Sunday, August 5, 2012

Carl Jung: Being Happens

Carl Jung was the first psychologist to influence my life.  I read him extensively in the period before I went to India.  Among his many accomplishments was the understanding that myth is alive in a massive, collective unconscious.  Also, he identified the anima and animus as specific aspects of human personality.  Today only one of his books, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, remains in my library.  Keeping it company are works by other Jungian-like authors such as Joseph Campbell and Erich Neumann.

Jung lingers within my spiritual journey, as I indicated in my recent word doodle on Being.  For me his work represents the closest science comes to touching the face of god.  Here are some select quotes from his book on Archetypes that inspired his inclusion in my post on Being.  I think they point in the direction of Being and perhaps lead to another glimpse of what I mean by Being, even though Jung's use to that word and my use of it are likely not the same.

Read these quotes with the Platonic Ideas in mind and you might see what I intent about art and intuitive reason versus, say, logic and scientific reason as being a better approach to the appreciation of Being.

"Contents of an archetypal character are manifestations of processes in the collective unconscious.  Hence they do not refer to anything that is or has been conscious, but to something essentially unconscious....There is no longer any question whether a myth refers to the sun or the moon, the father or the mother, sexuality or fire or water; all it does is to circumscribe and give an approximate description of an unconscious core of meaning.  The ultimate meaning of this nucleus was never conscious and it never will be.  It was, and still is, only interpreted, and every interpretation that comes anywhere near the hidden sense (or, from the point of view of scientific intellect, nonsense, which comes from the same thing) has always, right from the beginning, laid claim not only to absolute truth and validity but to instant reverence and religious devotion.  Archetypes were, and still are, living psychic forces that demand to be taken seriously, and they have a strange way of making sure of their effect.". (page 156)

This quote, of course, points not to just the Being of Archetypes but to an "effect" in the world, which gives it a tinge of Karma as well.  In fact, I consider Being and Karma to be closely related.  But that is for a future post.

"In view to the intimate connection that exists between certain psychic processes and their physical parallels we cannot very well accept the immaterial of the psyche.  As against this, the consensus omnium insists on the immateriality of the spirit, though not everyone would agree that it also has a reality of it own.  It is, however, not easy to see why our hypothetical 'matter,' which looks quite different from what it did even thirty years ago, alone should be real, and spirit not.  Although the idea of immateriality does not in itself exclude that of reality, popular opinion invariably associates reality with materiality.  Spirit and matter may well be forms of one and the same transcendental being." (page 212)

"Nothing produced by the human mind lies absolutely outside the psychic realm.  Even the craziest idea must correspond to something in the psyche.  We cannot suppose that certain minds contain elements that do not exist at all in other minds.  Nor can we assume that the unconscious is capable of becoming autonomous only in certain people., namely in those predestined to insanity.  It is very much more likely that the tendency to autonomy is a more or less general peculiarity of the unconscious....Love and hate, joy and grief, are often enough to make the ego and the conscious change places.  Very strange ideas indeed can take possession of otherwise healthy people on such occasions.  Groups, communities, and even whole nations can be seized in this way by psychic epidemics.

"The autonomy of the unconscious therefore begins where emotions are generated.  Emotions are instinctive, involuntary reactions which upset the rational order of consciousness by their elemental outbursts.  Affects are not 'made' or willfully produced; they simply happen." (pp. 278-279)

My take on the above passages is that they point you in the direction of understanding that Being happens.

No comments: