The Jungians: A Comparative and Historical Perspective

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Forgotten Dreams: Recalling the Patient in British Psychotherapy, –60

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All Rights Reserved. More Books in Psychology See All. In Stock. Cold Case Investigations. Rebel Ideas Power of Diverse Thinking. How to Overcome Your Childhood. Where Did My Libido Go? Writing for Psychology 6th Edition. Child Development United States Edition. NeuroTribes The legacy of autism and how to think smarter a Child Development and Education. Thinking is one of our habits of action. For the sake of this paper it is worth noticing that when Peirce introduces his third element, he also gives a logical account of it.

In fact, he identifies the introduction of a third element with a synthetical operation EP1: Synthesis is here the logical function that presides over the taking of a habit of action. Self-control and consciousness describe only one part of the complex path of our epistemic processes.

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The idea of classification is an old positivist dream, but Peirce needs it because he has to clarify the role that the different disciplines he has introduced play in the system of science. In this classification, among many other tasks, he finally disentangles phenomenology and psychology, at least as far as their definitions as sciences are concerned.

Phenomenology is part of philosophy and provides the basic principles of the entire department of philosophy and special sciences, receiving its principles only from mathematics. It is a fundamental theoretical science. Psychology is special science, that gives contents to many disciplines, philosophy included, but that needs all those disciplines for its own principles. Put in this way, psychology disappears from the hard kernel of philosophy.

They find their justification forward and not backward EP2: However, he never misses the importance of feeling, sensation, and habits of actions. Moreover, he never fails to consider these elements in their working at both conscious and unconscious levels.


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In this way, any individual, including human individuals, is but a realization of this infinite continuous of reality. The ego is really a small thing in this overwhelming development of reality. His power is only to allow or not allow some actualizations by assenting or not to the path of reality as it presents itself to him. The ego cannot have the claim to master reality but only to be or not to be part of some specific path that reality is taking.

He never succeeded in giving an adequate proof of the mathematical continuum that he envisaged but he succeeded in giving a logical example of the kind of entanglement between generals and individuals in the existential graphs. In this iconic logic, Peirce proved that there is a way of reasoning which happens through our drawings diagrams Maddalena ; Zalamea The actual scribing is part of the transformation of indeterminate principles into general logical laws. As we are going to see, the new synthesis at which the graphs hinted was more open to include psychological characteristics avoiding the problematic disentangling of phenomenology and psychology that Peirce had to undertake in his late years.

Observation of his psychotic patients led Jung to understand that they were referring to a much broader unconscious whose traces you can find in all human wisdom testimonies, from religious to mythical texts, from poetry to alchemy Jung Therefore, Jung understood the unconscious as collective, a product of the entire history of humanity. Shadow, animus, anima, the old man, the hero are some of those figures that are alive into the collective unconscious and that determine much of our emotional behavior in both our dreams and memories. The life of this collective unconscious is chaotic and potential.

Its symbols are an immense flux that develops through history. The task of the formation of personality is to give order and meaning or, at least, to keep together this huge symbolic reality:. Consciousness grows out of an unconscious psyche which is older than it, and which goes on functioning together with it or even in spite of it. Jung Man can live the most amazing things if they make sense to him. But the difficulty is to create that sense. It must be a conviction, naturally; but you find that the most convincing things man can invent are cheap and ready-made, and are never able to convince him against his personal desires and fears.

In our dreams, we are not controlling it. The material of a neurosis is understandable in human terms, but that of psychosis is not […] neurotic contents can be integrated without appreciable injury to the ego, but psychotic ideas cannot. They remain inaccessible, and ego-consciousness is more or less swamped by them. This tendency to autonomy shows itself above all in affective states, including those of normal people.

When in a state of violent affect one says or does things which exceeds the ordinary.

Thomas B. Kirsch

Not much is needed: love and hate, joy and grief, are often enough to make the ego and the unconscious to change places […]. Groups, communities, and even whole nations can be seized in this way by psychic elements. On the other hand, the task means to undermine the conscious ego-centered claims that tend to exclude violently the unconscious life with all its emotional richness and its safeguarding warnings for the future. Therefore, individuation is a search for meaning which is all but individualistic. How the harmonizing of conscious and unconscious data is to be undertaken cannot be indicated in the form of a recipe.

It is an irrational life-process which expresses itself in definite symbols. It may be the task of the analyst to stand by this process with all the help he can give. In this case, knowledge of the symbols is indispensable, for it is in them that the union of conscious and unconscious contents is consummated. The first is more determined from external objects also in the way in which he organizes the internal symbols while the second one is more determined by the internal symbols that he reverses on the exterior.

It is no wonder that Jung tried to find these two types along the entire human history giving a sort of history of consciousness. Jung read the tender minded Jamesian philosopher as a form of realist and, according to his classification, as an introverted. On the contrary, he saw the tough-minded as a nominalist and extroverted. However, in a way Jung focuses upon the synthetic instance trying to find a way to see the personality at work in the task of becoming a self. This is the role of the drawing and the study of mandalas, ancient Buddhist representations of cosmos.

Drawing mandalas is the way in which we can see our self in its formation, during the difficult path toward selfhood, beyond the egocentric consciousness and the chaotic, collective unconscious. When I began drawing the mandalas, however, I saw that everything, all the paths I had been following, all the steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point — namely, to the mid-point.

It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths, it is the path to the center, to individuation […]. Its meaning in alchemy is somewhat similar, inasmuch as it represents the synthesis of four elements which are forever tending to fall apart […]. Their object is the self in contradistinction to the ego, which is only the point of reference for consciousness, whereas the self comprises the totality of psyche altogether, i. Both Peirce and Jung consider the self as immersed within a flux of reality that has a broad range of phenomenological, logical, and ontological, constitutive elements.

Contrary to Freud, in this view Jung could accept symbols, religious sentiments, or beliefs as constitutive parts of experience Jung This rich realism is meta-physical, technically speaking. Peirce acknowledges a quasi-mind and a reasoning that happens below the threshold of consciousness. Moreover, he understands that the small fraction of the continuous flux of reality that human beings can acknowledge and the limited semiotic with which we can develop our knowledge make our knowledge deeply fallible. Even though we often find in Jung a more individualist approach, the substantial difference that he stresses between the ego understood as the center of the conscious personality and the self as the goal of the entire personality that deals with both conscious and unconscious approaches the Swiss psychiatrist to the American philosopher.

Also for Jung, selfhood is an order to attain within a broader flux of experience. The self is not the starting engine and creator of knowledge but a point of passage and sometimes of transformation of a much broader history of a collective unconscious. For indeed our consciousness does not create itself — it wells up from unknown depths.


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In childhood it awakens gradually, and all through life it wakes each morning out of the depths of sleep from an unconscious condition. It is like a child that is born daily out of the primordial womb of the unconscious. Archetypes are potential forms of representation:. The archetype in itself is empty and purely formal, nothing but a facultas praeformandi , a possibility of representation which is given a priori.

The representations themselves are not inherited only the forms, and in that respect they correspond in every way to the instincts, which are also determined in form only. Moreover, Jung acknowledges the temporal development of unconscious symbols that are both historical and teleologically driven Jung It is this fourth point that this paper wants to stress.

Given the strong metaphysical realism and the strong symbolism that they share, both Peirce and Jung need an embodiment of this broad reality of experience into the singular experience of the individual.

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Peirce tried to solve the crucial dilemma of the universal and the singular through mathematical studies of the continuum. He thought that individuals were a discontinuity within a continuity but he tried to make sense of them by new interpretations and demonstrations of the mathematical continuum. He failed but he envisaged a sort of possible path of research through existential graphs. In a complementary way, Jung saw in individuation a completion of his realism, avoiding from the beginning an interpretation of it as discontinuity. Jung found in mandalas a way to figure out this unity of universality and individuality.


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Both existential graphs and mandalas are a kind of representation which is active, namely which helps synthetizing universals. Thought happens while we are drawing them and the actual drawing provides new general meaning. Existential graphs and mandalas can be complete gestures. They are synthetic, namely non-conceptual, tools that foster the knowledge of something new, not already included in the concept.

In other words, they recognize an identity through changes. Both of them are opening new ways for synthesis in a logical and a psychological way.