‘ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE’ (The Jungian View)

July [4] 2008

Potent Quote Department

From Robert Aziz, C.G. Jung’s Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity (1990):

1.     The Terry Lectures, which Jung delivered in 1937 at the invitation of Yale University, stand out as Jung’s most cogent and indeed forceful presentation of what we have characterized as the ritual dimension of his psychology of religion…Jung’s Terry lectures… provide a much needed alternative, or…complement to the Judeo-Christian forms of religious ritual, which Jung had come to see, were losing their efficacy for ever-increasing numbers of people in the West. 9

2.      The shortcoming of Western religious rituals, Jung told his Yale audience, is the emphasis that is placed on highly structured, as opposed to spontaneous, religious experience….Western forms of religion, Jung suggested, leave little room for “immediate religious experience.”  9

3. In contrast to Freud, Jung maintains that psychic phenomena must be examined from “a twofold” point of view, namely that of causality and that of finality.  Finality is a point of view which, as Jung explains, is “empirically justified by the existence of series of events in which the causal connection is indeed evident but the meaning of which only becomes intelligible in terms of end-products (final effects).” 15  

4. Utilizing the writings of the ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang-tzu to illustrate this point, Jung writes:  “If you have insight you use your inner eye, your inner ear, to pierce to the heart of things, and have no need of intellectual knowledge.”  This is obviously an allusion to the absolute knowledge of the unconscious, and to the presence in the microcosm of macrocosmic events. 111

5.    With synchronistic experiences of “absolute knowledge,” then, both the inner and outer synchronistic events perform very precise and specific roles in what we might characterize as the compensatory strategy of the constellated archetypal pattern. 

6.   Above all else, the emphasis in Chinese philosophy is on “synthesis.”  This-worldliness and otherworldliness stand in contrast to each other as do realism and idealism.  The task of Chinese philosophy is to accomplish a synthesis out of the antithesis.  This does not mean they are to be abolished.  They are still there, but they have been made into a synthetic whole. 

7. Accordingly, the Chinese concept of the individuated man, to put it in Jungian terms, is a person who has brought these opposites together, not just intellectually, but more importantly, in actual practice.  134

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