Archive for the ‘logos’ tag
“Perhaps it would not be too much to say that the most crucial problems of the individual and of society turn upon the way the psyche functi0ns in regard to spirit and matter.” (Jung)
This is how James Hillman begins chapter four in his book, Senex and Puer. One of the things that strike me in this quote is the use of the word “society,” a word that jumps out in context of what is happening in the world today. The lack of focus on “society” and a single-minded focus on the “individual” is the Achilles heel of Jungian psychology. Lately I have been reading from a number of different authors in different fields trying to find something that resonates at a deeper level, something that doesn’t get lost in my personal ego. Why is this important to me? I think it has to do with the idea of relationship with other. For me, the key word is relationship.
Psychology asks us to develop a good relationship with the self with the assumption that if we can focus on this dynamic, the rest will take care of itself. Somehow, that only seems to be making the situation of our collective worse, not better as we would have expected. As we go deeper and deeper within our psyche, we seem to get lost in the world of the Great Mother. The hero’s journey has us battle the Great Mother in order to win the reward. Depth psychology . . .
What is missing, in my opinion is the soaring psychology that embraces logos, the spirit – the world of the Great Father. I know, this is almost a dirty word in our modern world who somehow sees the Great Father as an evil force that is more about rape and pillage and brutality. Yet, as I think about it, our modern world of science, economics and politics is really an expression of the Great Mother (mater/matter). Our world is all about consumption, about things, not about ideas. Science has brought us to the idea that there is only the earth, this ecosystem which is spinning in a larger physical cosmos – God is dead and buried and Gaia now rules undisputed.
We honour the Great Mother and we are rewarded as good sons with riches – good sex, material wealth and guilt, the guilt of being too enmeshed with the Great Mother. And we have bought into this way of believing and functioning as a culture. The way to insult a man today is to say his head is in the clouds, that he is an egg-head lost in the world of spirit. Our world celebrates “common sense” and doesn’t trust logos. As a result, we have a world spinning out of balance – a world focused on the individual and not on community.
There are a lot of different animals that find their way into the path of my camera lens such as this little fellow. I would have to say that I am fairly lucky when it comes to having wild animals pose for me as I wander through nature. It is as though they recognize that I am no danger to them.
The animals we meet in life are connected to us. Obviously we share the same environment, the same spaces. As we reduce the habitat for the wild side of the world, we become poorer, even unhealthier. Modern man often forgets his roots in nature, his connection to the earth through the body and through the soul. Modern man races toward a future that is all about logos, about what the mind can do. And, in the process of laying claim to the world through the exercise of his mind, his soul withers and retreats into darkness.
And like a cornered animal, the soul will bite back when pressed into the darkness far enough. We now call it midlife crisis. Some call it a nervous breakdown or burnout. Call it what we will, it is about the animal rebelling against logos and demanding balance. And, balance is everything.
Implied sunshine. Yes, there is little doubt in looking at this image that the sun is present. In a way, the image evokes a marriage of sun and earth in which life is born. With birth, life races to become unique as a means of adapting to an ever changing environment. This marriage of sun and earth is all about life, about change, about adaptation to change. As I listen to the daily news, it is too easy to get depressed over the disasters that are buffeting the planet. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, torrential rains, droughts are matched with man-caused disasters such as the latest major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just as the hurricane season is about to get underway, a hurricane season that is predicted to be the worst on record. Our pollution of air, water, and soil speak of our blindness to our relationship with the planet. But, I know that in spite of what humans can do, including an all-out nuclear act of self destruction, the sun and earth will continue their journey of change.
But, it isn’t just the marriage of sun and earth that produces change. Our collective consciousness and collective unconsciousness work to ensure the survival of the human race. The marriage of logos and eros leads to an increased awareness which “should” help us moderate our behaviour as a species, as collective cultures. Of course, this all must begin with the individual human, the same as it does in nature with the individual plant or animal.
“Individuation is the urge in all human beings to differentiate themselves from collective or traditional patterns of self-understanding, and to make a journey peculiarly theirs, deeply personal, essentially mythic.” (Monick, Castration and Male Rage, p. 34)
If there was no urge to individuate, humans would stay within their condition rather than risk change. It is much simpler to go along with the collective than it is to strike out and carve a unique path. Yet without this urge to individuate, humans would soon find themselves bypassed by the rest of life forms. As the individual humans change, the collective changes. Where that change is based on increased awareness that is based on the marriage of consciousness and unconsciousness, human society can help ensure its own survival. The marriage of logos and eros will continue to gift us with “life.”
A photo taken last night as the sun set in Playa Jacó. I had hoped to catch my wife, the sun, the surf and a few who were in the water surfing. Originally, the photo was destined for our family photo album and not for this blog. But on spending time with the photo, I came to realise that there was something important here to be said. Of course, by that I mean, important for me to say and hear. How important it is for others is not what the blog is about. Again, I want to remind all reading here that this is more about self and self-reflection than it is about trying to teach others.
Often, the images of my wife are actually images of anima. Here anima faces the setting sun, a moment of communion, a moment when both soul and spirit acknowledge each other with honour. The masculine aspect begins to make way for the feminine – both making for the whole. Together, they form the holy couple, a marriage between soul and spirit. So why do I refer to this woman as anima? Well, to be honest, she isn’t my anima. She is a woman that is as human as I am with her own soul and spirit. But that is a different story, one that may or may not ever be told here. These words travel within myself to look at how eros and logos, anima and spirit have come to honour the “otherness” that separates, yet an attitude that joins.
I took this photo on the outskirts of a nondescript village in India called Khichan, a place where Demoiselle Cranes are the main reason why people take back roads to visit the place. I have to admit that I take a lot of photos of birds, especially those that are not typically found in my Canadian prairie town. Taking these photos wasn’t as easy as I had originally thought. It took a lot of time to quietly edge close enough for my 12X optical built-in telephoto lens to get enough detail for my purposes. That said, the time spent was worth it. I managed to get a good quantity of photos.
With that, I want to return to the topic I began in my last post, that of Logos and Eros. First, a few words from Carl Jung.
Logos and Eros are intellectually formulated intuitive equivalents of the archetypal images of Sol and Luna. In my view the two luminaries are so descriptive and so superlatively graphic in their implications that I would prefer them to the more pedestrian terms of Logos and Eros, although the latter do pin down certain psychological peculiarities more aptly than the rather indefinite “Sol and Luna.” The use of these images requires at any rate an alert and lively fantasy, and this is not an attribute of those who are inclined by temperament to purely intellectual concepts. These offer us something finished and complete whereas an archetypal image has nothing but its naked fullness, which seems inapprehensible by the intellect. Concepts are coined and negotiable values. Images are life. (Carl Jung, CW 14, paragraph 226)
Now, in the last post I talked about balance, the union of opposites which when put together offer a fullness. For us, a day is not just the daylight hours; it also includes the night. It isn’t about choosing day over night, sun over moon. We realise that both are needed. Well, that goes for the self as well. For a person to be complete there must be an acknowledgement and acceptance of the “other” within, something we can call the soul, the anima in men and the animus in women. Of course, this is a concept, one that asks us to be aware of the darkness of the unconscious anima/animus. That said, the pull to the opposite is externalised. Men seek women and women seek men for more than the reproductive needs of the species. Both look to the “other” to complete the “self.” More often than not, this is a recipe for disaster. No external other can ever complete the self.
An external other can complement the self and help point to the anima/animus within the self, serving as a mirror of sorts. What we find pleasing in other are those aspects of self which seem to fill in the holes. What we feel as aggravations are often our own contents projected onto the other. It is only when we become aware of these things that we can become better aware of a fuller self. That allows us to then recognise the other as unique and separate other. It is only then that love can deepen beyond need.
A walk down a country road came up with this harvest photo. This swather had taken down two rows of lentils and was parked at the edge of the field, just behind a ripening field of Durham wheat. With the approach of harvest, the regular rhythms of life are abandoned by those who are connected to the land. It becomes a race against nature to see just how much of the crop can be harvested before frosts degrade the quality of the crop. Who would have ever thought that I would know any of this, growing up a city kid and only exchanging the city for life in small towns when I became a teacher?
I am going to try to spend more time looking at masculine and feminine and relationship here. Before I babble too much, I want to return to some basic ideas from Carl Jung so that you can, perhaps, better understand where I am coming from when I make statements. Here are a few words from Jung taken from his work called Mysterium Coniunctionis.
For purely psychological reasons I have, in other of my writings, tried to equate the masculine consciousness with the concept of Logos and the feminine with that of Eros. By logos I meant discrimination, judgement, insight, and by Eros I meant the capacity to relate. I regarded both concepts as intuitive ideas which cannot be defined accurately or exhaustively. From the scientific point of view this is regrettable, but from a practical one, it has value, since the two concepts mark out a field of experience which it is equally difficult to define. (Carl Jung, CW 14, paragraph 224)
Logos and Eros, two opposites. Logos is represented alchemically as Sol, the sun. Eros is represented as Luna, the moon. One rules the day, the other the night, again the opposites of day and night, light and darkness, come into play. That which we “know” is that which is exposed to the light of day and is called consciousness. That which we don’t know is that which is hidden in darkness and is called unconsciousness. These opposing principles, the masculine Logos and the feminine Eros, are not gender bound. In the real world, we experience males who appear to operate from the principle of Eros as well as women who operate from the principle of Logos. There are masculine women, a feminine men. This is important to note as otherwise, it becomes too difficult to even begin to approach understanding anything about the union of opposites, of relationship.
To be continued …
Yesterday was spent in a nearby city, a city that is only about150 kilometres away, close by Canadian prairie standards where we measure distances in the time it takes to travel rather than the distance. It was a day for strengthening the bond between father-in-law and son-in-law. On the agenda was the enjoyment of jazz music in the park, dining out, rummaging through a used book store for treasures, spending time in two electronics stores to see what is available, enjoying designer coffee in an upbeat university area coffee shop, and wandering and talking.
Roses remind me of my wife. She loves roses and has numerous rose plants in our gardens. This yellow rose plant is one of the first to bloom this year. Roses have had a place in our relationship since day one when I gave her three red roses on our wedding day. We still have those three roses almost forty years later. Roses symbolize love and relationship, our relationship.
Love and relationship – eros. Here are a few words from Eugene Monick on the topic:
For Jung, logos is to masculinity as eros is to femininity. Where logos thinks and transforms thinking into work, and understands this as accomplishment, eros feels and transforms feeling into relatedness, and understands that as accomplishment. (Monick, Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine, 1987, p. 102)
This fits. And the union of logos and eros, coniunctionis, the holy marriage, our marriage.
The PDF is uploaded to the SoFoBoMo site. I finished! That said, the version that I have been posting excerpts from here continues to grow. I have decided that it will be finished without being “rushed” so that I can ensure that I get harmony between text and photos, a difficult task when limited to only prairie scenes found in such a short period of time. Now, for today’s entry from the ongoing work …
Are You my Father?
Who inspires fear and wonder
Will you destroy me?
“Wait ‘till your father gets home,” is a threat that has been heard by most children, a threat that has been repeated in Christian churches century after century, and in all mythologies. Fear of the father, fear of God. God and Father – to separate the two as a child is not even thinkable. And within the inner spaces of “self,” they become one.
The father represents the world of moral commandments and prohibitions … The father is representative of the spirit whose function it is to oppose pure instinctuality. (Jung, CW vol. 5, “Symbols of Mother and Rebirth,” paragraph 396, 1956.)
The need for rules is an act of consciousness. It is through rules that consciousness separates itself from the unconscious. Another name for this idea is “logos.”
There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites. This is the paternal principle, the Logos, which eternally struggles to extricate itself from the primal warmth and primal darkness of the maternal womb; I a word, from unconsciousness. (Jung, CW vol. 9i,” Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype,” paragraph 178, 19 59.)
And as one attempts to escape being swallowed by the unconscious, one senses the war that exists between the forces of darkness and light, between good and evil. Religions of the world all point to this eternal struggle. And at the head of each theology, sits the father, an image that is regarded as the light that shines into the darkness.
As one moves towards the light, one becomes more aware of the darkness and how that darkness clings. Holding to the tension of becoming more saint than sinner, one can’t but help thoughts of self-denigration, that one is unworthy and that one is destined to be cast into eternal darkness by the eternal judge, the Father.