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Reply To: Question about a passage from The Hero With a Thousand Faces


    Thank you for taking the time to do that David; it helped a lot. I’ve been wondering about this quote for a while and the “integration” aspect certainly makes sense. So I went and did a little digging through some various indexes to try and track this idea down into a more simplistic overview relating to individuation and finally came across this one in Stephen Larson’s: “The Mythic Image” on page 14:

    “But Jung showed that while our (normal) sense of personal identity is forever threatening to dissolve at its deepest boundary into the mythic archetypes of the collective unconscious, once a person has accepted this (essential unreality of one’s own nature), he or she is for the first time in a position to construct an authentic selfhood (individuation, the creative, integrated psyche).

    Individuation is to normal as normal is to neurotic, and neurotic is to psychotic. And this hierarchical model of integration-disintegration suggests that it is not the presence or absence of mythic themes in personal psychology that determines sanity, but how the ego relates to these. The cards we have been dealt by fate are a hand from a recognizable deck, which like the Tarot, is made up of a finite number of archetypal forms (fools, magicians, priestesses, hanged men, and so forth). Whether one is simply possessed by these recurring archetypes or may learn to relate to them in a creative dialogue would seem to make all the difference. Jung said, “Man must not dissolve into a whirl of warring possibilities and tendencies imposed upon him by the unconscious, but must become the unity that embraces them all.”  (C.G. Jung The Practice of Psychotherapy 197.)

    Now I just happened to stumble across this passage from Stephen Larson’s book after looking through a number of various sources concerning “integration” as I mentioned before; and this was pure luck on my part because I’m certainly out of my depth concerning scholastic research. But this really seemed to fit the individuation model concerning the “Thomas Gospel” quote you so thoughtfully shared; and I thought you might find it of interest.

    Thank you again for your kindness in looking it up for me.