Replying to post #7448
What a rich, generous, and thought-provoking response (this is why we call it “Conversations of a Higher Order”).
And you are right about how each reply is further indented, which is really a pain with lengthy posts, especially trying to read them on a mobile device, so direct replies one or maybe two deep is about the most that work; beyond that, I’d recommend citing the number of the post one is replying to (which I did here just as an example, even though I clicked on “Reply”), to help other readers follow an exchange.
There is so much here worth discussing. Your passion is clear, and your insights are appreciated. There is much I would love to respond to, but I have a limited amount of time at the moment (another reason I appreciate your investment of time and energy – putting together a lengthy post that makes sense is no simple task), so I’ll just mention a few things in passing.
From a pragmatic perspective, I believe there is a place for both polytheistic and monotheistic thinking. Both are mutually interdependent and neither essentially more important than the other.”
Amen to that! Your characterization of Hillman’s thought of course rings true. In fairness, given the trend toward “monotheistic thinking” among some Jungians over the time period after Jung’s passing (in which Hillman formed many of the ideas underlying archetypal / imaginal psychology), he came to stress the polytheistic imagination in reaction to a perceived calcification of Jung’s work among his disciples. I understand that as compensation – or, perhaps, “over compensation” to balance out that perceived trend
. . . but, at least in my understanding of Hillman, he doesn’t completely throw out the baby with the bathwater. He felt depth psychology was blind to this default “monotheistic” approach; his work definitely altered that equation, metaphorically speaking, and expanded the conversation.
Nevertheless, your point, about him being a bit hard on monotheism, is well taken. (And, historically, you are right – monotheism is more of a spectrum, than a one-size-fits-all.)
Which brings me to another reaction, reflected in your mention of bringing the work of Jung, Hillman, and Giegerich together (Dr. Marlan’s work is off my radar, but that’s easy enough to fix). That, too, strikes a chord. It’s not so much a debate, not an either-or; what works for me is to approach these differences not as mutually exclusive sides to an argument that must be won, but as multiple layers and dimensions of a dynamic and ongoing discussion, with all bringing important pieces to the table that expand my own knowledge and understanding.
And lastly, thank you for bringing up the spatial aspect. I find “inner” and “outer” useful especially, when speaking to the general public – those are terms easy to understand. Same thing with depth, where what is interior can also be equated with what is “below” – this too, can be useful, . . . but these are just models. Though I’m likely to still use this vocabulary at times, perceiving this “inner community” in different terms, as omnipresent but occupying a different frequency (or even dimension, if one prefers) is a significant game-changer (one supported in many myths and fairy tales; even though depth psychologists in general may interpret “stepping into the faery glen” as an inward movement into one’s interior – “the unconscious [love your unpacking of that, by the way], that’s not how those who originally heard the fairy tales, or actually experienced the fae folk in their own lives, interpreted that narrative.
Ultimately, what I believe is key is not so much theory, but the experience: Jung on the shore of the lake, playing with blocks and how that activates his imagination – that is real. Also, his encounters with Philemon, his dialogues with his Soul – this is what’s real, what counts. All the definitions, classifications, and models developed by one thinker or another (including thee and me) come as interpretations after the fact. Though various approaches may speak more to some than others, all have value – but what is essential is the experience
And I’ll leave it there for the moment . . . but I would say you have more than answered my question, in a most delightful way!
Thank you for sharing your passion, and your understanding, with our little community here.