Exegesis Volume 07 Issue #021

In This Issue:

From: L:Smerillo
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #20

Exegesis Digest Fri, 08 Feb 2002

Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002 11:17:20 +0100
From: L:Smerillo
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #20

RE: Dennis Frank's questions about symbols and archetypes.

I think a symbol is a symbol because someone made it a symbol. It is a 'throwing together' ( >Gk. sum + bollein) between two disparate objects. A rose-shaped design can be a synmbol for the sun. But the sun is not a symbol because nobody put it there.

On Jung's concept of archetypes, see his-- with Carl Ker/enyi, _Essays on a Science of Mythology, The myth of the Divine Child and the Mysteries of Eleusis_ Princeton, Bollingen Series XXI, 1949 rep1959, 1963,1973 (original ed. 1941 Zurich), page 92, where he gives something of a definition of the term, but also uses the word symbol (unless this is due to the translator):

"The deeper 'layers' of the psyche lose their individual uniqueness as they retreat farther and farther into darkness. 'Lower down,' that is to sayas they approach the autonomous functional systems, they become increasingly collective until they are universalized and extinguished in the body's materiality, ie, in chemical substances. The body's carbon is simply carbon. Hence 'at bottom' the psyche is simply the 'world.' In this sense I hold Ker/enyi to be absolutely right when he say that in the symbol _the world itself_ is speaking. The more archaic and 'deeper,' that is the more _physiological_, the symbol is, the more collective and universal, the more 'material' it is. The more abstract, differentiated, and specific it si, the more its nature approximates to conscious uniqueness and individuality, the more it sloughs off its universal character. Having finally attained full consciousness, it runs the the risk of becoming a mere allegory, which nowhere oversteps the bounds of conscious comprehension, and is then exposed to all sorts of attempts at rationalistic and therefore inadequate explanation."

That is what annoys me about Jung, he says the answer is both yes and no _and_ either and both and 'or': rather like the young Jesuit at his final exams at the Gregoriana, when asked to state clearly his opinion on a dangerous theological point, and as the exam was in Latin the question was 'sic vel non?' (yes or no), he replied, 'vel...'


Lorenzo Smerillo


End of exegesis Digest V7 #21

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