This paper challenges Wolfgang Giegerich’s sometimes sophisticated and at other times sophistic notion of absolute negative interiority. In contrast to his uroboric view of ‘psychology proper’, this author resists the successionist ideas of a post-Jungian, trans-human perspective and asserts the notion of an unassimilable and unsurmountable ‘not’. In this paper, the author revisions the traditional divide between Kant and Hegel, taking the ‘thing-in-itself’ as truly other than existing only for consciousness and arguing against privileging the unity of unity and difference. This paper entertains the alchemical ideas of a residue, a caput mortuum, and an archetypally cumbersome object, a real limit, which remains and unhinges the elevating process of spirit on its path to return to itself in absolute interiority. Rather, it acknowledges an abyss ‘behind the back of consciousness’, a non-reified living unconscious – a dark light, an absolute that is not absolute, but rather a gateway back to the beyond, at the root of imagination, wonder, and transformation.
The dead who appeared in Jung's death dreams and visions profoundly influenced Jung's experience and understanding of the unconscious.1
Jung's model of the psyche emerged as a result of his confrontation with the unconscious. During this intense time he had numerous encounters with figures of the unconscious; significant among these were the persistent appearances of those he called ‘the dead’. In his own words, ‘The conversations with the dead formed a kind of prelude to what I had to communicate to the world about the unconscious’ (Jung, 1961, p. 217). Since the publication of The Red Book a significant amount of material on the dead has come to light and points to the possibility that when Jung referred to ‘the dead’ in his personal material he was, in fact, referring to the literal dead as a separate category of experience. Such consideration has a bearing on concepts such as active imagination and the transcendent function.
Analysts have been concerned for decades about the unforeseen psychological impacts of technology. The rapid developments during the past 15 years have brought issues related to cyberspace front and center in analysis and psychotherapy. A specific question arises: what is happening to our capacity for relating openly? We now regularly see “screen time” being used 1) defensively to retreat and escape, 2) compulsively to gratify urges and impulses, and 3) addictively to quench emotional cravings. Problems with limits and recognition of separation confound the positive aspects of cyberspace. Vulnerable egos may not even realize when escapism turns into addiction. Soul can become lost in these activities, when relationships are instead transactional and technology is regarded as numinous. A case example from the author’s practice and another from the media highlight the great risks for soul in this realm of cyberspace.
The figure of Justice is instantly recognisable by her sword and scales. This article takes the complexity of this image as the starting point for an exploration of different approaches to the administration of justice and their consequences. It contrasts the often divisive Western adversarial tradition with increasingly influential restorative approaches that seek the re-establishment of individual and social harmony, and shows how differently issues of power are understood and resolved by each. It asks what makes restorative justice so successful, and suggests that by actively seeking to restore ‘right order’, it is drawing on archetypal energy encoded in the image of Justice itself.
In this paper, it is proposed that all individuals have an innate (archetypal) aesthetic urge that is a central organizing influence for our actions, experiences, perceptions, self-perceptions, and relationships. The attitudes towards aesthetics held by Freud, Jung, and later theorists are reviewed. Drawing on ideas from aesthetic philosophy and neuroscience, it is suggested that many of the experiences associated with analytic process – such as the experience of depth, the emergence of meaning, transcendence, coherence, narrative flow, or moments of meeting – can be viewed through the lens of aesthetic experience. This aesthetic substratum is discussed in terms of analytic narrative and interpretation as well as exploring the impact that various artistic modalities, such as poetry and music, can have on analytic process.
This paper begins to establish an ‘aesthetic of the unknown’ by drawing together theorists and approaches from mainstream art criticism to provide a starting-point for an aesthetic sympathetic with Jungian perspectives, in an attempt to bridge a gap between contemporary abstract painting, contemporary art theory, and Jungian studies. This is a framework for approaching abstract painting not as an object awaiting interpretation or ‘reading’, but rather as something that offers a numinous experience (or experience of the unknown), which can be thought about but may remain ultimately unknowable and irreducible. Such experience – involving both the unconscious and conscious mind – would provide glimpses of forms of meaning not accessible to full rational exposition. This type of unconsciously understood meaning is explored, acknowledging that there is a need to preserve this encounter with the unknown and a need for a contemporary critical, theoretical framework that recognises the importance of this within abstract painting.
Following the publication of The red book, the Foundation of the Works of C.G. Jung is currently working on the preservation and accessibility of Jung's private library for further research purposes. In 2010, in collaboration with the library of ETH Zurich, the Foundation started a digitizing project with the aim to publish (on http://www.e-rara.ch) Jung's valuable rare book collection on alchemy, magic and the Kabbalah. This article provides background information on how and why Jung assembled his collection of rare books in the 1930s, and what the digitizing project offers to Jungian scholars.