Friday, July 29, 2011

Joseph Cambray on the relationship between archetypes, empathy, synchronicity and emergence theory

Joe Cambray is the current president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology.

"As noted, in terms of symmetry in psychological systems, empathy permits a temporary symmetrizing, linking Self and Other (person or object) in a unifying field. For therapeutically useful psychological reflection to emerge from this state of immersion a breaking of the transitory symmetrization will need to occur eventually. This can then lead to the full emergence of empathic understanding. Empathy then is a connecting principle that links us to our world in ways that feel deeply meaningful, especially when we can step back and reflect on our experience (that is, upon breaking the symmetry). As we have seen, the causes that activate the empathic systems are often unconscious with a psychoid quality, that is, beyond our capacity for awareness and can feel as an acausal coincidence. Therefore, I suggest that there can be a synchronistic field dimension to our empathic experiences . . . One of the most distinctive aspects of C. G. Jung’s model of the psyche is his postulation of a core level, the collective unconscious, operating underneath the personal conscious and unconscious aspects of the mind. This deeper layer is comprised of the network of all archetypes, where archetypes are the formal patterns, without content, the universal propensities of psychological life capable of expressing themselves across the spectrum of human experience from the instinctual to the sublime. When realized concretely, archetypes manifest through affect-laden images of a transpersonal nature, often with a numinous quality. As discussed in chapter 3, there is a scale-free or fractal quality . . . we can note that this mirroring "net" metaphorically offers the viewer a wholly interconnected universe, in which all of the parts are interdependent and mutually conditioned. These tenets also form the core of a holistic, emergentist viewpoint, ascendancy in the analytic world. As previously mentioned, Jung presaged this network model in various remarks about the interwovenness of the archetypes in the psyche, the deepest source of human patterns and hence, implicit, the source of all wisdom . . . In the language of Jungian psychology, the energizing or activation of an archetypal node is frequently referred to as a particular pattern having "constellated," for example, the propensity to face adversity with determination to vanquish it may reflect the constellation of a heroic archetype in a person’s life. However, such activations by their nature are transgressive of any view of a person as a wholly isolated entity; inner and outer environments are necessarily part of the full pattern, also in accord with the finding on mirror neurons. At deeper levels the psyche is not a closed system but opens into a field of interactions among individuals, a network with strong and weak links that can become self-organizing." (pp. 80-82)

Joseph Cambray (2009) Synchronicity: Nature and Psyche in an Interconnected Universe. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.

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