ArticlePDF Available

The self, the psyche and the world: A phenomenological interpretation

Authors:

Abstract

This paper takes as its starting point Jung's definition of the self as the totality of the psyche. However, because the term psyche remains conceptually unclear the concept of the self as totality, origin and goal, even centre, remains vague. With reference to Heidegger's analysis of human being as Dasein, as well as Jung's writings, it is argued that Jung's concept of psyche is not a synonym for mind but is the world in which we live psychologically. An understanding of the psyche as existentially situated requires us to rethink some features of the self. For instance, the self as origin is thus not a pre-existential integrate of pure potentiality but the original gathering of existence in which, and out of which, personal identity is constituted. The ego emerges out of the self as the development and ownership of aspects of an existence that is already situated and gathered. Relations between the ego and the self are about what is known, or admitted, and its relation with what is already being lived within the gathering that is existence. The self as psyche, origin, and centre are discussed, as well as the meaning of interiority. Epistemological assumptions of object relations theory are critically discussed. The paper also includes critical discussions of recent papers on the self.
... Therefore, unless otherwise qualified, I use the term psyche in the all-encompassing sense described in this section. 31 Brooke 2009, p. 609. 32 Brooke 2015, p. 90. ...
... A brief story, which I have discussed elsewhere (Brooke, 2009), illustrates the problem. A Xhosa student was discussing his frustration at Jung's notion of symbols, which, he said, seemed to make what was symbolized unreal. ...
Article
Full-text available
Jung's dreams about Africa reveal the Whiteness and colonialist assumptions typical of the twentieth century educated European. Jung's visits to Africa and New Mexico, and his dreams are critically discussed, showing how, even decades later, Jung failed to use his own theory of dreaming with regard to his own dreams. The compensatory function of his dreams was never effected, and his transference fantasies of Africa and blackness were reinforced rather than analyzed. There were unfortunate consequences for the development of his thinking and his understanding of the individuation process, since his oppositional thinking in terms of White and Black remained as a concrete trans-ference fantasy as well as a colonialist attitude towards his internal world. The Nguni term ubuntu, will be used to reimagine individuation in more explicitly ethical and socially embedded ways. With regard to the development of consciousness, a distinction is developed between the withdrawal of projections and as a helpful therapeutic issue and as an epistemological approach to the place of meaning. If Jung's dreams of Africa had managed to "heal" him, Jungian psychology would look rather like it does today, because the way out of Jung's Colonialism is to be found in Jung's life and work, especially in his alchemical studies.
... It is crucial to understand that the Jungian concept of the psyche is radically different from, and not a synonym for, the personal mind (Brooke, 2009(Brooke, , 2015. Jung described the psyche as something that surrounds the human being, inside and out, and is antecedent to him or her (Jung, 1967, para. ...
Article
Full-text available
Vocation, as distinct from career, is not something one chooses but something to which one is called. Bringing a depth psychological perspective to debates around calling, I argue that surrendering the ego or personal will into a relationship with the unconscious psyche allows one’s calling to emerge. Using a hybrid qualitative approach drawing on hermeneutics and incorporating interviews with midlife adults, the research shows how calling can arise through darkness, disruption and trouble, paralleling a process of initiation in traditional cultures. Applications of Jungian concepts including psyche, shadow, persona and individuation are discussed. Vocational research and practice implications are raised.
... Brooke, 2009, s. 601) ve benlik kavramı ile ego kavramını ayrı tutmuştur (akt. Brooke, 2009). Jung'a (akt. ...
Article
The present work aims to present ideas about the notion of 'Mystery', based on the contributions of various thinkers from different areas of knowledge. It will focus especially on the experience itself, that is, on the human possibility of generating the mystical experience and conceptualizing the dimension from contact with it. Concepts such as 'Homo Mysticus' (Erich Neumann), 'Numinous' (Rudolf Otto), 'Synchronicity' and 'Self' (Carl G. Jung) will be developed, approaching them from a psychological perspective. A distinction between two different categories of contact is proposed in the article: violent experiences and subtle experiences. The referential framework of analytical psychology enables the possibility of a transcendent and immaterial realm creatively linked to psychic reality, as well as an attempt to understand it. The conceptualization of the symbolic from the Jungian worldview allows us to understand the experience of Mystery from a psychological point of view in relation to the surrounding world. The idea is even raised that the ultimate (and implicit) purpose of the analysis is the manifestation of Mystery, a general name that could encompass the different phenomenological experiences. Is it possible that such experiences occur in the cultural circumstances of the present? What place does Mystery occupy in these times? What forms could it take? By observing dreams, imaginations and synchronicities, experiences of the mysterious will be explored in the context of contemporary Jungian analysis.
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis presents contemporary attempts of empirical verification and reinterpretation of three analytical psychology theoretical constructs – archetypes, complexes and psychological types – using the orientation of social constructivism. For this purpose epistemic differences and historical past between mainstream psychology and analytical psychology were analysed. Subsequently, empirical research, theoretical reinterpretations and research tools related to three chosen constructs were shown. Conclusions discuss potential benefits and terms of mutual exploration between analytical psychology and neo-positivist academic psychology and also the relevance and usefulness of Jung's ideas concerning the functioning of the psyche.
Article
The rupture between event and meaning has shown itself to be a key issue plaguing collective psychology. This rupture requires as remedy a poetic sensibility that can imagine the central images or root metaphors which make experience qualitatively intelligible, an imaginal literacy that reads images while also making new images from that which is presented. Bachelard’s [(1988). Air and dreams: An essay on the imagination of movement] notion of images as liberatory, disentangling one from superficial impressions by transmuting surface to depth, and Hillman’s [(1975). Re-visioning psychology] move of ‘seeing through’ the archetypal images expressed in events will serve as foundational ideas for the author’s description of poetic sensibility as the capacity to read and make images through ‘deform[ing] what we perceive’ (p. 1). The author will highlight the central function of poetic sensibility as an essential engagement of imagination required by any movement resisting the neocolonial policies and ‘inverted totalitarianism’ [Wolin, S. (2003). Inverted totalitarianism: How the Bush regime is effecting the transformation to a fascist-like state] of the corporate and political state.
Article
In psychiatric diagnostics, language fulfils several functions such as the mere documentation of the particular psychopathology as well as intersubjective communication of subjective experiences. Psychological vocabulary (PV) plays an essential methodological role in the description of subjective experiences. Thus, in the context of psychiatry it is important to clarify the meaning of PV. Problems may arise if the meaning of words such as anxiety, mood or thinking is defined as a name of particular "private episodes". In his late work "Philosophical Investigations" Ludwig Wittgenstein develops the theory of a language, according to which the meaning of a word is principally predicated on its concrete use and rules, respectively, that determine its particular possible applications. Accordingly, the meaning of PV is also given by its concrete use and thus, the correct use of PV must be based on corresponding objectively verifiable criteria of human behaviour. The review article portrays Wittgensteins Philosophy of Psychology and his late Philosophy of language. These are discussed in the context of psychiatric diagnostics.
Article
Full-text available
Taking a position informed by postcolonial thought, it is argued that Jung's concept of individuation, with its emphasis on separateness and the withdrawal of projections, is essentially modern and Western. Any group of people is regarded by Jung only as a regressive threat to the individuation process. Jung's European colonialism is evident in his trips to Africa and his response to the dreams that he had there. It is argued that traces of this colonialism remain evident as a colonialism of the psyche to the extent that opposites such as light/dark, white/black, civilized/primitive, conscious/unconscious remain as the organizing principles in our theory of psyche. The author's experience of growing up in apartheid South Africa is discussed, together with an account of a dream of a traditional Xhosa woman and another Xhosa woman's life. Thereafter, Senghor's concept of negritude is used to describe an individuating consciousness that might be closer to our shared human experience than is found in Jung's writings. Individuation is then discussed in terms of the Zulu concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is based on the recognition that we become persons through other persons who treat us as persons, and that the community can be imagined as facilitating our individuation. It is suggested that Ubuntu might describe our experience of growth within the Jungian community.
Article
Full-text available
This article presents an existential psychotherapist's examination of foundational concerns in depth psychology and psychotherapy. Following a phenomenological, hermeneutic approach to inquiry, it begins by tracing the historical origins of the term depth psychology (Tiefenpsychologie) as well as the meaning of the concepts of the soul (Seele) and the life of the soul (Seelenleben) as these latter terms are used in the works of Sigmund Freud. Drawing on the evidence of immediate experience as well as the daseinsanalytic thought of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger and the Swiss psychiatrist Medard Boss, the article then presents an understanding of human existence as Being-in-the-world or Da-sein, that kind of being whose essence is described, first, as existing as such (i.e., rather than not existing) and, second, as being-there (Da-sein). The article goes on to unfold an existential understanding of the meaning of soul (Seele) as the individual human being's very own situated gathering of lived-experience. Grounded in this ontological analysis, the article considers Freud's descriptive understanding of the unconscious before offering an existential view of being conscious or not as two basic ways of relating to one's own existence. Finally, the article proposes that the human being's ontological constitution as finite, fallen, forgetful, and fleeing as well as the world's own ontological concealment make possible these two basic ontical ways human beings relate to their own existence. Throughout the article, a steady dialectic is developed between the author's own everyday and clinical experience and psychoanalytic, existential, phenomenological, and humanistic thought.
Article
Full-text available
This article introduces the special issue of The Humanistic Psychologist, entitled “Depth, Death, and Dialogue: New Inquiries in Existential Depth Psychotherapy.” It begins by identifying several commitments that existential psychotherapists tend to hold in common and that distinguish their approach to depth psychotherapy from others. These commitments include, among others, the meaning, ownership, there-ness, everydayness, phenomenology, and wholeness of human existence, as well as its possibility for authenticity. The article then distinguishes among different kinds of approaches to existential depth psychotherapy, using the criteria of the degree to which they harken to the intellectual Zeitgeists of America or Europe and, with this, the manner in which they address everyday (ontic) and/or philosophical (ontologic) concerns. A brief discussion of the author's understanding of the ontical and the ontological foundations for existential psychology ensues before the article closes with a crucial challenge facing existential depth psychotherapy and brief introduction to the articles in the special issue.
Article
The analysis of Dasein (existence), based upon Martin Heidegger's philosophy, is like psychoanalysis in its effort to be open to the experience of the patient, but it differs from psychoanalysis in that it does not accept a natural-science approach to psychology. Daseinsanalysis, too, rejects the concept "unconscious" as being "superfluous." Finally, Daseinsanalysis does not consider "transference" responses to be transferred from images developed in infantile experiences, but instead views the patient's feelings as belonging to "the genuine interpersonal relationship to the analyst." In Daseins-analysis, acting out of "transference feelings" should be permitted and encouraged. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)