Meaning of Meaning Pt 3 – Building Soul

Building Soul

  1. Given the context of “some assembly required” and likely contradiction and internal conflict, it is reasonable to hypothesize a system that works to knit together and harmonize the components of human personality.
    1. Jung hypothesized this specifically and called it the archetype of Self.
    2. Jung’s Self had the power to channel conflicting components towards synthesized whole. His interest in the mandala reflects an interest in systems that put many components into a patterned whole.
  2. Confronting our contradictions, we generally work from the personal ‘down’ into the collective. Unless your culture is in the midst of a open crisis, the demands of our personal biography trump cultural schisms. Once the personal is reconciled, however, the cultural issues come to the fore.
    1. The downward movement is what Jung called Building Soul and he defines the Soul as a organ of the psyche that gives depth by connecting the individual to deeper collective currents.
    2. The division between personal and collective is, of course, complex and multi-layered…and somewhat arbitrary. The personal is simply an instance of the collective and the collective is the sum of the personal. Conflicts and contradictions do not exist in the abstract no matter how abstractly we work with them. They are always embodied.
  3. When our personal contradictions span emerging or existing cultural divides, the work to heal and harmonize can gain significant additional intensity (often painful intensity) but, also, the work to heal and harmonize can feel powerfully meaningful.
    1. Jung and Campbell described this as the Hero’s Journey
    2. The first stage is often individual crisis and confusion. The present is in some manner intolerable but the future is clouded and the hero must depart from the known world and seek the vision or tools or guidance that allows him/her to move forward.
    3. This is the most individual form of meaning generation: the puzzles are often collective (contradictions in our culture), occasionally individual (warring traits) but the solutions are always sparked by individual blood, sweat, tears, and imagination.
  4. Jung’s Individuation vs Cambell’s Hero’s Journey
    1. Jung focuses on the introverted side: internal contradictions (generated by either personal contradictions or the ‘introjection’ of cultural divides) are resolved into awareness. Hero stories are about that process.
    2. Campbell focuses on the extroverted side. Some rupture sends the hero out to triumph and return and revitalize the culture.

(to follow – Extrinsic (tribal): [[under construction]])

(Quick links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 4)

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