I alluded to this idea briefly in yesterday’s weird-ass woo post, but I’d like to expand it a bit.
The archetypal trickster is the id, the unreflective watcher, the primate within who acts and judges with an animal cunning so subtle that we don’t even notice his hands are on the steering wheel 99% of the time.
His exaggerated features reflect his primitive state. But because he is a being of pure sensation and impulse, with no self-awareness, he cannot be described as a conscious human being endowed with a soul. The homunculus is man-as-beast, a relic of humanity’s darker times.
The aesthetic representation of this primitive man is the clown.
A clown is an expression of soulless libido (“life force” or “drive to live”, in the original sense), a facsimile of unrestrained human instinct with the heart of a naughty child. A lot of people are triggered by the uncanny valley effect of an adult with the libido of a child, and with good reason…because that’s what a pedophile is.
(Sometime I’ll do a proper analysis of this book as a study of pedophilia in America. Spoiler: Most of the thematic material is related to butts, scat, and the anal stage of sexual development. I’ll be making the case that “Derry” is a play on “derriere”, and that the entire city is a giant butt with the canal being its poopchute.)
We see a common motif in art of the “jester as accuser”, which represents the unrelenting judgment of the internal watcher.
The clown’s modus operandi is to offer a simple choice.
Aristotle begins his Metaphysics by saying that all men desire gnosis and take pleasure in it (or perhaps kentnnis would be a better word here).
ALL men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things.
Thus, the mature form of a clown is a magician.
With all that in mind, let’s interpret the final scene in the first Harry Potter book, where Harry meets the trickster.
(The hypnotic compulsion refers to the dissociated mental state of a child abuse victim, and Hogwarts represents high society so that its catacombs can be translated as its dark underbelly. See also: vampires-as-mythical-sociopaths and their powers of hypnotic compulsion.) When Harry looks into the mirror this is an artistic representation of introspection. The sleight of hand here is that the trickster is Harry’s reflection, not Quirrell or Voldemort. The winking homunculus in the mirror teaches Harry that he had the eponymous Philosopher’s Stone (i.e. prisca sapientia) within him all along, waiting to be unleashed by—dare I produce such a pun?—an ultimately fruitless, perverted desire.
Finally, Dumbledore tells Harry that he (Harry) pulled the Stone from the mirror because he (Dumbledore) made an enchantment that only the person who wanted the Stone without wanting to use it for immortality would be able to find it.
Immortality is the final goal of the cortical Ego, the death drive, which opposes and suppresses the creative life drive of the libido.
Anyway, even if nothing else I’ve said here is correct, we can agree on one thing for certain—if you chance upon a mirror in a dream, the very last thing you want to see in it is a clown.