The idea of a shipwreck resonates with our terror of oblivion, of the failure of vessels of containment in the encounter with the seas of life and the frenzy of winds and waves.
If the ship with sails unfurled proudly skimming the sea evokes hope, deliverance, salvation, bounty, the heroic and adventuresome spirit of humankind, then shipwreck is their overthrow; a symbol of inundation, misfortune, the anger of the gods, terrifying descent into the churning waters of chaos or the unfathomable abyss of death.
Shipwreck represents collisions with fate, unseen dangers, blinding fogs.
“Ship” has long been an analogy for a whole that depends on the cooperation of the parts and is governed by a “captain’.
Classical philosophy depicted the human body as a ship in which the reasoning soul was the helmsman.
As the feminine figureheads on ships attest, ship catches the projection of containing and protective womb. Shipwreck is felt, and feared, as maternal defeat or betrayal, as womb becomes tomb, as coffin that carries the shipwrecked soul down and down…