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Carl Jung’s Anti-Metaphysic and Empirical Phenomenology of Self. A Distrust of Words?
Jung would say that Words float through the centuries like the ship-Wrecked debris of a once mighty Vessel, never to be pieced back together quite properly.
After Reading Carl Jung’s book Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of Self, there is come an august sense of the Great Psychoanalyst’s conception of the Self and the Psyche contained therein. Jung was mightily affronted at the idea of psychology being treated as a metaphysic. Believing as he did that metaphysics in its very language is too overly shifting and ephemeral in meaning of the semiotics at use, that is the signs do not always point to the same referenced things in the thought of one mind to another. Jung desired an empiricism of psychology to deliver concrete into the hands of civilization—the language he discovered is not merely symbols but real embodied psychical structures manifest.
I cherish metaphysics for its own sake—and the strongest psychological language is in support not contradiction of metaphysics—, let us meet Jung where he is in his phenomenology. The slave of his language need not be so, but can be delivered into the world of science and empiricism. That this goes against most ample philosophy and metaphysic is apparent; but given the weight of Jung’s Mind and his prolific writing as well as a divine sense of the mysticism of the subjects that he studied, we are predicted to entertain his system.
Jung had a foot in the scientific literature but also an encyclopedic mind for the occult, obscurant philosophies of the alchemists. Which is what keened his interest.
The Swiss psychoanalyst must be considered far superior in his positivist contributions to the field of philosophy and phenomenology. Where Lacan stands as what Alain Badiou calls an ‘Anti-Philosopher,’ hyper rationalistic and ‘developing’ (not discovering) a pivoting structure of reality through ambiguity. Jung much greater focuses to the governing dynamics which psychoanalysis can conceive and which clinical evidences can determine.
So Jung for me is an Anti-Metaphysician in the sense that he doesn’t trust language or coherent thought the way we do. He has to dig the annals of History, in manuscript as well as compile artwork from his patients and gather their statements and revelations into his wealth. A wealth of experience.
In further Articles I will get into the concretized structures that Jung ‘discovered’ (not developed)—unlike Lacan who built his tripartite conception of reality (in the gordian knot which is the Real-Symbolic-Imaginary) —because Jung was suspicious of words and language in a way that some good great scientists are. Unlike the algebraic structure of general language and coherent theorization of We in the CTMU community, Jung did not trust free floating words. We might say that a coherent sentence is a syntax which couples to reality. Jung would say that words float through the centuries like the ship-wrecked debris of a once mighty vessel, never to be pieced back together quite properly.
Leave you to decide the utility in both viewpoints which there certainly is. Sometimes veracity is only given to limited observations. Mathematical proofs are logical and irrefutable once established. Whereas the works of many French intellectuals from Deleuze to Lacan rests solely with your ability to swallow such projects.
So keep reading my further Articles to find the detail of what Jung stated in Volume 9 of His Collected Works; starting with The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in part 1 and the Aion in part 2.
Not to keep you in suspense: we follow the Jungian Path of Phenomenology of the Self, Christ as the Self, and Alchemical Philosophy and Symbolism. Locating these thoughts in the medieval context from which they were borne. Stay tuned…