"I AM ME, I AM NOT THE OTHER, DO NOT GET ME CONFUSED". Dalí’s exclamation to his parents, who marked his life forever.

DALÍ, A CRAZY CREATIVE GENIUS THAT SHOWED US HOW NEED AND LACK DEFINE IDENTITY.

Deepening in the potentiality that the limitation of personality has.

The multiple faces of a genius hide two aspects of the same background reality. Crazy, paranoid, genius, exhibitionist, artist, merchant, mystic, eccentric … Who is Salvador Dalí? It was the question asked by his contemporaries who had the privilege of seeing him alive. Who was Salvador Dalí? It is the question we ask ourselves now; both questions arise from the same identity crisis that he suffered from and that he at the same time used and enjoyed. Not knowing who he was or what he wanted to be; he wanted to be someone else and himself at the same time! While trying to resolve that conflict of identity he became a young man who didn’t respect anything, a congenital anarchist. He created a personality that had to be notorious in order to exist. A personal story of a crazy genius that somehow reaches us all because he represents our crazy search for importance.
To affirm that limitation has great potentiality is an authentic contradiction (apparent) but to recognise this appearance we must open ourselves to the paradoxical. In fact, the paradox is the path to mysticism because it prepares us for the arrival of the mystery in our lives.
Thanks to the original trauma implanted by his parents, the wonder of what he was arose. Salvador was born after his brother died. They gave him the same name as his dead brother, and they treated him as if he were his resurrected brother, not as himself. He became the substitute for his dead brother. To be Salvador Dalí meant supposedly be the saviour of his parent’s anguish, but what happened was the implementation of a mechanism of rebellion against his parents, repeating to them a thousand times “I am not him” “I am not my brother” “I am not the other Salvador” “I am me”.
From this place of need for self-affirmation, all he wanted to consider himself absolutely different from all mortals, that’s why he did all kinds of extravagant things. Whatever was the common thing bored him tremendously. He needed to be exceptional, to leave behind the established, to be noticed at all costs. It is what happens to us all in different ways and measures; the inferiority or impotence complex becomes a superiority complex or need to be all powerful. The mystical delirium is part of the healing process of the wounded, cancelled, marginalised, compared, betrayed or rejected child inside of us.
In the case of Dalí, his intellectual and artistic adventure led him to explore many options of the same, impressionism, cubism, futurism, surrealism; in art he looked for himself trying to see himself in that dual way. The arid and desolate landscape of his inner vision was transformed into a mental space where his critical paranoiac method was born, a method that allows the eye to see two images of the same form; Dalí addresses the theme of “Double” as a method of searching for an identity of his own. He felt incapable of something. He defined it as an impotence complex that depended on the need to have to be someone else or simply to become himself.
I wanted use Dalí’s life as a basis to broaden and deepen what in countless circumstances and moments of the Conscious School® classes I have said in so many possible ways: “I was born like everyone else, being myself, but I forgot who I was, it was imposed on to be someone else without my realising it. They convinced me that by becoming someone in life I could triumph, without knowing that in that attempt I was falling into the great trap of essential suffering that is supported by three points: 1- The desire to be who I can not be 2- The denial of being what I already am according to nature and my existential right, and 3- The omission of the possibility of becoming more than human”.
Dalí, you and me is the same thing. Who was it really? What is left of him? It’s the same thing they’ll ask of me and you after we die. That is why I insist that if we can die before we die, when the time comes for us to die, we will not die. Allowing what we are not to die now. To die attempting to be another and to die to the limitation of believing that we can not be God. The suicide of the ambition of wanting to be, or to refuse to be what you can be, is the most effective conscious suicide that exists in order to be reborn into existence without having taken our lives, but to begin to live in peace. When the project is to become something from a place of lacking, then trauma and need occur in different ways, which is what happened to Dalí.
The divine Dalí, from a young age and due to pure desire for exhibitionism was capable of risking his life to attract the attention of all his companions. He travelled everywhere to make himself known at all costs in search of recognition. In his final year exam, Dalí declares the jury “not apt to evaluate him” and refuses to answer the questions. He is definitively excluded from the painting academy, but then becomes one of the richest young painters in the world. He affirms that all contemporary painting is a disaster, and that disaster is, precisely, the condition for a new spiritual rebirth. His natural mystical tendency connects him with angels of antimatter that he paints in his paintings, and declares: “Today all physicists also constantly talk about antimatter, to such an extent that today it seems that matter is escaping from the hands of scientists, and there is only energy left, and everything that we thought was material, is being spiritualised.
Maybe he was spiritualising his own idea of himself. When he was criticised as an impostor he said: Impostor or traitor of who or what …? I am much worse and much better than that. Above all, I am a traitor, but in addition to being a traitor, I am… What is it that I am?… Something that is much better than being a traitor, but I have forgotten what I am. Anyway, I’m a traitor, and that other thing that I’ve forgotten is better, I’ll remember eventually…
From that essential forgetfulness of himself arose the artistic and media genius that often becomes a showman. From his absolute rejection of the established order he consolidated such a tormented and phobic universe that he called it, the Dalinian universe, from where he built his image and placed both his works and himself in the centre.
He managed to deliver thousands of copies of his “Declaration of the independence of the imagination and of the rights of man to his own madness” by plane. This, more or less controlled and expressed recognised madness also leads him to transform the house of a fisherman into a Baroque palace, conceived as a work of art, a habitable sculpture that will develop like the cells of an organic body creating an intrauterine space that will be, until the end, the workshop where he dreams of another Renaissance, captained by he alone and no one else.
Inspired by Freud’s theories about the unconscious, the “critical paranoia”, in Dalí’s words, is a method of self-analysis that allows him to channel his hallucinations in a creative way, making the subliminal images hidden under the world of appearance to emerge. That was his work, his own open-air psycho-analysis, for the search of his own identity.
Unique, unrepeatable and magnificent Dalí that represents the crazy fool we carry inside looking for our own and authentic identity. If we take advantage of this space to internalise, we can ask ourselves why his vital objective was to be unique and exceptional. Why the subject of the double was so recurrent, so essential for him in his painting . The painting “The two effigies” represents two brothers, one mortal and the other immortal, and there was hidden the secret of his wound and his extravagance, of his limitation and his potentiality.
Dalí said it clearly: My parents did one thing that had tragic and glorious consequences for my life, and that is that they loved my dead brother a lot, and when I came to the world they gave me the same name as my dead brother; that is, Salvador. All my childhood and all my adolescence, I lived with the idea that I was part of my dead brother; that is to say, I had tied the corpse of that dead brother to my body and my soul, because my parents would not stop talking to me about that other Salvador, telling me that the same thing could not happen to me as the other Salvador… In short, every time they talked about me, they talked about the other. That is why, in order to separate myself from that other dead brother, I was forced to give myself genius, in the sense of affirming at every minute that I was not the other, that I was not dead; and thus, I was forced to commit and perpetrate all kinds of eccentric acts. It is that bizarre facet that people think they see in Dalí, but that, precisely, is the most tragic aspect of my existence, since every week I had to affirm, to convince myself, that I was not the other, that I was the living brother. When I was very small, I wanted to be a cook. Then, by the time I was six years old, I wanted to be Napoleon. Since then, my maximum ambition has only grown. And now, what I would like most is to be, nothing less than… Salvador Dalí.
They asked him: What is heaven? “Heaven: that is what my soul, captivated by the absolute, has been looking for throughout a lifetime, although to some it may have seemed confusing.”
 
Alberto José Varela
nosoy@albertojosevarela.com

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