Sources of Archetypal Psychology

I’m editing my 2003 essay Archetypes of Cyberspace and to fix the dead links I go to the Internet Archive – and find material I read a decade or so a go. I value this stuff!

Here is a concise statement about Archetypal psychology. Worth knowing about!

http://web.archive.org/web/20021022105035/http://www.springpub.com/CAP1h.htm

Archetypal Psychology
Chapter One; “Sources of Archetypal Psychology”

Archetypal psychology, first named as such by James Hillman (1970b), had from its beginning the intention of moving beyond clinical inquiry within the consulting room of psychotherapy by situating itself within the culture of Western imagination. It is a psychology deliberately affiliated with the arts, culture, and the history of ideas, arising as they do from the imagination. The term “archetypal,” in contrast to “analytical” which is the usual appellation for C. G. Jung’s psychology, was preferred not only because it reflected “the deepened theory of Jung’s later work which attempts to solve psychological problems beyond scientific models” (Hillman 1970b); it was preferred more importantly because “archetypal” belongs to all culture, all forms of human activity, and not only to professional practitioners of modern therapeutics. By traditional definition, archetypes are the primary forms that govern the psyche. But they cannot be contained only by the psyche, since they manifest as well in physical, social, linguistic, aesthetic, and spiritual modes. Thus archetypal psychology’s first links are with culture and imagination rather than with medical and empirical psychologies, which tend to confine psychology to the positivistic manifestations of the nineteenth-century condition of the soul.

Archetypal psychology can be seen as a cultural movement part of whose task is the re-visioning of psychology, psychopathology, and psychotherapy in terms of the Western cultural imagination. In an early review of the field and an examination of its main thrusts, Goldenberg (1975) regards archetypal psychology as a “third generation” derivative of the Jungian school in which Jung is recognized as the source but not as the doctrine. Two themes of its directions which she singles out—the emphasis upon psychopathology and the radical relativization and desubstantiation of the ego—will be discussed below.

It is without doubt that the first immediate father of archetypal psychology is Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist (1875–1961). James Hillman, Raphael Lopez–Pedraza, Patricia Berry, Paul Kugler, Murray Stein, Adolf Guggenbühl–Craig, Bianca Garufi, Robert Grinnell, and many others of the authors referred to below were trained as Jungian analysts. (However, a significant number of other authors to be mentioned —e.g., David Miller, Edward Casey, Gilbert Durand, Mary Watkins, Robert Sardello, Charles Boer—did not receive this specific Jungian formation and contribute to archetypal psychology from phenomenology, literature, poetry, philosophy, religious studies, etc.) From Jung comes the idea that the basic and universal structures of the psyche, the formal patterns of its relational modes, are archetypal patterns. These are like psychic organs, congenitally given with the psyche (yet not necessarily genetically inherited), even if somewhat modified by historical and geographical factors. These patterns or archai appear in the arts, religions, dreams, and social customs of all peoples, and they manifest spontaneously in mental disorders. For Jung, they are anthropological and cultural, and also spiritual in that they transcend the empirical world of time and place, and in fact, are in themselves not phenomenal. Archetypal psychology, in distinction to Jungian, considers the archetypal to be always phenomenal (Avens 1980), thus avoiding the Kantian idealism implied in Jung (de Voogd 1977).

The primary and irreducible language of these archetypal patterns is the metaphorical discourse of myths. These can therefore be understood as the most fundamental patterns of human existence. To study human nature at its most basic level, one must turn to culture (mythology, religion, art, architecture, epic, drama, ritual) where these patterns are portrayed. The full implication of this move away from biochemical, socio-historical, and personal-behavioristic bases for human nature and toward the imaginative has been articulated by Hillman as “the poetic basis of mind” (q.v.). Support for the archetypal and psychological significance of myth, besides the work of Jung, comes from Ernst Cassirer, Karl Kerényi, Erich Neumann, Heinrich Zimmer, Gilbert Durand, Joseph Campbell, David Miller, and Charles Boer.

The second immediate father of archetypal psychology is Henry Corbin (1903–1978), the French scholar, philosopher, and mystic, principally known for his interpretation of Islamic thought. From Corbin (1971–73) comes the idea that the mundus archetypalis (alam al-mithal) is also the mundus imaginalis. It is a distinct field of imaginal realities requiring methods and perceptual faculties different from the spiritual world beyond it or the empirical world of usual sense perception and naive formulation. The mundus imaginalis offers an ontological mode of locating the archetypes of the psyche as the fundamental structures of the imagination or as fundamentally imaginative phenomena that are transcendent to the world of sense in their value if not their appearance. Their value lies in their theophanic nature and in their virtuality or potentiality which is always ontologically more than actuality and its limits. (As phenomena they must appear, though this appearance is to the imagination or in the imagination.) The mundus imaginalis provides for archetypes a valuative and cosmic grounding, when this is needed, different from such bases as biological instinct, eternal forms, numbers, linguistic and social transmission, biochemical reactions, genetic coding, etc.

But more important than the ontological placing of archetypal realities is the double move of Corbin: (a) that the fundamental nature of the archetype is accessible to imagination first, and first presents itself as image so that (b) the entire procedure of archetypal psychology as a method is imaginative. Its exposition must be rhetorical and poetic, its reasoning not logical, and its therapeutic aim neither social adaptation nor personalistic individualizing but rather a work in service of restoration of the patient to imaginal realities. The aim of therapy (q.v.) is the development of a sense of soul, the middle ground of psychic realities, and the method of therapy is the cultivation of imagination.

In extending the tradition of Jung and Corbin forward, archetypal psychology has had to go back to their predecessors, particularly the Neoplatonic tradition of Vico and the Renaissance, through Proclus and Plotinus, to Plato (Phaedo, Phaedrus, Symposium, Timaeus), and most anciently to Heraclitus. (Corbin’s works on Avicenna, Ibn’ Arabi, and Sohrawardi belong also in this tradition as does the work of Kathleen Raine on William Blake [1758–1835] and on Thomas Taylor, the English translator of the main writings of Plato and the Neoplatonists.)

The elaboration of this tradition by Hillman in Eranos lectures and in articles (1973a), by Miller in seminars at Syracuse University, by Lopez–Pedraza at the University of Caracas, and by Thomas Moore’s (1982) and Boer’s (1980) work on Marsilio Ficino gives a different cast to archetypal psychology when compared with Jung’s. There the background is more German (Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Carus, von Hartmann, Kant, Goethe, Eckhart, and Bohme), Christian, psychiatric, and Eastern. Archetypal psychology situates itself more comfortably south (q.v.) of the Alps.

Especially—this Neoplatonic tradition is thoroughly Western even if it is not empirical in method, rationalist in conception, or otherworldly spiritual in appeal. This tradition holds to the notion of soul as a first principle, placing this soul as a tertium between the perspectives of body (matter, nature, empirics) and of mind (spirit, logic, idea). Soul as the tertium, the perspective between others and from which others may be viewed, has been described as Hermetic consciousness (Lopez–Pedraza 1977), as “esse in anima” (Jung [1921] CW 6, §66, 77), as the position of the mundus imaginalis by Corbin, and by Neoplatonic writers on the intermediaries or figures of the metaxy. Body, soul, spirit: this tripartite anthropology further separates archetypal psychology from the usual Western dualistic division, whose history goes back before Descartes to at least the ninth century (869: Eighth General Council at Constantinople), occurring also in the medieval ascension of Averroes’ Aristotelianism over Avicenna’s Platonism. Consequences of this dualistic division are still being felt in that the psyche has become indistinguishable from bodily life, on the one hand, or from the life of the spirit on the other. In the dualistic tradition, psyche never had its own logos. There could be no true psychology. A first methodologically consistent attempt to articulate one in a philosophical style belongs also within the perimeters of archetypal psychology (Evangelos Christou 1963).

Archetypal Psychology

Chapter One; “Sources of Archetypal Psychology”

Archetypal psychology, first named as such by James Hillman (1970b), had from its beginning the intention of moving beyond clinical inquiry within the consulting room of psychotherapy by situating itself within the culture of Western imagination. It is a psychology deliberately affiliated with the arts, culture, and the history of ideas, arising as they do from the imagination. The term “archetypal,” in contrast to “analytical” which is the usual appellation for C. G. Jung’s psychology, was preferred not only because it reflected “the deepened theory of Jung’s later work which attempts to solve psychological problems beyond scientific models” (Hillman 1970b); it was preferred more importantly because “archetypal” belongs to all culture, all forms of human activity, and not only to professional practitioners of modern therapeutics. By traditional definition, archetypes are the primary forms that govern the psyche. But they cannot be contained only by the psyche, since they manifest as well in physical, social, linguistic, aesthetic, and spiritual modes. Thus archetypal psychology’s first links are with culture and imagination rather than with medical and empirical psychologies, which tend to confine psychology to the positivistic manifestations of the nineteenth-century condition of the soul.

Archetypal psychology can be seen as a cultural movement part of whose task is the re-visioning of psychology, psychopathology, and psychotherapy in terms of the Western cultural imagination. In an early review of the field and an examination of its main thrusts, Goldenberg (1975) regards archetypal psychology as a “third generation” derivative of the Jungian school in which Jung is recognized as the source but not as the doctrine. Two themes of its directions which she singles out—the emphasis upon psychopathology and the radical relativization and desubstantiation of the ego—will be discussed below.

It is without doubt that the first immediate father of archetypal psychology is Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist (1875–1961). James Hillman, Raphael Lopez–Pedraza, Patricia Berry, Paul Kugler, Murray Stein, Adolf Guggenbühl–Craig, Bianca Garufi, Robert Grinnell, and many others of the authors referred to below were trained as Jungian analysts. (However, a significant number of other authors to be mentioned —e.g., David Miller, Edward Casey, Gilbert Durand, Mary Watkins, Robert Sardello, Charles Boer—did not receive this specific Jungian formation and contribute to archetypal psychology from phenomenology, literature, poetry, philosophy, religious studies, etc.) From Jung comes the idea that the basic and universal structures of the psyche, the formal patterns of its relational modes, are archetypal patterns. These are like psychic organs, congenitally given with the psyche (yet not necessarily genetically inherited), even if somewhat modified by historical and geographical factors. These patterns or archai appear in the arts, religions, dreams, and social customs of all peoples, and they manifest spontaneously in mental disorders. For Jung, they are anthropological and cultural, and also spiritual in that they transcend the empirical world of time and place, and in fact, are in themselves not phenomenal. Archetypal psychology, in distinction to Jungian, considers the archetypal to be always phenomenal (Avens 1980), thus avoiding the Kantian idealism implied in Jung (de Voogd 1977).

The primary and irreducible language of these archetypal patterns is the metaphorical discourse of myths. These can therefore be understood as the most fundamental patterns of human existence. To study human nature at its most basic level, one must turn to culture (mythology, religion, art, architecture, epic, drama, ritual) where these patterns are portrayed. The full implication of this move away from biochemical, socio-historical, and personal-behavioristic bases for human nature and toward the imaginative has been articulated by Hillman as “the poetic basis of mind” (q.v.). Support for the archetypal and psychological significance of myth, besides the work of Jung, comes from Ernst Cassirer, Karl Kerényi, Erich Neumann, Heinrich Zimmer, Gilbert Durand, Joseph Campbell, David Miller, and Charles Boer.

The second immediate father of archetypal psychology is Henry Corbin (1903–1978), the French scholar, philosopher, and mystic, principally known for his interpretation of Islamic thought. From Corbin (1971–73) comes the idea that the mundus archetypalis (alam al-mithal) is also the mundus imaginalis. It is a distinct field of imaginal realities requiring methods and perceptual faculties different from the spiritual world beyond it or the empirical world of usual sense perception and naive formulation. The mundus imaginalis offers an ontological mode of locating the archetypes of the psyche as the fundamental structures of the imagination or as fundamentally imaginative phenomena that are transcendent to the world of sense in their value if not their appearance. Their value lies in their theophanic nature and in their virtuality or potentiality which is always ontologically more than actuality and its limits. (As phenomena they must appear, though this appearance is to the imagination or in the imagination.) The mundus imaginalis provides for archetypes a valuative and cosmic grounding, when this is needed, different from such bases as biological instinct, eternal forms, numbers, linguistic and social transmission, biochemical reactions, genetic coding, etc.

But more important than the ontological placing of archetypal realities is the double move of Corbin: (a) that the fundamental nature of the archetype is accessible to imagination first, and first presents itself as image so that (b) the entire procedure of archetypal psychology as a method is imaginative. Its exposition must be rhetorical and poetic, its reasoning not logical, and its therapeutic aim neither social adaptation nor personalistic individualizing but rather a work in service of restoration of the patient to imaginal realities. The aim of therapy (q.v.) is the development of a sense of soul, the middle ground of psychic realities, and the method of therapy is the cultivation of imagination.

In extending the tradition of Jung and Corbin forward, archetypal psychology has had to go back to their predecessors, particularly the Neoplatonic tradition of Vico and the Renaissance, through Proclus and Plotinus, to Plato (Phaedo, Phaedrus, Symposium, Timaeus), and most anciently to Heraclitus. (Corbin’s works on Avicenna, Ibn’ Arabi, and Sohrawardi belong also in this tradition as does the work of Kathleen Raine on William Blake [1758–1835] and on Thomas Taylor, the English translator of the main writings of Plato and the Neoplatonists.)

The elaboration of this tradition by Hillman in Eranos lectures and in articles (1973a), by Miller in seminars at Syracuse University, by Lopez–Pedraza at the University of Caracas, and by Thomas Moore’s (1982) and Boer’s (1980) work on Marsilio Ficino gives a different cast to archetypal psychology when compared with Jung’s. There the background is more German (Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Carus, von Hartmann, Kant, Goethe, Eckhart, and Bohme), Christian, psychiatric, and Eastern. Archetypal psychology situates itself more comfortably south (q.v.) of the Alps.

Especially—this Neoplatonic tradition is thoroughly Western even if it is not empirical in method, rationalist in conception, or otherworldly spiritual in appeal. This tradition holds to the notion of soul as a first principle, placing this soul as a tertium between the perspectives of body (matter, nature, empirics) and of mind (spirit, logic, idea). Soul as the tertium, the perspective between others and from which others may be viewed, has been described as Hermetic consciousness (Lopez–Pedraza 1977), as “esse in anima” (Jung [1921] CW 6, §66, 77), as the position of the mundus imaginalis by Corbin, and by Neoplatonic writers on the intermediaries or figures of the metaxy. Body, soul, spirit: this tripartite anthropology further separates archetypal psychology from the usual Western dualistic division, whose history goes back before Descartes to at least the ninth century (869: Eighth General Council at Constantinople), occurring also in the medieval ascension of Averroes’ Aristotelianism over Avicenna’s Platonism. Consequences of this dualistic division are still being felt in that the psyche has become indistinguishable from bodily life, on the one hand, or from the life of the spirit on the other. In the dualistic tradition, psyche never had its own logos. There could be no true psychology. A first methodologically consistent attempt to articulate one in a philosophical style belongs also within the perimeters of archetypal psychology (Evangelos Christou 1963).

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