I have talked a little here and there about the way in which each of Jung’s core functions (Intuition, Thinking, Feeling, and Sensation) can be mapped onto traditional elemental correspondences, but lately I have been thinking that the better comparison may be the elemental lines within the tree of life diagram. Admittedly, I have been thinking about them an awful lot, but there is a logic there that carries between the two systems and encourages me to think that Jung’s psychological types might flourish better in an occult or magical account of the psyche than in an academic psychology.
I have been thinking about C. G. Jung’s typological work again, in part because I have been thinking about the opening of a personal magical practice, about what constitutes the healthy openign for a person. Reflection on such beginnings provide insight into the present situation they made possible, and they also provide possible insight for those who are at the beginning, so it seems like good blogging material.
Okay, so I have a few things that I keep thinking about or which are being put forward for me to think about, things that will probably make their way into posts of their own, but right now I want to see what I can do to just get them out of my head and put them in front of my face, see what other connections might arise thereby. Notebooking, so caveat lector.
There is a big question that is difficult to get at that nonetheless needs to be addressed if I am going to talk about gnosticism. Namely: what is gnosis? I have an answer, but I also have an allusive sensibility, so please pardon me as I make some wide circuits through this question.
Sometimes Tumblr does a nice job of churning up just the right set of quotes to start me thinking toward a topic. I want to sit these two quotes together here so that I come back to them more easily than digging back through Tumblr history. So, this is another notebook in the noting something down sense.
I have had this on the back burner for a while, so in the new year spirit of cleaning out the old, here you go.
Stacey pointed out to me this article which maps the MBTI types to the sixteen geomantic figures. I have considered making a similar effort before but come at it from a much different direction. Rather than attempt to map any sort of one-to-one figure to type correspondence, I have tried to map each type onto two figures, an ‘introverted’ figure and an ‘extroverted’ figure.
Ever since I finished the book challenge, I have found my thoughts wandering toward what someone should read after those ten books. It is all well and good to have secreted them away in a lakeside hideaway for a month, but what should they do for their continuing education? What should they dip into over the course of the next year?
I’m not sure exactly what I’m after with this thought exercise, but since it has been persistent I figured it’s worth a post.
I am a little excited to see discussions undercutting notions of a language instinct a la Chomsky seeping out into semi-popular culture. In part, because if we ought to jettison the language instinct, we ought also to jettison ideas like the collective unconscious formulated by C. G. Jung. What makes one untenable makes the other untenable, too.
…was traveling through the Siberian tundra and found an animal he had long been looking for. It was a more than lifesize cock, made of what looked like thin, colourless glass. But it was alive and had sprung by chance from a microscopic unicellular organism which had the power to to turn into all sorts of animals…or even into objects of human use.… The next moment each of these chance forms vanished without a trace.
—Reported by C. G. Jung in Psyche and Symbol, 295
Chance in its pure form, suggested by the workings of evolution, which nonetheless produces a panoply of things which can be put to use, which have a purpose in our limited human venue.
A cock carries so many rich associations. It is, first, a cock, an animal with deep religious associations and a frequent sacrificial offering. As cock it also plays a double entendre with the phallus and thereby with the figure of castration, the loss of the penis that gives birth to the symbol.
Sacrifice, loss, and generation.
But the generation secured in all of this is fragile. It vanishes without a trace, leaving me on the tundra again by myself. The chance events from which all this springs are, in the final accounting, chance, without a firm basis in the world in which they emerge. They run their course and are gone.
The cock itself is bland, barely there, colorless and made of glass, through which things pass. This is the unfolding and closing of a dream, and the dream circles to encompass the entirety of human society, taking it with it when it goes.
The cock, the production of signs and symbols, the suggestion of all things Mercurial. With the cock we find the Mercurial machine elves in their kaleidoscopic magnificence, but all that the produce occurs amidst a greater emptiness. It parades before me, but I do nothing, only look.
Why do I only look?
What would it take for these seeds to take root and acquire stable life?
The dreamer was in a wild mountain region where he found contiguous layers of triassic rock. He loosened the slabs and discovered to his boundless astonishment that they had human heads on them in low relief.
—Reported by C. G. Jung in Psyche and Symbol, 295
Triassic rock…there is a lot to think about in that alone. This great mountain region in which the memory of an era flanked by mass extinctions has been exposed. That they are contiguous is important, they have been brought up intact from this distant time, preserving their nearness to it.
The astonishment is obvious, but I wonder if I shouldn’t dwell with it, too. These are not remnants of a fossil human, not remnants of a humanity before our own understanding of them. These are the ideas of humans before humans. They are in low relief, not fully formed in three dimensions, suggested only. This is Lovecraft country, where a Great Race may record in its stones the dreams of a people who are yet to be.
Between these other intelligences who carve, who lived contiguous with their own world, and the reality with which I am contiguous, there is a flash of astonishment that joins us one to the other. I am here, they are there, but between us some mystery across which we face each other. Though these sculptors have no face for me, they give to me the faces of my time.
My hands upon the works of their hands.
But beneath that astonishment is a great gulf that we cannot cross. While they dream of me and my fellows, I do not dream so easily of them. Even dreaming, we touch only over the span of millenia, over the remnants of what they have left behind.
Here the great wild mountains loom, here these moments are precious and disparate, here these buried treasures rise but without context. This dream does not satisfy but astonishes.
I want to tell a story, I can’t help but start to tell a story, but the astonishment remembered, the mountains rising high, make the story small, a treasure I can share with those who crawl through these great mountains with me, but not one equal to the astonishment and majesty.
I can tell you a story, doctor, but it is for you and not the great mountains.