Connecting a few dots

We are now in a position to make some connections. At the end of a much earlier post, I have posed the question whether there is a reason behind the fact that the archetype of a hidden meaning (the archetype of spirit) appears sometimes personified (as Wise Old Man etc.) and sometimes as synchronicity (whether that means as Jung’s supposed “principle” or simply as de facto appearances of...

A sidenote on belief in the supernatural

I want to dwell a little longer on the belief in a “supernatural” kind of necessity. My guiding example throughout this series of postings has been Vertigo; and Vertigo shares this characteristic — which I have called an intimation of an inevitability — with other narratives of a certain design, including the “appointment in Samarra” and ancient tragedies such as that of Oedipus, where “[t]hings...

More on synchronicities and the world-person direction

In my previous post, I have contrasted interactions that run in the person-world direction (actions and behavior) with those that run in the world-person direction (perceptions); and I have noted that interactions of both kinds can be taken over by unconscious forces: behavior can be disrupted or hijacked, and similarly (though perhaps more rarely) so can perceptions. Synchronicities can be seen...

Synchronicities and the world-person direction 

In a given synchronistic experience, the subject perceives a coincidence in the external world; attached to this experience is an impression of meaningfulness, even a “numinous” feeling. To undergo an experience like that is not deliberate: the subject has not consciously chosen to be aware of the coincidental events, nor of the accompanying feeling of meaningfulness. Such an episode is then an...

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.

The language of “not a coincidence”

In case in which coincidences are explainable by someone’s (hidden agenda), the sense of “meaningfuless” vanishes, and thus we no longer see them as synchronistic. Such cases are often described using the phrase “not a coincidence”.

The wide alley of dreams and the narrow, winding trail of synchronicities

Dreams may be the via regia to the unconscious: Freud said so, and Jung, too, insisted that the analysis of dreams would allow both analyst and analysand to observe what went on with the unconscious psyche (cf. e.g. GW VII §§209-210). Writing forth the metaphor, we might say that, if dreams are the via regia, then synchronicities are a small, winding mountain path which may or may not lead...

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...

The Mana Personality vs. the Self

I have criticized Hillman for saying that Jung’s archetypes of the Self and the Wise Old Man are the same — mostly for the reason that Jung in many passages clearly speaks as if these are not just not the same, but even widely separated notions. There is, however, one very central passage in Jung’s work where he explicitly discusses the difference between the Wise Old Man and the Self archetypes.

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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