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Episode 30 - Escaping Literalism

By Lisa Marchiano, Deb Stewart, Joseph Lee

We consider literalism as a normal state in childhood; children’s literalism can be funny and charming. We grow first into the ability to understand metaphor and conceptualize symbols and levels of meaning. Literalism can then serve as a defense against uncertainty, as ego’s resistance to any threat to its power, and as a refusal to  confront unwelcome truths from the unconscious. A symbolic attitude, however, opens the inner world to adventure, mystery and creativity.   The dream: I had a wild animal skin. At first, I thought it was a zebra skin but then I realized it something more rare and dangerous, the skin of a white tiger. I knew it was wrong and illegal to have it but I loved it and it felt so warm, comfortable, and safe to be inside of it.  

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