here's my full response

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Posted by Sadie from D006153.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 at 1:50AM :

In Reply to: Dear Sadie posted by Warrior Empress from ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 at 3:28PM :

I am just going to flesh out my thought processes better. I understand what you say about separation anxiety, esp. for the infant & later for the adolescent. However, I think that in human development, there is a realization that occurs in the infant & adolescent that this obsession with another being is unhealthy if it goes too far - say, so far as to cause the infant & adolescent to believe that life is impossible without the other being. Otherwise, the infant or adolescent will die - a form of suicide occurs. & in some sense, the reason underlying the infant's & adolescent's desire for unification with the other being is a sort of overly narcissistic form of self-preservation, even at the expense of the other being which is being obsessed over. The infant or adolescent wants the object of its desire, but not necessarily for the good/health of the object of its desire but for the good of that infant or adolescent. Does this make sense?

In the tale of Narcissus, the man obsesses over his looks, or his "self," so much that he ceases to grow & eventually dies. This is how too much self-preservation, which takes the form of selfishness or extreme narcissism, causes death within the person, & eventually throughout the physical part of the person, as well. Interaction with others - a social environment - allows humans to grow in ways that solitude can not. Of course, every person has different social requirements, but for a human to live isolated is like a death, even from the first, because that human has no other humans with which to communicate or even to identify with as "human." That human becomes, in such a context, an isolated being, not able to identify with others & perhaps losing some of his/her humanness, as he/she loses communication skills for interaction with other humans.

I believe that when something traumatic occurs, it is common for humans (perhaps a learned response - we don't know if it is innate) to withdraw into a protective shell. At such moments, self-esteem decreases (because what one thinks of oneself, one's capabilities is altered from before) & other forms of self-preservation become manifest in that person's behavior. However, this is a response to an environment, a stress response, & it is perhaps something that human wasn't adapted to handle for a long period of time. Anyway, when a person is withdrawn in some sort of self-reflection/self-realization state of mind, the danger is that the person ceases to grow through social interactions because the healthy form of narcissism has grown into something more potent that feeds itself - especially if the person finds that he/she does not feel comfortable around other humans. I believe that too much introspection, too much narcissism, can lead one to a sort of spiritual death due to stagnation of ideas & feelings from an external source, which can eventually lead to physical death - thoughts of suicide, out of despair at an inner emptiness, are made real.

This is what I see in the lyrics on that album by Evanescence. Already, the talk of suicide is there - a sort of spiritual stagnation that has arisen because the author has decided that he/she can not live without the object of his/her obsession. This encompasses much more than longing - it encompasses rejection of other ways of life. There is only ONE way, & if it can't be realized, then there is only death. Isn't this a bit silly? In reality there are many ways of being. Certainly we learn this in love - a single person may have many relationships with very different people. That one person is not the right life partner for one is not a reason to give up & desire to die. Of course, the trauma an infant experiences is more severe if he/she has parents that do not love him/her. However, a lifetime of longing is not the same thing as a desire to die if a wish is not fulfilled.... & I perceive the author to be screaming out in desperation, because the thoughts have been made into song. The author is telling the world about something that can not be resolved by living, but must be resolved by death. & the fact that the author can not find worth in life outside of the object of his/her desire is, to me, a manifestation of low self-esteem.

-- Sadie
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