our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a

2011/07/30

Carl Jung

I've always felt Jung's approach was empirical from the standpoint of a physician. Equilibrium, homeostasis, as in functioning as compensation and complement, as between unconscious and consciousnesses (which holds up well as we're realizing that we actually think in the unconscious and later sort out our arguments -- same for memory; we re-create it. Re-member it) . The key is to consider the psyche as real as any physical thing, just as we accept energy and matter as both "real". The unknown forces at play -- as with physics, the quantum critical mass, etc. -- also part of the exploration.

Empiricism as we apply it concerns making models. Always incomplete, never the thing itself. Think of how code works on the internet now: computers jump ahead, see patterns without models. As with our thinking, I suspect (the processing done in the unconscious), though our awareness(consciousness) functions on the Newtonian level in what we describe as the everyday "common sense" world. Empiricism augments and extrapolates beyond the mere, the sensual. Jung expands our tool kit like a Tardis. :)

Jung, truly a philosopher in the old sense: lover of wisdom, trained in the Muses, a healer and a teacher. This is a good grounding:

Maureen writes:

Dear Lovely & Beloved Deborah & Alice

[...]
Jung looks at the source energy as Pleroma (Seven Sermons to the Dead), Tao (I Ching), unus mundus (alchemy) - all names for a Ground of Being that is unexpainable but can be experienced through intuition, mysticism, creativity, ecstasy and love. Because Eros is gaining the upper hand again through Aquarian holism, Eastern and Western thought have already come together to some extent through the new kind of understanding coming out of quantum physics - the realization of the interrelatedness of all and the archetypal links between psyche, creativity and science.

OF (Jung as 'Old Fool') had no preference for 'logical' over its opposite - the world as infinite and incomprehensible. As a 'whole-some' individual, he embodied the dance of opposites. I love him because he's a guy after my own heart. I was the only bod at my high school and at Uni who leaned toward neither the arts or science, so I embraced both, while everyone else did one or the other. Both are, after all, underpinned by the same archetypal energies and so have always been two sides of the one coin of truth, as wholistic thinkers like Bohm and Pauli understand. Ditto for Jung, a self-proclaimed 'scientist of soul' - and as we all know, soul can't be objectified, weighed, analysed, explained, or in any other way dissected, or pinned like a dead butterfly. Neither can a star, or a leaf, or an atom for that matter. Is a star merely a big ball of flaming gas, or is that simply what it's made of? Jung was not 'scientifically grounded' if by that we mean someone who tries to reduces the poetry and mystery of life to rational, stagnant, objective facts and cerebral explantions.

As OF made clear, at least half of life is irrational! Someone once asked him why the Chinese had developed no 'science'. He replied that this was an optical illusion, since they had a science - the I Ching - grounded in 'general synchronicity' - the understanding that psyche and nature mirror one another meaningfully, as inseparable twin facets of a unitary ground of being. This was the only kind of science that Jung had time for - he didn't buy into the Western hubris of trying to tame and reduce life to the 'myth' of objectivity and 'scientific theory'. Science, after all, simply means 'knowledge'. As Jung reminds us, we can never know the 'ding an sich' - the thing in itself - since all our knowledge - ALL of it - is experienced through the lens of the psyche. All of Jung's ideas are based on this kind of direct experience of the world through the lens of soul.

Anyway, my ramblings to toss into the Fire.