The Three Faces of Eve
© Brother Greg 5/28/10
This is a story of a woman who found that she had three different persons in her, a bit like God in three persons. She had a mousy, nice self, Eve White; an exuberant irresponsible and sexy self, Eve Black; and later a more grounded, reasonable self, Jane. During the course of a couple of years of therapy, the three Eves integrated into one new self, Evelyn White. Apparently, Evelyn split into three persons as a child, when her mother forced her to touch her grandmother’s body at a wake. There may have been more that led toward the splitting, but this appeared to be the triggering event.
The story, for me, is mostly interesting in terms of what it says about what makes a person a person. What makes us feel we are the same person from moment to moment, day to day, year to year? Are we the same person in our dreams? Do we have secret selves that we suppress? What’s going on when a quiet person gets drunk and then acts in a loud and exuberant way? Is he/she the same person? Can a person radically change, so that he or she is not recognizable as a former person? Apparently this really happened with Eve, under the influence of extreme trauma. But can it happen otherwise? I think most psychological disorders exist on a continuum, and traces of many of them can be found in most of us.
It’s said that when people are hypnotized, they may do some things out of the ordinary, but they will not do things counter to their usual moral sensibilities. Is that because they are still the same people, even when in a trance?
The extremes of psychological change leave open for me the question of spiritual experience. We don’t know what it is. We don’t really know that much about what people experience. How can we, if we don’t really know what makes a person a person?
Corbett H. Thigpen, Hervey M. Cleckley. The Three Faces of Eve. Kingsport, TN: Kingsport Press. 1957