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The Balance of Male and Female Energy

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By Tony Fahkry

A Whole Mind Approach

In a recent discussion with a health professional, I was curious why a growing number of people seem to rationalise their health concerns via logic alone. Rather than examining the mental and emotional issues to their failing health, we both agreed that our teaching system educates us from an early age to rationalise the world through reason. Surely solving our problems at the level of the mind is the best approach – or is it?

In Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, the author argues that the future belongs to the artists and creatives among us, rather than the traditional left brain professionals like accountants, lawyers and computer programmers. He postulates that with the advent of the Information Age, left brain thinkers (logic) dominated the landscape for much of this period, as evident with the development of the internet.

What does this mean in the larger context? Pink suggests that left brain orientated jobs have moved off-shore in recent times to countries where labour rates are less expensive. Jobs that previously required analytical processing are now sourced to countries like India and China for far less than major countries. Creative jobs on the other hand have seen a rise in demand since they cannot be automated due to the specialisation of the creative process.

I find this discussion fascinating on a number of levels. Firstly, our society has been largely male dominated for a number of centuries. The heads of major countries continue to be led by men, although this is now beginning to change. We typically value the masculine energy, as evident by a recent documentary on television in view of the World Cup. It was revealed that in poorer areas of Brazil, parents have two wishes in life: that they be blessed with a boy as a child and that he can kick a soccer ball.

Having been raised in a Catholic Middle Eastern family, I still recall the voices of my parents and relatives filled with optimism when someone within the community gave birth to a baby boy. Even as a young male, the same relatives reinforced the image of a powerful archetypal male aligned with logic and reason.

The Balance of Energy

You might be interested to learn that in Eastern philosophy the body is considered to be balanced energetically in two halves, known as polarities – male (right side) and female (left side). This is also expressed as the Yin (female) and Yang (male) energy. The notable Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung wrote about the anima and the animus which are the two unconscious archetypes that each gender possess.

What are the distinct qualities of these respective energies? Well, the male energy is: protective, logical, analytical, and grounded in reason, action orientated and sets boundaries. This energy is depicted as air and fire elements. The female energy in contrast is: nurturing, listening, emotional, intuitive, perceptive, calm, empathetic and compassionate. This energy is depicted as earth and water elements. Note, I am not describing the differences between men and women. These qualities relate to the energetic relationship inherent in both sexes.

We all have male and female qualities, resulting in a harmonious union of balance. When we favour one energy over the other, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Nature therefore thrives on a sense of balance and equilibrium.

As stated earlier, our society values left brain thinking from an early age. Children are taught in school to examine and deduce the world through logic and reason. In contrast, the Steiner education model urges children to harness right brain thinking with a focus toward creative pursuits. Whilst criticism has been labelled at this method of teaching, Steiner children nonetheless mature with highly advanced emotional intelligence.

It was Daniel Siegel author of Emotional Intelligence who coined the term EQ (emotional intelligence) in the early nineties. His studies into EQ have shown that it is not one’s IQ which is the measure of success in life, rather their EQ. As an example, men are taught to disregard their feelings or alternatively ‘stuff them down’ since feelings are something women have. Therefore men have inadvertently associated strength and power with reason and logic much to the detriment of EQ.

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Integration over Separation

Similarly gender roles have been obscured in recent times, as evident through various movements which sought to liberate the sexes from periods of repression. These days, women find themselves competing with men for senior roles within the workforce, at a cost to their family life. Balancing career and family has become a challenge for working women.

One would have thought that the feminist movement liberated women from the need to play on the same level as men. Rather, women have felt compelled to compete with men by playing by their rules in order to get ahead in the corporate world. Albeit this is one minor example, yet it underscores the disconnect apparent when there is a separation of male and female energies.

In a similar context, men are encouraged to deny their intuition for fear that they’ll connect with their emotional self. Intuition and feelings are deemed irrational to men, since it is devoid of scientific evidence. Women on the other hand understand the importance of intuition. They know where intuition resides within their body and trust it well. It is no wonder that women make better leaders, since they have sought to develop both male and female qualities in their leadership roles.

My contention in this article is to highlight that the future lies in integration rather than separation i.e. uniting our male and female energies. The emphasis will be towards the union of our male and female energies in a holistic sense, much like the Eastern principle espouses.

Bruce Lipton PhD, author of Spontaneous Evolution notes that humanity is advancing forward into a new paradigm known as Holism; the union of spirit and matter. ‘The new science of holism emphasises that, in order for us to transcend the parts and see the whole, we must acquire an understanding of Nature and the human experience.’ I have purposely bolded the last sentence. If we are to seek happiness and fulfillment in our lives, we must be willing to work in harmony with nature or run the risk of being at her mercy.

Uniting with our male and female energies will allow us to seek balance in order to optimise our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Problems become apparent when we swing toward one direction over the other. When we favour our male energy, the female side is minimised causing a disruption in our life-force and resulting in physical and emotional ailments.

The key is to unite both male and female energies by regarding them as the wholeness of your being. In order to thrive mentally, emotionally and physically you will need to harness each energy force at respective times throughout your life.

Men and women can live together afterall – even under the one roof!

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/new-age-articles/the-balance-of-male-and-female-energy-7043041.html

About the Author

If you enjoyed this article by Tony Fahkry, why not gain access to Tony’s full body of knowledge by getting a copy of his new book ‘The Power to Navigate Life’

The Power to Navigate Life is arguably the most complete and powerful teachings on the mastering of life. The Power to Navigate Life is your opportunity to experience a rewarding life from the very first page. Visit http://www.tonyfahkry.com to get your copy.


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The Bhagavad Gita in a Complicated World

As it Is by Jeremy

As it Is by Jeremy via Flickr

Krishna says kill?

It’s often said that The Bhagavad Gita is the Hindu Bible. Among a great diversity of Hindu scripture, the Gita stands out as a unique gem, bringing together several core aspects of Hinduism. At least, this is how enthusiasts talk about the Gita. Critics tend to see it as a misguided justification for violence.

The Gita belongs within the Mahabharata, an epic about two warring families. Because of its remarkable literary and philosophical sophistication, most scholars believe the Gita was added to the Mahabharata around 450 BCE, approximately 500 years after the original epic was written around 1000 BCE.

This is not unusual for ancient texts. Almost all contemporary biblical scholars say that diverse oral traditions and authors run though many Old Testament books formerly believed to be written by just one person.

The story of the Gita is straighforward. The hero, Arjuna, derives from the virtuous Pandava family. He’s cheated out of his rightful palace by the wicked Karauva family. As a result, the deity Krishna, seated at the back of Arjuna’s chariot, urges him to fight in a massive battle to vanquish the evil Karauvas. Because the Pandavas and Karauvas are kith and kin, the noble Arjuna hesitates when Krishna exhorts him to kill members of the Karauva family.

At this point, Krishna launches forth on a metaphysical discourse about sacred duty (dharma) and the immortality of the soul (atman). Arjuna is justified in killing, Krishna says, because it’s his sacred obligation as a member of the warrior caste (Kshatriya). As a Kshatriya he’s bound to restore balance in a moral order perilously thrown out of sync by the Karauva’s evil ways.

Krishna says that Arjuna would not really be killing because, at the deepest level, the soul is immortal; it’s Arjuna’s spiritual ignorance that makes him believe he’d be sinning by slaying the Karauvas. In fact, Krishna says physicality is an illusion spun by the web of maya (deception arising from ignorance). Krishna adds that Arjuna’s ignorance must be dispelled before he can attain the clear vision needed to do the right thing—that is, kill the Karauvas.

A Psychological Interpretation of the Gita

Lord Krishna Speaks to Arjuna by His Holiness Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada

Lord Krishna Speaks to Arjuna by His Holiness Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada via Flickr

The Gita is no mere outburst or artistic statement of anger.† Instead, Krishna’s discourse is an intricate philosophico-religious argument in favor of killing. And it’s not too hard to read the message as if it were meant literally—i.e. killing is okay because it’s holy.

Some may agree with this stance, citing the Jewish Holy War, the Christian Just War and the Muslim jihad as parallels. Others may find it deplorable.

But like any text, literary or not, the Gita can be interpreted.

Putting aside bellicose readings of the Gita, it seems far more constructive to interpret the Gita on a psycho-spiritual level. This isn’t a novel approach. Several Indian thinkers have written on the psychological aspects of the Gita. In fact, the great champion of non-violence, Mohandas Gandhi, said the Gita was his favorite book, one that could untie any spiritual knot.

Gandhi’s notion of spiritual knots reminds me of a roadside conversation I had in West Bengal where an Indian man once said, “The Western mind is very complicated.” He seemed to be alluding to the multiplicity of personality traits and desires in Westerners. Perhaps he was also saying that Indians are more centered, peaceful, and less psychologically convoluted.

Myself, I try to avoid racial stereotypes like that. And it seems that all of us – North, South, East and West – exhibit more than just one personality aspect.

But the Indian man raised a good point. The psyche can be complicated. Some psychologists say that the complexities of the psyche are genetically determined. Behaviorists, on the other hand, say the mind is fully conditioned by the environment. Most, however, take a less extreme stance by highlighting the importance of nature and nurture. Meanwhile, theologians in several different religions believe that spiritual powers act on our personalities, a perspective often overlooked within contemporary psychology.

Sri Ramakrishna and C. G. Jung

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa - Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore by Chetan Hegde M

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa – Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore by Chetan Hegde M via Flickr

The Indian holy man Sri Ramakrishna says the spiritual quest entails a process of purification, not always easy to endure. For Ramakrishna, the sluggish, inferior aspects of the personality are purged through suffering.

Here Ramakrishna gives the analogy of rotten tomatoes. Old tomatoes rot faster, he says, when bashed up and thrown out the window.

This might sound enigmatic but Ramakrishna’s analogy might be more easily understood if we compare it to Carl Jung’s work on psychological suffering and alchemy.

Jung did an extensive study of the ancient and medieval practice of alchemy and came to see it as a process of inner transformation. He believed the alchemist’s desire to transform base metals into gold mirrors a psychological transformation. As metals are heated and transformed, the alchemist’s self likewise evolves.

While some alchemists were, no doubt, hucksters trying to scam zealous aristocrats in their search of gold, other were sincere. The true alchemists sought to create a mystical tonic to cure illness and ensure immortality. But this elixir came through prolonged boilings, just as the process of psychological purification entails suffering.

Jung’s interpretation of alchemy parallels Ramakrishna’s take on the Gita because both point to a stormy and painful stage of psycho-spiritual growth.

As we journey through life, people and events can irritate us. During moments of agitation and temptation our lesser qualities may arise. Some accept these personality aspects and leave them unchanged. For these people it’s not degrading to accept their animal nature. It’s just natural, healthy and whole. By way of contrast, potential saints are consumed with the idea of eradicating lower personality traits. Some may even self-flagellate in an attempt to conquer sinful tendencies.

Most of us are somewhere between those two extremes. When confronted with irritating people or bad habits we can view it as an opportunity for reflection, knowledge and self-mastery.

Accordingly, a psychological interpretation of the Gita takes much of life as a battlefield of antagonistic influences, personalities and opinions. But life isn’t quite that simple and a psychological interpretation of the Gita, while superior to a literal one, still focuses on the abrasive side of human relationships.

However, disharmony is only half the story. Conflicts will always arise. But instead of religiously hitting back when people hurt us, shouldn’t we at least try to overcome our pain through understanding and compassion?

As Saint Paul says:

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

† Bruce Cockburns’ song, “If I had a Rocket Launcher” comes to mind. Here Cockburn explains that he’s not advocating violence but, instead, artistically expressing a moment of personal rage in response to the 1980s killings in South America.

The Bhagavad Gita in a Complicated World Copyright © Michael Clark. All rights reserved.


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DVD Review – Archetype of the UFO

Archetype of the UFO - Reality Films

Title: Archetype of the UFO
Genre: UFO, Paranormal, Meta-Physics
Production Company: Reality Films

The psychiatrist Carl Jung said that UFOs might be real but a good percentage of eyewitness accounts may be psychological projections from the collective unconscious.

Jung was writing during a veritable UFO craze in the 1950s, when most UFOs were represented as disc shaped flying saucers. So Jung believed that a lot of UFO reports were projections of the mandala, an ancient Sanskrit word for “circle.” In its own religious and philosophical context, the mandala has spiritual and cosmological connotations, but for Jung it’s a basic psychological archetype.

Archetype of the UFO clearly borrows from Jung’s psychiatric theories. For Jung, an archetypal image (like a flying saucer) points to the meeting of genetic, cultural and spiritual aspects of the self. And as an archetype of wholeness, Jung often portrays the self as the center and circumference of a circle.

The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness (CW 12, par. 44).

Archetype of the UFO, however, doesn’t just wrap up Jung’s ideas. It takes them further to the world of recent UFO theory and evidence.

This intelligent documentary looks at diverse metaphysical issues often passed over by lesser lights within the realm of ET, UFO and paranormal debates.

Emphasizing the possible misinterpretation of so-called physical sightings, Archetype of the UFO concedes that in many cases there may be no difference between inner and outer ET and UFO encounters. So this DVD isn’t just about little green men and flying saucers. Our beliefs about reality and truth are also thrown into doubt.

Most of the DVD features Nick Pope, a respected figure in UFO lore who’s appeared on CNN and other major networks. Pope and interviewer Philip Gardiner probe deep and compel us to think for ourselves about ETs, UFOs, mysticism, YouTube videos, disinformation, acclimatization, social power and the role of individual interpretation.

Many say it’s time for a proverbial course correction to save our planet in the 21st century. If so, Archetype of the UFO should be standard-issue for every seeker on the brink of making challenging discoveries about the self, society and beyond.

—MC


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Ego, Archetype and Self: C. G. Jung and Modernity

The Temple of the Prim and a tribute to Carl Jung, who surely would have loved Second Life

The Temple of the Prim and a tribute to Carl Jung, who surely would have loved Second Life by Bettina Tizzy (aka Beverly Millson) via Flickr

This was written as a grad student at the University of Ottawa in 1993. Things have changed a lot since then. I tend to write simpler sentences and my beliefs have evolved. So I post this partly out of nostalgia, and partly for its sound presentation of Jung’s ideas.

When citing this essay please use one of the standard citation styles for online sources.

—MC

Elsewhere I have indicated that the work of C. G. Jung reveals his bent for constructing elaborate psychological theory on the basis of selective data. This charge was mingled with a somewhat reluctant admiration for the creation of a fictional system that seemed to surpass the usual, and I would add, artificial dictates of scientific rationalism. Like a political leader who after safely retiring exposes party corruption, Jung retrospectively concedes to being a myth maker in what was then, modern times.(1)

To continue from previous work, I will examine Jung’s concepts of ego, archetype and self to determine if the above charge of selectivity – not to preclude other potential difficulties – applies to these seminal components of his analytical model of the psyche.(2)

* * *

Jung speaks of ego as a highly continuous “complex of ideas which constitutes the centre of [one's] field of consciousness”(3) Ego is also referred to as the “point of reference”(4) of the psyche; its partly biological inheritance is offset by unconsciously acquired material.(5) Ego is not the entire psyche, but, according to Jung, it has a monumental role in the regulation and maintenance of psychic balance.(6) To illustrate precisely what is balanced by the ego, we must examine Jung’s constructs of archetype and self.

Archetype. It sounds impressive: definite, timeless, metaphysical; Jung made an astute choice by modifying this essentially Platonic idea, providing a certain scholarly credibility to work that was quite avant-garde for the medical science of the time. While Jung had not fully developed a definition of archetype for entry into Psychological Types (where we find most of his terms described), a survey of various statements he makes about archetypes renders their character fairly clear.

Jung’s mature thought demarcates the archetypal image from the archetype proper. As a sort of crystal-lattice structure inherent in all nature,(7) and thus a bio-culturally transmitted content of humanity’s collective unconscious,(8 ) the essence of the archetype is not amenable to representation.(9) Of the numerous archetypal structures, their diversity is represented by so many archetypal images and ideas,(10) and is individually experienced with the evocation of corresponding feeling values, these sometimes taking the form of ‘magical’ heightened awareness.

This ‘luminous,’ ‘spiritual’ aspect of archetypal experience may be either healing or destructive for the overall psyche, depending on its relation to the ego.(11) When made conscious by the ego, the archetypal image is positive; if not encapsulated by ego consciousness, it may be regressive.(12) Yet we have seen that Jung stresses the archetype, itself, to not be accessible to representation. Elsewhere he says that it cannot reach ego consciousness.(13) Granted Jung introduces the archetypal images and ideas, we must still ask: if the extra feeling value of the archetypal image or idea originates from the archetype, how is ego unaware of that archetypal source which it ‘feels’?

An additional function of the archetype is to organize images and ideas.

Archetypes, so far as we can observe and experience them at all, manifest themselves only through their ability to organize images and ideas, and this will always be an unconscious process which cannot be detected until afterward.(14)

From this it seems that the archetypal images and ideas are productions of the hidden, secret aspect of the archetypes. Now according to Jung, the self – our final concept to be illustrated – is itself an archetype.(15) And here Jung seems to say that the self can be anything. If an archetype, then it has an unmanifest, invisible aspect that cannot be grasped. That is, part of our own self must be inaccessible to ourselves. But that is not all. The self is alternately described as the “sum total of conscious and unconscious contents,”(16) a “complexio oppositorium,”(17) and as the “psychic totality of the individual.”(18 ) I do not object to Jung describing the self as illimitable, I do object, however, to his use of the term individual. Individuals cannot all be infinite. There must be some mark of difference among them. And Jung seems to agree with me: he himself says that the unconscious part of the self “cannot be distinguished from that of another individual.”(19)

Lets untangle this mess, and in so doing, try to be fair to Jung. It seems the problem lies in his notion of self as a “psychic totality.” For Jung really offers a two-tiered model of the psyche. The conscious part is individual, the unconscious collective aspect is impersonal. Jung would have done better to dismiss the “totality” component of his definition of self. As he did not, however, “self” is ambiguous and indistinct from a strictly theoretical standpoint. Why call it self if indeed it is everyone?

As I am not one to admire muddled, confused systems, Jung’s primary mentor Freud might suggest that unduly punitive washroom socialization resulted in my fixation at the latter’s ‘anal stage’ of psychosexual development.(20) Such a psychoanalytic interpretation may not have been entirely dismissed by Jung. Part of his self includes the personal unconscious, yet for Jung and quite unlike Freud, the personal unconscious is “more or less superficial;”(21) and Jung would not necessarily have given a psychosexual etiology(22) to an obsession with order. In fact, Jung would most likely view the above paragraph as a temporary intrusion of the “trickster” archetype – a mildly evil, sometimes positive archetype – into my ego consciousness. Recall that as mediator that strives for psychic integrity (see top to endnote 12), ego must balance good and evil,(23) these polarities producing a tension that for Jung is a universal law.(24) So we see two differing analyses – Freudian and Jungian – which perhaps points more to the role of investigation and interpretation of a situation than to the supremacy of either model.(25) But perhaps not. It is possible that one system explains events better than another. And if in our uncertainty we choose to define theory as an approach to an ever-changing, relative ‘reality,’ as do anti-theorists Paul Feyerabend(26) and Jean Baudrillard,(see endnote 25) we cannot escape the fact that even anti-theory is a type of theory.

Jung calls all this intellectual diaphaneity ‘rationalistic twaddle’ and claims, as do his adherents, that the value of his system lies in its practical application. While academic analysis implicity and expressly states one should not dispense with critical reflection, Jung also does not advocate the abandonment of critique. As Naomi Goldenberg points out:

According to Jungian lore, Carl Jung once said he was glad to be Jung and not a “Jungian.” As Jung he could be a thinker who tested ideas and modified theories to fit maturing insights and experiences. As a Jungian he would be pressured into defending dogma and clutching to ideas which had outlived their utility.(27)

* * *

With the basic explication of ego, archetype and self complete, I will now offer a more intensive appraisal, recalling that to be critical is to assess the positive and negative aspects of a given truth-claim. For the last half of the paper I will reverse the order and first look at self, then archetype, and lastly, ego.

Jung says the self as archetype is represented by the mandala, a sanskrit term meaning ‘circle.’(28 ) Part of the self, as noted, cannot be represented. This “psychoid” aspect is “identical in all individuals.”(29) The act of representing the self, such as in the visual mandala, brings order to chaos(30) as the tension of opposites is, if not permanently, at least to some degree reconciled.(31) Because the mandala (self) may imprison or protect the individual (ego),(32) it is like the archetypal mother–it absorbs or nurtures. Thus the mandala is also said to parallel the mother archetype.(33)

But Jung takes the mandala out of context. For mandala is an eastern construct specifically designed to both represent and aid in the abolition of the ego. Mandala refers to that beyond ego; it does not include ego as suggested by Jung. For instance, Lama Anagarika Govinda notes that the Tibetan ‘Mandala of Highest Bliss’ is “a vehicle of an all-embracing, imperishable wholeness, in which the limits of individual egohood do not exist any more.”(34) Likewise, W. Y. Evans-Wentz says the ‘Mandala of Liberation’ entails a “gradual dispersion of the psychic or mental atoms of the…thought body.”(35) Prior to Buddhism, the Hindu mandala refers to each of the ten books of the Rig Veda, which collectively are designed to return one to an undifferentiated original state that apparently existed prior to such dualisms as life/death, real/unreal, good/evil and, I should add, self/ego.(36) As a symbol of self and its relation to ego, Jung could have equated mandala with the absorbing, yet not the nurturing aspect of his mother archetype. This self-mother-mandala triad provides an excellent example of unwarranted and selective cross-referencing within the exposition of Jung’s theory.

Previously I have argued that Jung confuses the asian atman with his definition of libido.(37) To complicate matters, Jung seems to equate atman with his concept of self.(38 ) Thus perhaps not in the way Jung constructs quaternities, we may draw from his work our own analogical foursome: self-mother-mandala-libido. What else will he add to the list?

Archetypes, as I have noted, have two faces. One face is forever turned away, essentially supramundane and inaccessible to women and men; the other expresses various healing and destructive images and ideas into mundane psychological reality. But archetypes need not take a human or animal form. For cohesiveness, we will look at Jung’s views on Ufos, specifically on flying saucers, for in their circular shape they may be likened to the mandala symbol. In this connection we should note that for Jung flying saucers were the quintessential Ufos(39) and something of a pop phenomenon in the 1950′s: the pre-Star Wars/Star Trek era of modernity in which Jung’s writings on the subject are located.(40)

In flying saucers, then, we have an archetype that Jung says, by virtue of its shape, is analogous to the mandala,(41) and by implication, the self.(42) Belief in, or dreams of the saucers, like any archetypal formation, represents a double-edged desire for individuation(43) in combination with a fear for personal destruction: Alien inhabitants of the saucer could be benevolent, benign or malicious. Likewise, the journey to mandalic totality (to use Jung’s selective interpretation) has potential danger in that immense and equally tumultuous psychic forces may be unleashed from the collective unconscious, which if not successfully integrated by consciousness, could lead to psychic ruin–recall the absorbing, also referred to as the ‘devouring’ mother archetype as the negative instance of the self.

If one, however, believed or dreamed of extraterrestrials as being neither helpful nor harmful, this for Jung would indicate a state of psychic stagnation–no loss nor advancement within the individuation process. And a belief or dream of pleasant aliens would suggest that one’s ‘yonder shore’ of the collective unconscious is about to guide the ego toward a new, more comprehensive ontology. I noted above that critique should be balanced, and here indeed we find a good example of Jung’s impressive ability to adapt his theoretical structures to the symbols and social imagination of his time. Not to imply that Jung is merely vying for popularity and personal recognition. His work is too thorough, thoughtful, and serious to be so summarily dismissed. But as suggested elsewhere, he also knew the professional legitimacy of his writing necessitated scrupulous selectivity; he thus displays great acumen for creating schematic ‘meaning’ out of a massive and diverse body of data, even if that data is liberally corralled into his analytic theory.(44)

This leads us to the problem of agency, identity and ego. Ego is said to emerge from the self; its relation to self is one of “moved to the mover.”(45) Although it may be subsumed by the archetypes, as in inflation, ego is also the real limit of the person.(46) Ego is not to be confused with the self; although Jung claims ‘ordinary’ persons, in ignorance, take ego as the entire psychological being. Not so for Jung. When ego is unaware of, or attempts to deny the self’s existence, the ‘sleeping giant’ of the unconscious(47) self may grumble mightily at any time. The result: psychic catastrophe.(48 ) That is, ego becomes assimilated by the self–a situation praised in eastern religious and cultural ideals, but not endorsed within the scientific materialism of western modernity.

Thus as mentioned at the outset, ego plays a tremendous role in Jung’s vision of the psyche. By balancing inner and outer realities, it serves to regulate both collective unconscious and collective conscious forces(49) (and implicitly, moral opposites of good and evil residing in the psyche and expressed in the sentiments and acts of external reality). Ego is, therefore, busy. So busy that Jung sees it as the high achievement of western humanity. Unlike the so-called ‘primitives,’ the egos of modern individuals are more differentiated and less luminous than those of their, as Jung would have it, cruder ancestors.(50)

Concerning luminosity and ego, two points should be made. First, Jung says even modern persons have egos surrounded by a “multitude of little luminosities.”(51) Their unconscious provides various shades and textures to ego consciousness. And considering everyone is variously configured as such, each possessing different ‘lights’ from the unconscious, we must ask how Jung is able to make sweeping statements regarding the ‘normal’ ego constitution of western women and men. To propose for the sake of argument two stereotypes, does an artist necessarily see and experience in the same manner as an astrophysicist? Jung would say no, of course.(52) While he humbly acknowledges being a lay-person and doctor who happens to be very well read, at times his lack of academic training (and rigour) shows. By analogy, Albert Einstein admits to being poor at math, and Jung’s achievement was perhaps made possible by the fact that he was not confined by corridors of acceptable thought. But in spite of this, certain unacceptable margins of vagueness and redundancy may be discerned in his writing.

Another issue to be raised concerning luminosity and ego is in their application to Jung’s so-called ‘primitives.’ Jung visited Africa and India, so unlike ethnocentrics such as Emile Durkheim – who never travelled to places written about – we would suspect him to be in a better position to understand the inhabitants of foreign societies. But right from the outset Jung envisions such ‘native cultures’ as possessing the stereotypical attributes of ‘primitive man,’ and while he shows some appreciation for indigenous cosmologies,(53) and even made some attempts to learn local languages prior to departures, he nevertheless seems to wear, as it were, his safari hat throughout his adventures into lands exotica. I mean to say, he never let his European side slip–perhaps because he truly showed tendencies towards racism.(54) Possibly Jung’s comments on the luminous primitive ego reflect in part his own fantasy world: a projection of Jung’s psychic contents to others.(55)

* * *

To conclude, in reviewing ego, archetype and self, it seems my suspicions have been further confirmed. Jung’s analogic method displays an almost artistic collage of seemingly related concepts; upon close and careful examination, however, we have seen that mandala is not taken in situ, but rather as Jung – consciously or unconsciously – chooses to portray it. Regarding Ufos, Jung provides a detailed psychological exposition after professing ignorance as to their actuality.(56) While he mentions (in passing) that exclusively psychological relationships to Ufos as archetypal images would not dismiss the possibility of genuine Ufos,(57) he nonetheless proceeds to systematically squelch any tinge of ambiguity as to the latter’s authenticity with an apparent certainty that makes us wonder: is Jung the open-minded investigator he claims to be, searching for knowledge on the basis of empirically demonstrable facts, or is he one of the truly great doctrinaires of modernity, holding fast to new dogma of his own design?

In all likelihood, he is probably both; and that, in Jung’s own fashion, would be consistent with the ‘unity of opposites’ motif postulated within his system. Whether such theoretical coherence arrived with or without ethical consequence remains open to various avenues of debate.(58 )

Endnotes

1) See my unpublished paper for the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, “Plumbing the Depths: Carl Jung, Freud and Hinduism.”

2) Until the entirety of Jung’s work is studied, forwarded conclusions must be tentative. This critique is based mostly on C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vols. 1-11.

3) C. G. Jung, Psychological Types in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 6, 425.

4) C. G. Jung, Mandala Symbolism from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 717.

5) C. G. Jung, “Analytical Psychology and Education,” The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Vol. 17, par. 169, cited in Daryl Sharp, Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms and Concepts (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1991: 49).

6) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 563.

7) C. G. Jung, The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 8, 210.

8 ) C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 11, 50.

9) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 214. Jung seems to overlook the fact that the words he writes are a type of representation.

10) Ibid, 214.

11) Ibid, 205.

12) C. G. Jung, Civilization in Transition in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 10, 237.

13) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 213.

14) Ibid, 231.

15) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 156.

16) Ibid, 82.

17) Here Jung refers to dialectical opposites of, for instance, good and evil, masculine and feminine, hatred and love. Ibid, 443.

18 ) Ibid, 156.

19) Ibid, 277.

20) As in my previous paper, “Plumbing the Depths,” time restraints necessitate reference to Freud via secondary sources. In this case: Lectures on Psychoanalysis for undergraduate course conducted by Dr. Donald Carveth, 1981-1982, York University, Toronto.

21) C. G. Jung, Four Archetypes from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 3; Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 291.

22) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 349-350.

23) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 219.

24) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 197.

25) As an extreme anti-theorist, Jean Baudrillard comments that good theory should lose its own meaning when “pushed to its conclusion” at the “limits of the text.” Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault/Forget Baudrillard (New York: Semiotext( ), 1987: 38 ).

26) See, for example, Paul Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (London: Humanities Press, 1975).

27) Naomi R. Goldenberg, “Reply to Barbara Chesser’s Comment on ‘A Feminist Critique of Jung,’” Signs (Spring 1978): 724.

28 ) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 713.

29) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 436.

30) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 645.

31) Ibid, par. 637.

32) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 95-96.

33) Jung, Four Archetypes, par. 156.

34) Lama Anagarika Govinda, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism (New Delhi: B.I. Publications PVT Ltd., 1960: 166-171).

35) W. Y. Evans-Wentz ed., The Tibetan Book of the Dead, trans. Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960: 126, footnotes 1-3).

36) Troy Wilson Organ, Hinduism: Its Historical Development (London: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1974: 59, 76-77, 80).

37) Clark, “Plumbing the Depths,” 10.

38 ) C. G. Jung, Aion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/2, 144, 194, 222.

39) Jung briefly notes that he cannot determine the falsity or truthfulness of numerous Ufo accounts. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 309.

40) Star Wars and Star Trek introduced variously shaped interstellar crafts to the popular imagination.

41) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 325.

42) William McGuire & R. F. C. Hull eds., C. G. Jung Speaking, Bollingen Series XCVII (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977: 414).

43) Jung’s concept that refers to the goal of psychic totality, differentiation and socio-environmental confluence. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 258-259.

44) See Clark, “Plumbing the Depths,” 8-10.

45) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 259.

46) Ibid, 470.

47) Which is nonetheless conscious of itself.

48 ) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 9, 24.

49) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 217-218.

50) Ibid, 189.

51) Ibid, 190.

52) In later work I will elaborate on Jung’s 4 by 2 model of the psyche, consisting of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition, as well as introversion and extroversion.

53) Especially with the Pueblo Indians. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 211; and C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, revised, ed. Aniela Jaffé, trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Vintage Books, 1961: 250).

54) For example, he believes individuals of all the colonies of England are “slightly inferior,” and that “there are facts to support this view” (in America, this being the psychological influence of the “lax, “childlike” and “inferior” blacks). Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 46-47, 121, 507-509).

55) We are indebted to Freud for the mechanism of projection; Jung also recognizes the primacy of projection and notes that archetypes are usually expressed through this process. Dr. Donald Carveth, Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 1981-1982, York University, Toronto; See also, C. G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 7, 95.

56) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 309.

57) He utilizes the concept of ‘synchronicity’ to account for this. Ibid, 313. Unfortunately it is beyond the scope of this paper to do justice to this pivotal component of Jung’s schema.

58 ) Jung’s theoretical extrapolations reveal not only racist, but strong sexist tendencies. While apparently progressive, saying women should be regarded on the basis of “merit not gender,” Jung also exemplifies the expected ‘men are men, women are “girls”‘ mentality of his day. Jung, The Collected Works, Vol.7, 25; and Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 286. Concerning his sexist views on rape, and for other examples of extreme sex-role stereotyping, see Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 9/2, 15-17; and Jung, The Collected Works Vol. 10, 117-119. On marriage, he claims i) all women desire children and ii) are attracted only to one man while married men are naturally attracted to many women; at the same time, however, iii) women aim to “loosen” the marriage structure. Ibid, 101 (i), 42 (ii), 132 (iii). Jung also assumes all lesbians are interested and/or active in gender/political issues by categorizing lesbian love as a stimulus for women to organize for increased social empowerment. Ibid, 99. Lastly, Jung’s professional practice entailed having sex with at least two of his female clients. Naomi Goldenberg, “Looking at Jung Looking at Himself,” Soundings, 73/2-3 (Summer/Fall 1990): 395.

Copyright © Michael W. Clark, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


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Integration and the Orient: Implications of Carl Gustav Jung’s Concepts of Persona, Shadow, and Theory of Psychological Types

Lost Flame by stonethestone via Flickr

Lost Flame by stonethestone via Flickr

Introduction

Just this morning I read that Asian countries are projected to ‘top richest list by 2050,’ so I thought it would be appropriate to post this essay, “Integration and the Orient.”

Things have changed a lot since the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung said that Asia was “at bottom” of the spiritual transformation of the West. Jung’s observation had elements of truth but there’s no way he could have seen how history would unfold after his death in 1961.

“Integration and the Orient” was written in July 1993, during a formative period as a grad student in the department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. My thinking has matured since the 90s, so this is more a snapshot of what I believed in then, as opposed to how I see things today.

I post this essay, as germinal as it is, for its sound coverage of Jung’s ideas and also for several interesting asides. When referencing please use one of the standard citation styles for electronic information.

—MC

Integration and the Orient: Implications of Carl Gustav Jung’s Concepts of Persona, Shadow, and Theory of Psychological Types

© Michael Clark Ph.D

In this third in a series of short essays on the Collected Works of C. G. Jung, I will continue with the central concern of the preceding critiques: to ascertain whether Jung misappropriates religious and mythological data to support his theoretical constructs and philosophical reflections. Furthermore, an examination of his concepts of persona and the shadow will lead to an analysis of Jung’s theory of psychological types, and to his oft implied ideal of psychic integration, or, wholeness. From this, Jung’s rendering of Asian textual sources will be assessed within Edward Said’s poststructural analysis of western discourse and practice pertaining to what he claims is a somewhat artificial category, namely, ‘the Orient.’(1) Not only will Jung be assessed from the perspective of Said, however; it is valid to view Said’s thesis from a Jungian standpoint.

* * * * *

Jung’s concept of the persona is said to exist either unconsciously (2) or in conscious relation to the ego (3) and represents the various ideal social masks the individual evidently displays for “reasons of adaptation or personal convenience.” (4) Considering the important role this essential psychic function plays in uniting the individual to her or his milieu, simultaneously contributing to and thereby maintaining the status quo of implied social conventions, Jung gives scant reference to it through his work. (5) This perhaps contributes to the fact that most social and political theorists tend to ignore Jung’s work while giving considerable attention to Freud. (6)

Indeed, Jung and Jungians have often been charged as the latest panacea for idle and angst-ridden members of upper-middle and upper classes, who despite and yet as a result of success in material culture spend fortunes in costly analysis and workshops in hope of relieving their ennui. (7) Had they daily and relatively low-paid employment as required by members of the lower-class social strata, Jung and his system might appear superfluous. Freud, in contrast, has escaped if not popular devolution then to some degree critical reprobation, this being partly due to the confluence of his dynamic of internalization/repression with that of the neo-Marxist concept of “false consciousness” which dominated critical theory prior to the advent of Michel Foucault and poststructuralism. Moreover, Freud’s psychosexual stages of development, quite ignored by Jung, fostered acceptance of themes that later would be adopted and given further legitimacy via poststructuralism: for instance, the existence of childhood, gay and lesbian sexualities. Thus regarding scholarly theory and critique, Jung has suffered near oblivion until quite recently finding entrance into university departments of psychology and religion; yet in comparison to Freud, most social and political thinkers still find him either irrelevant, or perhaps fey.

Certainly Jung’s concept of the persona did not catapult him into the field of scholarly debate. Despite its almost comic-book ring, it is the ‘shadow’ which raises more interest, especially within our field of psychology of religion. For the shadow belongs to both the personal (8) and collective unconscious spheres, and being a concept that includes not just ontology but also morality, it may be applied to any human activity involving the perhaps eternal dialectic of good and evil. (9)

When it [shadow] appears as an archetype…it is quite within the possibility for a man to recognize the relative evil of his nature, but it is a rare and shattering experience for him to gaze into the face of absolute evil.(10)

Once the persona is recognized as being separate from ego, the subject (ideally) realizes that she or he has a negative ego personality that may indeed bear “painful and regrettable” results to self and/or others.(11) This shadow belongs to both the personal and collective spheres; it also exists consciously or unconsciously within each.(12) Like the anima, it is a bridge linking consciousness with the personal and collective unconscious.(13) Accordingly, the subject must endeavour to become conscious – in terms of ego becoming aware – of her or his various shadow aspects lest they rule private and social affairs. Thus by raising the negative shadow aspects to consciousness, one masters the demonic and “daemonic”(14) within. As Jung says:

Medical psychology has recognized today that it is a therapeutic necessity…for consciousness to confront the shadow. In the end this must lead to some kind of union, even though the union consists at first in an open conflict.(15)

While potentially confused with ego if indeed the subject’s ego is undifferentiated from the many shadow aspects, the shadow must be recognized as something “other” than ego to facilitate its integration within consciousness. As suggested by the term “daemonic,”* this process does not necessarily entail an encounter with the purely negative, for Jung says the shadow also contains positive qualities of instinct, creativity, insight, and socially appropriate reactions.(16)

The differentiation and assimilation of shadow into ego is a major step in achieving what Jung terms “wholeness.” While perfection is but an archetypal idea, and hence unrealizable in real, flesh and blood individuals, for Jung psychological wholeness is both attainable and accompanied by a momentary(17) feeling of grace.(18) To be whole is to achieve, although perhaps fleetingly, the goal of human integration and individuality. Jung calls this a process of “individuation,”(19) a term with theoretical implications which as we shall discover, may not be wholly justified.

In this regard, I must first outline Jung’s theory of types. Specifically, Jung devises and thus presents a four by two model of the psyche. Psychological functions of thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition rest on “x” and “y” axes; whereas psychological orientations of introversion and extroversion are on a perpendicular, intersecting axis.(20) The intuitive sensationist introvert, for example, would be one who perhaps prefers inner tranquility and solitary nature walks (e.g. Henry Thoreau), while the intuitive sensationist extrovert might be a charismatic sports figure (e.g. Wayne Gretzky). These vulgar examples should be taken lightly. Jung says every individual has some mixture of each of the four functions and two orientations;(21) we usually develop some to a greater extent at the expense of others, these neglected aspects becoming underdeveloped or even atrophied from disuse.(22)

Important to realize, however, is that Jung advocates the integration of all four functions, and claims that our orientation ideally changes – when the ‘natural’ teleology of psychic development is unobstructed – from extroverted to introverted throughout the course of the individual’s life span.(23) He bases this claim, as noted, on data gleaned from around the globe, throughout history, and thereby commits an inductive fallacy by applying numerous unrelated particulars (each unique and which must be properly understood within the cultural-historical location that generated them) towards the creation of a few general statements.

Considering much although certainly not all of the data used to support Jung’s “doctrine of integration,”(24) as I have called it, is garnered from the Orient (to include China, Japan, India and so-called ‘Arab’ regions), Edward Said’s stance that the western textual and political tradition in fact creates rather than reflects a “real” Orient must be considered. In a Foucauldian manner, Said claims Orientalism is

a distribution of geopolitical awareness in aesthetic, scholarly, economic, sociological, historical and philological texts; it is an elaboration…of a whole series of “interests” which, by such means as…psychological analysis…[create] a will or intention to understand…[and] a discourse that is…produced and exists in an uneven exchange with various kinds of power.(25)

Even more germane to our concern, Said says his work endeavours

…to show that European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as sort of surrogate and even underground Self.(26)

Certainly Jung does repeatedly portray Oriental peoples as markedly different from their occidental counterparts. And he misappropriates one of their most important symbols, the mandala, to indicate a representation of psychic wholeness.(27) While Jung is not so crude as to homogenize, for instance, the Indian and Chinese mind, the Indian, however, is repeatedly portrayed as somewhat primitive and childish,(28) while the Chinese person is apparently more cultivated.(29) Jung asserts Indians have left the thinking function underdeveloped, while the Chinese have succeeded in recognizing this, and the importance of the other three functions. Further, he contends the Indian lacks personality,(30) yet speaking on Chinese Taoism, Jung says “personality is Tao.”(31) Tao is usually translated as “The Way,” and in Chinese thought this means The Way not only of some static ground (such as the Indian Brahman), but of heaven’s dynamic relation to an ever-changing mundane earth.(32) Jung equates the active aspect of Tao (yang force) to the Indian Maya (illusory nature of all changeable phenomena); thus Jung claims personality is something almost despised by Hindus(33) , since like persona it is subject to situational alteration, and taken as essentially unreal.

But despite its apparent superiority to India, China did not escape Jung’s western gaze. As with India, Jung espouses alleged respect for the foreign civilization before proceeding to announce that the occidental represents the apotheosis of cultural achievement, a “civilization” that holds the additional distinction of bearing of maximum promise for continued psychic development (by “psychic” Jung means both “physical” and “spiritual” realms).(34) Now China, despite its apparent superiority to India towards the goal of integration, lacks the essential element of Christian morality that makes europeans best.(35) For in its union of the yin (passive force) and yang, China tends to accept the dynamic interplay of all pairs of opposites: thus good and evil, love and hate, flux and stasis, all such dualities represent essential modalities of human life.(36) When these polarities are differentiated into a quaternity of four psychological functions, so argues Jung, the next ethical step is to become aware of the intricate relation between each function, and moreover, to take command of the lesser “inferior” aspects to ensure optimum health of both individual and social realities. And China, he contends, fails to do so.

According to Jung, the west must develop its own unique synthesis of all pairs of opposites and he projects this will be done on the basis of Christian ethics. While not elaborating on what particular ethics will be instrumental in this process, we may assume Jung refers to that which – in doctrine but obviously not practice – distinguishes Christian from Indian, Chinese, and also Islamic and Hebraic(37) moral prescriptions, namely, loving one’s enemy.

Thus to apply this to shadow, Jung notes that like the Chinese, western persons should become aware of their lesser aspects, but quite unlike the Chinese view, Occidentals should control and utilize them for the greater good rather than passively accepting their expression as contingent to the great unfolding of a metaphysical yet immanent Tao. Christ’s command to Satan of “get thee behind me”(38) would seem to represent Jung’s view here, but in actual fact Jung says that as a symbol of Self, the Christ image is one-sided (i.e. ‘perfect’ rather than ‘whole’). And Christianity as understood and expressed within contemporary Christian practice is also skewed.(39) Much criticism is levelled at the Christian who in her or his attempt to imitate Christ ignores or represses the shadow within. Thus Jung’s solution to moral evil is based on his own psychological system, and he has succeeded to manufacture a new saviour for humanity: Dr. C. G. Jung.

Such a charge, however, may be a trifle unwarranted (or at least extremist), for although Jung provides a set of theoretical postulates that will apparently deliver humanity to a new level of moral and cultural attainment,(40) he notes within his theory that each person’s psyche must unfold according to their own unique law.(41) But difficulties with such an integrative view instantly arise, in both western and oriental culture. Within the west, if each person were a near 100 percent amalgam of the four functions and two orientations, would the various specialists in artistic, scientific, or indeed any given sphere – that make excellence a reality suddenly be replaced by legions of well-integrated yet essentially bland, faceless persons of mediocrity? Imagine, if you will, absent in the history of music, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Richard Strauss, Mozart or Beethoven, and instead, only the likes of The BeeGees, Burt Bacharach and Salieri.(42)

Beyond the west, the doctrine of integration faces an even more serious charge. As Said has argued, western writers generate a scenario of the Orient, and then judge that very fabricated image to further their own projects, be they of an imperialistic or scholarly nature (or some interrelation among these and various other and artificially segregated ‘spheres’(44) of investigation). In this vein, Jung clearly devalues the relative strengths of oriental cultures by not only judging them from, but incorporating them in, his own terminology and framework of value, one apparently corroborated by a “wide experience”(44) of unpublished professional dream material. As a result, we are called upon to suspend doubt, even if Jung fosters a potentially injurious perspective of cultural supremacy, which when viewed clearly, is tantamount to global racism.

In regard to the idea of cultural ‘equality in difference,’ violinist Yehudi Menuhin employs the metaphor of indigenous music as a useful indicator of various weltanschauungen, and is worth quoting at length:

In music the difference between East and West begins even before the actual performance…Thai people can tolerate octaves that seem out of tune to us. An Indian listening to a Western orchestra for the first time might well consider the tuning-up to be the most promising and interesting part of the performance…although we may admire another culture…there is something at its core which is so particular, so unique…The music of such a culture remains forever beyond our ken.(45)

Paradoxically, on his “Commentary of the ‘Secret of the Golden Flower,’” an ancient Chinese text concerning mystical techniques, Jung says western readers should admit their inability to understand such esoterica, and yet proposes that occidentals are duty-bound to make sense of the east as a result of their invasion of it.(46) Thus it seems on first inspection that Jung’s culpability for the charge forwarded by Said is indisputable. Yet from a third perspective, Said is equally at risk of becoming yet another instance within a relatively long-standing tradition of Orientalists.(47) For nowhere does he mention the possibility – as Jung quite interestingly does – that the east may have been effecting affairs in the west, not only visibly, but moreover, invisibly.(48)

On this matter, numerous Indian gurus do, indeed, make claims seemingly implausible to the western mind. Regarding the alleged ‘invisible’ sphere of activity, Sri Aurobindo(49) writes that he assisted, by virtue of a meditative force, the Allied Forces in the Second World War to fight “for the Divine and against the threatened reign of the asura.”(50) But even on a more visible level, Said overlooks the profusion of so-called eastern(51) spiritual teachers whom both lecture and offer various apparently metaphysically-oriented services in the west, from Master Moy’s Taoist Tai Chi,(52) to numerous Indian hatha yoga(53) and purely contemplative ashrams and centres,(54) all quite salient throughout the so-called western developed countries. Is this not a type of “Occidentalism” in that exogenous ‘alien’ values are disseminated, and moreover, in many cases done so at a considerable profit (consider Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh).(55) Thus in regard to both ‘invisible’(56) and observable influence, Jung seems more aware – sympathizers might say enlightened – than Said as to the plethora of potential interactives regarding “east” and “west,”(57) especially those which have been forwarded by Orientals themselves. Such an observation cannot, however, wrest Jung from the racist supremacism made evident in his spurious – I would contend fallacious – claims regarding the felicity of psychic heterogeneity.

* * * * *

To close, western social theorists tend to overlook Jung and valourize Freud, for the latter’s triparate model of the psyche(58) seems to account for both psychological and social spheres in terms of a dynamic that does not resort to unscientific ‘mysticism’–usually a pejorative term for occidental social and political analysts.(59) In this regard, Said, a recent academic-politico luminary, provides but one passing reference to Jung. Considering Said’s primary topic is the Orient, this is surprisingly remiss, for as noted, Jung makes extensive reference to the Orient. Furthermore, Jung’s popular – if not yet academic – appeal is flourishing, this in part due to his use of the Orient as a foil for the psychic integration he forcefully advocates. Premised upon his theory of types, the doctrine of integration bodes well for all who apparently wish to assimilate but not be assimilated by oriental mores. For Jung, these foreign values emerge from a surrogate self,* a deep, bottomless pool of transcendental mystique that must be kept at a safe remove; more favourable is a centre of psychic gravity located somewhere between it and the inverse structures of ego and persona consciousness. While predicated on Christian morals, this supremacist view apparently surpasses Christian practice as the shadow, in place of being forcibly denied and thus unconsciously expressed or implied, is recognized, grappled with, and hence yoked under consciousness.

In light of this, the following excerpt from a letter Jung wrote to Pater Lucas Menz of the Monastic Order of St. Benedict of Nursia may be seen as baffling and/or justified, or perhaps neither. Jung writes to the monk: “For most people my Christian standpoint remains hidden.”(60) Is it possible for Jung to be a Christian and yet deny the universality of Christ as the actual and, moreover, singular son of Yahweh? After all, Christ for Jung is but an image spawned from archetype. Furthermore, concerning the central Christian tenant of “judge not, that ye may not be judged,”(61) surely Jung’s partial treatment of oriental cultures forsakes his membership to Christianity.(62) As to why he confidentially discloses a concealed faith, Jung certainly provides new meaning for the colloquial phrase: “only the shadow knows.”

1) Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1978: 5, 259, 350)

2) C. G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 7, 158.

3) C. G. Jung, Four Archetypes from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 220-221. For Jung’s definition of ego, see C. G. Jung, Psychological Types in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 6, 425.

4) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 6, 465.

5) Until the entirety of Jung’s work is studied, forwarded conclusions must be tentative. This critique is based mostly on C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vols. 1-17.

6) Since 1986, the top ten authorities cited in academic journals of the arts and humanities are as follows:

1. Marx
2. Lenin
3. Shakespeare
4. Aristotle
5. Bible
6. Plato
7. Freud
8. Chomsky
9. Hegel
10. Cicero.

Source: Institute for Scientific Information as cited in The Globe and Mail (Toronto: Southam, 11/2/1993).

7) As testament to Jung’s burgeoning popularity a recent two page article in The Globe and Mail lauds him (and the veritable industry of services radiating from his thought) in favour of Freud, who as suggested in my first paper of this series, is often zealously deplored. See Alanna Mitchell, “Jung Inc.” in The Globe and Mail (Toronto: Southam, 8/5/1993: D1&D5).

8 ) C. G. Jung, Alchemical Studies in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 13, 348.

9) Discourse theory stipulates that this dialectic only arose when spoken or written as such. According to this dubious logic, the preverbal cave-person held no fear nor loathing for what was later to be termed ‘natural evil’ (e.g., roving predators and geographic catastrophes); deadly beasts, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes only became dangerous upon being labelled as such.

10) C. G. Jung, Aion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/2, 10.

11) C. G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 12, 177.

12) World War II is given as an example where shadow is projected into social reality on the grand scale. See C. G. Jung, Civilization in Transition in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 10, 222-223.

13) Jung somewhat confusingly says shadow belongs in personal and collective unconsciousnesses, and also that it acts as a bridge to the anima, which in turn links consciousness to the figures of the collective unconscious. See, C. G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 14, 107n-108n.

14) Jung uses this term to refer to the jealous “spirits,” “gods” and “goddesses” of the archetypal unconscious than to mere evil (as in demonic). The shadow side of the daemonic “mother,” for example, is absorbing or controlling (personified by Snow White’s wicked stepmother) in contrast to the archetype’s alternately nurturing and transforming aspect. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, 36; and C. G. Jung, Mandala Symbolism from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 157.

15) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 14, 365.

16) Jung says a “distortion” of these natural facts leads to evil. Jung, The Collected Works, 9/2, 266-267.

17) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 12, 214.

18) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 12, 7,214.

19) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 9/1, par 234; C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 11, 390; C. G. Jung, The Practice of Psychotherapy in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 16, 234.

20) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 6, 482-483.

21) Ibid., 518.

22) Ibid., 540.

23) C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, revised, ed. Aniela Jaffé, trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Vintage Books, 1961: 320).

24) As I have termed it elsewhere. See my unpublished paper for Dr. Reinhard Pummer of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, “Truth, Schizophrenia, and the Mystical Self.”

25) Said, Orientalism, 12.

26) Ibid., 3.

27) See my unpublished paper for Dr. Naomi Goldenberg of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, “Ego, Archetype and Self: C. G. Jung and Modernity,” 5.

28) He even says men’s dhotis (formal dress) are “effeminate and babyish” because they do not cover the backs of the legs. For this and other examples where the Indian is said to possess a “primitive thought process,” see Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 521,527; and Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 580.

29) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, 8-9.

30) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 579-580.

31) C. G. Jung, the Development of Personality in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 17, 186.

32) Tao also denotes a formless and hence inexpressible “Source” of all Being.

33) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 14, 109. Jung here confuses ego with “personal atman,” two quite different concepts.

34) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, 51n.

35) Ibid., 48; and Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 484,537.

36) Ibid., 9.

37) The complication arises: Christianity embraces the Old Testament.

38) Mark 8:33; Luke 4:8.

39) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 12, 150; Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, 96; and Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 17, 172-173.

40) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, 48.

41) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 17, 173.

42) The Beatles, however, complicate the issue. One could argue each individual member to be a near perfect example of one of Jung’s psychological types: The political John Lennon is primarily a thinking type; Paul McCartney who apparently reads only comic books is a feeling type; George Harrison who wrote meditative Indian-style and devotional songs and at one point donated his fortunes to The Hare Krishna Foundation is an intuition type; and lastly, the renamed and glittery percussionist Ringo Starr represents the sensation type. Together, the four create a ‘quaternity’ par excellence, attested to by their group genius and lasting societal appeal. If taken collectively as opposed to individually, one could interpolate the four as empirical support for Jung’s thesis.

43) Said, Orientalism, 50, 96, and 259, where Max Weber’s penchant for creating “ideal types” is also critiqued.

44) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 12, 46. Despite this, here Jung only provides dreams from a single subject.

45) Yehudi Menuhin and Curtis W. Davis, The Music of Man (London: Macdonald and Jane’s Publisher’s Ltd., 1979: 50-51).

46) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, 55.

47) In commenting upon the Orient, I am not exempt from this problem.

48) On this Jung says:

Another thing we have not realized is that while we are turning the material world of the East upside down with our technical proficiency, the east with its superior psychic proficiency is throwing our spiritual world into confusion. We have never yet hit upon the thought that while we are overpowering the Orient from without, it may be fastening its hold on us from within. Such an idea strikes us as almost insane, because we have eyes only for obvious causal connections.

Jung also recounts (with cautious humour) the notion that a host of rishis, or spiritual prodigies, in the Himalayas are apparently regulating, through constant meditation, the balance of good and evil forces in the world:

The Theosophists have an amusing idea that certain Mahatmas, seated somewhere in the Himalayas or Tibet, inspire and direct every mind in the world. So strong, in fact, can be the influence of the Eastern belief in magic that Europeans of sound mind have assured me that every good thing I say is unwittingly inspired in me by the Mahatmas…This myth…widely circulated in the West…, far from being nonsense, is – like every myth – an important psychological truth. It seems the East is at the bottom of the spiritual change we are passing through today.

See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 90-91.

49) The California Institute of Integral Studies at San Francisco, founded by Haridas Chaudhuri, is based on Aurobindo’s philosophical system of “Integral Yoga.” Clearly Aurobindo’s usage of the term “integral” is quite apart from Jung’s notion of integration. See endnote 54.

50) The asura in Hinduism is tantamount to ‘evil’ forces; here Hitler is implied. See Navajata, Sri Aurobindo, third edition, in National Biography Series (New Delhi: National Book Trust, India, 1972: 74).

51) Also overlooked are prominent western advocates of eastern ideals such as Theosophists Annie Besant and Madame Blavatsky, psychotropic investigators Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary, naturalist Alan Watts and psychologist cum mystic, Richard Alpert (retitled by his Indian guru as “Ram Dass”).

52) As entitled by disciples, “Master Moi” emigrated from Korea to create the orthodox school of Taoist Tai Chi currently existing in North America, comprised of the non-violent ‘forms’ underlying the more active disciplines of Japanese Judo and Karate, and Korean Kung Fu and Tak-Won-Do, also commonplace in the west.

53) Hatha yoga is a specific type (among several qualitatively different Indian yogas) entailing the assumption of various bodily positions.

54) For example, the Bengali, Sri Chinmoy, resides at his Centre in New York City and controls a chain of vegetarian restaurants operated by disciples throughout North America. Like Aurobindo, he writes of abundant and invisible “death forces” that threaten disciples and which he vigilantly attempts to overcome by virtue of meditational practices. See Sri Chinmoy, Death and Reincarnation (Jamaica, New York: Agni Press, 1974: 28-29). Interestingly, at a meeting among disciples I witnessed an unsympathetic mother to a disciple claim that Chinmoy had “taken over” her daughter’s mind. Likewise, Aurobindo says the disciple must allow the apparently beneficent forces of the ‘supermind’ to “colonize” (i.e. overtake) one’s mind. Perhaps in response to claims from concerned relatives of disciples of self-avowed spiritualistic teachers, a Council for Mind Abuse has recently opened in Toronto.

55) Rajneesh died a multi-millionaire and was charged with having sexual involvement with wealthy and trusting disciples who also supported him. As gurus usually advocate celibacy, the allegations were clearly detrimental to his status as a spiritual-religious figure. Some followers claim he now leads them in spirit form. His best known publication is No Water, No Moon (London: Billing & Sons Ltd., 1977).

56) While the hypothetical possibility of ‘invisible’ initially a-representational influences acting at a distance from one human being upon another is nothing new to the cultural imaginations of both east and west, for Jung, such ‘magical’ effects are abrogated by representing their source and hence dispelling what are nothing but projections of psychic events which then exert a counter-influence on the psyche and put a kind of spell upon the personality. Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, 24-25.

57) Another issue overlooked by Said is the obviously visible economic domination Japan (as the only oriental and in fact first UN-rated of the “G-7″ countries) now exerts over western countries, from cattle ranching in the U.S. to defining ‘state of the art’ technological utility and aesthetics in microelectronics (SONY Corporation) and automobiles (Honda, Toyota). Even extending to music, Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn – who advocates Christian ethics – gained international exposure by virtue of production and distribution by SONY MUSIC, instead of the former CBS of Canada. In contrast to Said who is alive today, Jung died during the germinal phase of Japanese economic growth in 1961, and was not historically positioned to comment on its current pervasiveness.

58) Freud’s id, ego and super-ego were first outlined in The Ego and the Id. See “Chronological Table” in Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, ed. & trans. James Strachey et al., in The Pelican Freud Library (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975) Vol. 4, 29.

59) Also evident in the diagnostic criteria of medical psychiatry. See, for example, American Psychiatric Association, Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria for DSM-III-R (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1987:115).

60) C. G. Jung, Selected Letters of C. G. Jung, 1909-1961, eds. Gerhard Adler & Aniela Jaffé, trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984: 139).

61) Matthew, 7:1.

62) Also in heretical fashion, Jung blames God for the incidence of evil. Jung, Memories, 54-56, 58-59, 62-63.


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Review – Paul Tillich’s Christianity and the Encounter of the World Religions

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Tillich Park – new harmony indiana: paparutzi / christina rutz

I just finished reading Paul Tillich’s Christianity and the Encounter of the World Religions (1963). Although Tillich seems to be somewhat confined by his own concepts and method of dialectical reasoning when speaking of the complexities of life and spirit, some of his observations are noteworthy.

Perhaps most interesting is his assertion that religion must adapt and change in order to survive. It must “negate itself” (can you hear Hegel cheering?) to continue to live and breathe the Holy Spirit.

This is a lot like Carl Jung’s argument but I wasn’t overly surprised, if a bit disappointed, to not find any reference to Jung. Until about 1990 it was common practice in the humanities and theology to dismiss Jung’s thought.

Consider this quote, near the end of the book:

We know today what a secular myth is. We know what a secular cult is. The totalitarian movements have provided us with both. Their great strength was that they transformed ordinary concepts, events, and persons into myths, and ordinary performances into rituals; therefore they had to be fought with other myths and rituals—religious and secular. You cannot escape them, however you demythologize and deritualize. They always return and you must always judge them again. In the fight of God against religion the fighter for God is in the paradoxical situation that he has to use religion in order to fight religion (pp. 93-94).

In The Undiscovered Self Jung said, several years before Tillich, “You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others in return” (1958, p. 63).

When speaking of the conflict of “God against religion” Tillich is talking about movements such as Communism, Fascism and those ossified, oppressive structures that apparently no longer communicate the Holy Spirit. For Tillich, these include the apparently outdated Catholic hierarchy and sacraments.

It seems Tillich is pointing to the idea that we cannot escape two main aspects of the human adventure, namely, power and belief. Whether or not the powers and beliefs we encounter are truly in line with God’s will is a question that any mature seeker will try to carefully examine.

To his credit, Tillich says it takes belief in God and God’s power to overcome elements that are not from God, a point on which I am in full agreement. However, it seems there’s much in his work that is limited by his personality structure, religious beliefs and historical position.

A similar charge, of course, could be leveled against anyone. And Tillich does point to this issue in his discussion on dialogue vs. conversion, and the related idea of non-Christian criticisms of Christianity being positively transformed into healthy Christian self-criticism (Tillich is speaking on a group level here, but the same dynamic could be applied to individuals).

Still, I found the book a bit stiff with not a few sweeping generalizations. At times it seems that Tillich is just playing an abstract philosophy game with a lot of general ideas. Then suddenly he’ll come back to being relevant and make a good point or two. Having said that, this book is far more accessible and meaningful than most of the dry bones theological works I’ve encountered.

While some readers at amazon.com see Tillich’s conclusion as a sort of syncretic cop out, I find it somewhat optimistic, if simplistic:

In the depth of every living religion there is a point at which the religion itself loses its importance, and that to which it points breaks through its particularity, elevating it to spiritual freedom and with it to a vision of the spiritual presence in other expressions of the ultimate meaning of man’s existence.

This is what Christianity must see in the present encounter of the world religions (p. 97).

I say simplistic because it seems there are many different kinds of spiritual presences, ranging from quite impure (spacey, gloomy and self-obscuring) to exceedingly pure (holy, uplifting and self-affirming), a point Jung also touches on in his discussion of numinosity, as did Rudolf Otto and others.

Tillich does talk about differences concerning the idea of individuality (and problems in defining it) earlier in the book while comparing Christianity and Buddhism. So he doesn’t overlook this point completely. But it remains unclear why his conclusion glosses over the central issue of different spiritual presences.

These shortcomings aside, Christianity and the Encounter of the World Religions is a good little book and certainly worth the dollar I paid for it at the used bookstore. But I wouldn’t want to have paid much more for it.

—MC (revised from 2010)


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Review – Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal

Photo: MC

Title: Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal
Author: Roderick Main
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Princeton University Press (177 pp. with index)
Date: 1997

Book reviews are usually about new publications, whereas Dr. Roderick Main’s Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal has been available for well over a decade. But considering this book’s unusual subject matter it might be appropriate that we’re looking back, so to speak.

After all, Jung says that the individuation process, where one becomes healthy and whole, is a lifelong journey. And at some point in one’s spiritual formation unconventional phenomena like synchronicity and numinosity can crop up, suggesting not just a linear but a holistic or, as Hermann Hesse put it in his novel Siddhartha, an upwardly spiraling universe of space, time and human experience.

Put differently, our take on life can sometimes defy a common understanding of things, and contemplation of the future, the past and, perhaps, heaven and hell can come to the forefront of consciousness. It’s at these times that the paranormal may become more than idle speculation and, indeed, a lived reality.

Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal contains a good number of selections from Jung’s massive body of work. Considering the book’s relatively concise format, it does a good job in capturing the scope of Jung’s thinking in the area parapsychology.

I’ve already spent many years studying and writing about Jung’s Collected Works, so I found Main’s Introduction (39 pp. with 5 extra pages of notes and references) most engaging. Not to say that I’m entirely bored of Jung, but it was nice to see some fresh new thoughts.

Of note are Main’s reflections on:

  • Causality and acausality
  • Jung’s understanding of the term “meaning”
  • Jung’s alleged leaps of reasoning
  • Jung’s view of time and eternity
  • Jung’s small-p political acumen

Also useful are selections from Jung’s work about telepathy and life after death.

Jung on Synchronicity might not satisfy those looking for the goofy and conflicted “everything’s okay” perspective, so often found in the New Age circuit. Nor is the book a mere repackaging of Jung’s work or another limiting tract of Jungian dogma. On the contrary, Jung on Synchronicity is an intelligent, forward-thinking book that further develops several paranormal ideas investigated by Jung.

As Jung himself writes:

The hypothetical possibility that the psyche touches on a form of existence outside space and time presents a scientific question-mark that merits serious consideration for a long time to come.†

Main has responded well to Jung’s challenge. Indeed, scholars and intelligent laypersons should gain much from this penetrating study.

† C. G. Jung, “The Soul and Death” (1934), cited in Main, p. 144.

—MC

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