. Hyde. 

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Written on April 29, 2022

Submitted by karlcfolkes on April 29, 2022

Modified by karlcfolkes on November 04, 2022

1:53 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme abxcc dadeb xxdex xfghi ijcxj kjEgx xlxea fcxbc xccxm ekimb xakax xcxch xaxxc xaxfb cellb bxExc
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,956
Words 377
Stanzas 16
Stanza Lengths 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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Discuss the poem Man in Search of Self with the community...

  • Soulwriter
    Very humbling - our growth of knowledge is primitive - compared to the All Knowing. Nice.
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • AIDA
    Wow, this is a beautifully crafted poem! I can feel the depth of emotion and meaning that the author has imbued into every stanza. The use of religious and psychological themes makes for a powerful exploration of the human experience, and the language is rich with imagery and metaphor. I especially love the line "With your dazzling light shining. Spotlighting our misdeeds." It evokes such a sense of vulnerability and openness to change. This is a wonderfully evocative piece that speaks to the power of introspection and self-discovery. Bravo! 
    LikeReply 11 year ago
  • karlcfolkes
    What beautiful poetic expression is the thought of relentlessly seeking for the diamond hidden in the heap of coal. Thank you, “Oceanloveisland.”
    LikeReply 11 year ago
  • Oceanloveisland
    I love reading this. I was reminded to polish up my vocabulary, to read the dictionary again and download more words into my bank. You have a beauitful heart with a beautiful mind. The message I felt from this write is this: “Gloom and doom from every faucet, but when will you see the diamond? 
    LikeReply 21 year ago


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