AuthorLeif Frenzel

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.

Reconstructing the argument I: the individuation essay

Now that we have sorted out these distinctions to some degree, let’s compare how Jung employs them in those passages which introduce the “progression” on the path of individuation. I’m starting with a short, concise essay which Jung published precisely as an introduction to these themes: “Bewußtsein, Unbewußtes und Individuation”. The text sets the context with a brief statement of the basic...

The field of consciousness, its center, and its possible extensions

The definitions of consciousness and the “I” contain another distinction on which Jung insists: that between the “field” of consciousness and its center (the “I”). Only on the basis of this distinction can he then go on and ask whether there is a similar center to the larger personality. The field of consciousness is an obvious and unproblematic, though metaphorical notion (carrying its...

Awareness of particular psychological episodes as mark of consciousness

From the fundamental idea of the unconscious, Jung’s writing normally proceeds in one of two directions: either towards a distinction between personal and collective unconscious; or else to the question of the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious in psychology. It is the latter direction that is relevant for the individuation progression.

A closer look at Jung’s progression

Jung outlines the path of the individuation process in several of his works, and it is instructive to reconstruct his line of thought in each of these. For generally, in passages like that Jung’s thinking is concise and rigorous: it has the quality necessary for theory formation or development of ideas. (In contrast, once he launches into what he calls “amplification”, his texts become amorphous...

Are there any clues from beyond the synchronicities essay?

It’s not exactly easy to figure out, from the synchronicities essay, what Jung’s conclusion regarding synchronicity actually was. Most likely, he didn’t really arrive at one. In the text itself, there is a bit of a fuzzy overlay of two main viewpoints. One is a metaphysical notion of a “psychoid” background layer behind both the physical and psychic worlds, which both reflect that layer without...

Ways of soul-making: mystification

Every question for which we have found an answer does also reveal, at the same time, some uncertain aspects — aspects that aren’t just unanswered yet, but somehow seem all the more difficult to figure out now since we know what we’ve learned. Questions, in a word, lead to answers which in turn always seem to lead to more questions. When we look at this fact of life from the perspective of...

On not confusing stages with the whole, or stages with the goal

In my last post I have outlined an interpretation of Hillman’s central idea of soul-making, and connected it with the notion of projection (in analytical psychology), the relationship between individual souls and the collective psyche, and the theoretical move of treating both individual human beings and ideas as souls which can be perceived as personalized. In the background of this line of...

Soul-making

I have traced interconnections, dependencies between archetypal ideas, e.g. between Spirit and Anima. These interrelations are what is behind the progression Ego-Shadow-Anima-Spirit in Jung’s typical layout. And I have said that these connections must be built into the archetypal ideas themselves. We mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that this “must” is a prescriptive constraint on idea...

The structural characteristics of archetypal ideas

How can it be that the dynamic (and the interdependencies) are built into the ideas of Spirit and Anima? For this to be the case, the very formulation of the ideas must entail (or at least strongly imply) them. What’s more, it cannot simply be the abstract terminology, the conceptual definitions which differentiate the ideas: the dynamic and interdependencies must be woven into their symbolic...

Absent conversations

We all occasionally find ourselves in conversations where we have the strong impression that the other person — the one we’re talking to — doesn’t even listen. They have tuned out; they’re absent. 1. They are absent, of course, only in a metaphorical sense: for obviously, they are present physically; and they are not entirely disconnected mentally, either: they can return to full presence in no...

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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