Any psychology based on the notion of the objective, autonomous soul as its root metaphor must proceed from Jung’s insights that history is indispensable for psychology and that the soul does not lie “on the side of the inner”, is not in people as their psyche, but has its place outside in cultural life.
Other than the psychic I in individuals which emerges in early childhood, the psychological I has to be comprehended as a cultural-historical acquisition and as a particular mode of man’s being-in-the-world. This book portrays two exemplary ways how the Western soul’s pushing off to its historically new self-definition as psychological I phenomenally manifested itself during the early-modern period: under terrible birth pangs in pre-Reformation Luther’s spiritual crisis and, in a calmer, more intellectual process, in the Renaissance discovery and adoption of linear perspective in painting as visible expression of a revolutionary transformation of man’s entire relation to the world.
Especially Luther’s struggles beautifully exemplify Jung’s idea of the present as the battle between the past and the future and his crucial insight that an epochal change in which all “hitherto believed values decay” needs to be seen psychologically as the autonomous soul’s own work and thus as a task, as consciousness’s necessity to adapt to its altered world. This view contrasts with James Hillman’s imaginal psychology, which, despite its definitely archetypal orientation, is shown to be only concerned with the subjective mind and to have no place for the objective soul.
The book sketches the I’s further fate on its way, first into the 19th century, where it was transmuted into the positivistic “ego” in the narrower sense, and then into our time, in which the soul has left the I altogether behind and is now garbing itself in an entirely new guise. The last chapter presents an examination of Jung’s assessment of present-day consciousness as a still “primitive awareness” and his vision of the potential of a future full-fledged “psychological consciousness”.
About the Author:
Wolfgang Giegerich is a Jungian psychoanalyst now living and working in Berlin, Germany. He has lectured and taught in many countries. He has been an invited speaker at the Eranos conferences (Ascona, Switzerland) from 1981 until the final conference in 1989, and at the Kyoto Zen Symposium (Kyoto, Japan) in 1988. Twice he spent a semester as Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. He is the author of numerous articles and books, among them in English six volumes of his Collected English Papers (2005-2014), What is soul? (2012), Neurosis: The logic of a metaphysical illness (2013), all formerly published by Spring Journal Books, New Orleans, now by Routledge, London and New York, as well as The soul's logical life: Towards a rigorous notion of psychology (Peter Lang, Frankfurt/Main 1998, 5th edition revised and extended by an index, 2020).