Psyche: Spirit and Soul

Is there a difference between spirit and soul? In his survey of what the term "spirit" means, Jung notes in passing that it is “common opinion that spirit and soul are essentially the same and therefore only arbitrarily separable”. And it is true that, in Jung’s work, the use of notions such as “psyche”, “spirit”, and “soul” seems at times arbitrary or at least vague...

On the guises of the archetype

Jung’s two essays on synchronicities and on spirit in the fairy tale have a striking claim in common: that there is a “hidden meaning [Sinn] behind the chaotic events in life”. It will be interesting to compare how the two essays introduce the core finding: there is an interesting commonality, and one important difference.

Missing meaning-links

I have explored, in some depth now, a particular archetypal idea: that “there is a hidden meaning behind chaotic life”. The way I have explored it was through Jung’s essay on spirit, which deals explicitly with it. But there is a connection between this idea and synchronicities, which Jung, it seems, didn’t make.

Spirit and its origin myth

In the case of Spirit, Jung does not talk about an individual’s process of integrating archetypal contents as psychological functions: he claims that such a process happened as an overarching development in the history of the human species. That, of course, is a variation on an origin myth: a phantasy, projected backwards into history.

The dead backwaters of life

There is a particular kind of life situation, in which a person may find themselves, and which fits the pattern I have discussed in my earlier post: it is one of those situations where archetypes are triggered. Let's call it the "dead backwater" type of life situations.

Patterns of life situations

Synchronicities are something that "appears” in an individual person’s life, usually at some particular stage or around some event. Therefore, we can assume that there are certain patterns in people’s lives when archetypes are triggered, resulting in greater likelyhood of experiencing synchronicities.

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.

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.