Author Topic: Differentiating the Syzygy in Fairytales (Sapsorrow)  (Read 7643 times)

Matt Koeske

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Differentiating the Syzygy in Fairytales (Sapsorrow)
« on: May 21, 2009, 11:05:18 AM »
I just rewatched the episode, "Sapsorrow", from Jim Henson's Storyteller and was reminded of another tale where it is difficult to choose which character is the hero and which the animi figure.  Actually, this is true of a whole category of folktales known as "The Father Who Wanted to Marry His Daughter" or Aarne-Thompson-Uther Type 510B (according to Ashliman's site.  See also "Donkey Skin" and its variants at Sur La Lune.  The story, "Allerleirauh" is very similar to "Sapsorrow".

Here we see a young woman who is compelled to marry her father and must escape this fate with various ruses (in Sapsorrow, this involves the request of three fabulous dresses before she agrees to wed).  After the original ruses don't manage to dissuade the father, the woman disguises herself in tatters or animal skins and runs away, only to become employed as a lowly kitchen maid in a far away kingdom.  In this new kingdom she finds ways to "disguise" herself as the beautiful princess she really is to sneak out to dance with the prince or king (in other variants she cooks soup or bakes cakes for the prince/king).  This prince eventually figures out that the lowly kitchen maid clad in her animal skins is actually the beautiful but elusive princess, and they marry.

It occurred to me while watching Sapsorrow that most Jungians would probably see the story as a heroine tale, one in which the protagonist (princess) corresponds to the ego, while perhaps the prince of the new kingdom is an animus figure.  Although it is foolish to ever say in such psychologized interpretations of folktales that one interpretation is definitively correct while another is clearly wrong, I would have to disagree with what I suspect to be the conventional Jungian way of looking at the dynamic of the Syzygy.

It is seductive to think of the protagonist in Sapsorrow as the "hero" or ego character, since the story completely revolves around her and portrays her perspective.  But I would argue that this is not the best rule of thumb for understanding the figures of the Syzygy in folktales.  It is not always who the storyteller dwells most on that is the hero, I think, and it is not the distant partner of the protagonist that is always the animi figure.  I propose a different rule of interpretation (not meant to be free from exceptions, but still generally more valid than the conventional Jungian perspective): in the Syzygy of folktales, there is a devalued figure who is in some way "enchanted" and there is another character who learns to see value in or valuate the devalued character.  The devalued figure to be redeemed is the animi, and the valuating character is the hero.

This may seem a bit counterintuitive to Jungians at first, but after we learn how to look at tales through this lens, I think we will come to see how much it increases the psychological clarity in the interpretive process.  Beyond this, it helps us understand something fundamental about the psychology of individuation, which (as I have mentioned previously) is a process of valuation (the valuation of Otherness or non-egoness).  The attractiveness and potential value of the Other is symbolized by the animi figure, a premonition or prefiguration of the Self as it transitions (in the ego's perspective) from a devalued to an invaluable entity.  Or we could see the animi as a representation of the Self's instinctual relationality or Eros.  The animi lets the ego understand how the Self can be related to and how the Self can relate to others through the ego (the heroic ego, generally speaking).

Interpreting Syzygy/individuation folktales through the lens of valuated and valuator offers us a much more "airtight" paradigm than the ever-confusing Demon/Self differentiations necessary in many tales.  That is, it is much easier to suss out which character is the hero and which the animi than it is to determine (with desired clarity) what is Demonic and what Self-driven in the tale's characters.  Sometimes the Demon is a clear character unto itself in a fairytale, but other times, the Demon is an aspect of an animi figure (i.e., its enchantment).  Then, in many tales, no clear differentiation is made.  If these figures can be defined at all, we may have to resort to an approach of abstracting traits, running the risk of "reading into" the text something not at all indicated by the text itself. 

Of course, non-advocates of the psychological interpretation of fairytales think that all psychologizations are "readings into", but a thorough study of fairytale motifs and variations definitely shows form and type/archetype (which is why folklorists have systems of classification like the Arne-Thompson).  What non-psychological folklorists don't include in their interpretations and classifications of the texts is how these stories and themes make us feel (or what they make us think, how they make us react).  This is considered beside the point.  But of course to psychologists, there can be no separation between a text and how we are inclined to react to it.  All meaning and human value in a text is a matter of how we are inclined to react to it.  A very significant part of folktales is why we enjoy them so much and keep passing them on in the retelling.  Why do they enchant us so?  These tales derive their form from the pleasure and fascination audience and tellers feel in relating to them.  Why does one re-teller make a specific edit of the version she or he learned?  Why does a listener enjoy one motif or theme more than another?  These not entirely conscious and decidedly "collective" gut reactions are the true authors of folktales.  I.e., collective subconscious or unconscious psychology creates folktales (more so than any other single influence).  Only a "hardened" academic has the luxury or pathology of looking at texts as representations of abstract categories.  This is obviously a displacement of the object of study from its natural habitat.  And that natural habitat, I would argue, is psychological . . . and more specifically, it is the habitat of instinctual or depth psychology, the psychology of the dynamic, complex self-organizing process of memory, cognition, or psyche.  Which is why fairytales have so much in common with dreams, which are also unconscious, dynamic, complex self-organizations of memory.


In Sapsorrow, the "enchantment" the princess-anima suffers from is a matter of her father wanting to marry her.  I'm not sure we should psychologize this as we are no doubt tempted to (the psychologist in us just can't resist the chance to pathologize).  Is this motif meant to suggest a traumatizing father-daughter incest?  Maybe, but I'm not entirely convinced this is how we should look at it.  Another element of the motif is that the mother of the princess was extremely beautiful, but she died and made her husband promise that he would only remarry someone as beautiful as her (or more so).  No one across the land qualifies except the princess.  No incest or abuse is actually portrayed in most of these stories, so we would have to take a "Freudian" interpretation to see it there (i.e., the fairytales are disguising the more traumatic, sexual nature with protective symbols).

But all we are really told is that the father sees his dead wife's beauty in his daughter and is "aroused" by it.  He recognizes her sexuality and doesn't know how to healthily relate to it.  We are not told that he abuses or seduces her.  Her enchantment and Fall into devaluation (her kitchen maid job and animal skins) come as a result of the sacrifice of and flight from her father's incestuous desires (inability to relate to her as a sexual being that is yet inappropriate to desire sexually).  If the princess represented the ego, we might say that her father projected his eroticized anima onto his daughter, and perhaps also blamed her for some kind of "inappropriate" sexuality unjustly.  It is like a form of sexual possession, where the father becomes the keeper of the daughter's sexuality.  In many romantic relationships as well as father/daughter relationships, there is a conventional desire in the man (and also in the woman) to possess the other's sexuality.  The man projects his vulnerability and fragility and impotence into the woman's sexuality and then feels he must dissociate and imprison it so that it is not violated by anyone else.  Even when the father is dissociating and trying to imprison his daughter's sexuality while not fully realizing he is sexually possessing her, the dynamic is the same.

But if the princess is an anima, and not an ego, figure, what do we make of the relationship with her father?  One way of looking at it is that the father of the anima would be the Self, and the incestuous father/daughter (or Self/anima) relationship might correspond to a state of psychological development in which the anima has not yet been recognized, the ego has not found value in either the anima or in the heroic attitude.  The anima is a mere hint or shadow in the dark abyss of the Self, utterly indistinct.  The Father-Self has not "given up" his Daughter-Anima to a suitable Other (the heroic ego) . . . as no suitable Other has yet emerged.  So the anima begins to grow "sexual" while still in the charge of her Father, resulting in incestuous tension between them and a "need" for heroic redemption by a suitable other.  If we could imagine the anima's perspective on this state, it might be one in which the anima has not been freed or differentiated from this abysmal Father-Self or "unconscious".  In that state, the Self is not only indistinct, seemingly chaotic, probably "dangerous", but it is also conflated with the Demon, with the instinctual imprinting (or mis-imprinting) with the tribe or culture.  The animi, when it emerges, is like a mirror or egoic/conscious recognition that the sexualized anima must be freed from the incestuous Father relationship and be joined to a suitable partner.  So the princess in our tales recognizes the problem of the father's incestuous intentions just as we might consciously recognize the incest taboo.  But the father does not recognize this.  He is unconscious, undifferentiated.  He is like the Old Testament Yahweh.  He will not differentiate himself, but needs the conceptualizing or humanizing heroic ego (or Syzygy) to do this individuating work (much as Jung suggests in his Answer to Job).  We are of course using metaphors here to describe a transitional psychodynamic of adolescent movement away from the Infant/Parent dynamic and toward the adult/heroic tribe member/tribe or facilitator/facilitated dynamic where the egoic attitude shifts from the focus on narcissistic self-protection to devotional Other-facilitation (or system-facilitation).  This transition is an extremely laborious birthing process where transformational pain bears down on the individual, who is overwhelmed, defeated, dissolved and must rely not on egoic will and knowing but on the instinctual process and its sense of Knowing.  That is, we cannot know how we survive this threshold experience.  We just do . . . or, more frequently today, we abort the transformation and come to live Demonically in Bad Faith, perpetuating and disguising our infantile adolescent attitudes.

To put it another way . . . if the anima is a representation of the Self's value-laden attractiveness or Eros, what and how does that Eros love before it loves the heroic ego?  What does the ego love or what defines egoic relatedness before the animi work begins?  Well, before the animi work or before the emergence of the animi (or Syzygy), an individual's Eros is significantly colored by the Child/Parent relationality.  I.e., what the individual wants from Others is in many ways like what a child wants from a parent.  Providence, narcissistic mirroring, the ability to be an utterly self-contained "me" without any hindrance from Otherness (the idea that "me" is something entirely apart from others or from relationships or that the unrelated "me" is something that should be preserved in some kind of specimen jar or glass coffin or other impenetrable prison . . . the idea that a "me" is something undynamic and unconnected).  So just as the egoic son might want some form of mothering out of his relationality, couldn't this be reflected or shadowed by an undifferentiated anima incestuously desired by her father?

I don't mean to propose this interpretation of the father's desire to marry his daughter in these folktales is the absolutely correct one.  There are other, equally valid ways to interpret this (although I won't pursue them here).  My most rational and conservative answer would be that it is impossible to perfectly map the father/daughter relationship either to incestuous abuse and seduction or to the Father-Self of the undifferentiated anima.  Either interpretation requires creation and conceptualization.

The prince of the new kingdom that shows up in the second act, though, is a legitimate partner and Other to the princess.  He struggles with her valuation and with his tendency to not look deeper that appearances.  But he does recognize her, even from their first encounter.  She is not a replacement for her mother, but a wholly unique if bizarre and unattractive creature.  And he has no difficulty being attracted to her when she is in her royal glory and fancy dresses.  In all of the stories with this motif, he valuates her piece by piece . . . but doesn't understand that all these features are attached to one person, one entity.

The prince in many of these tales doesn't get fleshed out very much.  His main claim to heroism is his curiosity regarding the enchanted princess (who is soundly abused and dismissed by everyone else) and his eventual ability to valuate and redeem her enough to allow her to fully integrate herself into one, valuated being.  She does most of the work, while he acts more or less according to his princely station.  This is nothing like the heroic (Self-derived) acts of the hunter's wife in Nixie of the Mill-Pond or in many other stories where the hero sets out on an "impossible" quest for redemption of the animi.  We could say he is a pretty week hero, but he is the valuator.

I have to confess that I prefer my fairytale heroes to be a little cleverer and more complex than these princes are, but not every fairytale depicting the individuation process is saying the same thing about the individuation process.  Sometimes individuation seems a heroic enterprise . . . the ego alchemically creates many golden things and brings conscious valuation to the darkened Otherness of the unconscious.  But that is only one way of looking at the animi work, and if it is the only way one looks at the animi work, some kind of inflation is afoot.  Anyone who has been embroiled in the animi work knows (or in complete honesty must admit) that the "magical" or alchemical transformations and revelations that come (or seems to come) are not willed by the ego.  It is only in heroic Foolishness that the animi work progresses . . . and this means relinquishing control over the process.  But the process is instinctually driven, and it will organize itself just as well as the ego is able to relinquish control over the personality or obedience to the Demon.

Part of the ego is always a hapless and superficial prince during the anima work.  The ego never becomes the hero, it can only ever incorporate and valuate the heroic attitude into its complex of voices.  As the animi work progresses, we are borne along by the seat of our pants . . . and often against the will and sense of decency or rationality of our ego.  When the ego mistakes itself for a version of the hero sans any personal shadow, inflation has set in and the Demon has possessed the ego by wearing the hero's costume.

Many fairytales are about heroes primarily, about the heroic journey . . . but many other fairytales are more about the fascinating animi figure, the object of obsession during the animi work.  These are two ways of looking at the same process.

I will just end with one more thought in a similar vein.  There is a very good reason for the difficulty we might have when interpreting fairytales and deciding which character is a hero figure and which an animi figure.  The two halves of the Syzygy are on a path of increasing twinning each other.  This is not (as many of the mystical or spiritualistic persuasion have mistaken it) indicative of a twinning between ego and Self, in my opinion.  There are two major dimensions to the animi.  On one hand it is a prefiguration of the Self, but on the other hand, it represents all the valuated personality traits that remain stuck in the personal shadow, unintegrated by the ego.  As the animi work progresses, the ego brings more and more of these valuated traits or attitudes into consciousness and its sense of identity.  As this takes place, what remains of the animi may manifest as increasingly Self-like or divine.

Eventually, one is faced with removal of the last veil, which generally has something to do with relinquishing the attitude of providence/dependence on the Self.  The Self does not exist to drive and buoy up the ego.  What the animi work eventually shows us is that the ego exists to facilitate the Self.  The Self as Parent gives way to the Self as partner . . . and the animi represents the dynamic process by which this is achieved.  It is not uncommon to see folktales and dreams in which a Self figure is served or facilitated by an animi figure.  The animi is the envoy and translator of the Self.  But at the conclusion of the animi work, the heroic ego (which now houses at least some preliminary form of the reunited Syzygy) takes on the role the animi previously played.  The heroic ego must learn to be the envoy and translator of the Self, the Self's languager.  Which means that the ego must develop a creative language through which the Self can relate or through which instinctuality can imprint functionally with the environment.  This Logos is a conceptualization that is designed (and continuously revised) to smooth over the disconnect between instinct and modern environment.  Harmonize would be too extreme a word, but some kind of equilibrium is sought after by the Self and in the construction of the Logos.

The individual builds such a Logos merely by valuating and paying close attention to the reactions of the Self to various egoic propositions and "offerings".  This ancient archetypal religiosity takes on a very different shape in our modern world, but instinctually or foundationally, it is quintessentially human.  The main difference between us moderns and tribalists in this regard is that we must utilize the organ of individuated consciousness to conceptualize an adequate (i.e., Self-facilitating) Logos, whereas a healthy tribal dynamic allows for Self-facilitation to be largely unconscious and associated with (imprinted with) tribal Eros.  It is modern society that demands this complex individuation from us as a survival mechanism . . . and if we grew up and lived in a tribal society, we would have little use for this modern individuation process (unless we were shamans).

So we are likely to eventually come to see the animi's role in the psyche and relationship to the Self as heroic . . . and eventually we will have this heroic burden thrust upon us (if we do not abort the animi work process).  And just as the hero valuates and redeems the animi from the Demon and the darkness of the unconscious psyche, the animi's interest in and love for the heroic ego allows the heroic attitude to be valuated, and this valuates the ego to some degree, in turn.

Therefore the "rule" of folktale interpretation I proposed does have foreseeable limitations where the characters of the Syzygy in a story are very much twins.  But even in these circumstances, the direction of primary valuation usually flows from one character to the other, from hero to animi.  At worst, the interpreter will have to develop a creative interpretation of this valuation dynamic rather than resorting to a rule of thumb or some equivalent of a symbol dictionary or manual of interpretive theory.  The only real problem with that scenario is that, from what I've seen, the ability to make such creative, outside-the-textbook interpretations is dependent on having a source of reference for the psychological dynamics in one's personal experience.  One needs a star to steer by to do more than wildly guess or follow rules.  It is hard to see these patterns before the patterns have established themselves within oneself.  After these patterns become familiar touch stones, the folktale texts suddenly become much more ordered and sensible.  Otherwise, there is only some foreign, abstract "law" to which we are referring as a model, and this will only have minimal use in the interpretation of symbolic individuation narratives.  We must know (to some degree) what "should" come next in a process of individuation before we fully understand what has happened in the folktale narrative.  If we don't have a functional individuation paradigm to work from (and an intuitive sense or feeling about its dynamic form and logic), the interpretation of fairytales can be a matter of getting lost in the woods (where we must be fortunate enough to receive the magical guidance of something unconscious and Other).

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Sealchan

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Re: Differentiating the Syzygy in Fairytales (Sapsorrow)
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2009, 08:14:25 PM »
Quote
It is seductive to think of the protagonist in Sapsorrow as the "hero" or ego character, since the story completely revolves around her and portrays her perspective.  But I would argue that this is not the best rule of thumb for understanding the figures of the Syzygy in folktales.  It is not always who the storyteller dwells most on that is the hero, I think, and it is not the distant partner of the protagonist that is always the animi figure.  I propose a different rule of interpretation (not meant to be free from exceptions, but still generally more valid than the conventional Jungian perspective): in the Syzygy of folktales, there is a devalued figure who is in some way "enchanted" and there is another character who learns to see value in or valuate the devalued character.  The devalued figure to be redeemed is the animi, and the valuating character is the hero.

I think this is a fascinating insight.  Certainly one typically thinks of the ego as the effective center of power in the psyche and valuation is from the egoic perspective.

However, there may be some additional alternatives that apply here...what if it is possible to experience the ego as an entity that is not the center of value in the conscious psyche?  What if the arrow of value points not at the ego but at the others with which the ego connects.  I have suggested along the lines of a sexual stereotype (which may be a function of long-standing social-sexual stereotypes) that there are two types of ego development that both occur in all individuals: the separate and the connective.  Traditionally the separative line of ego development points the valuation arrow toward the ego, the center of the conscious system and this gives the ego the heroic, masculine quality of the hero as dragon slayer.  The other connective line of ego development is, in contrast, a more passive, meditative, negotiative and the arrow of valuation points towards others and maintaining the connections at the expense of the formation of an egoic center.  This comes of as a feminine style of conscious development.

I'm not one to want to concretize this to say that men develop their egos in the separative way and women exclusively in the connective way but the use of the social/sexual polarity of men/women might map (at least in the European circles of myth) preferentially this way.  The dreams of individuals probably exhibit both styles.  Myths are social constructs so they are not as raw as dream material.  From this perspective the ego can actually identify with an undervalued subject in a myth by virtue of it being a so-called feminine (that is, connective) type of ego rather than a so-called masculine (separative) type of ego development. 

Perhaps it is an either or...there can be a valuation of the protagonist within the story where the protagonist has little power and is devalued in the stories' world view, but outside of the story the protagonist may be seen as the center of virtue and, like the ugly duckling, goes through the process of the discovery of one's relative value.  Once you read the story a second time and know how it ends this dual context of character valuation becomes obvious.

 

Matt Koeske

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Re: Differentiating the Syzygy in Fairytales (Sapsorrow)
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 04:01:24 PM »
I use the term valuation a lot and without much explanation, but there are definitely subtleties in the way I've been conceiving it.  To my knowledge, valuation (as I've been using it) is not specifically a Jungian term or concept . . . although it is Jungian-esque, I think, and very compatible with classical Jungian thinking and language.

I've been using the term valuation to imply a conscious attribution of value to something non-egoic, but as you point out, this has the side-effect of muddying the issue of if and how the ego is valuated or valuatable.  Before I take a stab at that, I should say that I'm not sure I would credit the ego with absolute power to valuate in the psyche.  To begin with, valuing or valuation is an autonomous function of human cognition that serves as part of the psychic organizing principle of the Self (or the Jungian "unconscious"), part of the organizing principle of memory.  This instinctual, autonomous valuation of memory interrelationality seems to have a significantly (but perhaps not absolutely) quantitative form.  I.e., the association of a memory quantum or small memory complex with another is stronger or weaker than other associations . . . and this would be experienced phenomenologically as how quickly and how powerfully one piece of memory elicits another for us.

In dreams this is very blatant and fairly easy to study.  We see in a dream symbol or image a complex of associated memory quanta, where some of these quanta will have powerful and immediate meaning to the dreamer (which can be drawn from feeling-based associations to the image), while other quanta in the same symbol will remain vague, hard to suss out with associations and probably less "important" to understanding the meaning of the symbol in interpretation.

My concept of valuation derives from dream work and would therefore correspond to an act of consciously reinforcing the associations dreams show us in narrative symbols by bringing a reflective understanding to these symbols.  That is, the dream worker would not so much make an abstract analysis or intellectual interpretation of the dream image, but would allow the dream's suggestion that a group of memory quanta "belong together" to be felt as significant to the individual's sense of being and meaning.  Perhaps this symbol or a similar symbol will be drawn or painted or sculpted or written into a story or merely cherished like a kind of talisman (of course the image could have a positive or a negative feeling impact on the individual and still be equally valued).  The valuating dream worker will keep picking away at the symbol or piece of symbolic narrative, turning it over and over, trying to find a way of incorporating it into conscious living and sense of self.

This is fully compatible with conventional Jungian dream work in which artistic representations and active imagination exercises are encouraged.  One issue I have with these staples of Jungian therapy is that they can stray too far from the feeling source, usually into archetypal or mythological material.  In my opinion, this is a step away from valuation (where the natural otherness of the symbol is cherished and left intact) and toward intellectualization or abstraction (where the natural symbol is manipulated in a way that makes it more appealing to the ego, more like a mirror for the ego to reflect itself back narcissistically).  Valuation always leave the natural otherness of whatever is valued in tact.  It does not violate that otherness by trying to familiarize or egoize it.  Rather, it spurs the ego to expand to be able to relate to that otherness.  In practice, this differentiation can be extremely subtle.

Also, and fairly obviously, that which can be valuated has been devalued for one reason or another.  That is, the ego has not seen this devalued thing fit to be related to or fit to be a significant part of the conscious sense of self.  So, it is easy to see in fairytales where devalued animi (and sometimes shadow) figures that are rejected and abused by all the other characters of the story are given more value and recognition by the heroic character.  And my theory, of course, is that heroism (on an archetypal level) is largely defined by this ability to valuate that which is Other or seems beaten down, or ugly, or animialistic (sub-human).  I do not (as mentioned in our previous discussions of the hero) see ego development or strengthening as significant to the characterization of archetypal heroism . . .  and tend to see such ego strengthening and construction as primarily a cultural phenomenon or socialization/tribal indoctrination (where it is only with the advent of modernism that such socialization associates the ego with the "conquering hero" who triumphs over his weakness, "femininity", fear, childishness, animalism, etc.).

My guess is that, before modernism (i.e, in tribal culture), the heroic instinct was encouraged through rites of passage into adulthood to devote itself as a facilitator to the tribe (which was the projection of the Self-as-Collective).  With modernism, there is no true tribe, and the patriarchal ego often becomes the new focus of facilitation . . . which regrettably leads to dissociations from instinct and resultant psychopathologies and neuroses.  I.e., patriarchal/egoic modernism does not have an effective formula or ritual or institution for valuating instinct as the basis of survival and satisfaction.  Instead, it valuates (or more accurately, inflates) the ego and associates survival fitness with strong egoism.  It is in that state that all of human history (i.e., recorded history) has been generated.  That is very generally why I see a disconnect between archetypal or instinctual heroism and egoic/patriarchal/conquering heroism.  But there is no doubt that patriarchal heroism imitates the form of archetypal heroism, but without the substance.  That is, there is no valuation of Otherness in patriarchal heroism . . . only self-promotion and self-fortification . . . glory in the defeat of Otherness, not in its redemption or valuation.

It is difficult (given these terms I am working with) to imagine the ego as a devalued psychic construct.  But I can think of a way that this could be perceived.  If the ego suffers from an inability to effectively promote the survival of the individual, it will generally break down to some degree and exhibit dysfunction.  There are two general options for "treating" the dysfunctional ego: 1.) forced emulation of "successful models" or else the sycophantic appeal to and service of these models. or 2.) heroic reorganization of the personality into a more functional system (one that allows survivable instincts to operate effectively in the act of living) . . . in other words, individuation.

The first option is the norm, but it works by further and more extensive repression and denial of instinctuality or Self.  This is the paradigm of the patrirachal ego . . . and the devalued instincts are seen as animalistic distractions that must be beaten down so that the transcendent ego is freed from their influence.  One of the major achievements of Freud and psychoanalysis was communicating to the majority of people that this model doesn't actually work . . . and that what happens is that the repressed instinctuality rears its head in all kinds of activities, behaviors, and even institutions that are then segregated from socialized humanity's sense of itself (just as the scapegoat was driven off into the wilderness or over a cliff carrying the sins of the tribe).  In more contemporary language, we could say that denial of instincts leads to externalities, and part of the class-based system that our societies are built around involves more powerful classes leaving less powerful classes with the greater burden of these discarded externalities.  That is, modern society is built so as to allow for or even facilitate the shedding of "sins" onto less powerful classes.  There is no true sense of tribal unity where every member of the tribe is valuable to the tribe as a whole and worth sustaining.

In the modern dysfunctional ego, I would argue, though, that the valuation that occurs in healing or individuation is not really a valuation of the ego, per se.  Rather it is a valuation of the hero or heroic attitude . . . which the ego only takes influence from.  The ego, despite its limitations, is a much more complex and diverse construction than the hero.  The ego cannot become the hero without becoming imprisoned in a delusional fantasy of heroism, a kind of Procrustean Bed.  I see that imprisonment as Demonic and self-defensive rather than truly functional or dynamic as instinctuality "wants" to be.  One of the cardinal lessons of individuation is that it is not about building up the ego as an immense fortified structure, but rather about recognizing that the dissolution of such once-cherished fortifications will not destroy the personality.  The personality has a deeper source, a non-egoic source or principle of organization that is complex, dynamic, and self-sustaining and which is governed by adaptation and fluidity rather than conquering Otherness or environment.

It may very well be the case that the eventual rise of the heroic attitude into an integration with consciousness during the individuation process will make the ego or sense of self feel more whole or confident or valuable . . . less fragile, brittle, or breakable.  And this could be seen as a form of "valuation of the ego" . . . but that valuation is only a reflection of the valuation of the instinctual Self.  It will never be provided to the ego for "no reason whatsoever" from some deific source.  It is only engendered when the ego takes on the heroic work (the animi work) of individuation.  During that process the animi figure is attracted to the heroic ego (to the degree that the ego adopts and valuates the heroic attitude).  This love of the animi for the hero (its partner in the Syzygy) can feel like a reciprocal valuation.  And certainly the relationality between the animi and hero is always a matter of mirroring or twinning.

But one of the (eventually) humbling realizations we make from this process is that it is not the complex and diverse, but limited, ego that the animi loves so much as it is the archetypal hero or heroic attitude that the ego can valuate.  I.e., the heroic valuation of animi, shadow, and Self reflects back a mutual valuation of the heroic attitude.  This valuative reciprocation perpetuates itself to the degree that the egoic attitude will allow (or can figure out how to allow) the valuation to flow.  That flow is enabled through the sacrifice of usurpation (ego hoarding) of the valuation.  In other words, if we keep giving it away (valuating Otherness), it (or the act of giving) sustains us, but if we try to capture the valuation and make it stick to the ego and "build up" the ego, we fall into inflation or Demonic possession . . . and the valuation fades away.

Perhaps this model of the dynamic psychic system could be compared to an oscillator, where the heroic ego allows and can tolerate a wider fluctuation of states, highs and lows, ascents and falls.  The system uses or derives energy from this oscillation.  But the conquering or Demon-driven ego wants highs all the time and tries to devise ways of imprisoning the high state artificially.  Which of course causes the flow of energy to be consumed and stalled.

We do see in fairytales that other ego-like side characters might be valued through the acts of the hero.  Strangers the hero meets during his or her journey might be valuated or redeemed from even incidental contact with the hero.  Sometimes these are Self characters, kings or queens (that are not animi figures).  But at least as often, they are shadow figures.  Personal shadow figures, that is . . . so, in my construction, aspects or attitudes of the ego that are denied, devalued, or despised.  In some of the other tales in Jim Henson's Storyteller, we see this motif . . . "The Soldier and Death" and "The Luck Child" immediately come to mind.  Psychologically, we might say that these shadowy figures correspond to egoic pathways the instinctual Self needs to use to implement its dynamic organization.  The ego has not only to learn how to respect and apply the heroic attitude, but also how to allow some of its more shadowy tendencies to be put to more productive, instinctual work.

As the individuation process progresses, shadow valuation becomes a primary concentration.  But this is nothing so simple as "exalting" our less decent and honorable desires.  It is perhaps better described as giving these shadowy inclinations something productive to do in the psyche so they aren't just loitering around looking for trouble or subjectable to the Demon without any heroic intervention.  But if we dam up these shadow rivers, we tend to impair the Self system and enable the Demon to promote stasis, fortification, and imprisonment in the personality.  The valuation of the personal shadow is the primary conduit to empathy and valuation of other.  But where parts of the shadow are concerned, valuation is not the same thing as redemption.  The shadow is not made bright, but allowed to be valid.  The heroic attitude does not sweep everything that doesn't shine out of the personality.  Rather, it allows the various and disparate parts and attitudes to self-organize functionally under the Self's (now less impeded) principle.  Where the Demon promotes limitation, reduction, and elimination or amputation of less compliant elements of personality, the hero promotes more functional and efficient interrelationality.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, the valuative attitude or method I am describing is, I feel, paralleled not only by fairytales but by alchemy, where the magnum opus is a process of valuation (in alchemical language, "transmutation") or the "fallen" element of Earth, which in varius ways corresponds to what we might call "body" or "instinctuality" that we do not see as having anything to do with consciousness, intelligence, or spirituality.  Failing to see our materiality and instinctuality as "intelligent", spiritual, or valuable, we fail to recognize the cherished Stone of the alchemists . . . which is therefore to be found on the dungheap.  My method of fairytale and dream interpretation as well as my divergent psychological theories tend to resemble this alchemical attitude more than classical Jungian theory does.  And where Jungianism deviates from the alchemical/valuative model, I tend to see it as flawed and characterized by egoic or Demonic stasis and misdirection.

My revisionary theories, then, are a repairative attempt to address the occasional fallings away from the valuative or heroic attitude in Jungian psychology.  Conventional (mostly classical) Jungianism is a largely valuative enterprise . . . and my attraction to it has always been a matter of its aptitude for valuation of the shadowed Self system.  But it remains, despite its extensive valuation and lack of the pathologization that characterizes psychoanalysis and many other psychologies, still significantly flawed.  I see these fallings away from the valuative paradigm as incongruities in Jungian thinking, self-contradictions, stumblings, and misdirections in the program Jung intuitively set out to achieve (or rather, was set out within his creative work and imagination for him to interpret or translate through an effective Logos).  The alchemical work in Jungianism is incomplete, and regrettably, Jungians have not taken up this repairative/valuative attitude toward Jung's unfinished opus.  They have either dogmatized the incompleteness or discarded some of the valuation of psyche that Jung proposed.  But there have been surprisingly few attempts to continue valuating psychic phenomena beyond what Jung had accomplished in his lifetime . . . which seems to me the logical extension of Jungianism.

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Sealchan

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Re: Differentiating the Syzygy in Fairytales (Sapsorrow)
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2009, 06:45:02 PM »
As usual, I know what you are saying must make sense and be well-written, but I am failing to make some, probably, basic connections with my own way of thinking about these things, so I do not quite follow what you are saying.  I have the peculiar experience of feeling like I get 75% of what you are saying but since some crucial underpinnings are not "clicking" for me I am not getting it "overall".

Let's go back your term "valuation".  I am sure we are close in meaning here to each other but there is some crucial difference, so let me spell out my meaning a bit and see where this leads...

From your writing I sense valuation as having two meanings:

1.  Value as in the function of feeling judgement or good versus bad, right versus wrong and, perhaps, primarily important versus unimportant

2.  Value as libidic concentration or amount of energy

So in meaning 1. we have a value judgement or feeling of the level of importance of something explained in a rational context.  You have to choose the context for this...so the reader or listener of the story or the character in the story or the social context of the story may be the reference for some judgement or valuation of some element of that story or dream.

The meaning in 2. implies that a high valuation corresponds with a frequent, central or more powerful element of a dream or story.  The amount of libido (energy which is force over time) given to a psychic element indicates its valuation.

So am I on the right track when trying to understand your meaning of valuation?  How I explain "valuation" above is how I would translate what you are saying into what I would basically agree with.

Another response I have is to say that there may be two polarized ways (which define a continuum rather than two bifurcating paths) in which the ego can develop:

1.  In a way such that the ego maintains its separateness from the whole psychic system

2.  In a way such that the ego maintains its connectedness to the whole psychic system

The ego must both differentiate from and integrate with the whole psychic system.  This paradox is further described by the idea that out of nothing we arise in our birth and into nothing we must willingly fall into our death.  The complex, adaptive system which is our psyche, has an original psychic system which is not much troubled by a developed consciousness (the infant which sleeps through more hours of the day than not).  As the individual grows and their consciousness develops, extremes in the psychic system arise and the ego invariably aligns and counter-aligns with these creating a compensatory movement in the unconscious which fuels the shadow, animi and Self figures.  But even as the ego is a separation from this psychic three/four-some (ego, shadow, animi/Self), it is also simply another facet of Self as container of the ego/shadow/animi system.  Typically the ego and the Self are seen as centers of their psychic systems but with the ego as a partial, limited psychic system and the Self as the whole psychic system.  In this sense the ego is both always an integral part of the whole and an isolated part of the whole.

I also think that the whole psychic system and the ego-part psychic system have their separate value systems in that they each align in complimentary ways.  The ego which separates also fuels the complimentary other in the greater psychic system due to some kind of complimentary opposite balance of powers causing it to generate an "energic" tie to the unconscious that pulls it back into relationship. 

Possibly because historically economic and political power have primarily been given to men rather than women to the extent that there are well known imbalances in social valuation (pay rate) and achievement (promotion) when men are compared with women, I believe that dreams and stories have tended to put the hero and heroine into two different types of heroic journey as a result.  Men are often the heroic figures of the separative ego story where the individual is given latitude and power enough to be the initiatory cause of their heroic adventure while women are the figures of the connective ego story where the individual is thrown into a situation that was either originally or apparently harmonious to begin with.     

Quote
But all we are really told is that the father sees his dead wife's beauty in his daughter and is "aroused" by it.  He recognizes her sexuality and doesn't know how to healthily relate to it.  We are not told that he abuses or seduces her.  Her enchantment and Fall into devaluation (her kitchen maid job and animal skins) come as a result of the sacrifice of and flight from her father's incestuous desires (inability to relate to her as a sexual being that is yet inappropriate to desire sexually).  If the princess represented the ego, we might say that her father projected his eroticized anima onto his daughter, and perhaps also blamed her for some kind of "inappropriate" sexuality unjustly.  It is like a form of sexual possession, where the father becomes the keeper of the daughter's sexuality.  In many romantic relationships as well as father/daughter relationships, there is a conventional desire in the man (and also in the woman) to possess the other's sexuality.  The man projects his vulnerability and fragility and impotence into the woman's sexuality and then feels he must dissociate and imprison it so that it is not violated by anyone else.  Even when the father is dissociating and trying to imprison his daughter's sexuality while not fully realizing he is sexually possessing her, the dynamic is the same.

Here we could frame the princess, as hero and ego, as having fallen to the side of the connective ego development.  Women, having historically being suppressed from making sexual advancements (unless they choose a devalued, but ancient profession...), do not actively develop their sexuality...it is left in the figure of the father.  In many dreams or stories for feminine ego's there is the forced or pre-arranged marriage (or, as in the case above, sexual impulse) which the heroine must fight off. 

But this is, I believe, simply metaphoric of an ego which is actively cultivating the original psychic wholeness or connectedness and not making sufficient room for her individuality.  The changes that sexuality bring coincide with the child's transformation into an adult and so serve as the simplest, most concise, most universal problem for the maturing ego.  The improper or ego-devalued sexual mate arises from the unconscious as a result, whether father, annoying or repulsive suitor and/or even rapist.  The daughter in the story above is the ego that has neglected her sexual development (and/or has had it suppressed by her social context) and is now experiencing this psychic fact as a world destroying reality which will force her into separation from her original world. 






Matt Koeske

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Re: Differentiating the Syzygy in Fairytales (Sapsorrow)
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2009, 07:21:15 AM »
Let's go back your term "valuation".  I am sure we are close in meaning here to each other but there is some crucial difference, so let me spell out my meaning a bit and see where this leads...

From your writing I sense valuation as having two meanings:

1.  Value as in the function of feeling judgement or good versus bad, right versus wrong and, perhaps, primarily important versus unimportant

2.  Value as libidic concentration or amount of energy

So in meaning 1. we have a value judgement or feeling of the level of importance of something explained in a rational context.  You have to choose the context for this...so the reader or listener of the story or the character in the story or the social context of the story may be the reference for some judgement or valuation of some element of that story or dream.

The meaning in 2. implies that a high valuation corresponds with a frequent, central or more powerful element of a dream or story.  The amount of libido (energy which is force over time) given to a psychic element indicates its valuation.

Sorry for the delayed response.  I wrote most of this a couple weeks ago and then ran out of writing time for a while . . . .

Instead of choosing one or the other or a little of both, let me reframe my definition/understanding of valuation (also because I often only grasp about 75% or what you are saying  (-)laugh(-)!) . . . .

I think of valuation as a cognitive function, a structural attribute of the psyche (and perhaps also of the brain . . . but that would require more extensive scientific study and argument to establish).  Valuation, on the most basic level, is a major part of the process of memory organization in the human psyche.  I see it as having to do with the weighting or strength of association among memory quanta.  Memory quanta with stronger associative networks would be considered more valuated than the quanta with weaker associations.  With low-level memory quanta (i.e., quanta when not organized into a very large complex), we could use a metaphorical example . . . with something like Rose (Quantum 1) and Red (Quantum 2) at the center of a particular (arbitrary) focus.  Let's then associate Flower with Rose and Color with Red and map them like so:

Flower----Rose--Red----Color

In this organization, Flower has a stronger association to Rose than it does to Red or Color . . . so I would say the association between Flower and Rose is more valuated than the association between Flower and Color.  This example is just an attempt the lay out the "as-if" of valuation in the simplest form possible.  In reality, I would think that even constructs like Rose and Red are too complex to be considered true low-level memory quanta.  That is, our concept of these things is actually composed of a system of numerous, probably pre-lingual impressions and associations that all "vibrate together" when we ring up "Rose" on our mental register.  We might choose to delimit this Rose construct based on the situation in which we are recalling our rose construct.  I think this delimiting of memory constructs is semi-egoic and intentioned.  For instance, we might intentionally turn our focus away from the woman's name, Rose, and from any women named Rose we might have known.  We might think more about the thorns of a rose than about its fragrance (or vice versa).  We might choose to concentrate on a single long-stemmed rose that one might give to another person and turn away from the image or roses growing in a garden.  All of the many delimitations we put on the construct of rose we conjure up will probably have some sort of logic to them.  We are reasonably guessing what the other person (or source . . . book, song, photo, etc.) meant by "Rose" based on many subtle contextual clues.

I call this delimitation semi-egoic, because this contextualizing has a self-organizing logic of its own and operates to a significant degree without conscious intention . . . but there is also conscious intention involved in the delimiting process.  This combination of un- or sub-conscious organizational logic and conscious intention is also an important part of the valuating process on higher level complexes of memory.

In these higher level complexes of memory, we are talking about fairly massive complex systems that organize and reorganize dynamically.  That is, among various sub-complexes of memory and the quanta that compose them, there are almost innumerable possible connections and associations.  Some are going to come in almost every context where a memory image is evoked.  So, for instance, when someone says, "Rose", many people will think (whether consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously), "Red" (say it was a kind of word association test).  It might not work the other way around, of course (Red might not trigger Rose without other contextual support).  Along with Red, the stimulus word, Rose, might trigger a slew of other associations.  Those associations that are most vibrant, compelling, immediate, and powerful could be said to be highly valuated.

In this high-level association, we are now talking about a Rose symbol . . . and this generally means that what is being associated with the Rose construct is affective and has something to do with how one feels, how one sees oneself or sees others, how one constructs personal identity or differentiates self and other.  Some associations might be narrative.  Perhaps one remembers a specific rose in a specific context, and that context also has an emotional charge to it . . . say, the rose was given to a lover in a heartfelt gesture or the rose's fragrance evoked an entire romantic scene or a scene of loss and disappointment.  Even the simplest bits of memory are hugely complex, and every bit runs into innumerable other bits.  An evoked memory will burst out like water through a broken dam and spill across other memories.  It is not currently possible to map psyche to brain in any compelling and accurate way, but we do know that metaphorically speaking, these bursts of memory could be said to resemble the action potentials in neuronal behavior.  There are distinct structural similarities.

But why do some associated memories get triggered in these bursts while others don't?  Part of this is due to the contextualization that delimits the associativity semi-egoically . . . but I suspect there is at least one other significant factor.  Some sub-complexes of memory are are simply more likely to fire together or automatically associate . . . perhaps because the repeated firing together over time has been reinforced by (in our perception) a feeling that they "belong together".  In other words, the organization of memory in which these sub-complexes always or usually associate is one in which the Self (here as "mind" or psyche) operates efficiently.  Complex associations of memory that tap affect and motivation (i.e., "libido") are functional and efficient organizations, because they tend to motivate behavior.  If the organization in question tends to motivate functional or instinctually-driven and adaptive behavior (rather than purely ego-gratifying or -fortifying behavior), then we could say that the organization of this complex of memory is "Self-valuating".  That is, the specific memory organization allows instinct (the Self) to motivate behavior which returns results that are relatively conducive to the Self's dynamic sense of living (where "relatively" can mean a vast variety of things).

So . . . now we start to get closer to what I mean by valuation as I more commonly use it.  When we are speaking of such massively interconnected memory complexes as we would be in dream work or other Jungian or psychotherapeutic talk, we are dealing with orders of complexity beyond conscious comprehension.  In this extreme complexity, all kinds of emergent qualities can be recognized in the organization.  For instance, we (or at least I) might say that consciously assisted valuation is "good" . . . either ethically "good" or good for the health of the psychic system or good for a specific stage of development or healing in a process of "treatment" or reorganization/individuation.  I might say, "What the individual really needs to do in psychic situation X is valuate the shadow more.  To fail to valuate the shadow sufficiently is a moral failure."  But what I'm really implying with such talk is that the recognized and encouraged association between a devalued (or weakly related) memory complex (like the shadow) and a highly valued one (like the ego) is liable (if done intelligently and honestly) to increase a high-level valuation.  That valuation would be experienced as a new recognition of the usefulness and relatedness (similarity) of personal shadow traits to already valued ego traits . . . and the result of such a valuation could be the opening up of functional egoic expression and potential (organizational "libido" from the instinctual Self) that made the personality more adaptive.

An example from my own life could be culled from my last year of working on my poetry book.  It was mostly done, but was missing a sense of togetherness or meaning that I could comprehend and "believe in" or support or feel was valid.  Through valuative work with one of my poems, I came to see that I had treated the many Foolish characters in my poems too harshly and concentrated on their embarrassing failures instead of recognizing their incredible resilience and functional drive.  I revised a handful of my poems with this new Fool-valuating ethic (the Fool was too much in my shadow, too devalued), and the book came together into a whole which I could see meaning in and felt was valid.

Poetry writing (at least for me) is a lot like dream work.  The text one is working with in either case is partly a spontaneous representation from the unconscious or Self and partly an egoic and intentioned coordination.  In poetry (or other arts), the spontaneous representation of the Self would be called "inspiration" or it might be a matter of an image or phrase or intuitive connection around which the meaning and organization of the poem clusters and develops . . . a center of gravity.  The poet doesn't create this center of gravity consciously, but is pulled into it . . . just as one might be pulled into a psychological complex.  The poet works with complexes just as an individuant or analyst might.  In dream work, the dream is already undergoing egoic reconstruction during recall.  We tend to (egoically) assign more structure to dreams when we language them . . . whereas in the dreams themselves images and scenes are often more open-ended and imply various coexisting "realities" and potentials.  Something in a dream is both A and B (and perhaps C, D, and so on) whereas in waking reality, things are only A, only one thing (and we use associations to tease out the subordinate factors).

When the dreamer is engaged in the individuation process (e.g., during the animi work), s/he will likely have various dreams with individuation themes.  These dreams can often resemble fairytale motifs, as the individuating ego finds itself in the heroic mode, perhaps pursuing a Self object (like the animi) and in conflict with the Demon (a conflict which can only be successfully negotiated through the valuation of and empathy with the personal shadow and not through any full frontal attack on the Demon).  So, this individuation dynamic is the foundation of my Core Complex theory . . . in which the Core Complex is characterized by the dynamic among ego, personal shadow, Demon, Syzygy (hero/animi), and Self.  From what I've seen, this dynamic emerges only during individuation (or individuation events).  When one is not engaged in individuation, the Syzygy recedes or is not clearly detectable in dreams . . . the Demon will seem either ego-aligned or ego-terrorizing (rather than a manageable opponent to the hero), and the Self will be either connected to the shadow (enshrouded in shadow) or abstracted into a symbol, perhaps some kind of natural catastrophe, or simply not represented at all.  But even in dreams in which the Self is abstracted into a natural catastrophe, the ego is responding to the Self and may have some kind of heroic inclination.  As natural catastrophe, though, the ego cannot really relate to the Self and is overwhelmed by it.  I suspect that there is often a correlation between these apocalyptic representations of the Self in dreams and a call in the personality for ego dissolution and reorganization.  When a cherished or Demonically compulsive egoic attitude is under siege from the dynamic organizing principle of the Self, it is like Armageddon in the personality.  What's interesting about this is how often everyone has apocalyptic dreams.  We always have egoic attitudes that clog up the Self's dynamic process.  I think it is just the nature of the ego.  The ego always has a profound pressure on it to be static (which I mostly associate with the Demon) . . . but as it must also serve as the Self's organ of functionality in the external environment, it also has enormous pressure on it from the dynamic and instinctual internal environment.  The ego, then, is a place of constant collision and reaction (where here I mean "ego" in the sense of identity rather than momentary focus of consciousness and working memory), a threshold or even battleground between two conflicting superpowers.

In the individuating Core Complex paradigm I've been suggesting, valuation is always directed at the psychic contents and representations experienced as Other.  The ego's only real "power" in this scenario is the power to valuate this Otherness in the psyche.  To the degree that it does, the psyche will tend to represent the ego heroically in dreams.  Essentially, if the ego is to have any real influence in the psyche as a whole, the ego's only option is the valuative championing and facilitation of the Self.  In this ego/Self relationship, the ego will always experience the Self as Other . . . the heroic ego is always working with the Self and never as the Self.  This is different than the ego/Demon relationship in non-individuating personalities.  In those situations where the Syzygy has receded or is not developed, the ego will feel empowered by attaching itself to the Demon, by making itself an emissary and lackey of the Demon (accomplished by turning Demonic aggression against the personal shadow).  In that situation, there is deep conflation between ego and Demon, and the ego cannot tell that it is not the Demon, cannot effectively differentiate (such differentiation requires heroic consciousness).  The Demon is all too happy to convince the ego that it is Demonically powerful.  The Demon would like the ego to be the perfect social strategy that can eliminate the sting and intrusive presence of all otherness.  That otherness can be outmaneuvered through either its domination and control by the Demonic ego or by slippery avoidance and misdirection from the Demonic ego (or some combination of the two).  The heroic attitude toward the Self, by contrast, seeks to valuate and respect any otherness, even desiring engagement with it (an engagement that might affect or even transform both self and other).

In cases of trauma, the ego might also come to identify with the personal shadow, which feels itself to be helpless against the power of the Demon.  Therefore, the Demon controls this shadow-identified ego and keeps it imprisoned away from any dynamic or heroic intrusions.  Such sufferers will eventually grind down toward dysfunction due to estrangement from the Self's organizing principle.  The Demon berates them and insists that they either become the Demon (live up to its standard of perfection, stasis, and abuse) or live forever as its prisoner and victim.  It's a curiosity of our conventional psychological attitudes that we generally feel identification with the Demon is "healthier" than identification with the personal shadow (where some, albeit muddled, differentiation between ego and Demon occurs).  That is, we hold the Demonic ego in many cases to be an "ego ideal".  It is an elite superegoic entity reflecting what society collectively and abstractly wants and demands from its individual members.  But the saddling of individuals with Demonic ideals runs against the dynamic principle of the Self, which becomes (very commonly) devalued in our society where Demonic ideals stand in great contrast to Self ideals and instinctual functionality.

The act and process of valuation, therefore, is met with strong resistance from the Demon and will be perceived as irrational, dangerous, foolish, "impractical", deviant, and sometimes even heretical or "sinful", by the Demonically-aligned aspects of the ego.  So, in alchemy (as previously mentioned) the Philosopher's Stone is found in the dung heap . . . and the valuative alchemical act is essentially seen (Demonically) as the rooting through shit to find something of ignominious significance and no value whatsoever.  The cry of the alchemists in contrast to this Demonic perspective is that the Stone is of greater value than anything else in life, but Demonic critics simply don't understand this kind of value/valuation.

But again, even at this high-level, symbolic, extremely complex and narrative level of valuation, there is a fundamental principle at work that involves the increased association and interconnectivity of memory complexes.  The psyche is working together more as a whole, organizational dynamism is more readily embraced, every event and other is received and reacted to more "wholly".  The personality is more liquid . . . and therefore more disturbible and reflexive on a wider scale . . . but is also settles and coordinates more easily into a dynamic operating order.  The valuation of otherness and of seemingly alien potentials allows for increased empathy, Eros, relationality.  Behind this associative valuation is the natural principle of relationality and survivable togetherness that allows multiple individuals to work together adaptively to achieve common goals and sustained fitness.  Individuals are most functional, most useful to the group, and most satisfied when they are facilitated in their living by other individuals and help facilitate other individuals in return.  There is a fear in the patriarchal Demonic principle of organization that instinct is fundamentally unfit and not survivable, and if abstract order is not imposed on it, humans will be consumed by their own evil, laziness, and stupidity and soon die out.  So, by the Demonic perspective, imprisoning stasis and superegoic ordering of a population is justified as a necessary good.

But what we have been learning especially with the advent of modern evolutionary biology and psychology is that we have not managed to survive and flourish as a species because we have denied our instincts and "transcended" our animalness or "original sin" with heroic rationality and superegoic wisdom.  We have managed to survive because the repression of our instincts has really not been managed very well.  We have survived in spite of our attempts and desires to control our instincts.


So am I on the right track when trying to understand your meaning of valuation?  How I explain "valuation" above is how I would translate what you are saying into what I would basically agree with.

Another response I have is to say that there may be two polarized ways (which define a continuum rather than two bifurcating paths) in which the ego can develop:

1.  In a way such that the ego maintains its separateness from the whole psychic system

2.  In a way such that the ego maintains its connectedness to the whole psychic system

You might consider reading Michael Fordham who had a theory that the self develops through a process of "deintegration" and "integration".  Fordham is a developmental Jungian (essentially the "founder" of British developmentalism) who is seen as having a contrasting ego development theory to Neumann (based less on mythology and more on infant/mother interaction).  I'm personally not all that keen on either developmental Jungian theory, but they are considered the Big Two in the Jungian canon.  Your separative/connective theory seems to house elements of both Jungian developmental theories (and I know you have read Neumann).
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The Old Spirit

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Re: Differentiating the Syzygy in Fairytales (Sapsorrow)
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2009, 02:35:29 PM »
Interesting post, and I really like the basic core of your analysis.
I have read Michael Fordham, I would second him.
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The personality is more liquid . . . and therefore more disturbible and reflexive on a wider scale . . . but is also settles and coordinates more easily into a dynamic operating order.
I think when we say that the personality is more liquid, it means its hard to get a hang of things and thus not easily disturbible.  Just my thought.
nice post.  (-)appl(-)