Archive for September, 2014

Aion 13

September 30, 2014

Aion 13
Carl Jung


73 The God-image in man that was damaged by the first sin
can be ”reformed” 20 with the help of God, in accordance with
Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove
what is . . . the will of God” (RSV).


The totality images which
the unconscious produces in the course of an individuation
process are similar “reformations” of an a priori archetype (the
mandala). 21 As I have already emphasized, the spontaneous symbols
of the self, or of wholeness, cannot in practice be distinguished
from a God-image.


Despite the word ^era^op^ovaBe (‘be
transformed’) in the Greek text of the above quotation, the
“renewal” (dyaKaiVwo-is, reformatio) of the mind is not meant as
an actual alteration of consciousness, but rather as the restoration
of an original condition, an apocatastasis.


This is in exact
agreement with the empirical findings of psychology, that there
is an ever-present archetype of wholeness 22 which may easily
disappear from the purview of consciousness or may never be
perceived at all until a consciousness illuminated by conversion
recognizes it in the figure of Christ.


As a result of this “anamnesis”
the original state of oneness with the God-image is restored.
It brings about an integration, a bridging of the split in
the personality caused by the instincts striving apart in different
and mutually contradictory directions.


The only time the split
does not occur is when a person is still as legitimately unconscious
of his instinctual life as an animal. But it proves harmful
and impossible to endure when an artificial unconsciousness—
a repression—no longer reflects the life of the instincts.


74 There can be no doubt that the original Christian conception
of the imago Dei embodied in Christ meant an allembracing
totality that even includes the animal side of man.


Nevertheless the Christ-symbol lacks wholeness in the modern
psychological sense, since it does not include the dark side of
things but specifically excludes it in the form of a Luciferian


Although the exclusion of the power of evil was
something the Christian consciousness was well aware of, all it
lost in effect was an insubstantial shadow, for, through the doctrine
of the privatio boni first propounded by Origen, evil was
characterized as a mere diminution of good and thus deprived
of substance.


According to the teachings of the Church, evil is
simply “the accidental lack of perfection.” This assumption
resulted in the proposition “omne bonum a Deo, omne malum
ab homine.” Another logical consequence was the subsequent
elimination of the devil in certain Protestant sects.


75 Thanks to the doctrine of the privatio boni, wholeness
seemed guaranteed in the figure of Christ. One must, however,
take evil rather more substantially when one meets it on the
plane of empirical psychology.


There it is simply the opposite
of good. In the ancient world the Gnostics, whose arguments
were very much influenced by psychic experience, tackled the
problem of evil on a broader basis than the Church Fathers. For
instance, one of the things they taught was that Christ “cast off
his shadow from himself.” 23


If we give this view the weight it
deserves, we can easily recognize the cut-off counterpart in the
figure of Antichrist. The Antichrist develops in legend as a perverse
imitator of Christ’s life. He is a true avn/u/xov wvevfia, an
imitating spirit of evil who follows in Christ’s footsteps like a
shadow following the body.


This complementing of the bright
but one-sided figure of the Redeemer—we even find traces of it
in the New Testament—must be of especial significance. And
indeed, considerable attention was paid to it quite early.


76 If we see the traditional figure of Christ as a parallel to the
psychic manifestation of the self, then the Antichrist would correspond
to the shadow of the self, namely the dark half of the
human totality, which ought not to be judged too optimistically.


So far as we can judge from experience, light and shadow are so
evenly distributed in man’s nature that his psychic totality
appears, to say the least of it, in a somewhat murky light. The
psychological concept of the self, in part derived from our
knowledge of the whole man, but for the rest depicting itself
spontaneously in the products of the unconscious as an archetypal
quaternity bound together by inner antinomies, cannot
omit the shadow that belongs to the light figure, for without it
this figure lacks body and humanity.


In the empirical self, light
and shadow form a paradoxical unity. In the Christian concept,
on the other hand, the archetype is hopelessly split into two
irreconcilable halves, leading ultimately to a metaphysical dualism—
the final separation of the kingdom of heaven from the
fiery world of the damned.


77 For anyone who has a positive attitude towards Christianity
the problem of the Antichrist is a hard nut to crack. It is nothing
less than the counterstroke of the devil, provoked by God’s
Incarnation; for the devil attains his true stature as the adversary
of Christ, and hence of God, only after the rise of Christianity,
while as late as the Book of Job he was still one of God’s
sons and on familiar terms with Yahweh.24


Psychologically the
case is clear, since the dogmatic figure of Christ is so sublime
and spotless that everything else turns dark beside it. It is, in
fact, so one-sidedly perfect that it demands a psychic complement
to restore the balance.


This inevitable opposition led very
early to the doctrine of the two sons of God, of whom the elder
was called Satanael.25 The coming of the Antichrist is not just a
prophetic prediction—it is an inexorable psychological law
whose existence, though unknown to the author of the Johannine
Epistles, brought him a sure knowledge of the impending


Consequently he wrote as if he were conscious
of the inner necessity for this transformation, though we may be
sure that the idea seemed to him like a divine revelation. In
reality every intensified differentiation of the Christ-image
brings about a corresponding accentuation of its unconscious
complement, thereby increasing the tension between above and



Lacan: The Absolute Master 11

September 30, 2014

Lacan: The Absolute Master

By Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen

Human Desire is thus the Desire that desires itself as unsatisfied desire: pure “negativity,” we would say in Hegelian terms, pure “transcendence” in Heideggerian terms. It remains to be understood in what sense Desire desires “itself”: as “itself” or as “other”? That, obviously, is the whole problem of this Hegelian-Heideggerian amalgam. For Hegel, it is clear that desire desires itself through the other that it denies, which is precisely why Hegel, in this connection, spoke of the “doubling” of self-consciousness: self-consciousness desires itself in another that it itself is, having first to alienate itself in another desire before being able to reappropriate it for itself as its
very own (and, thus, to arrive at the famous “satisfaction”).


By contrast, if desire is defined, in para-Heideggerian terms, as transcendence toward nothing, it is none the less clear that it will desire “itself” only as nothingness—in other words, as pure negativity and absolute alterity: that Desire (capital D) will desire “itself” as Other (capital O), beyond itself and every “ego.” Therefore, in formulas ambiguous enough to admit of all readings, we shall say that Desire is “Desire of Desire,” or “Desire of the Desire of the other.”53 Human Desire, according to Kojeve, is what is brought to bear on another human Desire: it desires to be desired—that is, “recognized”—as pure desire of nothing. The only strictly human Desire is “Desire of recognition,” and the only “human reality” is “recognized reality” or “social reality”: “If . . . human reality is a social reality, society is human only as a set of Desires mutually desiring one another as Desires.”54


The problem, however, only becomes more acute. Aside from the difficulty of seeing where this Desire for recognition comes from (in keeping with “dualistic ontology,” social-human reality arises ex abrupto from natural reality, with absolutely no transition and no mediation), there is also the difficulty of understanding how it could ever be “satisfied,” if, as Kojeve asserts, it is pure desire of nothing. For “human reality,” the only way to become recognized and desired as pure Desire would be in fact to die, to radically negate itself as animal life and “given reality”—and so to go completely unrecognized.


This brings us right back to the “absolute Master, death.” Kojeve, to resolve the difficulty, calls on the strictly Hegelian solution of the problem—namely, the struggle for recognition (for “pure prestige” says Kojeve, since the consciousnesses are fighting each other for nothing) and the subsequent dialectic of master and slave. According to this theory, one of the two battling consciousnesses would become frightened of death (that is, of its “own” Desire) and would prefer unilateral recognition of the other as its master, thus setting off the long process of Labor and History as the Struggle for a truly final and definitive recognition. And so not until the end of history would Man satisfy his truly human Desire—at exactly that moment when he is no longer a Man, but a Wise Man. Let us reread Kojeve’s idyllic summary: “If Desire must end in satisfaction … the interaction of Master and Slave must finally end in the ‘dialectical overcoming’ of both of them. … It is only by being ‘recognized’ by another, by many others, or—in the extreme—by all others, that a human being is really human.”55


Here, peals of laughter from Alexandre, Jacques, and Georges— for how would Desire be satisfied in the end, if it had not been satisfied at the beginning? The slave, as Bataille and Lacan have both noted, is still alive, having recoiled before the “absolute Master,” and thus the desire that, in the end, he “satisfies” is in no way the one in question at the beginning, the pure Desire of death. In reality, this Desire of death cannot possibly be satisfied, if, as Kojeve insists, it is a human desire: How could a man ever experience the pure negativity that he “himself” “is,” if not by perpetually deferring it—by perpetually desiring it?


If strictly human Desire is the desire that desires itself as desire of nothing, then man can never take his proper place except as desire of himself, as impossible desire of himself. “Man” was the name of the impossible. Man is not in man, he is always beyond himself. And “the desire of man,” Lacan would conclude, following the thread of desire straight down from Kojeve, “is the desire of the Other.”


“What do you desire to know?” asked Valentin, shouting.
Indeed, what could she desire to know, the poor wreck? If she wanted to hear about her past, Valentin possessed all the desired documentation.
“If you are a clairvoyant,” said Miss Pantruche, leaning toward him to try to glimpse his face through the veil, “if you are a clairvoyant, you should know what I desire to know.”
And to think that this derelict dares to be skeptical, sighed Valentin, I’ll have to one-up her.
“You desire to know the future,” he vocalized.
“That’s it!” Miss Pantruche announced triumphantly.56



梦心理面面观 8

September 29, 2014

梦心理面面观 8
General Aspects of Dream Psychology

Carl Jung






Aion 13

September 29, 2014

Aion 13
Carl Jung


68 The dechristianization of our world, the Luciferian development
of science and technology, and the frightful material and
moral destruction left behind by the second World War have
been compared more than once with the eschatological events
foretold in the New Testament.


These, as we know, are concerned
with the coming of the Antichrist: “This is Antichrist,
who denieth the Father and the Son.” x “Every spirit that dissolved!
Jesus … is Antichrist … of whom you have heard
that he cometh.” 2 The Apocalypse is full of expectations of terrible
things that will take place at the end of time, before the
marriage of the Lamb. This shows plainly that the anima Christiana
has a sure knowledge not only of the existence of an
adversary but also of his future usurpation of power.


69 Why—my reader will ask—do I discourse here upon Christ
and his adversary, the Antichrist? Our discourse necessarily
brings us to Christ, because he is the still living myth of our

He is our culture hero, who, regardless of his historical
existence, embodies the myth of the divine Primordial Man, the
mystic Adam. It is he who occupies the centre of the Christian
mandala, who is the Lord of the Tetramorph, i.e., the four symbols
of the evangelists, which are like the four columns of his
throne. He is in us and we in him. His kingdom is the pearl of
great price, the treasure buried in the field, the grain of mustard
seed which will become a great tree, and the heavenly
city. 8 As Christ is in us, so also is his heavenly kingdom.4


7° These few, familiar references should be sufficient to make
the psychological position of the Christ symbol quite clear.
Christ exemplifies the archetype of the self.


5 He represents a
totality of a divine or heavenly kind, a glorified man, a son of
God sine macula peccati, unspotted by sin. As Adam secundus
he corresponds to the first Adam before the Fall, when the latter
was still a pure image of God, of which Tertullian (d. 222) says:


“And this therefore is to be considered as the image of God in
man, that the human spirit has the same motions and senses as
God has, though not in the same way as God has them.” 6 Origen
(185-254) is very much more explicit:


The imago Dei imprinted
on the soul, not on the body,7 is an image of an image, “for my
soul is not directly the image of God, but is made after the likeness
of the former image.” 8


Christ, on the other hand, is the
true image of God,9 after whose likeness our inner man is made,
invisible, incorporeal, incorrupt, and immortal. 10 The God image
in us reveals itself through “prudentia, iustitia, moderatio,
virtus, sapientia et disciplina.”

另一方面,耶稣基督是上帝的真实的意象。我们内在的人就是模拟他的类似而被塑造:看不见,没有肉身,不会腐败,永生生命。我们身上的上帝的意象显示它自己,通过「自我控制,节制,调和性情,品德,纪律」 。

7 1 St. Augustine (354-430) distinguishes between the God image
which is Christ and the image which is implanted in
man as a means or possibility of becoming like God.12 The Godimage
is not in the corporeal man, but in the anima rationalis,
the possession of which distinguishes man from animals. “The
God-image is within, not in the body. . . . Where the understanding
is, where the mind is, where the power of investigating
truth is, there God has his image.” 13


Therefore we should remind
ourselves, says Augustine, that we are fashioned after the
image of God nowhere save in the understanding: “. . . but
where man knows himself to be made after the image of God,
there he knows there is something more in him than is given to
the beasts.” 14


From this it is clear that the God-image is, so to
speak, identical with the anima rationalis. The latter is the
higher spiritual man, the homo coelestis of St Paul. 15

Like Adam before the Fall, Christ is an embodiment of the Godimage,
16 whose totality is specially emphasized by St. Augustine.
“The Word,” he says, “took on complete manhood, as it were in
its fulness: the soul and body of a man. And if you would have
me put it more exactly—since even a beast of the field has a ‘soul’
and a body—when I say a human soul and human flesh, I mean
he took upon him a complete human soul.” 17


72 The God-image in man was not destroyed by the Fall but
was only damaged and corrupted (“deformed”), and can be
restored through God’s grace. The scope of the integration is
suggested by the descensus ad inferos, the descent of Christ’s
soul to hell, its work of redemption embracing even the dead.


The psychological equivalent of this is the integration of the
collective unconscious which forms an essential part of the individuation
process. St. Augustine says: “Therefore our end must
be our perfection, but our perfection is Christ,” 18 since he is the
perfect God-image.


For this reason he is also called “King.” His
bride (sponsa) is the human soul, which “in an inwardly hidden
spiritual mystery is joined to the Word, that two may be in one
flesh,” to correspond with the mystic marriage of Christ and the


Concurrently with the continuance of this hieros
gamos in the dogma and rites of the Church, the symbolism
developed in the course of the Middle Ages into the alchemical
conjunction of opposites, or “chymical wedding,” thus giving
rise on the one hand to the concept of the lapis philosophorum,
signifying totality, and on the other hand to the concept of
chemical combination.



Lacan: The Absolute Master 9

September 29, 2014

Lacan: The Absolute Master 9

By Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen

This is the moment described in Section A of Chapter 4, and thus we understand why Kojeve found it so interesting: this moment is that of “man,” of the “human I” in its opposition to natural life. For Hegel, however, this opposition was an autoopposition of Life becoming conscious of itself through the experience of death, whereas Kojeve for his part conceived of it as a radical opposition of man to the same “natural” and “immediate” life that man negates and, therefore, is not. Man, Kojeve never tires of explaining, “is essentially different from animals”44 in that he confronts death and so “goes beyond the given reality,”45 “transcending the given that is given to [him] and that [he him]self is”46 as a natural being. Strictly “human reality” is the reality that differs from itself, that perpetually negates itself as reality.


At the same time, this no longer has anything to do with dialectic (at least in the Hegelian sense), since here we stumble rudely upon an irreducible duality, which Kojeve obligingly describes as “dualistic ontology.”47 Indeed, on one side we would have the natural, substantial, “thingish” being, always identical to itself—whether it were what Kojeve called “Being pure and simple” or, to use a term that Lacan would later take up, the “Real.” On the other side we would have the non-natural being that “nihilates in Being”48 by negating, surpassing, transcending everything Real—whether it were what Kojeve indiscriminately called “Man,” “Subject,” “Desire,” or “Discourse” (for example, “Spirit is the Real revealed by Discourse.


Discourse is born in Man who opposes himself to Nature.. .. From this ‘rending’ [dechirement] of the Real into Man and Nature are born Understanding and its Discourse, which reveal the Real and thus transform it into Spirit”).49 We can certainly recognize this “rending” duality (the duality of the “symbolic” and the “real,” as Lacan will say later)—it is simply that of Heidegger’s Dasein and Vorhandensein, here rebaptized for the occasion as “human reality” and “given reality”—just as in Kojeve’s “dualistic ontology” we recognize Heidegger’s famous “difference” between Being and being, simply (and roughly) reinterpreted in terms of the difference between two regions of being.50


That this amalgam of Hegel and Heidegger is philosophically untenable is quite obvious. Indeed, it is hard to see how Hegel could tolerate an Absolute split in two—that is, a dialectic frozen indefinitely at the moment of finite “reflection.” As for Heidegger, we know that he explicitly refuses to turn Being into a power of nihilation that human being could purely and simply appropriate (this will be the substance of his “Letter on Humanism,” fundamentally as much a response to Kojeve as to his philosophical heir, Jean-Paul Sartre). And yet it is just this philosophical incongruity that Kojeve brought to life with all the authority of his word, under the magical names of “negativity,” “historicity,” “dialectic,” and, to come straight to the point, “Desire.”


In fact, let us return to the Phenomenology of Spirit, grasped through Kojeve’s interpretation. Hegelian desire, we have seen, desires itself in its object (it determines itself by negating the object, and so on). When does this desire become properly “human,” “non-natural,” “non-animal”? Kojeve’s response: when it addresses itself to a non-natural object, since desire itself then becomes the object abolished through its own appropriation of itself. But where are we to find such an “object,” if not precisely in desire? “The only thing that goes beyond the given reality is Desire itself.”51 Note the capital letter: here there is no question of desire for this or that (which could be only an empirical need, as Lacan will say more than once), but rather of Desire in its essence of Desire. And what is Desire as Desire? It is an empty desire: “Desire taken as Desire— i.e., before its satisfaction—is but a revealed nothingness, an unreal emptiness. Desire, being the revelation of an emptiness, the presence of the absence of a reality, is something essentially different from the desired thing, something other than a thing, than a static and given real being that stays eternally identical to itself.”52 Will Lacan ever say anything different?



黑暗太阳 6

September 28, 2014

黑暗太阳 6
The Black Sun

Stanton Marlan

chapter 1
The Dark Side of Light

Moore and Gillette have observed that, when the King sits on his
throne and is the center of the world, “world” becomes defined as that
part of reality that is organized and ordered by the King.” What is outside
the boundaries of his influence is noncreation, chaos, the demonic
and non-world.15


This situation sets the stage for a massive
repression and devaluation of the “dark side” of psychic life. It creates
a totality that rejects interruption and refuses the other from within its
narcissistic enclosure.


For a number of philosophers—Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, and
others—there is a dangerous tendency in modernity toward closure
and tautological reductionism: “totalization, normalization and domination.”
16 Levin has noted that behind our Western visionary tradition
lies the shadow of phallocentrism, logocentrism, and a “heliopolitics”
driven by the violence of Light.


To put it more simply, the
concern about modernity is that it is governed by male desire and
power and by an egocentric rationality that serves political agendas
that conceal intrinsic violence. In his work Writing and Difference,
Derrida speaks of the violence of Light and the imperialism of theory
associated with it.


He notes that this kind of violence also troubled the
philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, whose work was aimed at developing
an ethical theory freed as much as possible from the violence implicit
in Western metaphysical thinking.17 If one agrees with the philosophers
and critics of our tradition, one might imagine our time as one
locked into the tyrannical shadow of a Sun King who bears within
himself the seeds of his own destruction.


Is it possible to imagine this situation as rooted in an unconscious
identification with the King and the Light? If so, such unconscious
identification colors the psyche and has important personal and cultural


On the most personal level, analysts have approached such concerns
not so much philosophically but as they manifest themselves in
clinical situations. In The Anatomy of the Psyche, Jungian analyst Edward
Edinger, for instance, cites the expressions of unconscious kingly
inflations in “outbursts of affect, resentment, pleasure or power demands.”


18 The refinement of these affects is difficult. As an inner figure,
the primitive King/ego must undergo a transformation not only in
our culture but also in the lives of people.


Alchemy recognizes this
fact when it sees that the King is at the beginning—the raw matter of
the philosopher’s stone—and that he must be purified and refined by
undergoing a series of alchemical processes, eventually dying and being


In alchemy, the process of dying, killing, and blackening is part of the
operation of mortificatio. This operation is a necessary component of
the transformative process of the King and other images of the prima
materia such as the Sun, the Dragon, the Toad, and the condition of innocence.


Edinger devotes a chapter of The Anatomy of the Psyche to this
process. The mortificatio process was often thought of as tortuous and
as the “most negative operation in alchemy.”19 “It has to do with darkness,
defeat, torture, mutilation, death and rotting. The process of rotting
is called putrefactio, the decomposition that breaks down organic


Edinger has schematized and charted this operation reproduced in
figure 1.3, an example of what he calls “cluster thinking”—thinking
that is concerned with elaborating a network of expanded meanings
derived from a central image. The process “goes back and forth, returning
to the central image again and again, building up a rich associative
cluster of interconnected images, something like a spider web.


The result of such thinking is a rich tapestry of elaboration around a
central image.”21 Figure 1.3 shows the structural placement of related
images (e.g., the slaying of the King, the Dragon, the Toad, poison,
defeat, humiliation, torture, mutilation, the slaying of the innocent,
corpses, and rotting, as well as the placement of this operation in relation
to other alchemical processes).



梦心理面面观 7

September 26, 2014

梦心理面面观 7
General Aspects of Dream Psychology

Carl Jung









梦心理面面观 6

September 25, 2014

梦心理面面观 6
General Aspects of Dream Psychology

Carl Jung








显而易见,从梦的显著内容,拜访我的这个预期以某种方式集结他的无意识。他给出以下的联想:空荡荡的房间:「某个冷冰冰的接待室,如同办公室大楼,或是医院的候诊室。我从来没有在医院里当病人。」护士:「她看起来令人厌恶,她斜眼看人。那让我想起一位算命师与手相师,我有次拜访他算命。有一次。我生病,有位女执事当我的护士。泡好的牛奶瓶:「泡好的牛奶瓶令人呕吐。我无法喝它。我的太太总是喝它。我因为这样取笑她,因为她著迷于这个观念: 我们必须要为健康做某件事情。我记得我有一次在疗养院—我的神经不太健康—在那里,我必须喝泡好的牛奶。」



Lacan: The Absolute Master 10

September 25, 2014

Lacan: The Absolute Master 10

By Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen

What this celebrated thesis means is precisely that man never rejoins or appropriates his Being. Ek-sistentialism is not a “humanism”: the moment when human Dasein finally realizes its ultimate possibility is the moment of its death—that is, the impossible moment when it no longer ek-sists, or when it simply is no longer there (Nicht-mehr-Dasein). Dasein’s freedom, which makes it transcend all being, is a “freedom-toward-death” (Freiheit zum Tode) and, as such, cannot be appropriated. Thus, Being-there, as long as it ek-sists, is nothing but a perpetual “Being-toward-death” (Sein-zum~ Tode).


Kojeve reformulated this thesis—translating and commenting on Hegel’s passage about the Spirit that “endures [death] and maintains itself in it”—by saying that “human Being … is the death which lives a human life,”39 to which Lacan in turn, quoting Oedipus at ColonuSy replied that such a life is properly inhuman. Yes, Oedipus “lives a life that is dead,” but is the sense of this life “as human as all that?”: “Am I a man,” exclaims Oedipus (1988b, 232/271, 229/268), “in the hour that I cease to be?”

科耶夫阐述这个主题—翻译并且评论黑格尔关于精神的段落,「精神承载死亡,在死亡里维持它自己」–凭借说「人类是过著人的生命的死亡」。拉康则是引述「在科伦拿斯的伊狄浦斯」。他回答说,这样的生命合宜地说,是非人类的。没错,伊狄浦斯「过着死去的生命」,但是这个生命的意义是「实实在在的人类吗?」伊狄浦斯惊叫着:「当我不再拥有生命实存的那个时刻,我是人吗?」(1988b, 232/271, 229/268),

All of this, very briefly summarized, will have to suffice in explaining the extent to which Heidegger’s Dasein differs not only from Hegel’s Spirit but also from the Man-God of “atheistic humanism.” Nevertheless, it was to precisely such an amalgam, under the name of “human reality,” that Kojeve invited his fascinated listeners. “Human reality” was the term proposed by Henry Corbin to translate Heidegger’s Dasein into French. Was Kojeve influenced by that translation, which in so many ways is “monstrous,” to recall Derrida’s term?40 Or should we believe instead that the translation was itself an effect of Kojeve’s teaching, since he began using the term in 1933?


(As Denis Hollier notes in his collection from the College de sociologie,41 Corbin originally translated Dasein as “existence,” and it was not until 1938 that he opted for “human reality,” carrying Sartre along with him.) That matters very little here; what really matters is that, right from the second paragraph of the text which opens the Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, we find this philosophical monster—and in the company of that other monster, itself destined for a glorious future under Lacan’s pen: “Desire.”


Here is what Kojeve wrote: “The analysis of ‘thought,’ ‘reason,’ ‘understanding,’ and so on,. . . never reveals the why or the how of the birth of the word ‘I,’ and consequently of self-consciousness— that is, of human reality. . . . The man who is ‘absorbed’ by the object that he is contemplating can be ‘brought back to himself only by a Desire. .. . The (human) I is the I of a Desire or of Desire.”42 What is going on here? This opening text, entitled “In Place of an Introduction,” is really an annotated translation of Section A of the fourth chapter of the Phenomenology of Spirit, devoted to the (from then on) famous “dialectic of master and slave.” Why, then, did Kojeve choose to “introduce the reading of Hegel” by that particular section?


Chapter 4 of the Phenomenology of Spirit discusses “self-consciousness”—that is, consciousness whose object is not the object “in-itself” of theoretical consciousness (described in the first three chapters, which deal with “sense-certainty,” “perception,” and “understanding”), but rather the object “for-itself” of an active freedom. Self-consciousness does not contemplate the object (outside itself), it desires it (for itself).


Thus, “self-consciousness,” Hegel writes, “is desire (Begierde) in general,”43 in the very precise sense of knowing no alterity that it does not immediately carry back to itself. Desiring itself through the other, it negates the other (by eating it, Kojeve would clarify, always careful to dot his i‘s). This first phase of self-consciousness is thus that of “Life”—a life that develops of itself, from itself, and so is perfectly free, “independent” of any Other.


But this natural life also remains profoundly un-conscious of itself: it does not know itself to be free, does not know itself to be alive. Immediately negating everything that is not itself, at bottom it has no mirror to see itself, and that is why, according to the Hegelian system, it must mediate itself—that is, it must oppose itself to itself and reflect itself in order to know itself. In short, it must confront death, deny itself as natural life to become conscious of itself as freedom.



Aion 12

September 23, 2014

Aion 12
By Carl Jung

Chapter 4

The Self

65 I regard these parallels as important because it is possible,
through them, to relate so-called metaphysical concepts, which
have lost their root connection with natural experience, to living,
universal psychic processes, so that they can recover their
true and original meaning.


In this way the connection is reestablished
between the ego and projected contents now formulated
as “metaphysical” ideas. Unfortunately, as already said,
the fact that metaphysical ideas exist and are believed in does
nothing to prove the actual existence of their content or of the
object they refer to, although the coincidence of idea and reality
in the form of a special psychic state, a state of grace, should not
be deemed impossible, even if the subject cannot bring it about
by an act of will.


Once metaphysical ideas have lost their capacity
to recall and evoke the original experience they have not
only become useless but prove to be actual impediments on the
road to wider development. One clings to possessions that have
once meant wealth; and the more ineffective, incomprehensible,
and lifeless they become the more obstinately people cling to
them. (Naturally it is only sterile ideas that they cling to; living
ideas have content and riches enough, so there is no need to
cling to them.) Thus in the course of time the meaningful turns
into the meaningless. This is unfortunately the fate of metaphysical


66 Today it is a real problem what on earth such ideas can
mean. The world—so far as it has not completely turned its back
on tradition—has long ago stopped wanting to hear a “message”;
it would rather be told what the message means. The words that
resound from the pulpit are incomprehensible and cry for an

今天 这是一个确实的难题,这些观念究竟能够意味着什么。只要这个世界还没有完全背离传统,长久以来,这个世界就停止想要听到〔讯息〕。相反地,这个世界被告诉这个讯息是什么意思。从讲堂迴响的那些话语,无法被理解,而且要求解释。

How has the death of Christ brought us redemption
when no one feels redeemed? In what way is Jesus a Godman
and what is such a being? What is the Trinity about, and
the parthenogenesis, the eating of the body and the drinking of
the blood, and all the rest of it? What connection can there be
between the world of such concepts and the everyday world,
whose material reality is the concern of natural science on the
widest possible scale?


At least sixteen hours out of twenty-four
we live exclusively in this everyday world, and the remaining
eight we spend preferably in an unconscious condition. Where
and when does anything take place to remind us even remotely
of phenomena like angels, miraculous feedings, beatitudes,
the resurrection of the dead, etc.? It was therefore something of
a discovery to find that during the unconscious state of sleep
intervals occur, called “dreams,” which occasionally contain
scenes having a not inconsiderable resemblance to the motifs of
mythology. For myths are miracle tales and treat of all those
things which, very often, are also objects of belief.


67 In the everyday world of consciousness such things hardly
exist; that is to say, until 1933 only lunatics would have been
found in possession of living fragments of mythology. After this
date the world of heroes and monsters spread like a devastating
fire over whole nations, proving that the strange world of myth
had suffered no loss of vitality during the centuries of reason
and enlightenment.


If metaphysical ideas no longer have such a
fascinating effect as before, this is certainly not due to any lack
of primitivity in the European psyche, but simply and solely to
the fact that the erstwhile symbols no longer express what is
now welling up from the unconscious as the end-result of the
development of Christian consciousness through the centuries.


This end-result is a true antimimon pneuma, a false spirit of
arrogance, hysteria, woolly-mindedness, criminal amorality, and
doctrinaire fanaticism, a purveyor of shoddy spiritual goods,
spurious art, philosophical stutterings, and Utopian humbug,
fit only to be fed wholesale to the mass man of today. That is
what the post-Christian spirit looks like.