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Jung and the Philosophy of Totality

Jung and the Philosophy of Totality

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2008 J. Glenn Friesen
Jung and Western Mysticism
 byDr. J. Glenn Friesen© 2008
Revised notes from lectures given at the C.G. Jung Institute, Küsnacht (June 21-22, 2005)
Introduction to the Lecture Series “Jung and Western Mysticism”
When Jung was in India in 1938, he decided not to meet the Indian holy man Ramana Maharshi,although he did meet certain Indian philosophers (see my 2004 lectures “Jung, Ramana Maharshiand Eastern Meditation”
). And it was while he was in India that Jung had his great dream of theGrail, which turned him back towards an interest in alchemy and Western mysticism.And so it is Western mysticism that is the subject of these lectures. From time to time, we willlook at what he says in relation to Eastern mysticism for comparison.There are three interrelated lectures in this series “Jung and Western Mysticism.” The firstlecture will deal with the issue of individuation in relation to the philosophy of totality. Thesecond lecture will compare Jung and Franz von Baader. Baader is responsible for much of thisinterest in totality, as well as for keeping alive the traditions of Jakob Boehme and Meister Eckhart. And the third lecture will deal with Jung in relation to both Boehme and Eckhart. Wewill also look at whether or not Jung was a Gnostic, particularly in relation to his book 
SevenSermons to the Dead 
. And in making these comparisons we will also be able to look at howtheosophy differs from Gnosticism.The lectures will move back and forth among certain issues, very much like Jung’s own methodof circumambulation. I hope you will regard it as a process of discovery with me.
J. Glenn Friesen, “Jung, Ramana Maharshi and Eastern Meditation,” online at[http://www.members.shaw.ca/cgjung/JungRamana.html].
2008 J. Glenn Friesen
Lecture 1C.G. Jung and the Philosophy of Totality:Individualism or Individuation?
 Does Joseph Campbell’s advice to “Follow your bliss” adequately reflect Jung’s idea of individuation? Or is that an individualistic viewpoint? This lecture will examine Jung's idea of individuation in relation to his view of the selfhood as a “totality” that embraces both theconscious and the unconscious. Differing views of totality will result depending on whether thistotality is interpreted as wholly temporal or whether it is regarded as transcending time.Comparisons will be made to how the idea was used in the Philosophy of Totality[Ganzheitsphilosophie], as represented by various writers in the 1920’s, a time when Jung wasformulating his key ideas. These writers reacted against reductivist and atomistic viewpoints,and put forward organic and holistic viewpoints.
TotalityA. Self and Totality
Let’s look at some of the ways that Jung uses the idea of totality(1) Jung says that the selfhood is a totality of the conscious and the unconscious:I have chosen the term “self” to designate the totality of man, the sum total of hisconscious and unconscious contents. I have chosen this term in accordance withEastern philosophy, which for centuries has occupied itself with the problems thatarise when even the gods cease to incarnate. The philosophy of the Upanishadscorresponds to a psychology that long ago recognized the relativity of the gods(
“Psychology and Religion: The History and Psychology of a Natural Symbol,”
Collected Works,
Vol. 11, p. 82, para. 140.).
 (2) The Totality of the selfhood is an indefinable whole:When we now speak of man we mean the indefinable whole of him, an ineffabletotality, which can only be formulated symbolically (
.)[Wenn wir nun vom Menschen sprechen, so meinen wir dessen unbegrenzbaresGanzes, eine unformulierbare Totalität, die nur symbolisch ausgedrückt werdenkann]There will always exist an indeterminate and indeterminable amount of unconscious material which belongs to the totality of the self.
(“Two Essays onAnalytical Psychology,”
CW 7 
, par. 274).
2008 J. Glenn Friesen
3(3) Totality can only be symbolically understoodSymbol is something viewed as a totality, or as the vision of things brought into awhole. Our intellect cannot master the symbol conceptually.
 I have defined this spontaneous image as a symbolical representation of the self, by which I mean not the ego but the totality composed of the conscious and theunconscious. (“Flying Saucers,”
11, para. 959).
(4) Totality is the
of individuation.If we conceive of the self as the essence of psychic wholeness, i.e., as the totalityof conscious and unconscious, we do so because it does
in fact 
representsomething like a goal of psychic development…) (
“Holy Men of India,”
CW 11,
para. 959).
 (5) The experience of individuation is becoming this unbreakable whole or totalityConsciousness and the unconscious do not make a whole when either issuppressed or damaged by the other. If they must contend, let it be a fair fightwith equal right on both sides. Both are aspects of life. Let consciousness defendits reason and its self-protective ways, and let the chaotic life of the unconscious be given a fair chance to have its own way, as much of it as we can stand. Thismeans at once open conflict and open collaboration. Yet, paradoxically, this is presumably what human life should be. It is the old play of hammer and anvil:the suffering between them will in the end be shaped into an unbreakable whole,the individual. This experience is what is called, in the later sections of this book,the process of individuation.
 [Das Bewusstsein soll eine Vernunft und seinen Selbstschutz rechtfertigen dürfen,und das chaotische Leben des Unbewussten soll auf seine Weise, in einem unserträglichen Masse, seine Chancen haben. Dies bedeutet gleichzeitig offener Konflikt und offene Zusammenarbeit. Doch paradoxerweise Ist dies vermutlichder Sinn des menschlichen Lebens. Es ist das alte Spiel von Hammer undAmboss: Das geduldig zwischen ihnen liegende Eisen wird am Ende zu einer unzerbrechlichen Ganzheit, zum Individuum, geformt. Dieser psychische Ablauf wird 'Individuationsprozess' genannt"]As Jolande Jacobi says, this striving of the selfhood is inherent to it. It has an “a prioriteleological character:
C.G. Jung,
The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1932 by C.G. Jung,
ed. Sonu Shamdasani (Princeton, 1996), 61 [‘
C .G. Jung,
The Integration of Personality
, tr. Stanley M. Dell (New York: Farrar & Rinehart,1939), 13. This lecture was later revised and enlarged as “A Study in the Process of Individuation,”
Symbolism (Princeton, 1959). See
Collected Works
, Vol. 11.

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