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VI. Earth Life Emergence: A Development of Body, Brain, Selves and Societies

7. Archetypal Psychology

Throughout our lives, we are always participating in a biological and spiritual individuation process that has taken billions of years. Helene Shulman

This review of human somatic and neural development, a gender mutuality, and self-organized personality can now engage our dynamic, arduous, lifelong course of psychic individuation. In this regard we enlist the archetypal psychology of Freud’s younger contemporary Carl Jung (1875-1961). Drawing upon a rich corpus of mythic, alchemical, shamanic and religious wisdom, a life passage is traced from a maternal embrace which must be parted with to enter the treacherous external world in search of a ones own distinct persona. Phases of experiment, struggle, test and loss, in symbolism a cathartic disintegration, eventually leads to palliative reunification. Opposites of feminine anima and masculine animus separate and clash in allegorical death and rebirth on the way to sacred marriage in the conception of a whole person.

Mythic dimensions bring illustrative value. A male “hero” is more involved with aspects of conflict and quest, the female “heroine” evokes beneficent synthesis. Masculine phases align more with a transit between levels while the feminine resides at original and future abodes. And there is a crucial point for a natural genesis narrative. In their classic essence, Buddha, the Grail Knight, Dante, pilgrim, shaman, and each candidate must ultimately come to their own witness and discovery. The guides retire, the task cannot be done for them. In order to attain new being the seeker must be able realize their own reception of wisdom. Finding the Grail vessel is not enough to restore the kingdom, Parsifal must mindfully ask the Grail question. In such unity, a person can both acknowledge and reconcile mother and father and be faithful to oneself.

An endeavor to (re)join human and universe in a temporal, secular age would involve a correspondence between the spiral path of personal individuation and the generic way that complex systems organize themselves as complements vie and cohere into an emergent whole. Ones daily round may then become a microcosmic exemplar of and contribution to a developmental, personalizing cosmos. As Carl Jung, Pierre Teilhard, Freya Mathews and many others have proposed, human, earthly and cosmic psychogenesis are, as ever, one and the same.

Berzonsky, Carol and Susanne Moser. Becoming Homo Sapiens Sapiens: Mapping the Psycho-Cultural Transformation in the Anthropocene. Anthropocene. Online November, 2017. An independent scholar with a Pacifica Graduate Institute doctorate and a consultant with a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University shift from technical aspects to include Jungian sensitivities to help survive, mitigate, this human impact phase which envelopes and imperials us. To wit, they turn to and evoke a woman’s wisdom, a shared sapience, so that whole persons may be advised and moved to come together in humane, sustainable communities.

If it is true that humans are about to leave behind the environmental conditions we have known for the 150,000–200,000 years of our species’ existence, then we are now changing the context in which we have evolved to date. This means Homo sapiens will have to co-evolve further with the climatic and environmental conditions it is creating through its planetary impact in the Anthropocene. Given the rapidity of the changes humans have set in motion, however, this next evolutionary phase may be cultural rather than biological. This paper presents a model of psychological transformation from the fields of depth psychology and anthropology known as an archetypal death-rebirth process. It gives purpose and meaning to the suffering involved in transformations and, crucially, offers hope through the vision of renewal. Its tripartite progression of severance, threshold, and reincorporation provides a map for navigating this transformation. Finally, it offers an explication of how a transformation far more profound than changes in actions and policies may allow us to become the truly wise humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, our species’ name denotes we could be. (Abstract excerpts)

Brooke, Roger. Ubuntu and the Individuation Process: Toward a Multicultural Analytical Psychology. Psychological Perspectives. 51/1, 2008. The Duquesne University psychologist and 1994 South African expatriate contends that Carl Jung’s necessarily European bias led him to view life’s individuation process in terms of a single person. But this focus tends to slight other, indigenous cultures, which situate an individual in a conducive community setting. An African path of individuation would then rightly be versed in and graced by a reciprocity of self and society.

Ubuntu is based on the recognition that we become persons through other persons who treat us as persons, and that the community can be imagined as facilitating our individuation. (36) African humanism, evoked by the term Ubuntu, would imagine individuation as a process of personal growth and transformation within that network of relationships that make such transformation possible and to which the person remains, therefore, ethically indebted. Augustine Shutte describes Ubuntu as the animating spirit behind African virtues such as patience, hospitality, loyalty, respect, conviviality, endurance, and sympathy. (49)

Burke, Joseph. The Rainmaker’s Reality and the Holographic Archetype. Psychological Perspectives. 50/1, 2007. A Jungian psychotherapist evokes the luminous feature which suffuses deep religion and science by way of the optical hologram whence each iota contains a refraction of the whole image. From the Sefirot and Indra’s web to our intricate, nested psyche and on to an ascendant similarity from galaxies to Gaia, the same pattern and process holds and recurs everywhere. Another view of the once and future salutary secret if only we might learn to see and read together.

This article postulates and supports the existence of an archetype, here named the holographic archetype, in which at least one or more essential qualities of the whole are reflected or contained in each of the parts that make up that whole. (26) The passing forms of the holographic archetype identified in this article include the hologram, psychic structure, synchronicity, several teachings in the sacred traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity, memory, the process of scientific discovery, chaos in physics, and nonlocality in physics. (26)

Cambray, Joe. The Emergence of the Ecological Mind in Hua-Yen/Kegon Buddhism and Jungian Psychology. Journal of Analytical Psychology. 62/1, 2017. The author (search), who has a doctorate in chemistry, a masters in counseling psychology, is currently president of the Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA. This paper continues his project to marry widely separate psychic and physical aspects into a common, meaningful synthesis. As a natural expression, Rhizome flora, which is an underground root network for spreading ground plants, is availed. Carl Jung (Plato before, search James Olney for both) drew upon this metaphor for an abiding guidance from which life and persons arise. Postmodernity, however, takes the opposite view of a random meander without any deep source. Into the 21st century, Cambray wonders if new findings of cosmic webworks, which seem akin to neural networks, along with dark energies, could aid and inform a vital expansion.

The complexity associated with deep interconnectedness in nature is beginning to be articulated and elaborated in the field of ecological studies. While some parallels to the psyche have been made, Jung’s explicit contribution by way of the image of rhizomes has not been considered in detail. Philosopher Gilles Deleuze acknowledges borrowing the term from Jung, though he disagreed with Jung’s Empedoclean use of the term. The paper presents some fundamental properties of rhizomes along with contemporary scientific research on mycorrhizal (fungal) networks. Comparisons are first made with classical symbolic forms. Then comparison of rhizomal networks is made to those found both in mammalian brains and in recent images of the ‘cosmic web’ …. one of the largest structures in the known universe as clusters of galaxies which form into filaments. An additional comparison of the emerging image of the universe as a whole with the ancient Chinese Buddhist cosmological vision from the Hua-Yen School (Kegon in Japan) again reveals profound parallels. (Abstract edited excerpt)

Cosmology has now identified a pervasive force permeating the entire universe, previously unrecognized until mapping the sectors of darkness revealed regions of voidness and their evolution in time. The results point to a new, unknown force, ‘Dark Energy’, generating increasing regions of relative ‘no-thing-ness’ and producing the intricate patterns of the Cosmic Web. Even though the details may reveal differences with the insights of Hua-Yen cosmology, we are left to ponder the remarkable capacity of the meditative methods of this school to create such a far-reaching vision and more generally how the nature of mind increasingly seems to reflect the universe in which it emerged. (Conclusion, 26)

Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away – an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains. (Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 4, 1961)

Cambray, Joseph. Synchronicity and Emergence. American Imago. 59/4, 2002. Jung’s sense of an “acausal connectedness” in effect during psychic individuation is updated and reinterpreted in terms of self-organizing complex adaptive systems.

Cambray, Joseph. Synchronicity: Nature and Psyche in an Interconnected Universe. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2009. A Jungian psychologist provides a book-length essay from the “holistic perspective” of Carl Jung and collaborator physicist Wolfgang Pauli, for whom everything and everyone seamlessly reflect each other, to a 21st century encounter via theories of self-organizing, complex adaptive systems. By so doing, both cosmic nature and personal selfhood can be realized to develop and arise as similar individuations. This vista is continued in a Cultural Synchronicities chapter as the emergence of democratic societies. One senses that a grand synthesis of cosmogenesis and psychogenesis awaits if only we witness this revolutionary quickening, awakening universe.

The return of holism in the sciences through complexity theory has cut across traditional academic disciplines. The emergentist paradigm appears to have applicability at all levels of scale from the most microscopic/subatomic descriptions of physics, on through aggregate phenomena in chemistry, biology, and astronomy, as well as in the human and social sciences. (45-46)

Cambray, Joseph and Linda Carter, eds. Analytical Psychology: Contemporary Perspectives on Jungian Analysis. London: Brunner-Routledge, 2004. New appreciations of human psychic development can be informed by the latest advances in cognitive science and complexity theory. In articles by Carter and Cambray, and by Cambray, the emergence of one’s unified psyche as an individuated self is seen to arise from the activity of complex adaptive systems as they serve to manifest creative archetypal patterns.

This aspect of complexity (CAS) can be discerned throughout the whole of nature, from the subatomic to the cosmological, and is postulated to be an essential organizing principle at every level including the emergence of the mind out of the neural interactions of the brain as well as human social behaviors such as traffic jams, stock market trends and the evolution of city neighborhoods. (119)

Clarke, John James. Jung and Eastern Thought. London: Routledge, 1994. Oriental and Western mentalities are to be seen as polar opposites whose recognition and synthesis is necessary to make the world an individuated whole.

As Jung observed, this way of thinking (Taoist) is closely parallel to that of Medieval Europe, with its idea of the unus mundus (one world) involving a systematic correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm, and can be traced back to Greek conceptions of the bond of ‘sympathy’ that holds all things in organic harmony. (100)

Combs, Allan and Stanley Krippner. Jung and the Evolution of Consciousness. Psychological Perspectives. No. 33, 1996. The personal and planetary goal of self-awareness can be enlightened and empowered by the sciences of complexity.

Covington, Coline. In Search of the Heroine. Journal of Analytical Psychology. 34/3, 1989. Insights toward an integration of the feminine complement into generic mythic quests of the “hero.”

Coward, Harold. Taoism and Jung: Synchronicity and Self. Philosophy East & West. 46/4, 1996. How Carl Jung drew upon Chinese correlative teachings to conceive an active resonance between ones inner psychic realm and the organically sensitive external cosmos.

In summary, then, Jung’s “synchronicity” is the idea that a person is a participant in and meaningfully related to the acausal patterning of events in nature. (482)

Dale, Edward. Completing Piaget’s Project: Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2014. In a work that could be a companion to Alan Mulhern’s The Sower and the Seed, (2015, herein) a psychology writer finds Jean Piaget’s insights into life’s developmental course from infancy and childhood to imply and spring from an eternal immanence. Once again, inherent parallels of ontogeny and phylogeny are evident. The author’s addition is to then recast and update by way of the nonlinear sciences of complex dynamic systems, seen as a 21st century version of his “transpersonal genetic psychology.”

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