Tagsoul

Hillman on the return from the underworld

I have asked whether a descent to the underworld would necessarily require a compensating return trip. The occidental tradition frequently sets it up this way (just think of Plato’s cave in the Politeia or Dante’s Inferno/Paradiso layout; although there is also at least one major mythical form, namely that of Orpheus, which presents the return trip it as desired, but failing). In contrast, the...

Changes for the better, changes for the worse

Hillman is one of the most original and interesting writers in the tradition following Jung, and I have spent quite a few pages on this blog discussing his work already. Naturally, this means I have to combine several of his ideas and theories, which are distributed over multiple books, in order to gain a consolidated understanding. But there is a danger in this, too: Hillman’s work, as...

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...

The self-deceptive ego

My current excursion into ego theory started from an instance of perspective reversal in which Hillman suggested that “the shadow casts me”, that is, we might understand the ego as a projection from the shadow (in its original Jungian understanding).  But we would be mistaken if we construed this narrowly, as the view that the ego is a projection only from the shadow. In Hillman’s thinking (as in...

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...

Visions, dreams, and false dichochotomies

A little while ago, I dug into a question Hillman poses about dream characters: “why don’t the shades and Gods come in their own shapes; why do they bother with the dream incarnations, my family and friends and odd strangers?” (DU 99); and I don’t think I got really clear about what the answer to that question is supposed to be (according to Hillman). Hillman thinks that, if the “shades and Gods”...

Anima confusions and obscure language

I have started to sketch one of Hillman’s most original lines of thought: that archetypal psychology, as he views it, is akin to ancient eudaimonistic philosophy — an approach to how we should live our lives —, and that the role of the telos — that which we aim at in living our lives this way — is played by the production of soul. Generating more soul is what we are here for: it’s what gives...

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...

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.

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.

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