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.
A while ago, I have posted some reflections on “the mirror of Narcissus”, a phrase that Tim Wu uses to characterize the Instagram culture of mass self-presentation in pictures. That phrase implies some kind of narcissism. But is that just a vague association with an old myth, or is there a deeper connection?
There is in human experience a perennial contrast between the external world and the inner world, the interior. With both worlds, we interact; and to some small extent we can influence and control them. But mostly, they’re wide-open ranges of the unknown: abundant, overpowering, and utterly “other” than ourselves.
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...