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Buddhist meditation and the withdrawal of projections from the ego

In his Lectures on the Psychology of Yoga, Jung describes an interesting type of Buddhist meditation (which he finds in the Chakrasambhara Tantra). The goal of this meditation is awareness of one’s own psychology, and a separation of anything that’s going on there from the conscious personality (ego). The basic idea is to realize one’s psychological functions and then imagine them to be separate...

A little more on the timelessness of archaic images

In my last post, I left it at the observation that archaic images (urtümliche Bilder) as Jung defines them already have a certain assumption of “timelessness” built into them — since they are specified as those which have “mythological qualities” and can be be found across times and cultures. From a methodological point of view, there are plenty of difficulties with that definition. First, it’s...

The timelessness of archaic images

In the definitions he presents in Psychological Types, Jung distinguishes between ideas and images, or more specifically: archaic (urtümliche) images. The latter is prior in the order of explanation; the former is understood as “the meaning of an archaic image which was deducted, abstracted from the concretism of that image [der Sinn eines urtümlichen Bildes welcher von dem Konkretismus des...

Returning from the underworld, returning from ghost time

That time is unreal — that it transforms into a form of “ghost time” — once you’re in liminal retreat is strangely in conflict with the notion that a journey to the underworld might necessitate a return trip. Whether it actually does necessitate one depends of course on how the journey is conceived of (as we have seen, in Hillman’s early work it doesn’t; in Campbell the collective demands it and...

How does ghost-time relate to the timelessness of the unconscious?

If withdrawal into liminal space (symbolized by the stay on a Greek island in The Alexandria Quartet) is a journey to the underworld or — to put it less mystically — an immersion in what comes out of the unconscious, then we might expect curious effects connected to the passing of time. This is what the narrator refers to when he says “once you become aware of the operation of a time which is not...

Unreal time and splintered life forms

At first glance, what Don DeLillo’s narrator in The Names describes appears to be exactly what I’ve just called “ghost-time”, borrowing a notion from The Alexandria Quartet: I flew a lot, of course. We all did. We were a subculture, business people in transit, growing old in planes and airports. […] This is time totally lost to us. We don’t remember it. We take no sense impressions with us, no...

Unreal time and real cities

Once you retreat from the world into liminal space, you shed the illusion that time is real. That time and, in consequence, our experience in time are real is an illusion; but it is an illusion of the kind which, once it is put aside even for a moment, can never fully come back.

The whole is indefinite

When I summarized the view that emerges from the individuation essay, I listed a number of respects in which the notion of “personality” on which it is based is different from our everyday notion of a person. One of these was that a psychological individual (according to Jung, in the individuation essay) partly consists of unconscious, collective structures which are diffused throughout the...

The relative theoretical status of subjective fields vs. person-like character

There is an interesting corollary to the argument of the individuation essay, as I have reconstructed it in my recent postings. That argument was, roughly, that a psychological individual had to be (by presupposition) a “whole”, expressed and held together by some structural principle; that this whole could not coincide with the conscious subject, and this structural principle could not be the...

The whole of a psychological individual as person-like in character

A psychological individual is a whole, and what makes it a whole (and keeps it together) is that it has personality character. That personality is like a sleeping (and dreaming) person, rather than a waking person. A waking person would be structured by consciousness, whereas a psychological individual, as a whole, is not characterized by that. This Jungian view is both weirder and more radical...

Leif Frenzel is a writer and independent researcher. He has a background in philosophy, literature, music, and information technology. His recent interest is Jungian psychology, especially synchronicities and the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious.

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