Tagsymbols

Sense perception and sensous language

In various places, Hillman traces a development through Jung’s work away from “conceptal rationalism” towards an imagistic and metaphorical style of thinking; the former is associated with Psychological Types, the latter with Jung’s later writings on alchemy. Hillman, of course, thinks that this development is for the better.

Enigmatic playfulness and its depths

Salvador Dalí famously rejected symbolic interpretations of the dream-like imagery in his paintings. Surely there is a good measure of funny insolence (and self-mystification) about this attitude, but it also has a serious and important point behind it.

The Old Man and the Self

In several places, Hillman practically identifies two well-known Jungian archetypal figures: “the Self, which is another name for the archetype of meaning,  or the Old Wise Man”. This is an astonishingly implausible claim.

Self-misunderstanding and the mirror of Narcissus

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?

Understanding (Hillman’s notion of) pathologizing

I have quoted Hillman, from his “Peaks and Vales” essay on the difference between spirit and soul, as listing three distinctive features of soul-work, in contrast to spirit-work. The first of those three is that “pathologizing” is not “dismissed for growth”. But what does that even mean?

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...

Self-representing archetypes

According to Jung, the archetypes of the collective unconscious are psychological patterns. An archetype thus represents how we (human beings) typically live through and experience certain situations. What kind of situations?

Things that happen in the mirror

‘Mirror’ is one of Durrell’s words; mirrors are one of his images: they appear throughout the Alexandria tetralogy, in various functions. 1. When the narrator’s relationship with Melissa starts, her previous lover is jealous (to the point of following him around with a pistol in his coat). The two men fall into a pattern of staring and ignoring each other when they meet. But then something...

The joys of Eigenbrötlertum

The workings of our social environment are so close before our eyes that we often don’t even notice them; but many of them profoundly shape what we perceive as “reality”. It has proved fruitful to understand this along the lines of an analogy: social interactions share many characteristics with theatrical performances. Thus social interactions are enacted, as if on a stage, and “reality” is of...

The mirror and the mask

What we see, when looking into the symbolic mirror, are those parts of ourselves which we would normally avoid to look at, and which we carefully also hide from others. These are part of the personal unconscious and make up, in Jungian terminology, our “shadow”. The false face that we show ourselves and the outside worlds (as long as we ignore the shadow), is called the “persona” (in the ancient...

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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