Neurotic identity crises come when our defense mechanisms have been too successful and we're encapsulated in the fortress we have constructed with nothing to refresh us in our solitary confinement. So we play the old movies with their stale fears and their unrealistic hopes until we become bored enough to risk disarmament and engagement.
Consensual paranoia - the pathology of the normal person who is a member of a war-justifying society - forms the template from which all the images of the enemy are created. By studying the logic of paranoia, we can see why certain archetypes of the enemy must necessarily recur, no matter what the historical circumstances.
Each day befriend a single fear, and the miscellaneous terrors of being human will never join together to form such a morass of vague anxiety that it rules your life from the shadows of the unconscious. We learn to fly not by being fearless, but by the daily practice of courage.
I think we're always in the process of writing and rewriting the story of our lives, forming our experiences into a narrative that makes sense. Much of that work involves demythologizing family myths and cultural myths - getting free of what we have been told about ourselves.
Good men and good women have fire in the belly. We are fierce. Don't mess with us if you're looking for someone who will always be 'nice' to you. Nice gets you a C+ in life. We don't always smile, talk in a soft voice, or engage in indiscriminate hugs. In the loving struggle between the sexes we thrust and parry.
As a mode of perception that often becomes a style of life, paranoia weaves around the vulnerable self or group an air-tight metaphysic and world view. Paranoia is an antireligious mysticism based on the feeling or perception that the world in general, and others in particular, are against me or us. Reality is perceived as hostile. By contrast, the religious mystic experiences the ground of being as basically friendly to the deepest needs of the self. That which is unknown, strange, or beyond our comprehension is with and for rather than against us.
The spiritual journey is one that we must take "alone together," in the same way that a good marriage involves a dance between solitude and communion. The life of the spirit entails a continuous alternation between retreating into oneself and going out into the world: it's an inward-outward journey. There is a solitary part to it, but that solitude helps us to develop richer and more in-depth relationships with our friends, our children, our community, and the political world.