Tagarchetypes

Hillmanian psychologism

The technique of perspective reversal, frequently as it is used throughout Hillman’s early work, is more than a neat rhetorical trick. (Although it must be said that Hillman does have a pronounced preference for the chiasm in any case.) I have already noted that both Jung and Hillman seemed to think that human hybris needs to be checked, particularly in the form in which the human person is...

Shadow reversal and ego theory

I have started to look at Hillman’s suggestion that the ego, rather than casting a shadow, is itself cast by the latter; and I have noted that this suggestion comes within a larger endeavor on his part to re-interpret the whole notion of the ego. Let’s dive a little deeper into Hillman’s account of the ego, then. 1. The ego is one of multiple complexes that exist within an individual human being...

Shadow reversal

A little into The Dream and the Underworld, when he discusses the relationship between the day world and the night world, Hillman makes yet another suggestion that is an instance of the technique of “perspective reversal”. This time it is about the shadow (in its Jungian understanding of the term). Since the movements of the body and its shadow are simultaneous and inseparable, that is, co...

Having and being had, and the inhuman reaches of the soul

When he writes about dreams, Hillman virtually never refrains from reminding us of the curious fact that we talk about them as if we were having them, but that we experience them as if they were having us. In sleep, I am thoroughly immersed in the dream. Only on waking do I reverse this fact and believe the dream is in me. At night the dream has me, but in the morning I say, I had a dream. (DU...

A theory of ghosts: the ingredient of recurring death

A ghost, I have written, is not a person; in fact, the term doesn’t designate any empirically discernible thing at all: rather it is a kind of placeholder notion which refers to something in a narrative, specifically, something that appears personified in that narrative. And even that cannot serve as a criterion (i.e., we cannot make out, say, narratological conditions, singling out ghosts from...

The production of soul as a kind of telos

What is the purpose of our lives? What are we here for? Following Hillman, here’s one way of looking at it: We are here to generate psyche. Our task is thus a creative one: we are meant to produce more soul; and we perform this creative job by getting into the activity of loving anima. This makes the generation of soul into something like the telos of ancient eudaimonistic philosophy: an idea...

Projections, patterns, and depth

In our lived experience we navigate both an external world of objects and a subjective stream of psychological states. This is how the surface of reality presents itself to us. But both the external world of objects and the subjective stream of psychological states have a certain depth to them: they exhibit recurring patterns.

The spiritual mirror, eros, and Narcissus

When I wrote about projection and the mirror of Narcissus last week, I realized there is a hidden connection between some of the topics I recently discussed: the neo-Platonic mirror theory of eros, and Jung's notion of spirit.

On the movements of the collective unconscious

Robert Musil was one of the great masters of imaginative metaphor, and he captured very well the notion that much of what drives our psychology is both collective and unconscious — difficult to be aware of from the point of view of individual consciousness: The train of time is a train which rolls out its own tracks ahead of itself. The flow of time is a river which carries its own banks along...

Something breaking into something else

Jung discusses from time to time how unconscious processes can “break in” (einbrechen) and disrupt consciousness. The term captures the experience from the point of consciousness: the workings of the ego complex are interrupted from something “outside”, and that means: something outside consciousness. In other words, what “breaks in” is simply something else, something not under conscious...

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.

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