The analytic and the synthetic walked into a dinner party . . .

Illustration of a winged, fire-breathing dragon by Friedrich Justin Bertuch from 1806

Embodying and explaining are states of being in the world. Both are part of the human experience, each privileged differently by culture, purpose, necessity, etc. The need to know in our culture, for the reasons why based on causal connections, has dominated the Western psyche for some time now. Jung (1997) recognized this “split” but also assured us the other half, the more instinctive and naturally connected aspects of the psyche are not gone even if they arrive in images instead (p. 52). To be in this world, as the sensing and experiencing organs of the psyche becoming conscious of itself, both aspects are necessary. I find the idea of a split a rather aggressive metaphor, and therefore perhaps a fantasy generation of the analytical part of the psyche.

Carolyn Merchant (1983) tells us of the ancient poetic understanding of mining as a violence done to the earth (p. 31-32), an act possible if earth is not sentient, which brings forth monsters from the depths. Jung (1997) says our rational position, the mining of the psyche we can imagine, has “put us at the mercy of the psychic underworld” (p. 94), the monsters of our own depths as we forget our numinous connection to nature. I wonder if imagining the split of the psyche is also another kind of violence, an unnecessary one. What if, instead, we are entertaining diverse expressions of the archetype(s) of balance, or wholeness, or life. In this metaphor, both the analytic and synthetic are present but, just as conversation at a dinner ebbs and flows between interests and curiosities, so too will our own psyche. As a good hostess, our role is to notice when the conversation needs to be guided for greater inclusion.

Jung, C. G. (1997). Man & His Symbols. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group.

Merchant, C. (1983). The death of nature, women, ecology and the scientific
revolution. Harper Collins.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s