CategoryResearch

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).

Positionings: with (and away from) the tradition

Much of the thinking on this blog starts from within a tradition in 20th century thought which we might call broadly “Jungian” or “archetypal”. This tradition is generally characterized as a psychology, originating from Freudian psychoanalysis, but distancing itself from the reductionism and scientism of the latter by bringing in more mystical, hermeneutical, and existential elements. Calling it...

Jung-Hillman metaphysics

A metaphysical theory is an account of which kinds of thing exist in the world and how they interact. Theories like that are generally considered to be a branch of philosophy; and especially when concerned just with kinds of existing things, they are also called ontologies. The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang...

The suddenly felt presence of the other “me”

What turns out to be the love of his life — to his own retrospective surprise, as we learn from the famous last sentence of the book — builds gradually over a number of stages, the first of which seem so innocuous that for quite a while we’re left wondering whether we’re already in the main narrative or still on a tangent. Swann himself appears to be on the same tentative track, until something...

Précis of “The mirror theory of eros”

I have referred to the mirror theory of eros once or twice now, but I realize that my argument regarding that view is somewhat scattered around this blog. Here is a précis that should help keeping the main points in mind. When a person is infatuated, a cluster of psychological contents which are all related to the love object forms, called a phantasma. The phantasma must partly be understood in...

Consciousness cannot be unconscious (not even under a projection)

Before we can go deeper into the notion of sharing (or, alternately, mirroring) psychological contents between the personified functions who produce them and the ego who becomes aware of them, we have to address another potential circularity — and this one is even more subtle. In my last post, I twice compared the false perspective of the ego with the more complicated reality we realized from the...

If you’re not the one who sees, then you can’t be shown, either

I recently looked at an interesting meditation from tantric Buddhism, as described by Jung: a meditation which works by visualizing one’s psychological functions as separate personified figures. In Jungian terminology (though Jung himself didn’t put it that way) we might call this “withdrawing projections from the ego”. Now with respect to the particular example we looked at (namely: the sense...

Tantric meditation and the spiritual mirrors of the Renaissance

Just as a side-note, I’m going to point out a few interconnections. In my last post, I started looking at a technique of “withdrawing projections from the ego”, found in a meditation from tantric Buddhism as described by Jung in his lectures: a meditation which works by visualizing one’s psychological functions as separate personified figures. There is an interesting connection here with an...

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...

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.

alchemy allegorical style archetypes causality dark side death depth dreams ego eros erotetic arch film frame analysis ghost-story style ghosts individuals Jung philology liminality literature magic methodology mirrors mystery mysticism Narcissus narrative analysis nekyia pathologizing persona personal note personification persons projection psychoid romantic love self-knowledge shadow soul space spirit subjectivity symbols synchronicities technology time