This urge to dualize consciousness, in all its subtlety, into a linear struggle between the Apollonian and Dionysian is tempting;
a bright light is cast a short way, lending order to the immediate surroundings. But do the inner frontiers of mind conform to so neat a model?
Structure acquired in the act of adaptation to a blue sphere orbiting a minor yellow star in one of billions of billions of billions of galaxies, for hundreds of millions of years, might not yield to a simple binarism.
Jung's feeling for the richness of the personal mystery is the quality that makes his, and the Jungian's work, endless, a mythic unravelling of the mythic. There will never be any simple answers with Jung, no
convenient polarities of absolute light and darkness. This may also be why, through his approach, or whatever learning may bring one to a similar destination; one begins to appreciate that the notion of a finished life, a closed door, a completed body of work, misses the essence of the human project.
We might add here that Jung, like Haeckel, offered us dramatic imaginative acts of the intellect; ones, in their raw form, may be highly imperfect, and in need of revision. However, we are on firmer ground if we can accept that Jung, as Freud, was essentially correct in his basic perceptions, even if he was wide of the mark in all of his conclusions.
Archetypes, forms of being, ontological content, the possibilities of the moment, inhabit us as surely as we inhabit the world. Yes, they are abstractions, conceptual and intangible, yet they represent for us the implicate order of our personal and social universes.
It might be useful here to consider Whitehead's point that:
"To be an abstraction does not mean that an entity is nothing. It merely means that its existence is one factor in a more concrete element of nature."
One cannot but suspect that as we evolved, we passed through a phase where our thinking was concrete and basic, yet possessed of an intensely unselfconscious sense of beauty. Fleshed out gods were yet to come, this was at the threshold of deism, the first trembling of faith.
In this temporal window, there must have undergone a separation of self and world, when the self first saw itself reflected in its own mind.
How did this come to have stamped on it the archetypical map, and how, one wonders, is this information encoded into our neural design ?
© 1995 Morgan Garwood
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