Protecting their Jung

Touchy-Feely Realm of Atmosphere

by cheri block

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Boiling at 98 degrees (even the cacti are complaining)

Thank you students. Your interpretations were, to varying degrees, indications of your psyches.

Paul: You could have been a member of our seminar today. Your question, Is psyche really different from soul or just another unreligious name for it? is just the type of question that led to  answers, some based on textual references (good) and some creatively grabbed  from the atmosphere, a touchy-feely realm known only to the individual seminar member.

Peter: You need to study the paragraph longer than 51 seconds. A guy with your intellect can do better than that.

Richard: Very good, Richard! I am tempted to over-interpret your one word answer: Dig. Do you dig it? The subject matter? Or should I dig deep for meaning? Your brevity, while mysterious, confounds the inquisitive mind. Students like you want attention. What do you dig? Why do you dig it? Please, Mr. Manchester, do elaborate (said the frustrated teacher).

Phil: You and about 10 other seminar members should meet together for dinner. I assume you are an INTJ…how am I doing?

Andreas: Tidy summary. Very good. Your profoundometer needs recalibrating, Sir.

Ted: Nice try, taking the paragraph that I carefully selected and then venturing into your own area of interest. At least five people in the seminar did this today. The tutors tried to reel them in but the pond was deep.

Note that smack in the middle of Jung’s paragraph on the previous post is the sentence “then the psyche becomes something in its own right”.

My Jungian synchronicity must have been channeling the tutor Greg, whose opening question for the 20 adults sitting around a big wooden table was the following: What did Jung mean when he wrote on page 190 that “All that I experience is psychic”?

May I answer this question?

Just a little guess?

May I use some of Jung’s metaphors to help? OK. Here we go.

Jung’s definition of the psyche (all-encompassing in matter and spirit) is found in his sentence on page 184:

The psyche may be regarded as a mathematical point and at the same time as a universe of fixed stars. It is a small wonder, then, if to the unsophisticated mind, such a paradoxical being borders on the divine. If it occupies no space, it has no body. Bodies die, but can something invisible and incorporeal disappear? What is more, life and psyche existed for me before I could say “I” and when this “I” disappears, as in sleep or unconsciousness, life and psyche still go on…

About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
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28 Responses to Protecting their Jung

  1. Which brings us back to soul and spirituality in a universal abstract being.

  2. Phil says:

    “…..I assume you are an INTJ…….”

    I believe I’m an extreme one.

    My idea of what a psyche is, is who one is inside really. It is the “I” which experiences the world, which thinks the thoughts, feels the happiness and sorrow and pain, and all of that.

    The psyche is ineffable. To try to define it in words will necessarily miss its essence.

    “All that I experience is psychic”?

    Absolutely. Everything is a product of our consciousness. Nothing exists by itself. Anything, including any living thing, only exists if there is a consciousness to experience it.

    Things, including living beings, which we think have an objective reality, have, at most, only a tendency to exist. Until we crystalise them through our consciousness, they are merely an amorphous quantum soup.

    Anytime we don’t experience them, or don’t focus on them, they are once again an amorphous quantum soup, which is the underlying reality of everything, whether living, inanimate, or anything else.

    All truths which we hold as self-evident, are so only because we believe them. Hence it matters not a whit whether they are proven or not, or how ridiculous they are.

    Writing all this has exhausted me. Time to go out for a drink.

  3. Cyberquill says:

    You sound like all my teachers in high school. Next you’re gonna tell me that a guy with my inellect should be able to find a job.

    You know, being perpetually misoverestimated weighs heavily on my psyche, whatever that may be.

    A few years ago, Candace Pert, molecular scientist and author of Molecules of Emotion, released an audio-book titled Your Body Is Your Subconcious Mind.

    So much for the notion of a incorporeal psyche that occupies no space.

  4. Consider me duly chastized for the eisegesis.

    But doesn’t your follow up example further indicate that the development of the psyche is dependent on the elimination of “artificial” or “substitute” psyches?

    PS–What does the apparatus have to say about you addressing me as Ted and me responding?

    But what would the apparatus have to say about you addressing me as Ted and me responding?

  5. Richard says:

    [Stinging with indignation at Paul’s approval rating]

    Look ma’am! A golden scarab just flew in through the window.

    [Cupboard gives out a large crack.]

  6. Is the Paul mentioned by Richard And Foreign Toe poor little me?
    Sorry if I caused Richard’s psyche to erupt and his cupboard to crack loudly.

  7. In Greek, psyche just meant soul. No more. We, by using the Greek word in addition to our Saxon word ‘soul’, must therefore now give it some new connotation. (This is what happens with German Angst, which just means fear, but now has to mean something more mysterious in English).

    Jung, as you know, went on a deep Eastern trip.

    Examine everything being said in your seminar and then ask the teacher to explain, in simple words, how Jung added ANYTHING — anything at all — to the Hindu notion of soul, which is Atman.

    Atman as opposed to the “I”, which the Vedas, Upanishads, Yoga Sutras and every other Indian text of antiquity define exactly as Jung does.

    As you know, I love Jung. But the man plagiarized and wagered on our (Western) ignorance of his source material.

    • Cheri says:

      I haven’t studied Jung’s life at all, just a few snippets here and there.

      One of the rules here at St. John’s is that seminar participants cannot refer to any other texts. How will I sneak that question in?

      One other thing: I detest plagiarizers…what am I projecting?

      • Richard says:

        It depends on whether you regard Jung primarily as a mystic or a physician.

        Here he is trying to come to terms with his own psyche at the outbreak of World War One:

        An incessant stream of fantasies had been released, and I did my best not to lose my head but to find some way to understand these strange things…

        I was frequently so wrought up that I had to do certain yoga exercises in order to hold my emotions in check. But since it was my purpose to know what was going on within myself, I would do these exercises only until I had calmed myself enough to resume my work with the unconscious. As soon as I had the feeling that I was myself again, I abandoned the restraint upon the emotions and allowed the images and inner voices to speak afresh. The Indian, on the other hand, does yoga exercises in order to obliterate completely the multitude of psychic contents and images.

        [Confrontation with the Unconscious. (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)]

        So perhaps it was not his purpose to add anything to the Hindu notion of soul, Andreas.

        The question, then, is – “Should Jung be regarded as a physician or a mystic?”

    • Cheri says:

      I waited until after the seminar and then asked the tutor your question.
      His answer went something like this: there is no original thought and at the beginning of the reading Jung, himself, credits his studies of Eastern thought ( Hinduism/Buddhism) with his ideas of the collective unconscious, among other things.
      The tutor (not that this is relevant but I’ll add for interest) is about 40, a physician, and a tutor at St. John’s here in Santa Fe. He added that in modern American academia today, there is a strong anti-Western theme running through curricula.

      All the tutors at St. John’s have to be able to teach any course here, that is everything from Greek to music, mathematics to philosophy.

      He thought it was obvious that Jung was referring to Atman.

  8. Well, I take the word “plagiarize” back. I admire the man (Jung), as you know.

    I’m simply amused that here we are, trying to parse obscure paragraphs of his (clarity was not among his objectives), when really he himself would say that he was just bringing simple Eastern concepts to us.

    • Cheri says:

      It’s all amusing, isn’t it?

      • Richard says:

        “… alien brings new meaning to the idea of little green men by landing in 2000 lettuces.
        The replica of the Roswell alien, one of the world’s most convincing UFO hoaxes, is expected to draw crowds ot the RHS show [a Royal Horticultural Society flower show] in Tatton Cheshire this week.
        It is surrounded by lollo blonda and lollo rosso lettuces planted in a 36ft crater. Tony Smith, the creator from Sussex, said it was “designed to stimulate both visually and intellectually to consider the enormity of time and space…”
        [Report, Daily Telegraph, yesterday]

        Many thanks to Judge Blah and Phil for participating in this sychronicity.

  9. jenny says:

    I’m so glad that I refrained (not by choice, just circumstance and timing) from making a psyche-revealing comment. A narrow escape.

    Enjoy Santa Fe.

  10. Cheri says:

    Dear Richard,
    Judge Blah confesses his concealment, here. ( Our chapters for this morning’s discussion 2,3, and 6 of Modern Man in Search of a Soul), so concealment is a relevant topic.

    He tells me now that he was the event organizer there in Sussex.

    When were you in Sussex, my dear? said Cheri

    I, meanwhile, change the subject because my emotions are out on the coffee table dominated by a large coffee table book entitled, Cheri’s Emotions.

    Shall we go to Roswell, J.B.? It’s not too far.

  11. zeusiswatching says:

    “…..I assume you are an INTJ…….”

    I am too.

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