Double Negation

Double negation

Descent is the impetus for a direct transmutation of the values of the imagination, and Harding quotes the Gnostics for whom “ rising or descending is the same thing”, associating with the conception of inversion the mystical doctrine of Blake for whom descent is also a path to the absolute.


One descends in order to go backwards in time and recapture prenatal tranquility. Let us consider this important process of inversion. What is the psychological mechanism which gives rise to euphemisation, and even to radical antiphrasis ( since the abyss transmuted into a cavity becomes an end in itself and the fall, which has become a descent, is transformed into pleasure)? Such euphemizing inversion could be defined as a process of double negation.



We have already encountered the precursors of this process in the dialectic of binding and in the character of the binder bound. This process is also revealed in the numerous fabliaux and popular legends in which the robber is robbed, the deceiver deceived, etc., and is signaled in proverbial paradoxes such as : “ The biter bit”, “ set a thief to catch a thief”, etc.


In this procedure the positive is reconstituted through the negative ; by negation or a negative act the effect of initial negativity is destroyed. It could be said that the source of dialectic reversal lies in the process of double negation of images before it is codified in grammatical formalism.


This procedure constitutes a transmutation of values: I bind the binder, I kill death, I use the arms of the adversary himself. Hence I sympathize with all, or a part, of the behavior of the adversary. The procedure is therefore clearly indicative of a whole way of thought, an arsenal of logical processes and symbols, which is radically opposed to the di$retic attitude and to the pharisaism and the intellectual and moral catharism of the intransigent Diurnal Order of the image. Double negation can be seen as the criterion for a total inversion in representational attitudes.



Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary

By Gilbert Durand

Translated by Springhero 雄伯

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