Finding My Monkey

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.

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maybe_my_monkey
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Re: Finding My Monkey

Post by maybe_my_monkey »

findingblanks wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:19 pm
I understand. I think that I misunderstood you from the beginning and assumed that your main interest in talking to me was grounded in things you came across in the endless Steiner thread. Now I see that it is quite the opposite and your feedback is helpful.

Unfortunately, I'm much less a scholar that you are. In that sense, anything I have to say about Jung, especially wants we start digging into detailed questions about his more esoteric metaphysical writings, will be flimsy and based more in my own naivete than any systematic knowledge I have of Jung.

So if your main hope is that via me you can get a better handle on Jung, I'm afraid I'm not your guy. But maybe there is a conversation to be had about Jung. Let me go back and read how you framed your core questions. I might be able to amplify the questions in a way that is at least interesting. Thanks for the clarity regarding Steiner.
Fair enough. I'm not a Jung scholar either, nor philosopher. I do, though, have a serious interest in both Jung and Kastrup's work and where/how they are congruent. There are things about them both, when viewed together, which give me a sense of a valuable meta-narrative. I'm not looking to nail my hat on any one thinker/idea/view. Just to build my own understanding from the works of those who at least make sense to me personally. I asked for your views because you strike me as capable of nuance and I find that very valuable.

It's as futile for me to try and rain on anyone's parade as it is for them to try and rain on mine. “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” as a wise man observed.
findingblanks
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Re: Finding My Monkey

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I couldn't agree with you more.

So since I'd bet we each have a shared handle on Kastrup (relatively speaking), why don't we start with what is most exciting about Jung for us and then explore overlaps or interesting aspects that seem relevant.

For me what always stands about about Jung the way he looks at everyday experiences and can find the deeper undercurrents (archetypes, Gods, needs, purposes...) that are trying to express themselves through those 'simple' experiences.

As a therapist, I often have utilized Jung's practices of Active Imagination and asked clients to consciously participate in and with those images (impulses, stories...) that keep resurfacing in their lives. Somebody just taking 20 minutes to imagine a dialog with a recurrent dream figure can open up an shocking amount of wisdom that was trying to 'get out', so to speak. I'll stop here and let you go and we can see how it develops.
maybe_my_monkey
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Re: Finding My Monkey

Post by maybe_my_monkey »

findingblanks wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:17 pm I couldn't agree with you more.

So since I'd bet we each have a shared handle on Kastrup (relatively speaking), why don't we start with what is most exciting about Jung for us and then explore overlaps or interesting aspects that seem relevant.

For me what always stands about about Jung the way he looks at everyday experiences and can find the deeper undercurrents (archetypes, Gods, needs, purposes...) that are trying to express themselves through those 'simple' experiences.

As a therapist, I often have utilized Jung's practices of Active Imagination and asked clients to consciously participate in and with those images (impulses, stories...) that keep resurfacing in their lives. Somebody just taking 20 minutes to imagine a dialog with a recurrent dream figure can open up an shocking amount of wisdom that was trying to 'get out', so to speak. I'll stop here and let you go and we can see how it develops.
Sounds good. I agree with what you say about Jung and how he can unpack deeper undercurrents, it's one of the things I find fascinating about him but made more so once I read of the experiences he had which enabled him to be in that position.

I'll give an example of what I mean by that.

In the Red Book: A Readers Edition, there is a chapter called 'Hell'. starts at page 315.

The scene is of a tangle of twisted bodies, a maiden laid on top of a man of devilish appearance and two other similar daemons laid across the maidens feet and body. A struggle has occurred and the maiden has fought hard and managed to pierce the eye of the most powerful demon, laid beneath her, with a fish hook. If the demon moves she will tear out his eye with a final move. A voice says "The evil one cannot make a sacrifice, he cannot sacrifice his eye, victory is with the one who can sacrifice."

The chapter then speaks to the evil that is within us, within our psyche. 'I recognise the fearful devilishness of human nature.' and is a very interesting chapter which I highly recommend.

However, the conclusion of it is just so provocative.

"But why did my soul not tear out the eye of the evil one? The evil one has many eyes, and losing one amounts to losing none. But if she had done it, she would have come completely under the spell of the evil one. The evil one can only fail to make sacrifice. You should not harm him, above all not his eye, since the most beautiful would not exist if the evil one did not see it and long for it. The evil one is holy.

There is nothing the emptiness can sacrifice, since it always suffers lack. Only fullness can sacrifice, since it has fullness. Emptiness cannot sacrifice its hunger for fullness, since it cannot deny its own essence. Therefore we also need evil
."

That's Jung for you. 'The evil one is holy.' it sent shivers down my spine as I nodded my head and exhaled. It's what I meant by beautifully terrifying and is one of the things that stands out for me about him and his work. His capacity to embrace 'darkness' and 'light', to gain insight from both in equal measure in a manner I find very powerful. There is a thinly veiled metaphysics in there too I would say.

It also, for me, relates to what he wrote about Abraxas. "Its power is the greatest, because man perceiveth it not. From the sun he draweth the summum bonum; from the devil the infimum malum; but from Abraxas life, altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil." Hence why I saw it (Abraxas) as a good representation for 'blind, instinctive will' as Schopenhauer spoke of. It sits above God and Devil, Good and Evil and is both in its effect.

In other words I don't see Kastrup's M@L as relating to Schopenhauer's 'blind, instinctive will', I see M@L as Jung's Pleroma but Abraxas as something which, as Jung wrote "Had the pleroma a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation. It is the effective itself, not any particular effect, but effect in general." More like Schop's 'blind, instinctive will.'
findingblanks
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Re: Finding My Monkey

Post by findingblanks »

Ah, wonderful. Okay NOW I see some places we can pick up. I'll try to respond in a bit. That was a great post.
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AshvinP
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Re: Finding My Monkey

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maybe_my_monkey wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 10:09 pm That's Jung for you. 'The evil one is holy.' it sent shivers down my spine as I nodded my head and exhaled. It's what I meant by beautifully terrifying and is one of the things that stands out for me about him and his work. His capacity to embrace 'darkness' and 'light', to gain insight from both in equal measure in a manner I find very powerful. There is a thinly veiled metaphysics in there too I would say.

This reminds me of Rilke's quote from a letter to a young poet:

“We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares have been set around us, and there is nothing that should frighten or upset us. We have been put into life as into the element we most accord with, and we have, moreover, through thousands of years of adaptation, come to resemble this life so greatly that when we hold still, through a fortunate mimicry we can hardly be differentiated from everything around us. We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


This approach to "evil" is also at the core of Anthroposophy. We are not tasked with "destroying" evil, but redeeming it by honestly, lovingly, and thoughtfully confronting it and integrating it from within.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
findingblanks
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Re: Finding My Monkey

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"The evil one is holy." Thanks for reminding my spine how chilling that quotation should be. And thank you for sharing all those quotes. All through college and graduate school, we'd always hear about Jung's Red Book but it had never been published. I was so excited to finally get my hands on it over 13 years ago (more or less) when it finally came out. I'd read it bit by bit at night meditatively, along with rereading his biography and random scraps of other books. My wife and I recently moved so the vast majority of my books are still in storage. Now I'm longing for The Red book. I might have to zip it into my Kindle...

Some people want a finished system of words that they can then operationalize. I doubt we need that here, so I want to know not what you think these words are supposed to mean in some never-changing technical way but how they mean to you these days. So when you say:

"Hence why I saw it (Abraxas) as a good representation for 'blind, instinctive will' as Schopenhauer spoke of. It sits above God and Devil, Good and Evil and is both in its effect."

Okay, I can let Abraxas (to the extent I have an understanding of how that is being used) be the blind, instinctive will. And then from that will we have core manifestations. You name two of them "God" and "Devil".

So does this mean that you would be thinking of "God" as a pattern of forces/images/activies that human's represent? And same with the Devil?

"In other words I don't see Kastrup's M@L as relating to Schopenhauer's 'blind, instinctive will', I see M@L as Jung's Pleroma but Abraxas as something which, as Jung wrote "Had the pleroma a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation. It is the effective itself, not any particular effect, but effect in general." More like Schop's 'blind, instinctive will.'"

Since my instinct is to equate Kastrup's MaL with "the will", I need to look carefully at how you are setting things up here. Maybe one way I can get there is to ask you this:

If 'blind' and 'instinctive' describe Abraxas, what characterizes Pleroma/M@L? And am I correct in that we are thinking of Pleroma/M2L as more fundamental that that which manifests from it, which is the blind will/Abraxas?
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Re: Finding My Monkey

Post by maybe_my_monkey »

findingblanks wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 2:45 am Okay, I can let Abraxas (to the extent I have an understanding of how that is being used) be the blind, instinctive will. And then from that will we have core manifestations. You name two of them "God" and "Devil".

So does this mean that you would be thinking of "God" as a pattern of forces/images/activies that human's represent? And same with the Devil?

"In other words I don't see Kastrup's M@L as relating to Schopenhauer's 'blind, instinctive will', I see M@L as Jung's Pleroma but Abraxas as something which, as Jung wrote "Had the pleroma a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation. It is the effective itself, not any particular effect, but effect in general." More like Schop's 'blind, instinctive will.'"

Since my instinct is to equate Kastrup's MaL with "the will", I need to look carefully at how you are setting things up here. Maybe one way I can get there is to ask you this:

If 'blind' and 'instinctive' describe Abraxas, what characterizes Pleroma/M@L? And am I correct in that we are thinking of Pleroma/M2L as more fundamental that that which manifests from it, which is the blind will/Abraxas?
It's Jung who names them but for me the names aren't as important as what they may be pointing to. I would prefer a more agnostic way of expressing these things but I'm not going to fall into a ditch over it or I would miss the point.

OK, let me see if I can articulate how I see it but yes, your last question is a good precis of it. It might be useful to refer to Jung's Seven Sermons here: http://www.gnosis.org/library/7Sermons.htm whereas you're likely more current with Kastrups work so I'll assume that. I'd also like to start in a fairly simple way and get to the nitty gritty in later posts, as much as I am able and competent enough. This is where I feel you can help me.

Both in Jung's terms (Pleroma) and I believe what Kastrup is pointing to (M@L) seems to me that they are essentially similar, perhaps entirely. It's worth quoting Jung here:

"I begin with nothingness. Nothingness is the same as fullness. In infinity full is no better than empty. Nothingness is both empty and full. As well might ye say anything else of nothingness, as for instance, white is it, or black, or again, it is not, or it is. A thing that is infinite and eternal hath no qualities, since it hath all qualities.

This nothingness or fullness we name the PLEROMA. Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite possess no qualities. In it no being is, for he then would be distinct from the pleroma, and would possess qualities which would distinguish him as something distinct from the pleroma.

In the pleroma there is nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless to think about the pleroma, for this would mean self-dissolution.

But wherefore, then, do we speak of the pleroma at all, since it is thus everything and nothing?

I speak of it to make a beginning somewhere...

When we distinguish qualities of the pleroma, we are speaking from the ground of our own distinctiveness and concerning our own distinctiveness. But we have said nothing concerning the pleroma
."

Then asking if Kastrup is speaking of the same thing, just in different terms, when he suggests that Mind (I prefer this to consciousness in this context) is the ontological primitive and the one thing we must assume because we can not reduce any further. So we can't get 'behind' it to observe it and indeed it would be impossible let alone circular. The M@L Kastrup speaks about, in it's ontic foundation, is not meta-conscious, nor, I would say, even conscious although we might say that it is the ground of consciousness itself, or Mind. Even this is problematic because we have a tendency to want to nail a word to it and capture it so that it can have distinction and therefore relation and therefore meaning. But really all we might legitimately say is that 'it is of itself' and no more, even that can be misleading as it suggests an 'itself'. Jung says it far more ably than I ever could but I feel that the Pleroma is what Kastrup is pointing at when he uses the term M@L as ontological primitive. In more poetic terms I might say that it is the 'space' in which the dream can take place but it is not the dream nor the dreamer as they would be effects/distinctions. "The eternal and infinite possess no qualities."

So then when Kastrup makes his next move we have excitations within M@L and he uses the metaphor of waves in water. I'd have to go back to Kastrup's books to see what exactly he says about this as I can't recall precisely. But it does appear to me that these excitations are 'instinctive' and 'blind'. I would see these as the foundational 'indefinite' yet 'distinct' expression of all potential forms/images, coming into being/transforming/going out of being/coming into being etc. This also seems to me, in the limited way I understand, to be Schopenhauer's 'blind, instinctive will'. Which to me seems similar to Abraxas "Had the pleroma a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation. It is the effective itself, not any particular effect, but effect in general......It is force, duration, change."

In one sense then this is like a dream world, and if I remember correctly Kastrup talks about this in More Than Allegory in the fictional story at the end. A sense of consciousness of instinctively created images and when I read Jung's Sermon III I can get a sense of this in the way Jung describes Abraxas. Especially as he starts it with "Its power is the greatest, because man perceiveth it not. From the sun he draweth the summum bonum; from the devil the infimum malum; but from Abraxas life, altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil."

"...but from Abraxas life" Life, death, good, evil, hot, cold etc and even more specifically "It is the life of creatura." (Man) and "It is the operation of distinctiveness." (Images) or as Kastrup would say "What it looks like..."

So then it gets interesting for me because Kastrup suggests that at some point there are images that loop back on themselves and in doing so create a reflective surface and it is from this reflective surface that awareness or meta-cognition can arise. But what's really interesting for me is that this arises out of the 'effect' of Abraxas or 'blind, instinctive will', which is not meta-conscious.

So in a real sense whilst Jung says that we are inescapably bound to 'terrible' Abraxas, "But Abraxas is the world, its becoming and its passing." we are a Creatura of the Pleroma, "Yet because we are parts of the pleroma, the pleroma is also in us. Even in the smallest point is the pleroma endless, eternal, and entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it. It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous."

So, for me, M@L is the Pleroma and Abraxas is 'Blind, instinctive will.' Apologies if this isn't entirely all lined up and neat and if my articulation isn't spot on.
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Re: Finding My Monkey

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"Yet because we are parts of the pleroma, the pleroma is also in us. Even in the smallest point is the pleroma endless, eternal, and entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it. It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous."

Perhaps everything created has an evil twin and, with Rumi, “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the ocean in a drop”. Perhaps duality is the realm of motion, manifestation, dissociation, discrimination and thingness while nonduality is rest, unmanifest, instinctual and full of no-thingness? Or, perhaps, as Jesus says in #50 of the Gospel of Thomas:

Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.'

If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.'

If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"


Of course, I dunno.
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AshvinP
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Re: Finding My Monkey

Post by AshvinP »

maybe_my_monkey wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 8:38 pm ...
Then asking if Kastrup is speaking of the same thing, just in different terms, when he suggests that Mind (I prefer this to consciousness in this context) is the ontological primitive and the one thing we must assume because we can not reduce any further. So we can't get 'behind' it to observe it and indeed it would be impossible let alone circular. The M@L Kastrup speaks about, in it's ontic foundation, is not meta-conscious, nor, I would say, even conscious although we might say that it is the ground of consciousness itself, or Mind. Even this is problematic because we have a tendency to want to nail a word to it and capture it so that it can have distinction and therefore relation and therefore meaning. But really all we might legitimately say is that 'it is of itself' and no more, even that can be misleading as it suggests an 'itself'. Jung says it far more ably than I ever could but I feel that the Pleroma is what Kastrup is pointing at when he uses the term M@L as ontological primitive. In more poetic terms I might say that it is the 'space' in which the dream can take place but it is not the dream nor the dreamer as they would be effects/distinctions. "The eternal and infinite possess no qualities."

So then when Kastrup makes his next move we have excitations within M@L and he uses the metaphor of waves in water. I'd have to go back to Kastrup's books to see what exactly he says about this as I can't recall precisely. But it does appear to me that these excitations are 'instinctive' and 'blind'. I would see these as the foundational 'indefinite' yet 'distinct' expression of all potential forms/images, coming into being/transforming/going out of being/coming into being etc. This also seems to me, in the limited way I understand, to be Schopenhauer's 'blind, instinctive will'. Which to me seems similar to Abraxas "Had the pleroma a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation. It is the effective itself, not any particular effect, but effect in general......It is force, duration, change."

In one sense then this is like a dream world, and if I remember correctly Kastrup talks about this in More Than Allegory in the fictional story at the end. A sense of consciousness of instinctively created images and when I read Jung's Sermon III I can get a sense of this in the way Jung describes Abraxas. Especially as he starts it with "Its power is the greatest, because man perceiveth it not. From the sun he draweth the summum bonum; from the devil the infimum malum; but from Abraxas life, altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil."

"...but from Abraxas life" Life, death, good, evil, hot, cold etc and even more specifically "It is the life of creatura." (Man) and "It is the operation of distinctiveness." (Images) or as Kastrup would say "What it looks like..."

So then it gets interesting for me because Kastrup suggests that at some point there are images that loop back on themselves and in doing so create a reflective surface and it is from this reflective surface that awareness or meta-cognition can arise. But what's really interesting for me is that this arises out of the 'effect' of Abraxas or 'blind, instinctive will', which is not meta-conscious.

So in a real sense whilst Jung says that we are inescapably bound to 'terrible' Abraxas, "But Abraxas is the world, its becoming and its passing." we are a Creatura of the Pleroma, "Yet because we are parts of the pleroma, the pleroma is also in us. Even in the smallest point is the pleroma endless, eternal, and entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it. It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous."

So, for me, M@L is the Pleroma and Abraxas is 'Blind, instinctive will.' Apologies if this isn't entirely all lined up and neat and if my articulation isn't spot on.

I like your comparisons here, but it seems you may be failing to consider Jung's spiritual evolutionary approach. None of Jung's Gnostic spiritual framework can be understood as static, i.e. where Abraxas, Pleroma, etc. are fundamentally "blind" or "instinctive" and then all that is "meta-conscious" arises as a separate super-structure on top of it. For that to occur, Jung would need to posit a dualism between the highest 'unconscious' God and his meta-conscious creatures (us), and even BK is so convinced that this is not the case for Jung that he wrote a book about it. I am not sure how familiar you (or BK) is with Jung's writings on alchemy (Mysterium Conunctionis) and astrology (such as phenomenological researches of the Self in Aion), but the spiritual evolutionary framework could not be any more clear there. Even in his Answer to Job, we that evolution pretty clearly.

Jung wrote:The series of eight incarnations of the “true prophet” is distinguished by the special position of the eighth, namely Christ. The eighth prophet is not merely the last in the series; he corresponds to the first and is at the same time the fulfilment of the seven, and signifies the entry into a new order. I have shown in Psychology and Alchemy (pars. 200ff.), with the help of a modern dream, that whereas the seven form an uninterrupted series, the step to the eighth involves hesitation or uncertainty and is a repetition of the same phenomenon that occurs with three and four (the Axiom of Maria). It is very remarkable that we meet it again in the Taoist series of “eight immortals” (hsien-yên): the seven are great sages or saints who dwell in heaven or on the earth, but the eighth is a girl who sweeps up the fallen flowers at the southern gate of heaven. 114 The parallel to this is Grimm’s tale of the seven ravens: there the seven brothers have one sister. 115 One is reminded in this connection of Sophia, of whom Irenaeus says: “This mother they also call the Ogdoad, Sophia, Terra, Jerusalem, Holy Spirit, and, with a masculine reference, Lord.” 116 She is “below and outside the Pleroma.”

Jung, C. G.. Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 14 (pp. 400-401). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
findingblanks
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Re: Finding My Monkey

Post by findingblanks »

Thanks so much, Monkey. I'll dig in ASAP. Much much appreciated. Very interesting. And thanks for the link!
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