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Jung and Western Mysticism
by Dr. 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 Maharshi and Eastern Meditation”1). And it was while he was in India that Jung had his great dream of the Grail, 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 will look at what he says in relation to Eastern mysticism for comparison. There are three interrelated lectures in this series “Jung and Western Mysticism.” The first lecture will deal with the issue of individuation in relation to the philosophy of totality. The second lecture will compare Jung and Franz von Baader. Baader is responsible for much of this interest 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. We will also look at whether or not Jung was a Gnostic, particularly in relation to his book Seven Sermons to the Dead. And in making these comparisons we will also be able to look at how theosophy differs from Gnosticism. The lectures will move back and forth among certain issues, very much like Jung’s own method of 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 1 C.G. Jung and the Philosophy of Totality: Individualism or Individuation?
Introduction 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 the conscious and the unconscious. Differing views of totality will result depending on whether this totality 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 was formulating his key ideas. These writers reacted against reductivist and atomistic viewpoints, and put forward organic and holistic viewpoints. I. Totality
A. 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 his conscious and unconscious contents. I have chosen this term in accordance with Eastern philosophy, which for centuries has occupied itself with the problems that arise when even the gods cease to incarnate. The philosophy of the Upanishads corresponds 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 ineffable totality, which can only be formulated symbolically (Ibid.) [Wenn wir nun vom Menschen sprechen, so meinen wir dessen unbegrenzbares Ganzes, eine unformulierbare Totalität, die nur symbolisch ausgedrückt werden kann] There will always exist an indeterminate and indeterminable amount of unconscious material which belongs to the totality of the self. (“Two Essays on Analytical Psychology,” CW 7, par. 274).
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
3 (3) Totality can only be symbolically understood Symbol is something viewed as a totality, or as the vision of things brought into a whole. Our intellect cannot master the symbol conceptually.2 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 the unconscious. (“Flying Saucers,” CW 11, para. 959). (4) Totality is the goal of individuation. If we conceive of the self as the essence of psychic wholeness, i.e., as the totality of conscious and unconscious, we do so because it does in fact represent something 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 totality Consciousness and the unconscious do not make a whole when either is suppressed or damaged by the other. If they must contend, let it be a fair fight with equal right on both sides. Both are aspects of life. Let consciousness defend its 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. This means 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.3 [Das Bewusstsein soll eine Vernunft und seinen Selbstschutz rechtfertigen dürfen, und das chaotische Leben des Unbewussten soll auf seine Weise, in einem uns erträglichen Masse, seine Chancen haben. Dies bedeutet gleichzeitig offener Konflikt und offene Zusammenarbeit. Doch paradoxerweise Ist dies vermutlich der Sinn des menschlichen Lebens. Es ist das alte Spiel von Hammer und Amboss: 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 priori teleological 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 [‘Kundalini’] 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,” Mandala Symbolism (Princeton, 1959). See Collected Works, Vol. 11. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
4 The Self has an a priori teleological character, striving to realize an aim, even without the participation of consciousness4 Jung had a dream of totality. Ruth Bailey describes a dream that Jung had just before he died. In the dream he saw a huge round block of stone sitting on a high plateau. At the foot of the stone was engraved these words: “and this shall be a sign unto you of Wholeness [Ganzheit] and Oneness.” Jung told her, “Now I know the truth but there is still a small piece not filled in, and when I know that, I shall be dead.”5 So what does Jung mean by ‘totality?’ The answer that we give to that question will affect how we conduct Jungian analysis. Because the goal of individuation is totality. Let’s look at the philosophy of totality: B. The Philosophy of Totality The philosophy of Totality [Ganzheitsphilosophie] is a tradition that extends back to Meister Eckhart and Boehme, then through Franz von Baader. We will look at Baader in Lecture 2, and we will look at Boehme and Eckhart in Lecture 3. In the 1920’s, a revival of interest in Baader coincided with a revival of the philosophy of totality. See my article “Dooyeweerd, Spann and the Philosophy of Totality.”6 And the 1920’s were also when Jung was formulating most of his key ideas. So when Jung speaks of the self as a “totality” we need to examine the meaning of that word. Some other philosophers associated with the philosophy of totality in the early 20th century are Othmar Spann, Edmund Husserl, Ernst Cassirer, Nicolai Hartmann, Hans Driesch and Felix Krueger. Of course these philosophers did not agree on everything. But there are some prominent themes in the philosophy of totality: (1) Totality is more than a sum of parts. The Philosophy of Totality is opposed to an additive type of thinking. (2) Opposition to atomistic rationalism—breaking up reality into parts that are then assumed to mechanically interact with each other. Atomism is seeing our temporal reality as individualistic, made of atomistic building blocks, put together like a machine. (3) The idea of an organic relation of individuals to the whole. Here the different parts of reality are not seen as atomistic building blocks, but they are related like an organism, with a central head and peripheral members of the body. Another image that is used is that of a central root with peripheral branches. In Othmar Spann’s words
Jolande Jacobi: The Way of Individuation, tr. R.F.C. Hall (New York: Meridian, 1983, originally published 1965), 50. Miguel Serrano: C.G. Jung and Hermann Hesse: A Record of Two Friendships (New York, Schocken, 1966), 104, letter from Ruth Bailey to Serrano June 16/61. J. Glenn Friesen: “Dooyeweerd, Spann and the Philosophy of Totality,” Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005) 2-22, online at [http://www.members.shaw.ca/hermandooyeweerd/ Totality.html]. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
5 “Alles was ist, besteht als Glied eines Ganzen”7 [Everything that is, exists as a member of a whole or a totality] (4) This totality contains unity, inner-ness as well as meaningfulness. And Jung of course also emphasizes the ideas of unity, going within ourselves, and the meaningfulness of reality. (5) Totality is the center in relation to a periphery of its members. In particular, totality is the soul of man understood as a supratemporal heart in relation to its temporal diverse functions. We will now examine each of these ideas in more detail. 1. Sum and Totality As we shall see, the philosophy of totality generally holds that totality is more than a sum of its parts. I am sure that you are familiar with the "The whole is more than the sum of its parts." Jung does not always distinguish between totality and the additive sum. (1) Sometimes Jung speaks of adding the conscious and unconscious together to make totality. For instance, look at this quotation regarding the self as the totality of man, the sum total of his conscious and unconscious contents: It has become obvious that the “whole” must needs include, besides consciousness, the field of unconscious events, and must constitute a sum total embracing both. The ego, once the monarch of this totality, is dethroned. It remains merely the centre of consciousness.8 (2) Sometimes Jung sees Totality as the unconscious, and consciousness is only one part of Totality: The unconscious is an irrepresentable totality of all subliminal psychic factors, a “total vision” in potentia. It constitutes the total disposition from which consciousness singles out tiny fragments from time to time. (“Introduction to Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para. 897). (3) Sometimes Jung says that both the conscious and the unconscious are aspects of the Totality: Bewusstsein und Unbewusstes bilden zusammen eine Ganzheit. Wenn eines der beiden vom anderen unterdrückt oder beschädigt wird, wenn sie in Widerstreit
Othmar Spann: Kategorienlehre, 2nd ed. Ergänzungsbände zur Zammlung Herdflamme (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1939; first ed. Aug 1923), 11. C.G. Jung: “The Meaning of Individuation,” The Integration of the Personality, tr. Stanley M. Dell (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939), 13. Online at [http://www.scribd.com/doc/2547949/JungIndividuation]. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
6 stehen, soll es ein unparteiischer Kampf sein, der beiden Seiten dieselben Rechte einräumt, denn beides sind lebenswichtige Aspekte.9 (4) Elsewhere, Jung says that totality is not to be viewed as two parts: Wir müssen uns aber wohl an den Gedanken gewöhnen, dass das Bewusstsein kein Hier und das Unbewusste keine Dort ist. Die Psyche stellt vielmehr eine bewusst-unbewusste Ganzheit dar.10 By that quote, he would reject a view that totality is a sum of the conscious and the unconscious. (5) Jung distinguishes between a relative and an absolute totality. In 1937 he said: Since we do not know everything, practically every experience, fact, or object contains something unknown. Hence, if we speak of the totality of an experience, the word “totality” can refer only to the conscious part of it. As we cannot assume that our experience covers the totality of the object, it is clear that its absolute totality must necessarily contain the part that has not been experienced. The same holds true, as I have mentioned, of every experience and also of the psyche, whose absolute totality covers a greater area than consciousness. In other words, the psyche is no exception to the general rule that the universe can be established only so far as our psychic organism permits. (“Psychology and Religion,” CW 11, 52) [Da wir nicht alles wissen, enthält praktisch jede Erfahrung, jede Tatsache oder jedes Objekt etwas Unbekanntes. Wenn wir also von der Totalität einer Erfahrung sprechen, kann sich das Wort 'Totalität' nur auf den bewussten Teil der Erfahrung beziehen. Da wir nicht annehmen können, dass unsere Erfahrung die Totalität des Objekts umfasse, ist es klar, dass dessen absolute Totalität notwendigerweise den Teil enthalten muss, der nicht erfahren wurde. Dasselbe gilt von jeder Erfahrung und auch von der Psyche, deren absolute Totalität auf alle Fälle einen wesentlich grösseren Umfang hat als das Bewusstsein. Mit andern Worten, die Psyche macht keine Ausnahmen von der allgemeinen Regel, dass das Wesen des Universums nur insoweit festgestellt werden kam, als unser psychischer Organismus es erlaubt.] (6) And it is clear that this totality is more than just unconscious and conscious. For it includes the relation with nature. The symbol of the Self expresses the totality of the psyche in all its aspects, including the relationship between man and the whole of nature.11 The Integration of the Personality, tr. Stanley M. Dell (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939), 13. This is a German translation from the English text, found at [http://www.muellerscience.com/PSYCHOLOGIE/Allgemeine/Wissenschaft/CGJungs_Sicht_de r_Psychologie.htm]. C. G. Jung, “Von den Wurzeln des Bewusstseins,” Studien über den Archetypus (Zurich: Racher, 1954), 557; originally published 1946. C.G. Jung: Man and his Symbols (New York: Anchor Books, 1964), 240. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
11 10 9
7 2. Non-reductive The philosophy of totality opposed atomistic rationalism—the breaking up of reality into parts that are then assumed to mechanically interact with each other. Atomism is seeing our temporal reality as individualistic, made of atomistic building blocks, put together like a machine. Jung opposed a reductive view of the psyche. (1) Jung opposed Freud’s view of libido as merely sexual attraction. For Jung, libido is psychic energy in general, and the psyche is a totality. The psyche does not come to an end where some physiological assumption or other stops. In other words, in each individual case that we observe scientifically, we have to consider the manifestations of the psyche in their totality (CW, volume 9, para 113.) (2) For Jung, the psychic is not merely subjective. Jung says that the psyche has an “objective reality.” Self is not just a subjective image, but ‘objective psyche’, a being with reality of its own that directs us. Jung says that the Hindu purusha [or primal Person] is a symbol that expresses these impersonal forces that are other than ourselves: If you function in your self you are not yourself--that is what you feel. You have to do it as if you were a stranger; you will buy as if you did not buy, you will sell as if you did not sell. Or, as St. Paul expresses it, "But it is not I that lives, it is Christ that liveth in me," meaning that his life had become an objective life, not his own life but the life of a greater one, the purusha. (Kundalini, 40) and Wholeness is an objective factor that confronts the subject independently of him.12 (3) Jung was against any one-sidedness of consciousness, which directs itself to certain things and necessarily ignores others. opposes “one-sided over-development and over-valuation of a single psychic function.” This is a one-sidedness inherent in rational consciousness. Eventually the repressed images surface in other ways. Illumination on the contrary has a total character: The splitting up into single units, its one-sided and fragmentary character, is of the essence of consciousness. The reaction coming from the disposition always has a total character, as it reflects a nature which has not been divided up by any discriminating consciousness. Hence its overpowering effect. It is the unexpected, all-embracing, completely illuminating answer. (“Foreword to Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para. 900).
C. G. Jung, Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self, Bollingen Series XX. Collected Works, IX, Part II, trans. R. F. C. Hull, 2d ed. (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1968), 31; CW 9, para. 59. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
8 (4) Jung opposed the over-use of Science: Science is not indeed a perfect instrument, but it is a superb and invaluable tool that works harm only when it is taken as an end in itself (Commentary on “The Secret of the Golden Flower,” CW 13, par. 2). and The intellect does indeed do harm to the soul when it dares to possess itself of the heritage of the spirit. It is in no way fitted to do this, for spirit is something higher than intellect, since it embraces the latter and includes the feelings as well. (Commentary on “The Secret of the Golden Flower,” CW 13, par. 7). 3. Causation The philosophy of totality rejects mechanical causation in relation to humans. Jung rejected an atomistic view of causation when we are talking about our relation to totality. For Jung, the psyche is a totality of conscious and unconscious elements that seeks to realize itself. In Aristotle’s terminology, this goal-oriented causation is that of final causes. Liliane Frey-Rhone says that this stands in sharp contrast to Freud's early view of the psyche as primarily the effect of prior causes. (1) Jung’s opposition to the idea of mechanical causation resulted in his idea of synchronicity–an acausal orderedness beyond space and time. Indeed, apart from the idea of totality, we cannot understand what Jung means by ‘synchronicity.’ (2) The relation between soul and body is synchronistic. It is not based on mechanical causation. If that is so, then we must ask ourselves whether the relation of soul and body can be considered from this angle, that is to say whether the co-ordination of psychic and physical processes in a living organism can be understood as a synchronistic phenomenon rather than as a causal relation. (CW 8, par. 505). (3) Synchronicity refers to causeless events. We must regard them as creative acts, as the continuous creation of a pattern that exists from all eternity, repeats itself sporadically, and is not derivable from any known antecedents. Continuous creation is to be thought of not only as a series of successive acts of creation, but also as the eternal present of the one [it] creative act, in the sense that God "was always the Father and always generated the Son" (Origen, De principiis, I, 2,3), or that he is the "eternal Creator of minds" (Augustine, Confessions, XI,31, tr. F.J. Sheed, p. 232). God is [not?] contained in his own creation, "nor does he stand in need of his own works, as if he place in them where he might abide; but endures in his own eternity, where he abides and creates whatever pleases him, both in heaven and earth (Augustine, on Ps. 113:14 in Expositions on the Book of Psalms). What happens successively in time is simultaneous in the mind of God: “An immutable order binds mutable things into a pattern, and in this order things which are not simultaneous in time exist simultaneously outside time” (Prosper of Aquitaine, Sententiae ex Augustino delibatae, XLI [Migne, P.L., LI, col. 433]). "Temporal time arise from the created © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
9 rather than the created from time" (CCLXXX [Migne, col. 468]). "There was no time before time, but time was created together with the world" (Anon., De triplici habitaculo, VI [Migne, P.L., XL col. 995] (CW 8, 518 fn 17). Synchronicity does not refer to a sequence of events, but rather to their coincidence in the totality of the moment. Jung contrasts this with the western ideas of causality, which is a differentiated or one-sided awareness: Our unconscious has, fundamentally, a tendency toward wholeness, as I believe I have been able to prove. One would be quite justified in saying the same thing about the eastern psyche, but with this difference: that in the East it is consciousness that is characterized by an apperception of totality, while the West has developed differentiated and therefore necessarily one-sided attention or awareness. With it goes the western concept of causality, a principle of cognition irreconcilably opposed to the principle of synchronicity which forms the basis and the source of eastern “incomprehensibility,” and explains as well the “strangeness” of the unconscious with which we in the West are confronted. The understanding of synchronicity is the key which unlocks the door to the eastern apperception of totality that we find so mysterious … (“Foreword to Abegg: Ostasien Denkt Anders,” CW 18, para. 1485). (4) What happens successively in time is simultaneous in the mind of God. (5) This is also how Jung interprets the I Ching. 4. Organic view of reality. As already mentioned, one idea in the philosophy of totality is that of an organic relation of individuals to the whole. (1) The idea of growth is organic. See the many images of the tree in Jung’s Alchemical Studies Taken on average, the commonest associations to its meaning are growth, life, unfolding of form in a physical and spiritual sense, development, growth from below upwards and from above downwards, the maternal aspect (protection, shade, shelter, nourishing fruits, source of life, solidity, permanence, firmrootedness, but also being “rooted to the spot”), old age, personality, and finally death and rebirth. (“The Philosophical Tree,” Alchemical Studies CW 13, par. 350). Das Krankhafte kann nicht einfach wie ein Fremdkörper beseitigt werden, ohne dass man Gefahr läuft, zugleich etwas Wesentliches, das auch leben sollte, zu zerstören. Unsere Aufgabe besteht nicht drin, es zu vernichten, sondern wir sollten vielmehr das, was wachsen will, hegen und pflegen, bis es schliesslich seine Rolle in der Ganzheit der Seele spielen kann. (CW 16, para. 293). And Jung refers to the mystic John of Ruysbroeck’s image of the tree whose roots are above and its branches below: © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
10 And he must climb up into the tree of faith, which grows from above downwards, for its roots are in the Godhead. (Foreword to “Introduction to Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para. 890). Jung quotes the humanist Andrea Alciati (d. 1550, who) says It pleased the Physicists to see man as a tree standing upside down, for what in the one is the root, trunk, and leaves, in the other is the head and the rest of the body with the arms and feet. (“The Philosophical Tree,” Alchemical Studies, CW 13, para 412). And Jung cites the Bhagavad Gita There is a fig tree In ancient story, The giant Ashvattha, The everlasting, Rooted in heaven, Its branches earthward; Each of its leaves Is a song of the Vedas, And he who knows it Knows all the Vedas. Downward and upward Its branches bending Are fed by the gunas, The buds it puts forth Are the things of the senses, Roots it has also Reaching downward Into this world, The roots of man’s action. (“The Philosophical Tree,” Alchemical Studies, CW 13, para 412). Jung says that the unconscious thrusts upward like the stalks of an asparagus plant. The tree symbolizes “A living process, as well as a process of enlightenment…” (2) There is an organic unity. Richard Wilhelm, whom Jung knew, speaks of organic unity. Jung wrote an introduction to two of Richard Wilhelm’s translations from the Chinese: The Secret of the Golden Flower, and the I Ching. In his book, Licht aus dem Osten, Wilhelm specifically contrasts the European attitude of atomism and mechanical causation with the eastern view of an encompassing organic coherence. Der östliche Geist ist vorwiegend nach innen gewandt und daher mehr intensiv als expansiv. Für ihn ist der Mensch der wichtigste Gegenstand der Beschäftigung. Dadurch aber kommt er auf andere konstruktive Grundlagen. Europäisch ausgedrückt: statt von der Anschauung der Atome als letzter Einheiten, die durch mechanisch wirkende Kausalität bewirkt werden, geht er von der Anschauung der © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
11 Zellen aus, die von übergreifenden Gesetzen organisch Zusammenhänge aus zur Reaktion gebracht werden. Die eine Richtung beschäftigt sich mit der Bildung der Persönlichkeit. Während in Europa die Persönlichkeit häufig individualistisch geschieden wird von ihrer Umgebung und während andererseits von Herbart bis in die neueste Zeit immer wieder versucht wird, die einzelnen Elemente der Psyche als Atome nach Belieben umzuschichten und kausal zu beeinflussen, so geht der chinesische Bildungsgedanke hier andere Wege. Nicht äußere Ziele und Zwecke sind es, die als Antrieb für die Kraftentfaltung der Persönlichkeit dienen sollen, sondern die Ziele wachsen organisch aus dem eigenen Innern hervor. Ebenso ist auch nicht die individualistisch isolierte Persönlichkeit der Gegenst and der Bildungsarbeit, sondern die Persönlichkeit wird geschaut in ihrem Zusammenhang mit der Gesellschaft nach oben hin ebenso wie mit den noch ursprünglicheren organischen Einheiten, aus denen sie sich aufbaut wie der Körper aus Blut und Zellen. 13 And Wilhelm speaks of “überindividuelle, organische Kräfte.” (3) Jung speaks in terms of the organic relation of head and body: Since the unconscious is not just something that lies there, like a psychic caput mortuum [severed head, skull], but is something that coexists and experiences inner transformations which are inherently related to general events, introverted intuition, through its perception of inner processes, gives certain data which may possess supreme importance for the comprehension of general occurrences: it can even foresee new possibilities in more or less clear outline, as well as the event which later actually transpires. Its prophetic prevision is to be explained from its relation to the archetypes which represent the law-determined course of all experienceable things. (Psychological Types, CW 6, para. 660). In the Commentary on the Golden Flower (CW 13), Jung speaks of the head as the unity of consciousness (para 47). There is an illustration of a sage sunk in contemplation, with figures splitting off from this central head.14 (4) Organic image of the heart as the center Jung cites Ruysbroeck as saying that being turned inwards means that “a man is turned within, into his own heart.” (“Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para. 890.) And in Kundalini, Jung emphasizes that individuation starts in the heart cakra (Kundalini, 45). (5) There is an emphasis on Anthropos, or Adam Kadmon as original wholeness. He is the original or primordial man, an archetypal image of wholeness in alchemy, religion and Gnostic philosophy.
Richard Wilhelm: Licht aus dem Osten. Excerpts online at http://www.philoswebsite.de/index_g.htm?autoren/wilhelm_richard_g.htm~main2 See also The Visions of Zozimos, Alchemical Studies p. 72, CW 13, para. 95. Zozimos names his philosophers “sons of the Golden Head.” © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
12 There is in the unconscious an already existing wholeness, the "homo totus" of the Western and the Chên-yên (true man) of Chinese alchemy, the round primordial being who represents the greater man within, the Anthropos, who is akin to God. (“The Personification of the Opposites," CW 14, par. 152). This process is, in effect, the spontaneous realization of the whole man. The more he is merely 'I', the more he splits himself off from the collective man, of whom he is also a part, and may even find himself in opposition to him. But since everything living strives for wholeness, the inevitable one-sidedness of our conscious life is continually being corrected and compensated by the universal human being in us, whose goal is the ultimate integration of conscious and unconscious, or better, the assimilation of the ego to a wider personality.15 5. Center and periphery One of the ideas of the philosophy of totality is to relate the parts to Totality in the same way as the periphery is related to the center. (1) The center commands the periphery Action is reversed into non-action; everything peripheral is subordinated to the command of the center. (Commentary on “The Secret of the Golden Flower,” CW 13, para. 38). (2) If the center commands, then it also guides the individuation process. The self, as the centre that guides the individuation process, can be referred to as the realized self. The individuation process is also what Jung calls the “transcendent function of consciousness” since it unifies both the conscious and unconscious sides of our self. To Jung, the self is an archetype, indeed it is THE archetype. It is the archetype of order as manifested in the totality of the personality, and as symbolised by a circle, a square, or the famous quaternity. Sometimes, Jung uses other symbols: the child, the mandala, etc. (3) In his commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower (CW 13, para 40), Jung recounts the story of Edward Maitland who reflected on ideas and reached their source. Maitland said that he “resolved to retain my hold on my outer and circumferential consciousness, no matter how far towards my inner and central consciousness I might go.” para. 41 Jung comments that Maitland experienced the “inner Christ” of the apostle Paul, the rebirth of man on a plane transcending the material. par. 42 “This genuine experience contains all the essential symbols of our text. The experience itself, the vision of light, is an experience common to many mystics […] of supreme power and profound meaning.” Quotes Hildegard of Bingen. para. 77: “It is not I who live, it lives me.” The illusion of the supremacy of consciousness makes us say, “I live.” Once this illusion is shattered by a recognition of the unconscious, the unconscious will appear as something objective in which the ego is included.”
E.A. Bennet: What Jung Really Said (London: Macdonald, 1966), 292.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
13 para 77 He quotes St. Paul: “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” A pneumatic body that is put on like a garment. St. Paul: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” …a vast ladder stretching from the circumference towards the centre of a system, which was at once my own system, the solar system, the universal system, the three systems being at once diverse and identical. He says when he focused the convergent rays of consciousness into a unity. “a glory of unspeakable whiteness and brightness” “the unindividuate individuate, God as the Lord…” (4) And in letter to The Listener after his famous BBC interview, Jung said: Since I know of my collision with a superior will in my own psychical system, I know of God, and if I should venture the illegitimate hypostasis of my image, I would say, of a God beyond good and evil, just as much dwelling in myself as everywhere else: Deus est circulus cuius centrum est ubique, cuis circumferentia vero nusquam. [God is a circle whose center is everywhere, but whose circumference is nowhere] Yours, etc., Carl Gustav Jung16 The quotation is from a 12th century treatise, Liber XXIV Philosophorum. It is attributed to Hermes Trismegistus (an Egyptian sage supposedly before the time of Moses). The quotation is also cited by Giordano Bruno, Nicholas of Cusa, and by Pascal and as we shall see tomorrow, by Baader. (5) Mandala Symbolism For Jung, mandalas are an expression of the self. Mandalas symbolize the wholeness or totality of the personality: ... Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: ‘Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind's eternal re-creation’ (Faust, II). And that is the self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deceptions.17 Mandalas symbolize the central point to which everything is related: …a circular image of this kind compensates the disorder and confusion of the psychic state – namely, through the construction of a central point to which everything is related, or by a concentric arrangement of the disordered multiplicity and of contradictory and irreconcilable elements. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 714).
C.G. Jung: Letters, ed. G. Adler & A. Jaffe, (Princeton, 1953), 173-74.
C. G. Jung. Mandala Symbolism, tr. R. F. C. Hull, (Princeton University Press, NJ, 1973, trans. from "Über Mandalasymbolik," Gestaltungen des Unbewussten (Zurich, 1950), from the editorial preface, citing Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Included in CW 11. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
14 and [mandalas] ... are all based on the squaring of a circle. Their basic motif is the premonition of a centre of personality, a kind of central point within the psyche, to which everything is related, by which everything is arranged, and which is itself a source of energy. The energy of the central point is manifested in the almost irresistible compulsion and urge to become what one is, just as every organism is driven to assume the form that is characteristic of its nature, no matter what the circumstances. This centre is not felt or thought of as the ego but, if one may so express it, as the self. Although the centre is represented by an innermost point, it is surrounded by a periphery containing everything that belongs to the self -- the paired opposites that make up the total personality. This totality comprises consciousness first of all, then the personal unconscious, and finally an indefinitely large segment of the collective unconscious whose archetypes are common to all mankind. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 634). and The goal of contemplating the processes depicted in the mandala is that the yogi shall become inwardly aware of the deity. Through contemplation, he recognizes himself as God again, and thus returns from the illusion of individual existence into the universal totality of the divine state. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 633). and This centre is not felt or thought of as the ego, but, if one may so express it, as the self. Although the centre is represented by an innermost point, it is surrounded by a periphery containing everything that belongs to the self—the paired opposites that make up the total personality. This totality comprises consciousness first of all, then the personal unconscious, and finally an indefinitely large segment of the collective unconscious whose archetypes are common to all mankind. [some of these archetypes] are included in the personality: shadow, anima and animus. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 634). C. Self is more than ego For Jung, the ego is the centre of consciousness. It is identity. It is our ‘I’. But it is not the totality of the psyche. It is the self, not the ego, that is the center of the Totality: The self is not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the Ego is the centre of consciousness.18
C.G. Jung: Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works, Volume 12, par. 44; Two Essays on Analytical Psychology , Collected Works 7, par. 274. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
Jung refers to the selfhood as a center surrounded by its periphery: This centre is not felt or thought of as the ego but, if one may so express it, as the self. Although the centre is represented by an innermost point, it is surrounded by a periphery containing everything that belongs to the self–the paired opposites that make up the total personality. This totality comprises consciousness first of all, then the personal unconscious, and finally an indefinitely large segment of the collective unconscious whose archetyupes are common to all mankind. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 634). Our ‘psyche’ or self is more than our psychical functions. In fact, it is also more than our ego. The ego is a lesser reality than the Self. However one may define the self, it is always something other than the ego, and inasmuch as a higher insight of the ego leads over to the self, the self is a more comprehensive thing which includes the experience of the ego and therefore transcends it. (Foreword to “Introduction to Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para 885). Our Self embraces both consciousness and the unconscious: The self is not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the Ego is the centre of consciousness. (Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, par. 44.) The goal of humanity is to make a connection between our ego and Self, which is non-ego. That is the process of individuation. We should …accord the psyche the same validity as the empirical world, and to admit that the former has just as much “reality” as the latter. As I see it, the psyche is a world in which the ego is contained. Maybe there are fishes who believe that they contain the sea. (Commentary on “The Secret of the Golden Flower,” CW 13, para. 75). The self is our life's goal, for it is the completest expression of that fateful combination we call individuality. (“Two Essays on Analytical Psychology,” CW 7, par. 404). The Self is above [superordinate to] the ego: …the self is a quantity that is supraordinate to the conscious Ego. It embraces not only the conscious but also the unconscious psyche, and is therefore, so to speak, a personality, which we also are. [... ] There is little hope of our ever being able to reach even approximate consciousness of the self, since however much we may make conscious there will always exist an indeterminate and indeterminable amount of unconscious material which belongs to the totality of the self.19
C.G. Jung: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology CW 7, par. 274. In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung says that he had to give up the idea that the ego is superordinate to the self. (Editorial preface, Mandala Symbolism) In fact, the Self is superordinate to the ego. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
16 The Self is thus the “supreme psychic authority and subordinates the ego to it.”20 In individuation, we achieve a new centre of gravity of the total personality. “It is then no longer in the ego, which is merely the centre of consciousness, but in the hypothetical point between conscious and unconscious. This new centre might be called the self.” (Commentary on Golden Flower,” CW 13, para. 67). D. Self and God-Image (1) Jung says he took the idea of Self from Hindu Upanishads. I have chosen the term “self” to designate the totality of man, the sum total of his conscious and unconscious contents. I have chosen this term in accordance with Eastern philosophy, which for centuries has occupied itself with the problems that arise when even the gods cease to incarnate. The philosophy of the Upanishads corresponds to a psychology that long ago recognized the relativity of the gods. (”The History and Psychology of a Natural Symbol,” CW 11, para. 140). The Brahmana (or Brahmanical exegesis) of the Hundred Paths is the first great work of Vedic literature written in prose. Tentatively it may be placed in the tenth century B.C. As in all the texts of the same class, discussions on sacred formulas (mantras) or doctrinal points concerning sacrifice are to be found along with mythological ramblings and erudite or allegorical digressions. The Satapatha contains the oldest speculation on Brahman, or the Absolute Principle. Jung painted an image of the relation of the individual person to Satapatha Brahman or the Self: [Image online] (2) The Self is also an image of God. That is why the mandala is both an image of the Self and an image of God: [the mandala] is at the same time an image of God and is designated as such. This is not a matter chance, for Indian philosophy, which developed the idea of the self, Atman or Purusha, to the highest degree, makes no distinction in principle between the human essence and the divine. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 717). We experience ‘symbols of the self’ which cannot be distinguished from ‘God symbols’. I cannot prove that the self and God are identical, although in practice they appear so. Individuation is ultimately a religious process which requires a corresponding religious attitude = the ego-will submits to God's will. To avoid unnecessary misunderstandings, I say “self” instead of God.21 Living in the West, I would have to say Christ instead of self, in the Near East it would be Khidr, in the Far East atman or Tao or Buddha, in the Far West a hare or Mondamin, and in cabalism it would be Tifereth. (CW 10, par. 779). C.G. Jung: Seminar on Nietzsche's Zarathustra, ed. James L. Jarrett (Princeton, 1998), p. 41314.
C. G. Jung: Letters, v.2, p.265.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
17 Jolande Jacobi says that the most important task of individuation is to raise these God-images: It is one of the foremost tasks of the individuation process to raise the Godimages, that is their radiations and effects, to consciousness and thus establish a constant dynamic contact between the ego and the Self.22 (3) But Jung emphasizes that his statements about the Self refer only to the manifestation of the God-image and of the God-concept in the human psyche. In other words, they are statements of the image of god, but not of God Himself. But the God-image allows a correspondence or relationship with God: At all events, the soul must contain in itself the faculty of relationship to God, i.e., a correspondence, otherwise a connection could never come about. This correspondence is, in psychological terms, the archetype of the God-image. (Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, para 11). E. The Coincidence of Opposites Jung refers to a totality of inner opposites, and this he identifies this as the coincidentia oppositorium, the conjunction of opposites. (CW 9, par. 664). (1) Now the coincidentia oppositorium is an idea from the philosopher Nicholas of Cusa. But what does Jung mean by opposites? Does he mean logical contradictions? Both A and not A? I don’t think so. He does speak of good and evil, and we will talk about that tomorrow in his view of quaternity. And he speaks of combining different functions: the intuitive and the sensing, the feeling and the thinking. But are those really logical opposites? Or different functions that are correlative to each other, that evoke the other? I believe that some of the difficulties that we have surrounding the meaning of coincidence of opposites has to do with our understanding of Totality. If Totality is seen not additively, but wholistically, and as supratemporal, then Totality is that from which the temporal derives. All temporal functions, including our logical function that makes distinctions, are then derived from this supratemporal center. We cannot then continue to speak of the center in logical terms, or in any other temporal categories. It is like the white light that is refracted into the many different colours. So the central Totality is refracted into our many temporal functions, including our ways of functioning: intuitive, thinking, feeling, and so on. But these temporal functions are not the totality itself. Nor is the totality a sum of those functions. (2) Jung sometimes speaks of totality as the coincidence of opposites. This is related to his idea of energy, for he says that libido as energy demands two poles between which it moves. The concept of energy implies a polarity “since a current of energy necessarily presupposes two different states, or poles, without which there can be no current.” Every energic phenomenon consists of a pair of opposites. (Psychological Types, CW 6, para. 337).
Jolande Jacobi: The Way of Individuation, tr. R.F.C. Hall (New York: Meridian, 1983, originally published 1965), 53. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
18 (3) Jung sometimes refers to this coincidence of opposites as Brahman: Brahman coincides with the dynamic or creative principle which I have termed libido (Psychological Types, CW 6, para 336). Brahman therefore must signify the irrational union of the opposites - hence their final overcoming...These quotations show that Brahman is the reconciliation and dissolution of the opposites - hence standing beyond them as an irrational factor. (Psychological Types, CW 6, para 330). F. Totality is Supratemporal Many philosophers of Totality say that the center is outside of time, supratemporal. And that was certainly Jung’s view. (1) Feeling of Timelessness …the forms or patterns of the unconscious belong to no time in particular; seemingly eternal; convey a peculiar feeling of timelessness when consciously realized. (“Tibetan Book of Liberation,” CW 11, par. 782). Jung refers to timelessness as a quality inherent in the experience of the collective unconscious. (CW 11, para. 814-15). The application of the “yoga of self-liberation” is said to reintegrate all forgotten knowledge of the past with consciousness, to integrate archaic material in the unconscious. Every mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother and that every woman extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter. This participation and intermingling give rise to that peculiar uncertainty as regards time: a woman lives earlier as a mother, later as a daughter. The conscious experience of these ties produces the feeling that her life is spread out over generations--the first step towards the immediate experience and conviction of being outside time, which brings with it a feeling of immortality. (CW 9, I, par. 316). Our Self has the quality of eternity or relative timelessness: [symbolism of the mandala] eternity is a quality predicated by the unconscious, and not a hypostasis. …leaves us under some doubt whether the psychic phenomenon expressing itself in the mandala is under the laws of space and time. And this points to something so entirely different from the empirical ego that the gap between them is difficult to bridge; i.e., the other centre of personality lies on a different plane from the ego, since, unlike this, it has the quality of “eternity” or relative timelessness. (CW 12, par. 135). The image of the Self reaches beyond time and space: The self as an archetype represents a numinous wholeness, which can be expressed only by symbols (e.g., mandala, tree, etc.). As a collective image it reaches beyond the individual in time and space and is therefore not subjected to the corruptibility of the body; the realization of the self is nearly always connected with the feeling of timelessness, "eternity," or immortality. (Cf. the © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
19 personal and superpersonal atman.) We do not know what an archetype is (i.e., consists of), since the nature of the psyche is inaccessible to us, but we know that archetypes exist and work. (“The Symbolic Life: On Resurrection,” CW 18, para. 1567). (2) Direction from outside of time It is because the Self is outside of time that it can direct us by means of enantiodromia (the compensation that occurs when we repress a side of reality) or synchronicity, or the direction that we are given by our dreams or in telepathy. Jung refers to Swedenborg’s vision of the fire (CW 18, par. 706). And he refers to Dunne’s book on time, where in our dreams we are able to slip through time.23 Jung refers to Dunne’s premonitory dream of Krakatoa (CW 8, par. 852). And he also comments: The unconscious certainly has its “own time” inasmuch as past, present, and future are blended together in it. Dreams of the type experienced by J.W. Dunne, where he dreamed the night before what he ought logically to have dreamed the night after are not infrequent (CW 11, par. 815). G. Supraindividual Selfhood As God-Image, the Self is supratemporal and suprapersonal. Our ego is temporal and personal. We may diagram this as follows: [diagram online] It is confusing that Jung refers to our selfhood as ‘psyche.’ We normally think of psyche as individual. But Jung refers to a reality that is supra-individual, a return to a unity that is more than individual: (1) “The Self is the Pleroma [Fullness] from which we came and to which we return (Kundalini, 28). And Jung says, “it is not I who create myself, rather I happen to myself.” (“Transformation Symbolism in the Mass,” CW 11, para. 391). (2) The individuation process subordinates the many to the One: … the individuation process, clearly alluded to in this passage, subordinates the many to the One. But That One is God, And That Which Corresponds To Him In Us Is The Imago Dei, The God-Image. But The God Image, As We Saw From Jakob Boehme, Expresses Itself In The Mandala. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 626). Jung refers to a dream where all the animals are eaten by the one animal. He says that this dream describes and unconscious individuation process (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 624). This view of the supra individual seems to be that of being swallowed into one. But he says that then
See J.W. Dunne: An experiment with Time (London: Faber, 1927). It is interesting that Dunne’s book was inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. See Verlyn Flieger: A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to Faërie, (Kent State University Press, 1997). © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
20 comes the enantiodromia: the dragon changes into pneuma, which stands for divine quaternity. Thereupon follows the apocatastasis, the resurrection of the dead. Self-reflection gathers together the many into the one. Self-reflection or–what comes to the same thing–the urge to individuation gathers together what is scattered and multifarious, and exalts it to the original form of the One, the Primordial Man. In this way our existence as separate beings, our former ego nature, is abolished, the circle of consciousness is widened, and because the paradoxes have been made conscious the sources of conflict are dried up. This approximation to the self is a kind of repristination or apocatastasis, in so far as the self has an incorruptible or eternal character on account of its being pre-existent to consciousness. [ft.: and also on account of the fact that the unconscious is only conditionally bound by space and time. The comparative frequency of telepathic phenomena proves that space and time have only a relative validity for the psyche. Evidence for this is furnished by Rhine’s experiments. Cf. my Synchronicity. (“Transformation Symbolism in the Mass,” CW 11, para. 401). (3) Jung says that the unconscious part of the self “cannot be distinguished from that of another individual.” (CW 11, para. 277). Note that there is an ambiguity in Jung’s use of the term ‘individual’. Here he is referring to a temporal individual, ego. But elsewhere refers to the absolute totality as the Individuum. That idea of individuality seems foreign to us. That is because we are so caught up in nominalistic philosophy, without realizing it. Nominalism allows for no realities other than individual temporal realities. The idea of Totality is foreign to nominalism. It seems to me that Western culture is so completely nominalistic in its outlook that it can no longer understand what Jung is saying. (4) Jung says that suprapersonal events take place within our own psyche. We begin the development of the suprapersonal within the individual in order to kindle the light of the gods. The suprapersonal is the non-ego (Kundalini, 63). He speaks of the suprapersonal, the non-ego, the totality of the psyche through which alone we can attain the higher cakras in a cosmic or metaphysical sense (Kundalini, 68). As I discussed in last year’s lecture, “Jung, Ramana Maharshi and Eastern Meditation,” there is both a descent to the personal (and pre-personal or impersonal) and an ascent to the suprapersonal. The whole concept of Kundalini yoga has little use except to describe our own experiences with the unconscious, the experiences that have to do with the initiation of the suprapersonal processes (Kundalini, 70). From suksma [impersonal] aspect, we ascend when we go into the unconscious, because it frees us from everyday consciousness. In the state of ordinary consciousness we are actually down below, entangled, rooted in the earth under a spell of illusions, dependent in short, only a little more free than the higher animals. Our I is caught in this world, a spark of light, imprisoned in the world (Kundalini, 67).
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
21 II. Individuation
Jung relates the process of individuation to Totality. He calls the individuation process “my term for becoming whole” (Foreword to Zen Buddhism, CW 11, para. 906). A. Stages of Individuation So how are we to understand individuation in view of Jung’s idea of totality? To begin with the idea of individual things and persons within time results in a very different interpretation of individuation than if we follow Jung and begin with the idea of Totality. Individuation means becoming a single, homogeneous being, and, in so far as 'individuality' embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one's own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘come to selfhood’ or ‘self-realisation.’ (CW 7, para. 266). In particular, what does individuation mean if the self is supratemporal and supraindividual? Jacobi outlines a fourfold process o individuation.24 Others might see three or even five stages of individuation,25 but let us use her idea of a fourfold process: 1. Becoming conscious of the shadow. The shadow is our dark side, containing those things that we have repressed or ignored for one reason or another. It usually manifests to us in dreams as an archetypal figure who is dark and ominous. Just as the persona is that part of us that we want to present to the world, so the shadow contains those things that we want to hide from the world, and from ourselves. This dark side of ourselves must be confronted and accepted, at least in part, as the first step in the individuation process. Johnson (1991) emphasizes the need to acknowledge and accept our shadow in order to become a whole and complete person. 2. Becoming conscious of the anima or animus. Basically, the anima is the feminine soul or inner femininity of every man, and the animus is the inner masculinity of every women. The individuation process is, above everything else, a process of wholeness. This includes sexual completeness. Jung (1978) wrote that the anima and animus represent “functions which filter the contents of the collective unconscious through to the conscious mind” (p.20). Thus when the ego seeks to find the inner Self, it must look through the anima or animus, which colors its perception in many different ways. Edinger (1995) distinguishes four separate progressive states of maturation in the ego’s relation to the anima: (1) the infantile state, in which the ego is totally Jolande Jacobi: The Way of Individuation, tr. R.F.C. Hall (New York: Meridian, 1983, originally published 1965). The “usual” view among Jungians is that individuation has three stages (Whitmont, The Symbolic Quest: Basic Concepts of Analytical, 266; Edinger, Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche , 186; Alschuler, 283). In a 1942 lecture on alchemy, however, Jung described five stages of it (Jung, Collected Works 13, pp. 199-201.; von Franz, 919). The above has a sequence of four archetypes: Trickster (represented by the “nixie”), Shadow, Life, and Meaning. In the same essay, he mentions innumerable “archetypes of transformation.” This is the archetype of meaning, just as the anima is the archetype of life itself. C. G. Jung., Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious in Collected Works 9, par. 44-66 © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
22 unaware of the anima or animus, (2) the projected state, in which the anima or animus is projected outward into people of the opposite sex, (3) the possessed state, in which the ego is possessed or governed by the anima or animus, and (4) the conscious state, in which the ego becomes conscious of the anima or animus. 3. Becoming conscious of the archetypal spirit. This archetype, as I noted above, is often represented in fairy tales as the wise old man, especially for men. For women, it often takes the form of Magna Mater, the great earth mother. The individuation process is primarily one of uniting opposites. In the first step, we unite good and evil and try to see ourselves as capable of both. Eastern religions often symbolize this with the lotus, which has its roots below in the dirty mud and its flower in the clean air above. In the second, we see ourselves as containing both masculine and feminine characteristics. Now we must unite matter and spirit, form and formlessness, body and psyche. Jung (1990) called the archetypes of spirit and matter “manapersonalities” where mana means extraordinary power. In part, this step includes liberation of a man from his father, and of a women from her mother leading, in both cases, to true individuality. 4. Becoming conscious of the Self. Jung called this final step self-realization -- “We could therefore translate individuation as “coming to selfhood” or “self-realization”“ (Jung, 1977, p. 173). There must be the right relation between our temporal ego and our Self. If we identify with the Self, there is the danger of inflation. If we deny the self (which is supratemporal), then we fall into the danger of idolatry (of the temporal). As Jacobi says, Again and again man has experienced that from this centre he could sense God’s workings in his psyche at their most overwhelming, that “the voice of transcendence resounds through it.” And as often as he put another content in his centre in place of God–whether it were a beloved partner, money, nation, party, or any other “ism”–and made it a surrogate for God, he became its victim to his own destruction. (Jacobi, 54). The right relation between ego and Self is like a mystical union with God: They came to themselves they could accept themselves, they were able to become reconciled to themselves, and thus were reconciled to adverse circumstances and events. This is almost like what used to be expressed by saying: He has made his peace with God, he has sacrificed his own will, he has submitted himself to the will of God.” Jacobi: “The right relation between ego and Self conveys something of this attitude of humility. For through the Self there speaks an authority which, as God’s representative, has the character of fate. That is why the union of the ego with the Self is indistinguishable from a unio mystica with God, and is a shattering and profoundly religious experience (Psychology and Religion, 81, cited by Jacobi, 56). Jacob says that the individuation process is a journey. The earlier phases are a consolidation of our ego through realization of one’s shadow. But the final phases represent a journey through the underworld of suffering, and through a mystic, symbolic death into a kind of rebirth: … begin with self-observation and self-reflection which help practitioner become fully conscious of his sins, and then go on to demand a personal, conscious way © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
23 of living and a decision affecting his attitude to the world, which has to be directed towards Christ as the central point and exemplar. As the final foundation and confirmation of this decision, the stations of the way leading form the passion of Christ to his resurrection have to be followed concretely, so to speak, in an inner vision and actively experienced (Jacobi, 73). Jung says that the final stage of individuation is death: nobody has ever been able to tell the story of the whole way [of individuation], at least not to mortal ears, For it is not the storyteller but death who speaks the final “consummatum est.” (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 617). B. The Unconscious Now you all know that Jung distinguishes between the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The personal is that part of us, the shadow, that we have repressed, and which we need to reintegrate. That kind of reintegration can be seen as additive. We are incorporating, adding, feelings, ideas, thoughts that we have forgotten and repressed. It is sometimes said that Jung’s view is that in focusing our attention, we repress other sides that go into the unconscious. But In The Meaning of Individuation, Jung rejects that view of the unconscious: If it were true that the unconscious consists of nothing but contents incidentally deprived of consciousness, then it would be preposterous-or at least unnecessarily meticulous -to worry about the question of whether the ego represents the whole of the Psychical individual, or not. A normal ego could, and would, adequately embody the "whole," since its losses through unconsciousness would be trifles, and of significance only in cases of neuroses.26 What about the collective unconscious? Sometimes Jung speaks of collective unconscious in terms of archaic images: The collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of the identity of brain structure irrespective of all racial differences.” “…mankind has common instincts of ideation and action. (“Commentary on Golden Flower,” CW 13, para. 11). Yet in his lectures on Kundalini yoga, he also speaks of the unconscious as impersonal, as something to be attained. His lectures on Kundalini show that any work at integrating merely the personal unconscious is “basement work.” It is essential to Jungian analysis, but we must remember that this is all just preparatory. And elsewhere he says, …the unconscious is an irrepresentable totality of all subliminal psychic factors, a “total vision” in potentia. It constitutes the total disposition from which consciousness singles out tiny fragments from time to time.” (Foreword to Zen, CW 11, para. 897). C.G. Jung: “The Meaning of Individuation,” The Integration of the Personality, tr. Stanley M. Dell (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939), 13. See also C.G. Jung: Collected Works 11, par. 390. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
24 In my view, we must distinguish between the personal unconscious, which is what our ego has repressed, and the collective unconscious. But the collective unconscious has a pre-personal level (the instinctual), a multi-personal level (collective archaic myths) and a transpersonal level. The personal and multi-personal unconscious is not the transpersonal unconscious. The stages of individuation of shadow and persona relate only to the temporal, individual ego. So do the issues of integrating instinct, and the collective archaic images. As Jung says, all of this is merely “basement work” preparatory to the real work of spiritual transformation.27 C. The Archetypes The way in which we view Totality also affects how we view the archetypes. I discussed this issue in much more detail in my lecture “Jung, Ramana Maharshi and Eastern Meditation.” There are various ways that the archetypes can be understood, and Jung is ambiguous as to what he means. An excellent article on this subject is by Ray Harris.28 Harris points out that sometimes Jung speaks of archetypes as archaic vestiges and dispositions, primordial images, and instincts: ... there must be a transconscious disposition in every individual which is able to produce the same or very similar symbols at all times and in all places. Since this disposition is usually not a conscious possession of the individual I have called it the collective unconscious, and, as the bases of its symbolical products, I postulate the existence of primordial images, the archetypes. [... ] the identity of conscious individual contents with their ethnic parallels is expressed not merely in their form but in their meaning. (Mandala Symbolism, CW 11, para 711). In “On the Nature of the Psyche” Jung says these primordial images act like instincts: To the extent that the archetypes intervene in the shaping of conscious contents by regulating, modifying and motivating them, they act like the instincts. It is therefore very natural to suppose that these factors are connected to the instincts and to inquire whether the typical situational patterns which these collective formprinciples apparently represent are not in the end identical with the instinctual patterns, namely, with the patterns of behaviour. I must admit that up to the present I have not laid hold of any argument that would finally refute this possibility. (On the Nature of the Psyche, CW 8, para. 404). But, as Harris points out, Jung says something different in the very next paragraph: That is, the archetypes have, when they appear, a distinctly numinous character which can only be described as 'spiritual', if 'magical' is too strong a word.
C.G. Jung, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1932 by C.G. Jung, ed. Sonu Shamdasani (Princeton, 1996), p. 68. We may descend to the sixth cellar, but we remain in the depths of the earth; we have not been awakened until we take the path of ascent. Ray Harris: “Revisioning Individuation: Bringing Jung into the integral fold,” online at [http://www.integralworld.net/harris2.html]. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
25 Consequently this phenomenon is of the utmost significance for the psychology of religion (Ibid, para. 405). And elsewhere Jung says that inherited archetypes are empty, devoid of content because they contain no personal experiences. “They only emerge into consciousness when personal experiences have rendered them visible.” (“The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” CW 11, para. 846). Again, that seems to be different from Jung’s assertion that primordial images act like instincts. So an archetype has both instinctual and spiritual aspects. But Jung does not clarify how we can tell which is which. Indeed, he says that the process is “clouded in darkness”: So regarded, psychic processes seem to be balances of energy flowing between spirit and instinct, though the question of whether a process is to be described as spiritual or as instinctual remains clouded in darkness. (On the Nature of the Psyche, CW 8, para. 407). I agree with Harris that is is regrettable that Jung did not clarify whether a process is instinctual (regressing to the temporal) or spiritual (moving forward to the spiritual, an ascent upwards to the supratemporal Self). The use of archetypes can be regressive (pointing to the pre-personal) or transformative (pointing to the transpersonal). A merely regressive use of archetypes will always lead to necessary compensation. Ken Wilber has criticized this same problem in Jung. Wilber says that Jung did not distinguish between future structures attempting to come down, and past structures attempting to come up.29 Wilber says, But Jung consistently failed to carefully differentiate the archetypes into their prepersonal, personal, and transpersonal components, and since all three of those are collectively inherited, then there is a constant confusing of collective (and “archetypal”) with transpersonal and spiritual and mystical. And so today, Jung stands for a very regressive movement in psychology. Consciousness is simply divided into two great domains: personal and collective. And the tendency is then to take anything collective and call it spiritual, mystical, transpersonal, whereas most of it is simply prepersonal, prerational, preconventional, regressive. So we have some very popular theorists who recommend a regressive slide into egocentric, vital-impulsive, polymorphous, phantasmic-emotional revival...30 Wilber describes the non-regressive, transpersonal idea of the archetypes: The entire manifest world arises out of the Formless (or causal Abyss), and the first forms to do so are the forms upon which all others will rest --they are the "arche-forms" or archetypes. Thus, in this use, the archetypes are the highest
Ken Wilber: Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, (Boston: Shambhala, 1995), p. 257. Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, (Boston: Shambhala, 1996), p. 196.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
26 Forms of our own possibilities, the deepest Forms of our own potentials -- but also the last barriers to the Formless and the Nondual. 31 Jung himself confirms that there are two directions: I will only say, for clarity's sake, that there are two methods of treatment: 1. the reductive, and 2. the synthetic. The former traces everything back to primitive instincts, the latter develops the material into a process for differentiating the personality. The two methods are complementary, for reduction to instinct leads back to reality, indeed to an over-valuation of reality and hence to the necessity of sacrifice. The synthetic method elaborates the symbolic fantasies resulting from the introversion of libido through sacrifice. This produces a new attitude to the world whose very difference offers a new potential. I have termed this transition to a new attitude the transcendent function. In the regenerated attitude the libido that was formerly sunk in the unconscious emerges in the form of some positive achievement it is equivalent to the renewal of life, which Eckhart symbolizes by God's birth. Conversely, when the libido is withdrawn from external objects and sinks into the unconscious, the soul is born again in God. This state, as he rightly observes, is not a blissful one, because it is a negative act, a turning away from life and a descent to the deus absonditus, who possesses qualities very different from those of the God who shines by day (Psychological Types, CW 6, para. 427). Ray Harris refers to other problems with Jung’s idea of archetypes: One of the major gaps in Jung's work was his failure to make a definitive list of the archetypes, or to place them in a developmental sequence. This has led to a number of confusions. Wilber has correctly pointed out that Jung's concept of the archetype suffers from the Pre/Trans fallacy. I deal with this particular point in a paper called “Revisioning Individuation.” However, there are other confusions. How many archetypes are there? For example, Jung speaks of the Anima archetype, then separately delineates the Mother and Kore archetypes whilst suggesting that they are forms of the Anima. So, are they archetypes in their own right, or sub-archetypes? Are Senex, Puer Aeterna, the Hero and the Great Father archetypes in their own right, or sub-archetypes of Animus? Is the Trickster an archetype in its own right or an aspect of the Shadow? In Symbols of Transformation Jung uses the Miller fantasies as the basis to discuss a process of transformation through various archetypal symbols. This suggests a pattern of unfolding, a pattern of development, one that typically involves working with several archetypes after the fashion of a heroic journey.32
Ken Wilber, The Eye of Spirit, (Boston, Shambhala, 2000), p 240.
Ray Harris: “The Blood Brotherhoods: A developmental look at terrorism from the perspective of mythos” online at [http://www.integralworld.net/harris7.html]. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
27 D. False Individuation There has not been enough discussion in Jungian psychology of false ways in which we attempt to individuate. Note: Jolande Jacobi’s book The Psychology of C. G. Jung contains two plates (17 and 18) showing false and true conjunctio. Here are some important distinctions to be kept in mind in determining what is true and what is false individuation: (1) Individuation is not a descent to the instinctual. To descend to the instinctual merely strengthens the ego, and deals only with matters on the periphery. In his lectures on Kundalini yoga, Jung says that after the descent, and the strengthening of the ego, we start the ascent. (2) Individuation is not individualism. This is the prevalent view of individuation—that we are all separate individuals, and that Jungian analysis will allow us to separate out from the rest of humanity, the other individuals. This is a view of individuation that either denies the center or gives priority to the periphery, denying the idea of totality.33 Jung says: Individuation is not that you become an ego -- you would then become an individualist. You know, an individualist is a man who did not succeed in individuating. He is a philosophically distilled egotist (Kundalini, 39). The Self is our life's goal, for it is the completest expression of that fateful combination we call individuality (“Two Essays on Analytical Psychology,” CW 7, par. 404). (3) Individuation is not eccentricity, although that is James Hillman’s view: The goal of my therapy is eccentricity, which grows out of the Jungian notion of individuation. Jung says, “You become what you are.” And nobody is square. We all have, as the Swiss say, “a corner knocked off.” 34 (4) Individuation does not mean separation from others In Psychological Types, the definition of individuation seems at first to say that individuation as individualistic. Jung says that everything that is not collective is individual and individuation is
As an example, see the essay by Michael W. Clark, “Ego, Archetype and Self: C.G. Jung and Modernity,” online at [http://firstname.lastname@example.org/jung_eas.htm]. It seems the problem lies in his notion of self as a "psychic totality." For Jung really offers a two-tiered model of the psyche. The conscious part is individual, the unconscious collective aspect is impersonal. Jung would have done better to dismiss the "totality" component of his definition of self. As he did not, however, "self" is ambiguous and indistinct from a strictly theoretical standpoint. Why call it self if indeed it is everyone? James Hillman: We’ve had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy- And the World is Getting Worse (New York: Harper Collins, 1992), 35. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
28 the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology. It is a process of differentiation. (Psychological Types, CW 6, par 757). And yet the same definition says, As the individual is not just a single, separate being, but by his very existence presupposes a collective relationship, if follows that the process of individuation must lead to more intense and broader collective relationships and not to isolation. In his lectures on Kundalini, Jung comments on a man who sees another couple, and he identifies with the other man. Yet he has an inkling that he is in a peculiar way identical with him, that man is himself continuing life; he is not cast aside. For his substance is not only his personal self but the substance of that young man, too. (Kundalini, 48). And on the next page he says, …this extended consciousness knows not only “That is Thou” but more than that—every tree, every stone, every breath of air, every rat’s tail—all that is yourself; there is nothing that is not yourself. The ascent towards the center and towards Totality therefore brings us into greater connection with others. (5) Individuation does not mean the development of some private morality. We must first attain to a minimum of the collective norms: Under no circumstances can individuation be the sole aim of psychological education. Before it can be taken as a goal, the educational aim of adaptation to the necessary minimum of collective norms must first be attained (Psychological Types, CW 6, para. 760.). But the attainment of such collective norms is not an unthinking adherence to morality: The ability to “will otherwise” must, unfortunately, be real if ethics are to make any sense at all. Anyone who submits to the law from the start, or to what is generally expected, acts like the man in the parable who buried his talent in the earth. Individuation is an exceedingly difficult task: it always involves a conflict of duties, whose solution requires us to understand that our “counter will” is also an aspect of God’s will. (“A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity,” CW 11, para. 292). And Jung says we should not attempt to live beyond the opposites.35 (6) Individuation is not to be understood in terms of Hillman’s polytheistic archetypal psychology. James Hillman misunderstands Jung, or tries to reinterpret him in a way contrary to Jung’s intent. Jung emphasizes the self. Hillman does not use the idea of the self, but rather at temporal Letter from C.G. Jung to V. Subrahmanya Iyer, dated August 29, 1938 (in English), C.G. Jung: Letters, ed. Gerhard Adler (Princeton, 1973), Vol. 1, p. 247. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
29 expressions of the ego. This is looking at the temporal periphery, the conflicting complexes. Hillman’s archetypal psychology assumes that these complexes are ultimate in their diversity. He denies their unity. Jung’s emphasis is unity in a diversity, a unity that expresses itself in diversity. Hillman’s views do not emphasize Totality, but rather temporal multiplicity. This gives rise to Hillman’s polytheistic use of archetypes. But Jung warns against this. He says that we are not to project the one light of highest consciousness into concretized figures and dissolve it into a plurality of autonomous fragmentary systems. (Commentary on Golden Flower, CW 13, para. 50). In para 55 of that same text, he explains how these fragmentary systems come into being. [Actual psychic personalities] are “real” when they are not recognized as real and consequently projected. they are relatively real when brought into relationship with consciousness in a cult. Unreal when consciousness detaches itself from its contents. That happens only when life has been lived so exhaustively and with such devotion that no obligations remain unfulfilled and no desires that cannot safely be sacrificed stand in the way of inner detachment from the world. Maureen B. Roberts criticizes Hillman’s views: Hillman is accordingly, I suggest, setting up a straw Jung when he attempts to pit his ideology of multiple soul against Jung's focus on wholeness, particularly as it is symbolized in the mandala. The mandala, after all, is not an image of undivided unity but rather one of totality, in which opposing forces at the circumference are reconciled in the still centre. As such, neither circumferential multiplicity nor core unity are privileged; instead they both thrive through creative tension in a compensatory relationship. Such wholism as 'unity-in-diversity' is not - as Hillman at times seems to suggest it is - Jung's pet philosophy, since as Jung (based on his immense experience) takes great pains to stress, mandalas arise in nature and are dreamed, drawn, danced, or enacted spontaneously, particularly by individuals in crisis or conflict situations. (A notable example is mandalas drawn by chronic sufferers of schizophrenia, in which a fragmented central area is counterbalanced by an ordered circumference). A more feasible opposition, I suggest, is that between integration (i.e. 'individuation') as the conscious cooperation, mediated by the central Self, between multiple or opposing soul-parts, and the kind of pathological dissociation which occurs, for example, in Multiple Personality Disorder [MPD], debilitating schizophrenia, and destructive psychoses, all conditions in which splinter personalities are unaware of or hostile.36
Maureen B. Roberts: “Re-Connection vs. Re-Colleciton: Individuation & Soul Retrieval as Remembered Wholeness,” online at [http://www.jungcircle.com/ind.html]. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
30 (7) Individuation is not just becoming more conscious. For consciousness is related to the ego, to the periphery. In his Ascona lectures, “The Meaning of Individuation” Jung says that we cannot ever integrate unconscious into consciousness: Coming now to the problem of individuation, we see that we are confronted with a rather extraordinary task: the psyche consists of two incongruous halves that should properly make "whole" together. One is inclined to think that the egoconsciousness is capable of assimilating and integrating the unconscious; one hopes, at least, that such a solution is possible. But, unfortunately, the unconscious is really unconscious; it is unknown. And how can you assimilate something unknown? Even if one has a pretty complete idea of his anima and of other such figures, he has not yet sounded the depths of the unconscious. One hopes to dominate the unconscious, but the past masters of this art of domination the yogis-wind up with samadhi, an ecstatic condition that seems to be equivalent to an unconscious state. The fact that they call our unconscious the universal consciousness, does not change things in the least: in their case the unconscious has devoured the ego-consciousness. They do not realize that a "universal" consciousness is a contradiction in terms, since exclusiveness, selection, and discrimination are the root and essence of all that can claim the name of consciousness. The conscious mind does not embrace the totality of a man, for this totality consists only partly of his conscious contents. (CW 11, par. 390). and A "universal" consciousness is logically identical with unconsciousness. It is true that an accurate application of the methods of the Pali-canon, or of the Yogasutra, produces a remarkable extension of consciousness. But the contents of consciousness lose in clearness of detail with increasing extension. In the end, consciousness becomes vast but dim, with an infinite multitude of objects merging into an indistinct totality-a state in which the subjective and objective are almost completely identical. This is all very well, but scarcely to be recommended anywhere north of the Tropic of Cancer. Ray Harris sees confusion here. Jung says individuation involves making 'unconscious contents' conscious. In other words, translating the unconscious into a 'rational' understanding whereby the ego can 'control' the psyche. Spiritual practice on the other hand involves surrendering the ego and rationality to the higher levels of consciousness, allowing the ego and rationality to be transcended and included in a higher order. It involves retranslating rational translations of the archetypes into higher translations yet again, until the archetypes are experienced in their causal purity and finally dissolved into Emptiness. In Harris’s view, the confusion arises because of an inability to distinguish between the 'pre' aspects of the archetypes calling for integration, and the 'trans' aspects calling for transformation. (8) Individuation does not mean “following your bliss.” That idea comes from Joseph Campbell, who takes a very individualistic view of individuation, and who refers to the entitlement, uniqueness and choice that characterize our culture: © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
31 This, I believe, is the great Western truth: that each of us is a completely unique creature and that, if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else’s.37 But this idea of following one’s bliss ignores Jung’s emphasis on the terribly difficult nature of individuation, and its nature as a cross of conflicting opposites that need to be brought into a unity. (9) Nor is individuation becoming a well-rounded person. Campbell gives the example of a baseball player making a speech, and being confident. And he compares this person to a professor, too caught up in books, terrible presentation. But individuation is not just becoming an all-American person who can win friends and influence people. It is a spiritual process. Joseph Campbell is an example of someone who does not distinguish archetypes as to levels of consciousness. He relates stories of a hero dying in order for life to appear. In the PBS series by Bill Moyers, Campbell refers to a ritual in New Guinea, where he says they really enact the myth of death and resurrection.38 In the initiation of young boys into manhood, there is a five-day ritual of drumming and chanting. The rituals are boring, and wear you out until you break through into something else. Then he says comes the great moment. They build a great shed of enormous logs, supported by two uprights. Then a young woman, ornamented as a deity, is brought in and made to lie down. With drumming and chanting, six boys were permitted their first public intercourse. The last boy comes in, and with her in full embrace, the supports are withdrawn, the logs drop, and the couple are killed. He says this is the union of male and female as they were in the beginning, begetting and death. The pair are pulled out, roasted and eaten that evening. Campbell then says, "You can’t beat that. "That’s the sacrifice of the Mass. When I first heard Campbell say this, I lost my respect for his ideas. To be fair to Campbell, he also says, The bliss of pure Self can unfold only to an Imagination that has been clarified and made steady, as the result of constantly practiced meditation. He who has experienced in himself this bliss, is “Redeemed in this life”39 But because Campbell does not distinguish between the pre-personal and the transpersonal archetypes, he cannot give direction here. I agree that in some sense, the stages of individuation can be seen as a hero’s journey. But the stages are not to be understood as a temporal heroics. There is a relation to and from the supratemporal. And that is supported by what Jung says about the hero: . . . if a man is a hero, he is a hero because, in the final reckoning, he did not let the monster devour him, but subdued it, not once but many times. Victory over the collective psyche alone yields the true value—the capture of the hoard, the invincible weapon, the
37 38 39
Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers, (New York, Doubleday, 1988), 151 Bill Moyers: The Power of Myth: Sacrifice and Bliss (television series)
Campbell’s review of Heinrich Zimmer’s Der Weg zum Selbst in Review of Religion 11, no. 3 (March 1947) 290-93. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
32 magic talisman, or whatever it be that the myth deems most desirable. Anyone who identifies with the collective psyche—or, in mythological terms, lets himself be devoured by the monster—and vanishes in it, attains the treasure that the dragon guards, but he does so in spite of himself and to his own greatest harm. (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, CW 7, para. 261). But we can ask whether the hero or warrior is really an archetype? Certainly the hero is a symbol, and used in myth. But are all myths, all symbols, really archetypes? With the birth of the symbol, the regression of libido into the unconscious ceases. Regression is converted into progression, the blockage starts to flow again, and the lure of the maternal abyss is broken. (Psychological Types, CW 6, para. 445). Jung says of the hero, The myth of the hero... is first and foremost a self-representation of the longing of the unconscious, of its unquenched and unquenchable desire for the light of consciousness. But consciousness, continually in a danger of being led astray by its own light and of becoming a rootless will o' the wisp, longs for the healing power of nature, for the deep wells of being and for unconscious communion with life in all its countless forms. (“The Origin of the Hero,” Symbols of Transformation, CW 8, para. 29). Similarly, with all the other popular presentations of so-called archetypes: the warrior within us, the king, the wise old man, the trickster, the magician, etc. If these are understood in a purely temporal way, they will lead not to individuation, but to individualization. I am not sure who is most to blame for this. But we find it in many people who claim to be following Jung. People like Joseph Campbell. Or Hillman’s polytheistic archetypal psychology. Or Thomas Moore, who follows Hillman in his influential book Care of the Soul. Or the feminist use of the idea in Women Who Run with the Wolves. In all of these cases, Jung’s words are used in a totally temporal way, ignoring the relation to a supratemporal selfhood and Totality. (10) Individuation is not Identification with the Self We should not suppose that self-realization means being lost in or swallowed up by some greater reality (which might be suggested by the Indian image of a drop of water rejoining the ocean). Nor does self-realization mean being swamped by the unconscious. That would be a state of psychosis, a state of ‘possession.’ Rather, it means that a person is now fully conscious, but now realizes that ‘his’ consciousness is also the consciousness that is everywhere, in all things (what in mystic- meditative traditions is sometimes referred to as ‘cosmic consciousness’). Identification with the Self (the idea that I am God, I am Brahman), leads to inflation. Jung distinguishes between the God-image and God. He says that we should not identify with the Self or God; rather, we should hold to the idea that “Christ lives within us.” And he says, But again and again I note that the individuation process is confused with the coming of the ego into consciousness and that the ego is in consequence identified with the self, which naturally produces a hopeless conceptual muddle. (Glossary, Memories, Dreams, Reflections). © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
33 This will be discussed in more detail in Lecture 3. E. True Individuation (1) True individuation involves going beyond ego We have seen how Jung distinguishes between Self and ego. The temporal ego is not our psyche or Self. Jung says that the only criterion of individuation is that it must be a transformation where one goes beyond one’s ego: The goal [of psychotherapy] is transformation–not one that is predetermined, but rather an indeterminable change, the only criterion of which is the disappearance of egohood. (Foreword to Zen Buddhism, CW 11, para. 904). But he goes on to say in the same paragraph: …it frequently happens with us also that a conscious ego and a cultivated understanding must first be produced through analysis before one can even think about abolishing egohood or rationalism. Our ego is subordinate to the Self. Or, said the other way, the Self is superordinate to the ego.40 And so this further stage of individuation involves “articulating one's ego-consciousness with a supraordinate totality.” (CW 11, para. 276). In this, we experience a non-ego that has the conscious mind as its object. Another subject appears in place of our ego. Jung refers to St. Paul’s words in Gal. 2:20, It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Foreword to “Introduction to Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para. 892). If you function in your self you are not yourself; as if you were a stranger; buy as if you did not buy. St. Paul: But it is not I that lives, it is Christ that liveth in me. There is a breakthrough to a “knowledge of the knower.” “Such a passion is practically indistinguishable from the driving force of religion; consequently this whole problem belongs to the religious transformation process, which is incommensurable with intellect.” (“Introduction to Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para. 892). There is a new centre of gravity of the total personality: It is then no longer in the ego, which is merely the centre of consciousness, but in the hypothetical point between conscious and unconscious. This new centre might be called the self. (Commentary on Golden Flower, CW 13, para. 67). Individuation is becoming that thing which is not the ego, and that is very strange. Therefore nobody understands what the self is, because the self is just the thing which you are not, which is not the ego. The ego discovers itself as being a mere appendix of the self in a sort of loose connection. (Kundalini, 39).
C.G. Jung: "Two Essays on Analytical Psychology", Collected Works 7, para. 274. The original German reads "als untergeordnet oder enthalten in einem übergeordneten Selbst als dem Zentrum der ganzen, unbegrenzten und undefinierbaren psychischen Persönlichkeit" (C. G. Jung, "Psychologie und Religion"). © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
34 Toni Wolff has been quoted as saying: The recognition and careful observation of non-personal psychical factors entails and leads to a sacrifice of the ego—not in the form of an abolition, but in the form of a renunciation of its supremacy. It is no longer possible always to say: I want, I decide, I do, and so on, because it is evident that things happen to me, which are decided for me, and that factors other than the conscious "I" do or think in me. The ego is the vehicle for these other factors and it is responsible for them; but their roots are not in it but in the larger psyche. This is an attitude comparable to that of St. Paul when he says (Gal., ii, 20): "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me"; and it is certainly an attitude which can be called religious. It is, in a way, a kind of death of the ego and is often represented in dreams. This entails a deliberate renunciation of the hitherto dominating position of the ego, the conscious person as I know myself to be.41 (2) In true individuation, we see differently It is not that something different is seen, but that one sees differently. It is as though the spatial act of seeing were changed by a new dimension. (“Introduction to Zen Buddhism,” CW 11, para. 891). (3) Individuation is an experience of the awakening of the gods Jung says that the situation of modern European consciousness is where man seems to be the only active power, and the gods, the impersonal, non-ego powers are doing practically nothing. But in the awakening experience, one starts a world which is a world of eternity, totally different from our world. We could not possibly judge this world if we had not also a standpoint outside, and that is given by the symbolism of religious experiences. (Kundalini, 23, 26, 27). (4) Individuation begins in our heart center Individuation begins in the heart, or what Kundalini yoga refers to as anahata. This is the first notion of the self, of the absolute center, the substance to which life is related (Kundalini, 39, 85). We become aware of something that is not ourself. Jung refers to this by the Hindu term purusha, by which he means a small figure that is the divine self, not identical with mere causality; our essence thought and value. This is the beginning of individuation” That is the first inkling of a being within your psychological or psychical existence that is not yourself—a being in which you are contained, which is greater and more important than you but which has an entirely psychical existence (Kundalini, 45). This is the mystical union, unio mystica, with the power of God, meaning that absolute reality where one is nothing but psychic reality, yet confronted with the psychic reality that one is not. And that is God. God is the eternal psychical object. God is simply a word for the non-ego. (Kundalini, 56).
I have not yet located the source for this reference. It is cited online at: [http://www.teosofia.com/Mumbai/7410ladder.html]. © 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
35 And this fact, that the psychic reality is what one is not, is why Jung calls this ‘psychic objectivity. “My term for the process which tantric yoga calls the awakening of Kundalini is psychic objectivity.” (Kundalini, 93). Individuation is becoming that thing which is not the ego, and that is very strange. Therefore nobody understands what the self is, because the self is just the thing which you are not, which is not the ego. The ego discovers itself as being a mere appendix of the self in a sort of loose connection. For the ego is always far down in muladhara and suddenly becomes aware of something up above in the fourth story, in anahata, and that is the self. ...The purusha is a symbol that expresses impersonal processes. The self is something exceedingly impersonal, exceedingly objective. If you function in your self you are not the ego -- that is what you feel. ...As St. Paul expresses it, "It is not I that live, it is Christ that liveth in me," meaning that his life had become an objective life, not his own life but the life of a greater one, the purusha (Kundalini, 40). In individuation, our consciousness separates from objects and ego to another center: Individuation begins with the self severing itself as unique from the objects and the ego. As if consciousness separated from the objects and from the ego and emigrated to the non-ego to the other center, to the foreign yet originally own. (Kundalini, 83). (5) Individuation is not for everyone. Although Jung calls individuation an “ineluctable (not to be avoided) psychological necessity” he also says that its nature is aristocratic, and that it is available only to individuals who are predisposed to attain a higher degree of consciousness and who are called to it from the beginning. (6) Individuation is a preparation for death. Aniela Jaffé once said, “The psychological path of individuation is ultimately a preparation for death.”42 But why does the ego need to approach the Self, if it is to all end in death? Jung says “The psyche itself, in relation to consciousness, is pre-existent and transcendent,” while the ego is born, grows, and dies, in the same way as the body. (Development of personality, CW 17, para. 170). Jung’s supratemporal archetypal Self is probably the chief subject of disagreement with other psychologists, and one reason why mainstream materialistic psychologists fail to take him seriously. He is, however, taken seriously by today’s transpersonal psychologists. (7) Transcendent function The self as the centre that guides the individuation process can be referred to as the realized self, or what Jung calls the transcendent function. Why does he call it the transcendent function? I believe because it relates to the self, which really is transcendent to all our temporal functions and correlative oppositions. The transcendent function is the third that unites two opposites. It is
Aniela Jaffé: Was Jung a mystic? (Daimon Verlag, 1989), 33, 38.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
36 a third viewpoint which takes into account the way things appear from both the conscious and the unconscious perspectives without being limited to either one. Again, we must distinguish between the regressive journey downwards and the spiritual journey upwards. Jung says, I will only say, for clarity's sake, that there are two methods of treatment: 1. the reductive, and 2. the synthetic. The former traces everything back to primitive instincts, the latter develops the material into the process for differentiating the personal two methods are complementary, for reduction to instinct leads back to reality, indeed to an over-valuation of reality and hence to the necessity of sacrifice. The synthetic method elaborates the symbolic fantasies resulting from the introversion of libido through sacrifice. This produces a new attitude to the world whose very difference offers a new potential. I have term this transition to a new attitude the transcendent function. In the regenerated attitude the libido that was formerly sunk in the unconscious emerges in the form of some positive achievement it is equivalent to the renewal of life, which Eckhart symbolizes by God's birth conversely, when the libido is withdrawn from external objects and sinks into the unconscious, the soul is born again in God. This state, as he rightly observes, is not a blissful one, because it is a negative act, a turning away from life and a descent to the deus absonditus, who possesses qualities very different from those of the God who shines by day. (Psychological Types, CW 6, para. 427). (8) Individuation means letting Christ live in me This is a phrase that Jung repeats many times. If you function in your self you are not yourself–that is what you feel. You have to do it as if you were a stranger; you will buy as if you did not buy; you will sell as if you did not sell. Or, as St. Paul expresses it, “But it is not I that lives, it is Christ that liveth in me,” meaning that his life had become an objective life, not his own life but the life of a greater one, the purusha (Kundalini, 40). He quotes St. Paul: “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (Commentary of the Golden Flower, CW 13, para. 77). And The Self or Christ is present in everybody a priori, but as a rule in an unconscious condition to begin with. But it is a definite experience of later life, when this fact becomes conscious. It is only real when it happens, and it can happen only when you withdraw your projections from an outward historical or metaphysical Christ and thus wake up Christ within. (CW 18, para. 1638). We have looked at the idea of individuation in relation to the philosophy of Totality, the relation of the periphery to the Center. As I mentioned, the philosophy of Totality was related to a renewed interest in the German Christian philosopher Franz von Baader. In Lecture 2 we will look at how these key ideas of Jung were anticipated by Baader. And we will make some contrasts between Baader’s theosophy and Gnosticism.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen
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