Christ’s Androgyny: image of the Self

Consegna della legge (dettaglio cristo imberbe), santa costanza roma IV secolo. US public domain via wikimedia
Consegna della legge (dettaglio cristo imberbe), santa costanza roma IV secolo. US public domain via wikimedia

Christ is an image of the Self. When images of the Self take on anthropomorphic form, we often find androgynous characteristics.

The androgyny appears from time to time throughout history, taking various forms. Images show up in art, myths, alchemy, as well as in our dreams and imagination, as an archetypal symbol of integration of opposites. Continue reading “Christ’s Androgyny: image of the Self”

Immanent Divine

God is a psychic fact of immediate experience.

Carl Jung speaks of the immanent aspects of God when he says “God is a psychic fact”. In Carl Jung’s view, God is first and foremost a subjective experience.

This insight presents a shift in perspective. God is no longer seen solely in terms of an objective and transcendent otherness toward whom I must have faith. A new horizon opens in which I realize God as a subjective, immanent truth. This truth is realized through symbolic life– dreams, imagination, and visions– as well as through mindful awareness. Jung says:

The “God-image [coincides] with the archetype of the Self” (CW 11, par. 757, in Answer to Job).

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Self as the dialectical relationship between conscious and unconscious

One Carl Jung’s ideas most relevant to Self-realization is the transcendent function. The transcendent function is a psychic process, occurring as a dialectical relationship between the conscious and unconscious.

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Arbor Philosophorum: tree as an image of spiritual development

:Arbor scientiae, Druck von 1505 in Tomkowiak: Populäre Enzyklopädien. US Public Domain Wikimedia
:Arbor scientiae, Druck von 1505 in Tomkowiak: Populäre Enzyklopädien. US Public Domain Wikimedia

Carl Jung tells us:

“The tree is an image of spiritual development.”

The tree illustrates spiritual development, as that which exists beyond our material development. Jung says:

“You see the tree is a plant and it symbols a strange development entirely different from animal life, like the development we call spiritual.

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The Subject of the Unconscious

Descartes said, cogito ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am”…

Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan discusses the importance of the thought process that Descartes went through to get to his conclusive statement: “I think, therefore I am.” He explains that it is the act of doubting that leads to the conclusion that one is thinking: “by the virtue of the fact that I doubt, I am sure that I think”.4 Lacan tells us that a central theme in the thought of Sigmund Freud is also “doubt”. Lacan says:

“In a precisely similar way, Freud, when he doubts…he  is assured that a thought is there, which is unconscious, which means that it reveals itself as absent. As soon as he comes to deal with others, it is to this place that he summons the I think through which the subject will reveal himself. In short, he is sure that this thought is there alone with I am, if I may put it like this, provided, and this is the leap, someone thinks in his place. [He continues his thought] It is here that the dissymmetry between Freud and Descartes is revealed. It is not in the initial method of certainty grounded on the subject. It stems from the fact that the subject is ‘at home’ in this field of the unconscious. It is because Freud declares the certainty of the unconscious that the progress by which he changed the world for us was made.” (Book XI)

While Descartes centers his inquiry on the subjectivity of the one who is thinking, Freud focuses on the deeper subjectivity emanating from the unconscious. In doing so he recognizes two distinct focal points of subjectivity: the ‘I am’  and ‘the subject.’ This subject within is a subjectivity that is larger and more vast than the speaking and thinking subject which declares “I am”. It is a subjectivity not directly accessible, but known only through dreams, free association and active imagination. It is the ‘subject of the unconscious.’  We might call this subjectivity ‘the Self.’

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