I engage critically with C. G. Jung’s late work on the idea of synchronicities, and related work from other authors at the time. My focus is on methodology, argument analysis and conceptual inquiry (rather than empirical or historical research).

Personified archetypes

In the midst of our chaotic life processes, as we experience them day by day, there is a pre-existent, hidden meaning. That meaning, or Sinn, is an archetype.

Self-representing archetypes

According to Jung, the archetypes of the collective unconscious are psychological patterns. An archetype thus represents how we (human beings) typically live through and experience certain situations. What kind of situations?

What is Jung’s notion of causality?

Jung’s essay on synchronicities is centered around the notion of causality: he points out certain phenomena that (according to him) cannot be causally explained, and in general he claims that the law of causality is insufficient as a principle for scientific explanation. What does he actually mean by terms such as ‘causal’ and 'causality'?

Two styles of projection

The notion of projection is a broad umbrella which covers a variety of different ways in which unconscious contents might appear, to a subject, as something they notice in the external world. Presumably, some archetypal structures are best expressed in personified form, whereas others lend themselves to a different, more abstract representation: as relationships, as connections.

The mirror theory of eros: synchronicities

Jung says that synchronistic phenomena appear when an archetype of the collective unconscious is triggered (or ‘constellated’). He also points out that this usually goes along with projections. Interestingly, the mirror theory of eros arrives at a similar result.

The mirror theory of eros: projection

When a person becomes infatuated, their soul is dominated by the phantasm that represents the loved one; the phantasm cannibalizes the entire psyche of the subject. In such a case, the unconscious image (the phantasm) acquires an astonishing power and autonomy.

The mirror theory of eros: the spiritual mirror

A word about this “spiritual mirror” business. It is called spiritual because in Ficino’s views, the notion of “spirit” is central, and among other things, the spirit acts as a mirror through which the soul can access what the senses take in from the external world. The setup is similar to an old-fashioned camera, with the eye (and the other senses) corresponding to the lens, the psyche (the...

The mirror theory of eros: phantasmata

1. Suppose a subject becomes enamoured with another person. In that situation, we can assume in the subject’s mind a cluster of ideas, perceptions, presumptions, etc., all of which have the other person (the “love object”) as their content in some way. For example, there may be memories (“When we first met, she looked like this …”), general ascriptions of personality (“He’s a very attentive...

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.