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Symbolic Gestures

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Working within a depth psychology framework there are unconscious “Shadow” aspects of our psyche which remain hidden from our conscious ego, as we don’t comfortably identify with this emotion. For today’s example I will focus on Pride & Arrogance.

It is part of human nature to deny the fact that we sometimes feel a little too big for our boots. I want to share a recent example where I was afflicted by this human condition and how I ignored following my own understanding of the human mind and even worse I ignored a PsyQuation Alert that fired off in time for me to have avoided further trading losses.

One of Carl Jung’s leading disciples Marie-Louise von Franz writes in her 1980 classic Projection and re-collection in Jungian psychology, that after delivering a public lecture that goes well she recommends performing a symbolic gesture to counteract the unconscious feelings of pride and arrogance.

Her recommendation is quite simple, take out the trash if this is something you are not typically accustomed to doing. The reason is that our minds to a large degree operate in a symbolic world and performing a simple symbolic gesture that is an antidote to pride and arrogance can trick our minds into a more balanced framework.

I knew this very story having read her book, but on the 6th of September I fell into the trap. I gave a public lecture in Singapore focused specifically on Ego Inflation. After a few drinks at the pub following my talk, I committed a cardinal error. I traded. Clearly I was feeling a little filled with my own self-importance which is the perfect way to underestimate the beast called The Market. As you can see I started losing money in the chart below, with the green equity curve dropping. As I was suffering from overconfidence I kept adding trades to my losing position which eventually triggered a PsyQuation DCA (dollar cost averaging) Alert. At first I chose to ignore it, but after a little more pain I finally had the presence of mind to close the losing trade out.

The message I wish to leave you with is that I could have avoided the losing trade firstly by recognising my current psychological state of mind. However, there is a technique we can all use to counter balance one sided emotional states, which is to use simple symbolic gestures, like taking out the trash.

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