Author Topic: A fairy tale discussion  (Read 19368 times)

Keri

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A fairy tale discussion
« on: June 15, 2008, 01:20:57 AM »
I wanted to start a discussion beginning with a small piece of the much larger thread on the Hero archetype.  In that thread, I brought up the (Disneyfied-version of the) fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, in an attempt to provide an example of the difference between the archetypal Hero and the false, conquering hero (as I understand it).  Kafiri's response evoked a question in me about the universality of fairy tales (are there a million different personal interpretations that could be correct, or is there one interpretation that is more or less accurate?), but I haven't been able to get back to it until recently.  Since I rarely feel that I understand fairy tales well, it was interesting to me that I really felt that I "got" this one.  Certainly not every aspect or nuance, but the gist.  I still do think that my original post is "right" (for me), but I've wanted to flesh it out a bit.  I've wanted to make sure that I understand what fairy tales are, how they can be used to understand the Psyche or the Self, and what Beauty and the Beast, in particular, is really about.  I think, overall, this is a much larger task than I am currently up for, but I wanted to get it started.

I may not get much response to this right now, as it appears people are happily engaged in another conversation on memes :), but I thought I would begin and add to it as I find free moments.  I may be trying to reinvent the wheel, and maybe this has been discussed ad nauseum on other forums or in the literature, but this is mainly for my own learning experience.  Anyone who wants to join in is welcome.

First, the relevant posts from the earlier conversation:

I was at the dentist with my son this morning, and they had Disney’s Beauty and the Beast playing.  It was at the part where the dashing, strong, aggressive “hero” of the village is drumming up the local people to go attack “the Beast.”  He works them all into a frenzy, playing on their fears of the Beast.  When Belle tries to stop him, he “man-handles” her, throwing her and her father into a cellar.  The villagers go off to fight the Beast at his castle, with the “hero” in the lead.  I see this, psychologically speaking, as an attempt to oppress/repress/squash out the beastly parts of the psyche.  But the villagers definitely would define this man as the hero.  He is strong, brave, and he wants to protect the village.  But I think he is the false, conquering hero.

I think, in this story, Belle is the actual heroine.  She acts heroically in that she must be brave (overcome her fear), she must “stand against” the village (tribe), she must “see-through” the Beast’s outward appearance and gruff manner to the man within.  She redeems the Beast (Animus) through really “seeing” him, through empathy, rather than with a conquering attitude.

Agreed.  Excellent example.  This differentiation (between conquering ego and sacrificing hero) is constantly demonstrated in fairytales.  I haven't done an official study by any means, but I am pretty sure that what I said about conquering "heroes" being the stuff of tragedy and spiritual heroes being the stuff of "comedies" or success stories (as we often see in fairytales) is accurate.

Keri,
Let me begin with a quote from A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis:
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   Myths are stories of archetypal encounters.  As the fairy tale is analogous to the workings of the personal COMPLEX, the myth is a METAPHOR for workings of the ARCHETYPE per se.  Like his ancestors Jung concluded, modern man is a myth-maker; he re-enacts age-old dramas based on archetypal themes and through his capacity for CONSCIOUSNESS, can release himself from their compulsive hold. P. 95.
With information in mind, one might ask:  "What personal complex" is at work in the Beauty and the Beast?  From the tale itself, we can see that no mother is involved.  It is about the father-daughter relationship, more specifically a "father's daughter."  The female version of the Oedipus complex is the Electra complex:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electra_complex But the modern emphasis is on the romantic relationship between the Beauty and Beast completely ignoring that before she can tame her animus by "seeing" it for what it really is, she must leave, once and for all, her father's house.  Unlike the collective, as you point out, Belle, comes to understand that the Beast is not "out there"(projected), but part of her own makeup that she must come into a relationship with.

If I were to translate this into a dream I would say that the village "hero" is a default animus figure who has found himself fortuitously oriented at the center of the inner multitudes.  This is the problem of the feminine psyche in its early formation where it has not engaged sufficiently with the animus such that the animus has becomes concerned with relating to her.  This original animus is more interested in maintaining its own separate centeredness in the original psychic environment.

The Beast is really that same figure only through some trick of the psyche re-presented to the feminine ego in a way that allows a relationship to begin.  In seeing the dark side of the original animus a differentiation is formed that depotentiates the original, over-powering animus into two and the feminine ego then takes a biased (Beast over leadeer) approach to the divided animus allowing her to form a relationship with this depotentiated inner man.

This is like a change in dream scene where the first scene is the female dreamer with the popular guy whom everyone likes...but her.  The next scene is her, already married, perhaps, to this beast which is really the same person.  Perhaps we could even see this as an extroverted-introverted dichotomy were we to want to map this to a particular psyche.  So by relating in a biased (differentiated) fashion to the animus as "just Beast" she redeems the entire animus and reconstellates the entire village's people into a better psychic configuration with her as an organizing center sharing power as is the preference of the feminine style of connected ego development.  The divided animus probably must be cast into a mutual conflict, but I suspect that both animus types must be retained (no final deaths) for the optimal personal development.

By the end of the story, the masculine-separative power center animus who finds himself in the center of the villagers regard is depotentiated and the devalued beast is raised in value.  Depending on the version of the story how the village "hero" and the Beast "hero" come to a final orientation would depend on what values you wanted the story as a whole to convey.  But psychically it is the coordination of all the parts into a whole that is most important for individuation because no inner character is of no value in the end.  At its worst, in the inner realm, the most evil character is simply a valuable character misplaced or mis-coordinated by the ego that is in the position to inherit the role of the master coordinator of the psyche.

I wouldn't assume a father complex unless, literally, a father figure was involved.

Also, a hero is one who willingly undergoes sacrifice and transformation but the village leader guy is merely a default central figure that has, without self-consciousness, found himself in the role of the "center".  He is like some natural confident popular guy in high school, who finds himself working at a fast food restaurant after his high school days are over.  He is a mere statistical anomoly in that the herd focused around him, not because of his insight, but because the herd selected him as leader.  The hero becomes the leader through trial and sacrifice.

But an animus may begin with this untried natural "center".  When the feminine ego tries to adapt to a wider reality that includes the separative consciously "she" will begin by critiquing the flaws of the original animus until she can find something, anything to which she can relate.

Quote from: Sealchan
I wouldn't assume a father complex unless, literally, a father figure was involved.

In the widely told tale the father figure is at the core:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_and_the_Beast#Plot_summary  For a Jungian view of the Beauty and Beast where the father's role is discussed, see:  http://books.google.com/books?id=ecQuvwSSgzEC&pg=PA54&lpg=PA54&dq=%22beauty+and+the+beast%22+jung&source=web&ots=GCcnn5bQbR&sig=V3gjPwrMa3DPwI25Vb_KBW3pjJI

Kafiri, I don't have access right now to the reference you mentioned (A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis).  Is there more to the quote you provided?  Because it seems to contradict what I was reading in Marie-Louise von Franz', The Interpretation of Fairy Tales.  The quote is long, but instructive, I think:

Quote
Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes.  Therefore their value for the scientific investigation of the unconscious exceeds that of all other material.  They represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest, and most concise form.  In this pure form, the archetypal images afford us the best clues to the understanding of the processes going on in the collective psyche.

. . .

In many so-called Jungian attempts at interpretation, one can see a regression to a very personalistic approach.  The interpreters judge the hero or heroine to be a normal human ego and his misfortunes to be an image of his neurosis.  Because it is natural for a person listening to a fairy tale to identify with the main character, this kind of interpretation is understandable.  But such interpreters ignore what Max Luthi found to be essential for magical fairy tales, namely, that in contrast to the heroes of adventurous sagas, the heroes or heroines of fairy tales are abstractions - that is, in our language, archetypes.  Therefore, their fates are not neurotic complications, but rather are expressions of the difficulties and dangers given to us by nature.  In a personalistic interpretation, the very healing element of an archetypal narrative is nullified.

. . .

. . . the hypothesis that every fairy tale is a relatively closed system compounding one essential psychological meaning, which is expressed in a series of symbolic pictures and events and is discoverable in these. 
     After working for many years in this field, I have come to the conclusion that all fairy tales endeavor to describe one and the same psychic fact, but a fact so complex and far-reaching and so difficult for us to realize in all its different aspects that hundreds of tales and thousands of repetitions with a musician's variations are needed until this unknown fact is delievered into consciousness; and even then the theme is not exhausted.  This unknown fact is what Jung calls the Self, which is the psychic totality of an individual and also, paradoxically, the regulating center of the collective unconscious. 
     Different fairy tales give average pictures of different phases of the experience.  They sometimes dwell more on the beginning stages, which deal with the experience of the shadow (Matt might disagree at this point!) and give only a short sketch of what comes later.  Other tales emphasize the experience of the animus and anima and of the father and mother images behind them and gloss over the preceding shadow problem and what follows.  Others emphasize the motif of the inaccessible or unobtainable treasure and the central experiences.  There is no difference of value between these tales, because in the archetypal world there are no gradations of value, for the reason that every archetype is in its essense only one aspect of the collective unconscious, as well as always representing also the whole collective unconscious.

I don't know how closely von Franz sticks with Jung's writings.  Does anyone with access to his writing know? 

If her version of what a fairy tale is about is more correct than the quote from A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis, than it seems that our Beauty and the Beast fairy tale is about the archetypal heroine and animus experience, rather than about a personal complex of some kind.  However, I don't think this negates what you brought up about the father aspect of things.  I just wouldn't call it a father complex.  I think everyone who goes through the animi experience (man or woman) has to deal with the giving up of the parental (or providential) aspect of the psyche, in exchange for the partner aspect.  The only other quibble I have to your response, Kafiri, (and this is purely personal :)), is that I prefer the term "redeem" to "tame," as it has a slightly less negative connotation to me.

Sealchan, regarding this part of your response: But psychically it is the coordination of all the parts into a whole that is most important for individuation because no inner character is of no value in the end.  It does seem to me that this coordination into a whole is the point of individuation (despite what I wrote previously about doubting a drive toward "wholeness." :))  I wasn't sure about this part though: When the feminine ego tries to adapt to a wider reality that includes the separative consciously "she" will begin by critiquing the flaws of the original animus until she can find something, anything to which she can relate.  I again go back to the idea that each character in the fairy tale is an archetype.  So Belle is the archetypal hero, not necessarily the ego, except to the degree that one's ego is identifying with that archetype at a given point in time.  From what I've learned, it is the animus which attempts to attract the attention of the ego, once the ego has begun to identify with the heroic archetype or "behave heroically."  It seems to me that, at this point, the animus begins to become attractive to the ego, even though it may have darker or beastly (or Other) aspects still associated with it.  So Belle was somehow drawn to the Beast, not simply out of pity, but because of some real aspect of attraction, maybe because of his love for her.
O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now . . .

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace

O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind
  - Leonard Cohen, "Come Healing"

Let me be in the service of my Magic, and let my Magic be Good Medicine.  -- Dominique Christina

Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2008, 08:39:12 AM »
Keri,
I need a break from trying to enlighten Matt regarding memes  ::)  Let me try to assist you by providing some data for you to consider in your analysis.  The first is from the back of many books published by Inner City Books which have a small glossary:

Quote

Complex  An emotionally charged group of ideas or images.  At the "center" of a complex is an archetype or archetypal image.


So here is the essential relationship between a complex and an archtype.  IMO opinion people tend to focus on archetypes, and believe that by understanding the archetype, or the archetypal image they have gotten in touch with their unconscious. This might not be the case at all, consider this from Jung:

Quote

[A complex] is the image of a certain psychic situation which is strongly accentuated emotionally and is, moreover, incompatible with the habitual attitude of consciousness.["A Review of the Complex Theory," CW 8, par. 201.]

The via regia to the unconscious . . . is not the dream, as [Freud] thought, but the complex, which is the architect of dreams and of symptoms. Nor is this via so very "royal," either, since the way pointed out by the complex is more like a rough and uncommonly devious footpath.[ Ibid., par. 210.]


Jung is very clear that the "royal road"(via regia) to the unconscious is NOT the dream, but rather, the complex.  So for that reason one must look beyond the archetype in dreams and folk tales and attempt to see what complex produces the situation described in the dream or folk tale.  In the Beauty and Beast merely identifying the archetypes of the animus, the heroine, etc. does not explain the the tale.  One must continue on and try to identify the complex or complexes at work producing the tale.  Many, many tales deal with, at their core, the mother complex(Perseus, Parzival, for example) and the father complex(Beauty and the Beast, Electra, for example).  I hope this is of some assistance to you (-)howdy(-).
Cheers,
Kafiri
"We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves."
      -Eric Hoffer

Sealchan

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 05:55:43 PM »
Quote
Quote

[A complex] is the image of a certain psychic situation which is strongly accentuated emotionally and is, moreover, incompatible with the habitual attitude of consciousness.["A Review of the Complex Theory," CW 8, par. 201.]

The via regia to the unconscious . . . is not the dream, as [Freud] thought, but the complex, which is the architect of dreams and of symptoms. Nor is this via so very "royal," either, since the way pointed out by the complex is more like a rough and uncommonly devious footpath.[ Ibid., par. 210.]

Jung is very clear that the "royal road"(via regia) to the unconscious is NOT the dream, but rather, the complex.  So for that reason one must look beyond the archetype in dreams and folk tales and attempt to see what complex produces the situation described in the dream or folk tale.  In the Beauty and Beast merely identifying the archetypes of the animus, the heroine, etc. does not explain the the tale.  One must continue on and try to identify the complex or complexes at work producing the tale.  Many, many tales deal with, at their core, the mother complex(Perseus, Parzival, for example) and the father complex(Beauty and the Beast, Electra, for example).  I hope this is of some assistance to you .

I'm not sure I understand the difference between archetype and complex other than the "strongly accentuated emotionally" (what I call high-level of affect).  As soon as you put "father" or "mother" in front of complex it seems you are using an archetype as a qualifier or adjective on the complex and what you have then is an "archetypal complex" or a complex associated with a particular archetype.

My own approach is to find the patterns which are both personal and subjective or archetypal and objective and also note the "high-level of affect".  The high-level of affect is a high-level of unadapted psychic energy which may be problematic in one context and empowering in another.  In my own inner language I could say that the high-level of affect is the "tsunami" I get inundated by or it is the wave I triumphantly boogie board past the boogie monsters with.

Quote
Sealchan, regarding this part of your response: But psychically it is the coordination of all the parts into a whole that is most important for individuation because no inner character is of no value in the end.  It does seem to me that this coordination into a whole is the point of individuation (despite what I wrote previously about doubting a drive toward "wholeness." )  I wasn't sure about this part though: When the feminine ego tries to adapt to a wider reality that includes the separative consciously "she" will begin by critiquing the flaws of the original animus until she can find something, anything to which she can relate.  I again go back to the idea that each character in the fairy tale is an archetype.  So Belle is the archetypal hero, not necessarily the ego, except to the degree that one's ego is identifying with that archetype at a given point in time.  From what I've learned, it is the animus which attempts to attract the attention of the ego, once the ego has begun to identify with the heroic archetype or "behave heroically."  It seems to me that, at this point, the animus begins to become attractive to the ego, even though it may have darker or beastly (or Other) aspects still associated with it.  So Belle was somehow drawn to the Beast, not simply out of pity, but because of some real aspect of attraction, maybe because of his love for her.

My idea is to say that a feminine style ego starts with wholeness but in an unconscious relationship to it.  That is because the original orientation of the feminine ego is to avoid "separation" or "not relating" or this must be contained within a greater system of "connection". 

One familiar theme that I see in many myths (and maybe not just "female" stories) is whether or not the heroine (and I don't really differentiate between ego and hero myself as I see the hero archetype as merely the patterns seen in the continual development and re-development of an ego in growing conscious contact with the unconscious) is going to not ask a certain question or look behind a certain door because a masculine partner has advised her not to.  Whether it is "Bluebeard" or "Lohengrin" or "Amor & Psyche" or "the Garden of Eden", it seems that a young woman, when given an ideal situation, will look for the trouble in it and thereby launch herself into a whole world of suffering.  It is as if this is the typical scenario for the heroine's "call to adventure" as Joseph Campbell might have but it.

There is always a mysterious core of the masculine from the view of the feminine in its desire to destroy connectivity.  But in no one is this tendency perfected such that a person is perfectly separated.  A connectively oriented (feminine) ego can become numinously drawn to a highly separative (masculine) ego.  So the feminine ego keeps looking for some way to connect and will, in fact, almost always find a way to feel in connection to the problematic masculine ego even if the trouble is hardly worth the effort.  Whether the feminine ego becomes committed to this or the animus becomes committed to connecting to the feminine ego is a chicken and the egg question: they are two sides of the same coin just as the ego and the animus are two sides of the same psychic complex.  Whether the heroine takes it upon herself to take extra-ordinary measures in order to make what is ultimately destructive and separative (the extreme animus figure) into an personality to which she can connect or whether the destructive, separative beast, in his enthusiasm to torment the ego (in itself a desire to connect), begins to seem to prefer to torment the heroine in particular, is all one.

Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2008, 11:06:06 AM »
Quote from: Sealchan

I'm not sure I understand the difference between archetype and complex other than the "strongly accentuated emotionally" (what I call high-level of affect).  As soon as you put "father" or "mother" in front of complex it seems you are using an archetype as a qualifier or adjective on the complex and what you have then is an "archetypal complex" or a complex associated with a particular archetype.


Sealchan,
I must say I am somewhat taken aback by your statement.  The difference between an archetype and a complex is fundamental to understanding Jung.  In fact, Jung wanted to call his psychology "Complex psychology."

Quote

. . .Because he considered complexes to be crucial to understanding the unconscious, he wanted to call his body of theory 'Complex Psychology.'  Some of his associates argued for the broader term 'Analytical Psychology.' and it prevailed.

Mary Ann Matoon, Jung and the Human Psyche, p. 2.

To be as clear as possible let me post the entire entries for both "Archetype(and Archetypal Image)," and "Complex," from the Jung Lexicon(note, the quotes from Jung will be in bold, all else is verbage from the editors of the Lexicon):

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Archetype. Primordial, structural elements of the human psyche. (See also archetypal image and instinct.)

Archetypes are systems of readiness for action, and at the same time images and emotions. They are inherited with the brain structure-indeed they are its psychic aspect. They represent, on the one hand, a very strong instinctive conservatism, while on the other hand they are the most effective means conceivable of instinctive adaptation. They are thus, essentially, the chthonic portion of the psyche . . . that portion through which the psyche is attached to nature.["Mind and Earth," CW 10, par. 53.]

It is not . . . a question of inherited ideas but of inherited possibilities of ideas. Nor are they individual acquisitions but, in the main, common to all, as can be seen from [their] universal occurrence.["Concerning the Archetypes and the Anima Concept," CW 9i, par. 136.]

Archetypes are irrepresentable in themselves but their effects are discernible in archetypal images and motifs.

Archetypes . . . present themselves as ideas and images, like everything else that becomes a content of consciousness.[On the Nature of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 435.]

Archetypes are, by definition, factors and motifs that arrange the psychic elements into certain images, characterized as archetypal, but in such a way that they can be recognized only from the effects they produce.["A Psychological Approach to the Trinity," CW 11, par. 222, note 2.]

Jung also described archetypes as "instinctual images," the forms which the instincts assume. He illustrated this using the simile of the spectrum.

The dynamism of instinct is lodged as it were in the infra-red part of the spectrum, whereas the instinctual image lies in the ultra-violet part. . . . The realization and assimilation of instinct never take place at the red end, i.e., by absorption into the instinctual sphere, but only through integration of the image which signifies and at the same time evokes the instinct, although in a form quite different from the one we meet on the biological level.["On the Nature of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 414.]

Psychologically . . . the archetype as an image of instinct is a spiritual goal toward which the whole nature of man strives; it is the sea to which all rivers wend their way, the prize which the hero wrests from the fight with the dragon.[Ibid., par. 415.]

Archetypes manifest both on a personal level, through complexes, and collectively, as characteristics of whole cultures. Jung believed it was the task of each age to understand anew their content and their effects.

We can never legitimately cut loose from our archetypal foundations unless we are prepared to pay the price of a neurosis, any more than we can rid ourselves of our body and its organs without committing suicide. If we cannot deny the archetypes or otherwise neutralize them, we are confronted, at every new stage in the differentiation of consciousness to which civilization attains, with the task of finding a new interpretation appropriate to this stage, in order to connect the life of the past that still exists in us with the life of the present, which threatens to slip away from it.["The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, par. 267.]

Archetypal image. The form or representation of an archetype in consciousness. (See also collective unconscious.)

[The archetype is] a dynamism which makes itself felt in the numinosity and fascinating power of the archetypal image.["On the Nature of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 414.]

Archetypal images, as universal patterns or motifs which come from the collective unconscious, are the basic content of religions, mythologies, legends and fairy tales.

An archetypal content expresses itself, first and foremost, in metaphors. If such a content should speak of the sun and identify with it the lion, the king, the hoard of gold guarded by the dragon, or the power that makes for the life and health of man, it is neither the one thing nor the other, but the unknown third thing that finds more or less adequate expression in all these similes, yet-to the perpetual vexation of the intellect-remains unknown and not to be fitted into a formula.["The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, par. 267]

On a personal level, archetypal motifs are patterns of thought or behavior that are common to humanity at all times and in all places.

For years I have been observing and investigating the products of the unconscious in the widest sense of the word, namely dreams, fantasies, visions, and delusions of the insane. I have not been able to avoid recognizing certain regularities, that is, types. There are types of situations and types of figures that repeat themselves frequently and have a corresponding meaning. I therefore employ the term "motif" to designate these repetitions. Thus there are not only typical dreams but typical motifs in dreams. . . . [These] can be arranged under a series of archetypes, the chief of them being . . . the shadow, the wise old man, the child (including the child hero), the mother ("Primordial Mother" and "Earth Mother") as a supraordinate personality ("daemonic" because supraordinate), and her counterpart the maiden, and lastly the anima in man and the animus in woman.["The Psychological Aspects of the Kore," ibid., par. 309.]


Complex. An emotionally charged group of ideas or images. (See also Word Association Experiment.)

[A complex] is the image of a certain psychic situation which is strongly accentuated emotionally and is, moreover, incompatible with the habitual attitude of consciousness.["A Review of the Complex Theory," CW 8, par. 201.]

The via regia to the unconscious . . . is not the dream, as [Freud] thought, but the complex, which is the architect of dreams and of symptoms. Nor is this via so very "royal," either, since the way pointed out by the complex is more like a rough and uncommonly devious footpath.[ Ibid., par. 210.]

Formally, complexes are "feeling-toned ideas" that over the years accumulate around certain archetypes, for instance "mother" and "father." When complexes are constellated, they are invariably accompanied by affect. They are always relatively autonomous.

Complexes interfere with the intentions of the will and disturb the conscious performance; they produce disturbances of memory and blockages in the flow of associations; they appear and disappear according to their own laws; they can temporarily obsess consciousness, or influence speech and action in an unconscious way. In a word, complexes behave like independent beings.[Psychological Factors in Human Behaviour," ibid., par. 253.]

Complexes are in fact "splinter psyches." The aetiology of their origin is frequently a so-called trauma, an emotional shock or some such thing, that splits off a bit of the psyche. Certainly one of the commonest causes is a moral conflict, which ultimately derives from the apparent impossibility of affirming the whole of one's nature.["A Review of the Complex Theory," ibid., par. 204.]

Everyone knows nowadays that people "have complexes." What is not so well known, though far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have us.[Ibid., par. 200.]

Jung stressed that complexes in themselves are not negative; only their effects often are. In the same way that atoms and molecules are the invisible components of physical objects, complexes are the building blocks of the psyche and the source of all human emotions.

Complexes are focal or nodal points of psychic life which we would not wish to do without; indeed, they should not be missing, for otherwise psychic activity would come to a fatal standstill.["A Psychological Theory of Types," CW 6, par. 925.]

Complexes obviously represent a kind of inferiority in the broadest sense . . . [but] to have complexes does not necessarily indicate inferiority. It only means that something discordant, unassimilated, and antagonistic exists, perhaps as an obstacle, but also as an incentive to greater effort, and so, perhaps, to new possibilities of achievement.[Ibid., par. 925.]

Some degree of one-sidedness is unavoidable, and, in the same measure, complexes are unavoidable too.["Psychological Factors in Human Behaviour," CW 8, par. 255.]

The negative effect of a complex is commonly experienced as a distortion in one or other of the psychological functions (feeling, thinking, intuition and sensation). In place of sound judgment and an appropriate feeling response, for instance, one reacts according to what the complex dictates. As long as one is unconscious of the complexes, one is liable to be driven by them.

The possession of complexes does not in itself signify neurosis . . . and the fact that they are painful is no proof of pathological disturbance. Suffering is not an illness; it is the normal counterpole to happiness. A complex becomes pathological only when we think we have not got it.[Psychotherapy and a Philosophy of Life," CW 16, par. 179.]

Identification with a complex, particularly the anima/animus and the shadow, is a frequent source of neurosis. The aim of analysis in such cases is not to get rid of the complexes-as if that were possible-but to minimize their negative effects by understanding the part they play in behavior patterns and emotional reactions.

A complex can be really overcome only if it is lived out to the full. In other words, if we are to develop further we have to draw to us and drink down to the very dregs what, because of our complexes, we have held at a distance.["Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, par. 184.]


To summarize, archetypes are irrepresentable, so we must look to archetypal images to get some hint, some, perhaps faint whiff, of the archetype itself.  The Inter-State 80 Road sign near where I live is not I-80 itself, but a designation of that which is I-80.  Complexes, on the other hand, are more like I-80 itself, the concrete or asphalt material.  In the psyche complexes are formed when portions of the psyche are fragmented, usually due to childhood trauma:

Quote

What dreams reveal and what recent clinical research has shown are that when trauma strikes the developing psyche of the child, a fragmentation of consciousness occurs in which the different 'pieces' (Jung called them splinter-psyches or complexes) organize themselves according to certain archaic and typical(archetypal) patterns, most commonly dyads or syzygies made up of personified 'beings.'  Typically, one part of the ego regresses to the infantile period, another part progresses, i.e., grows up too fast and becomes precociously adapted to the outer world, often as a 'false self'(Winnicott, 1960a).  The progressed part of the personality then caretakes the regressed part.  This dyadic structure has been independently discovered by clinicians of many different theoretical persuasions - a fact that indirectly supports its archetypal basis. . . .
Donald Kalsched, The Inner World of Trauma, Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit, p.3

On other so-called Jungian forums I have encountered people who did not understand that the archetypal image was not the archetype; and, in fact, deeply resented my pointing out the difference.  Getting comfortable with, and becoming familar with archetypal images does not equate with understanding or knowing the archetype.  The archetypal image is a symbol, not a sign, of the unknowable archetype.  But, as Kalsched points out above, the portions of the psyche that are fragmented organize themselves around certain archetypal patterns.  To these patterns we give names, such as mother/father complex, inferiority complex, and on and on, add your own names to the long list of complexes.  Giving these names does not mean that the image associated with that particular archetype gives us much to go on, we must "get" behind the image, and get some understanding of the archetype itself, and then, as Jung suggests we can begin to develop, when we drain the complex associated with the archetypal pattern down to the very dregs.  It is my considered opinion that our complexes, while organized around typical archetypal patterns, are as unique to each of us as our DNA. 

A word now about affect:

Quote

Early in his professional career, Jung made a definite statement about his understanding of the psyche:  'The essential basis of our personality is affectivity. Thoughts and actions are, as it were, only symptoms of affectivity'(Jung Collected Works 3, para. 78).  This makes Jung's psychology an affect-based psychology, despite the fact that much of the later writing of Jungian theorists tends toward the 'spiritual' and mental functions - especially the search for 'meaning' - thus moving away from the affective foundation of Jung's thought.  For Jung, affect is the central organizing principle of psychic life because it links together otherwise discrepant components of the mind(sensations, ideas, memories, judgements) by lending each of them a common 'feeling-tone.'  If a life experience (such as early trauma) is accompanied by a strong affect, all the associated perceptual and mental elements of that experience will accumulate around this affect, thereby forming a feeling-toned complex(see Jung, 1907: para. 82)  Feeling-toned complexes are the basic functional units of the psyche and, because human affects are universal, these complexes tend, in their most regressed form, to take on certain 'archaic,' 'typical' - hence 'archetypal' - forms.  In the language of one well-known contemporary Jungian theorist, complexes have a personal "shell' and an archetypal 'core'(Whitmont, 1969: 65). The archetypal core lends the complexes their typical, universal character such as, for example, the 'inferiority/superiority complex,' the 'parental complex,' various sexual complexes(Oedipus, Electra), and so on.
Donald Kalsched, The Inner World of Trauma, Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit, p.88

To try to steer this screed back to the theme of this thread; to indentify the achetypal images in a fairy-tale is but the beginning of understanding the tale.  Behind the image, in the case of Beauty and the Beast, of the heroine is an archetype(the image is not the achetype remember), and arranged around this archetypal pattern is the feeling-toned complex(IMHO)we call the "father complex."  This fariy-tale is NOT about archetypes, but about complexes.

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Matt Koeske

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2008, 04:12:00 PM »
Hi All,

I'm a much bigger fan of the von Franz quote about fairytales than I am of the Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis differentiation between fairytales and myths.  In my experience, von Franz is entirely right.  Fairytales are the quinta essentia of archetypal/instinctual/complex psychology.  Myths bring in a lot of cultural notions and refinement . . . i.e., ego consciousness, directed thinking, intentionality.  Fairytales read more like dreams . . . they simply state a psychological situation as it is.  Of course, many myths contain fairytale elements (and probably evolved from fairytales) . . . and some myths are hard to distinguish from fairytales.  But I think you'll see (if you look closely) that myths often have cultural lessons and speak more to how an individual should behave in various circumstances.  Hero and tragedy myths, at least.  Creation myths seem to owe a lot to "birth of the ego" psychology . . . but these myths often attribute rewards and punishments to the attitudes of the characters involved in the creation.  And since it is the ego that is being created (symbolically speaking) and not the Self, there are always implications of the way it should be and should behave (culturally defined implications).  When it "misbehaves" (breaks cultural laws and taboos), it is punished (divinely) . . . and we are to conclude from this that such punishment for cultural transgression is our lot in life.

Of course, the Biblical creation myth and the notion of original sin are the clearest examples.

In my opinion, whereas myths so often speak of cultural or group-ego construction, fairytales speak entirely of individual psychology.

 
. . . . . . . . . . .


Complex vs. Archetype

With all due respect to Kafiri, I think the (albeit fundamental) construction of Jungian thinking regarding archetype and complex is extremely muddy.  Any and all confusion and dissatisfaction on this issue seems to me entirely warranted and forgivable.  There is no text book answer.  Furthermore, this muddiness is a red flag indicating that we Jungians need to radically rework these concepts and bring them into order.  I intend to write more about this at some later time, but I am just finishing up Sonu Shamdasani's book on the history and precedents of Jung's thought,Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science, (an almost ridiculously scholarly and thorough dissection of Jung's core ideas).  This book is absolutely essential to the understanding of Jung in the 21st century.  And frankly, although it is not Shamdasani's intention, I found the book very disconcerting for those of us who would like to bring Jungian thought into accord with modern science.

To see how Jung's ideas about archetype developed is to see how in a number of situations he opted for quasi-Lamarckian interpretations of evolutionary biology instead of Darwinian ones.  This troubled me, because I still see that Jungian thinking has every possibility of according with modern Darwinism.  I always knew that Jung rode the fence on this issue (i.e., are archetypes inherited ideas derived from learned experiences or inherited biological structures or instincts that enable common types of cultural imprints?) . . . but I had hoped to be able to say to Jungians, "Hey, Jung was a Darwinian, so why are you folks ignoring the biology."  But it seems (in light of the book mentioned above) that I will actually have to say, "Jung's semi-embrace of Lamarckism simply has to be discarded and the theory of the nature of archetypes reconstructed from the ground up."


That said, I will reiterate what I previously wrote (somewhere?  Hero thread?  My revisionist lexicon thread?).  Archetypes are abstract categories.  Any attempt to see archetypes as innate or biological or semi-biological tempts Lamarckian/unscientific perspectives.  We can only say that archetypes are categories into which various related phenomena can be grouped.  We need to form such categories in order to understand the interrelation and significance of the phenomena these categories are meant to describe (in a scientifically reductive fashion).

If this bitter pill (by Jungian standards) is valid, then what are the phenomena archetypes describe?  That remains very difficult to say . . . and part of that is because these phenomena are essentially equivalent to instincts.  And there is still no entirely materialistic and scientific understanding of instincts.  Instincts appears to be coded genetically, but they have no material locality in our bodies.  This doesn't stop us from observing them and scientifically classifying them.  But, unlike certain brain functions that can be at least partly localized, instincts can only be observed in their effect on behavior and psychology.

Unlike Jung (although he waffles on this), I believe that archetypal phenomena take on their materiality pre-image, pre-construct.  The instinctual level is a level of quantum phenomena where many little and disparate cues interrelate in such a way that specific behaviors are compelled within a certain standard.  But this requires imprinting onto adequate environmental conditions.  If the environment doesn't provide ideal imprinting conditions for a biological instinct, the instinct imprints with some degree of dysfunctionality.  This is the basis of my theory (modified from some of Jung's thinking) of the Problem of the Modern and our species displacement from its tribalistic environment of evolutionary adaptedness.

What we need more research on is the psychology of instinct (in both humans and animals).  That is, we need more research on the relationship between instinct and environment and the effect of placing animals into an environment where their instincts cannot imprint effectively.  The "effect" is, of course, anxiety . . . or neurosis, if you prefer.  This is already well known (especially in the study of animal behavior).  But this effect hasn't been studied as deeply as it can or should be (to my knowledge).  The implications of such study would be enormous, I think, for understanding human psychology . . . because it's clear that humans react in exactly the same way as animals whose instincts are dysfunctionally imprinted.  We just have a slightly different set of instincts (or more complicated versions of the same instincts).

So I say, leave archetypes aside for a minute and look at it like this.  1.) We have highly plastic instincts that are structured with "quantum" levels of genetic information that, interrelated (in a more complex system), produce what seem to be emergent preconditions of behavior.  But these quantum instincts are latent and only (like neurons, for instance) become what they "are" in conjunction with environmental imprinting.  These instincts (like any instincts) are meant to compel adaptation and survival.  They are organizations of libido (another abstract concept, I know, but perhaps the best metaphor we can come up with).

2.) The result of instincts imprinting (however successfully) onto specific environmental conditions produces "complexes".  Or, when these complexes are the fundamental basis of the ego or personality of an individual formed from infancy through early childhood and into adolescence, "core complexes".  These core complexes are the soil in which our egos form, through which our genetic and instinctual inheritances affect our living (and sense of being), and by which our individual worldviews are shaped.  They are not inherently functional . . . especially insomuch as the environment we are trying to adapt (and form ego) in is not really conducive to ideal, instinctual imprinting.  Instincts that don't imprint functionally tend to manifest in pathologies, both psychological and physical.  This is (I suspect) due to the nature of the animal, which is a complex system.  These systems fail or lose efficiency when there is too much feedback or decoherence or too limited an interrelationality.  That is, "something" (we could call it libido, but it is a metaphorical substance) has to flow through a system efficiently and successfully in order for the system to function.  There must be a sustaining exchange of energy or sustenance among the organs of a system.

Instincts are "designed" to make the systems that we are function optimally . . . and they were "designed" (i.e., they evolved) to achieve this within the environment of evolutionary adaptedness . . . an environment which no longer exists for the vast majority of humans (arguable, for all humans on the planet).  So we struggle to adapt and to instinctually imprint on the environment we have to live in.  We have a great deal of plasticity with which to accomplish this, but very little instruction or encouragement or intuitive understanding.  We are not really "meant" to be highly "conscious", creatures . . . and therefore we do not often behave very "consciously".  We keep trying to live like tribalists within a modern, complex, technological society.  And we break down and suffer when we can't achieve this instinctually inspired tribalism.  But of course, we don't usually know why we are suffering or what to do about it.

The complexes that form out of this conflict between instinct and environment (and adaptational conflict), contain the compelling forces of instinct, but rendered through the dysfunctionality of the core complex (failed imprintings onto environment).

Fairytales typically demonstrate how some of these complexes can self-organize and move from one state (of greater chaos and dissociation or lack of interrelationality) to another state (of greater order and interrelationality).  Thus, fairytales incorporate typical cultural and instinctual elements.  Representing the instinctual are the supernatural characters (usually animals), and representing the cultural are the parental, authority, society, and peer characters.  When we talk about a "father complex" in a fairytale (say Beauty and the Beast), we are psychologically talking about the self-organization of a complex (which is a complex system) from a dysfunctional state to a functional or adaptive state.  In the dysfunctional (original) state, we have a failed imprinting, because a father figure (onto which the instinct of the daughter's childhood emotions and ego constructions inherently imprinted) could not provide a fully functional or sufficiently ideal model to enable the instinctual projections and imprinting needs of the daughter. 

Therefore, a ritual "dance" needs to occur between the ego/conscious intentionality and the dysfunctionally imprinted instinct that still exists within the psyche and has pooled up in various ways in the unconscious (i.e., as "irrational" fantasy material and "affect" in the core complex).  The ego comes to recognize and valuate this pooled up instinctual imprinting (that couldn't find its way out into the material act of living because it had no adequate model to imprint onto).  As this valuation progresses, the ego reflects/anthropomorphizes the instinctual figure, differentiating it from the dysfunctional imprinting that clusters around it . . . or, more accurately, this anthropomorphizing process unfolds "instinctually" and more or less autonomously.  It is, after all, a self-organization (see how all psychology behaves systematically?!).  Just as the ego begins to differentiate the valuable and needed instinct from the dysfunctional imprinting, the ego simultaneously differentiates its own dysfunctional behavioral and attitudinal patterns from the potential, more-ordered and integrated patterns of the predicted new state change.  In other words, what I call the heroic ego (or hero archetype) emerges as an idealized fantasy form of the ego that is in accord with the instinct and therefore opposed to the dysfunctionality of the initial imprinting (which can often take on the characteristics of what I call the Demon of the complex).

There will be a specific set of standards for how this self-organization of the dysfunctionally imprinted instinct will work.  What we will see (observing the fantasy material and dreams and thoughts of a person going through this state change) is a theme of "redemption" (a more poetic and anthropomorphic term for "valuation").  Also typical is the theme of conjunction between the ego developing toward the new state change (heroic ego) and the instinctual figure developing toward anthropomorphism and humanized intimacy.  Both are moving toward a point at which they connect, reflect, and flow into one another.

After this conjunction, there is another typical systemic or structural fluctuation characterized by depotentiation.  Part of this depotentiation (from a phenomenological perspective) is due to the sacrifice of the heroic ego's powerful libido (potentiation).  The heroic ego belongs largely to the previous state of the psychic system, existing as a fantasy that charges that system with the energy to force a state change.  But this energy is expended in the state change itself (archetypally, this is the heroic sacrifice: to fully commit to the state change, the hero must transform him or herself into the catalytic burst at the expense of a personal feeling of potency; the birth and development of the hero is like pulling back a rubber band, and the heroic sacrifice is like letting it go to effect a transformative action).

We could say that the shift from extreme potential energy to depotentiation/expenditure is an indication that the state change has occurred, but that the system in the new state has not yet begun to functional optimally.  After all, it has to sort out its new order.  This is, I think, due to the fact that, after connecting ego and instinct, the ego has to find a way to re-imprint this instinctual conduit onto the environment.  That is, instinct will remain dormant or impaired if it isn't allowed to flow into and imprint onto the environment.  If instinct doesn't compel adaptive living, it will pathologize, pool up, dissociate.  But post-state change, the ego can consciously apply its extreme plasticity to adaptation to the environment.  This means attitude "correction" and reorientation . . . which a great many (but of course not all) of our adaptational crises can be remedied by.  Or in Buddhisty terms, the relinquishment of desires based on Maya/illusion.

This is based in the principle that instincts do not need the facade of things to imprint on successfully.  They need the right substance and conditions in order to function and become.  And these substance and conditions are open to conceptual interpretation to some degree.

3.) Enter the archetypes.  When we look at the abundance of fantasy material and imagery that is thrown up by this self-organizational process, we will see typical patterns.  The redeemed/valuated figure that helps the daughter's ego move from the failed Father figure onto a functional and interconnected masculinity is of course what we call the animus.  Their convergence is what we call the Coniunctio.  The depotentiation after the state change is what we call the Nigredo or heroic sacrifice/death.  But in this model, when we talk about archetypes, we are not talking about a priori psychophysical elements in the psyche, we are talking about assigning names and categories to groups of related phenomena after the fact.

Not using this model is what, in my opinion, muddied Jung's thinking on these issues . . . and using it is, I feel, the illuminated sign above the exit door.  This is the direction to go if we are to resolve the muddiness inherent in Jungian archetypal theory.  There are still many complexities to sort out, but this model I'm proposing allows for testability and falsifiability (i.e., the necessary conditions for science).  It allows much of the spiritualistic muck to be swept away . . . and it make a huge leap toward putting Jungian (post-Jungian?) thinking on a parallel course and on an equal footing with biology.  That is, both biology and this model of psychology are still equally dependent on the remaining mystery of how instincts work.  But one is no more spiritualistic or unscientific than the other.  And of course, no one denies that instincts exist and can be observed in the behaviors they compel.


I think that the resistance to this model that Jungians would surely have is largely a matter of not wanting to relinquish the spiritualistic notion of archetypes.  Also (although many Jungians are not traditional on this matter), my characterization of archetypes here is a closer parallel to what Jung and Kafiri call "archetypal images".  What I am saying is that I think archetypes are abstract categories of related archetypal images.  What Jung and Kafiri are differentiating as archetypes, I prefer to redefine as instincts.  Why?  Because there has always been confusion between archetypes and archetypal images (even in Jung's own writing!).  Because calling the unrepresentable archetype an instinct helps remove the last traces of Jung's flirtations of Lamarckism with this concept and asserts that this phenomenon is both wholly Darwinian and wholly biological.  Also, Jung developed his notion and his terminology of archetype from Platonic, philosophical, and pre-psychoanalytic theories of "primordial images".

Jung has a very broad definition of the term "image", it's true, but the connotations of image are, I feel, the wrong ones for this phenomenon.  We do observe is some instances of animal instinct what APPEAR to be fundamental and generic, image-based instincts.  Even in human children, it is generally accepted that infants will react to very general images that resemble human facial features with greater attention and perhaps recognition.  But by the time these infants are tested (and are old enough to demonstrate attention and recognition), they have seen an abundance of human facial features (from a consistent, close distance) and started to connect these faces (usually their mothers') with other sensual data like being held, being fed, warmth, comfort, etc.

I don't mean to preclude the possibility that some instincts have component image data (a kind of "image quanta" or the preconditions for certain image features) built into them.  It is just currently impossible to say . . . and to conclude that these instances in which animals seem to recognize whole images that they have had no previous experience of is evidence that we store primordial images in our instincts is extremely premature.  It also doesn't take into account a contemporary understanding of the brain as essentially a compiler of quantum data into constructs or "wholes".

Whatever we learn in the future regarding instincts and primordial images, I don't think this fringe and unfalsifiable theory can be the cornerstone of the Jungian notion of archetype unless Jungians want to relinquish all claim to scientific theorization.

What we know to be a fact is that those things we have been calling archetypes exist as phenomena, as abstract categories.  Proving that they have material aspects is not yet (and may never be) possible.  Therefore, I don't think such a spiritualistic or metaphysical claim should be the sticking point for a revised and progressive 21st century Jungian psychology.  Such spiritualism in this instance is simply not necessary (as the model I proposed above demonstrates). 

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Matt Koeske

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2008, 04:16:10 PM »
To try to steer this screed back to the theme of this thread; to indentify the achetypal images in a fairy-tale is but the beginning of understanding the tale.  Behind the image, in the case of Beauty and the Beast, of the heroine is an archetype(the image is not the achetype remember), and arranged around this archetypal pattern is the feeling-toned complex(IMHO)we call the "father complex."  This fariy-tale is NOT about archetypes, but about complexes.

But is it really fair to call this a "father complex", when the story is at least as much characterized by an "animus complex"?  If we psychoanalyze the heroine, we could say that she initiatlly suffered from a father complex . . . but the story is about an animus transformation/valuation/redemption that frees her from the father.

So what really signifies this story most, its precondition or its process and conclusion?
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Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2008, 06:05:08 PM »
Quote from: Matt Koeske

Hi All,

I'm a much bigger fan of the von Franz quote about fairytales than I am of the Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis differentiation between fairytales and myths.  In my experience, von Franz is entirely right.  Fairytales are the quinta essentia of archetypal/instinctual/complex psychology.  Myths bring in a lot of cultural notions and refinement . . . i.e., ego consciousness, directed thinking, intentionality.  Fairytales read more like dreams . . . they simply state a psychological situation as it is.  Of course, many myths contain fairytale elements (and probably evolved from fairytales) . . . and some myths are hard to distinguish from fairytales. ...

In my opinion, whereas myths so often speak of cultural or group-ego construction, fairytales speak entirely of individual psychology.


Matt,
Could you please demonstrate the contradictions, distinctions and inconsistencies between the MLvF quote and The Critical Dictionary's explanation?
« Last Edit: June 17, 2008, 06:19:19 PM by Kafiri »
"We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves."
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Matt Koeske

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2008, 06:36:32 PM »
. . . from A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis:
Quote
   Myths are stories of archetypal encounters.  As the fairy tale is analogous to the workings of the personal COMPLEX, the myth is a METAPHOR for workings of the ARCHETYPE per se.  Like his ancestors Jung concluded, modern man is a myth-maker; he re-enacts age-old dramas based on archetypal themes and through his capacity for CONSCIOUSNESS, can release himself from their compulsive hold. P. 95.

Hi Kafiri,

For the quote above, my gut reaction to the second sentence is that it is simply not correct.  The archetypes (as, in my definition, the abstract categories that describe representations of instincts) can be seen in their most "distilled" form in fairytales, while in myths, these archetypes are often combined in more complex and culturally influenced ways.  Think for instance of the Greek goddesses.  Is any one of them a clear anima figure?  Not really, but their are anima qualities in all of them (and in many heroines).  But it's easy to find generic anima figures in fairytales.

In Beauty and the Beast, the beast is a very generic animus figure . . . but when we want to locate an animus figure in myths, usually we have to take a fragment from a much longer story (one story of many including this character).  Seen through the lens of the whole story or all the stories of a mythological character, not everything the character does is compatible with "generic animus behavior".  But the animus figures in fairytales like the Beast behave always and only as animus figures.  Everything they do is animus-like.

I don't disagree that fairytales talk about personal complexes . . . if we define complexes the way I have been (and did in the previous post).  But if we reduce complexes to pathologies or neuroses in a sort of Freudian fashion (which many Jungians do), then I think we end up missing the true archetypal nature of fairytales . . . which are almost always (even to a one) about INDIVIDUATIONS . . . or state changes that result in greater consciousness and interconnectivity.  In this sense, fairytales tend to be "mystical" . . . in the way I like to differentiate instinctual trends in religion (mystical vs social).  They describe mysteries of transformation, initiations, reorganizations of the complex systems of self.

It's very easy to not that many myths have a subtext that is less mystical than social/cultural.  They teach lessons, prescribe behaviors and attitudes the culture considers "correct" . . .  and describe the punishments for "sins".  Fairytales commonly begin with "personal complexes", a frame situation where the hero or heroine has a parental inheritance that creates a problem for the child that the child must "evolve" in order to face and resolve.  So, in Beauty and the Beast, we have a father who loses his wealth.  His daughters are split into "good and bad" in their reactions to this loss.  Beauty accepts humility and retains her sense of humanity and honor.  Her sisters are selfish and can't let go of their sense of entitlement.

So the story that plays out is one in which Beauty must learn to valuate the ugly and seemingly worthless while living in the lap of luxury.  She has to pick the true animus over the wealthy provider (surrogate father figure).  Because she's a heroine, she eventually succeeds (where her sisters, the shadow element in her ego . . . or the Demon of the complex, fail).

Another problem in the framework of the story/complex that is common in fairytales is the single parent.  We don't hear much if anything about Beauty's mother in these B and B stories (i.e., "animal bridegroom").  So we might posit a guess that some aspect of the original complex, for which Beauty is the heroine who can resolve it (the "antidote"), has something to do with an absence of a mother.

But ultimately, any story in which there is a hero who solves a heroic task is about individuation.  Of course, all individuation is the resolution of a pathological complex, a reconnection to healthy instincts, an adaptation to environment.  I would argue that the hero (like its antithesis, the Demon of the complex) is an archetype the emerges out of the dynamic of the core complex.  The complex is the psychic and logical structure that facilitates all of these fairytale archetypes.  The complex is the way we experience the hero, the self, the animi, the Demon.  These archetypes would not exist without the complex (which is the result of the coming together of biology and culture in the human psyche and brain).


Quote from: Keri
. . . from Marie-Louise von Franz', The Interpretation of Fairy Tales.  The quote is long, but instructive, I think:

Quote
Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes.  Therefore their value for the scientific investigation of the unconscious exceeds that of all other material.  They represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest, and most concise form.  In this pure form, the archetypal images afford us the best clues to the understanding of the processes going on in the collective psyche.

. . .

In many so-called Jungian attempts at interpretation, one can see a regression to a very personalistic approach.  The interpreters judge the hero or heroine to be a normal human ego and his misfortunes to be an image of his neurosis.  Because it is natural for a person listening to a fairy tale to identify with the main character, this kind of interpretation is understandable.  But such interpreters ignore what Max Luthi found to be essential for magical fairy tales, namely, that in contrast to the heroes of adventurous sagas, the heroes or heroines of fairy tales are abstractions - that is, in our language, archetypes.  Therefore, their fates are not neurotic complications, but rather are expressions of the difficulties and dangers given to us by nature.  In a personalistic interpretation, the very healing element of an archetypal narrative is nullified.


So, all this is pretty much exactly the same as what I said above (taking into account my "deviant" definitions of archetype and complex).  Von Franz and I are rejecting the "personalistic complex" interpretation for fairytales in favor of a purely archetypal approach . . . and seeing "myth" as comparatively less generic/"abstract"/purely typical.


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Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2008, 08:27:19 AM »
Quote from: Matt Koeske link


Hi Kafiri,

For the quote above, my gut reaction to the second sentence is that it is simply not correct.  The archetypes (as, in my definition, the abstract categories that describe representations of instincts) can be seen in their most "distilled" form in fairytales,Does the Dictionary say anything different about fairy-tales?  Remember we are talking about fairy-tales.  So I am not interested in discussing myths here. while in myths, these archetypes are often combined in more complex and culturally influenced ways.  Think for instance of the Greek goddesses.  Is any one of them a clear anima figure?  Not really, but their are anima qualities in all of them (and in many heroines).  But it's easy to find generic anima figures in fairytales.

In Beauty and the Beast, the beast is a very generic animus figureNo he is not; remember the polar nature of archetypes.  The Beast is one pole, the Father, the opposite pole. . . . but when we want to locate an animus figure in myths, usually we have to take a fragment from a much longer story (one story of many including this character).  Seen through the lens of the whole story or all the stories of a mythological character, not everything the character does is compatible with "generic animus behavior".  But the animus figures in fairytales like the Beast behave always and only as animus figures.  Everything they do is animus-like.Only as one pole of the archetype.

I don't disagree that fairytales talk about personal complexes . . . if we define complexes the way I have been (and did in the previous post).  But if we reduce complexes to pathologies or neuroses in a sort of Freudian fashion (which many Jungians do)I certainly agree with you here Matt., then I think we end up missing the true archetypal nature of fairytales . . . which are almost always (even to a one) about INDIVIDUATIONS . . . or state changes that result in greater consciousness and interconnectivity.  In this sense, fairytales tend to be "mystical" . . . in the way I like to differentiate instinctual trends in religion (mystical vs social).  They describe mysteries of transformation, initiations, reorganizations of the complex systems of self.

It's very easy to not that many myths have a subtext that is less mystical than social/cultural.  They teach lessons, prescribe behaviors and attitudes the culture considers "correct" . . .  and describe the punishments for "sins".  Fairytales commonly begin with "personal complexes", a frame situation where the hero or heroine has a parental inheritance that creates a problem for the child that the child must "evolve" in order to face and resolve.  So, in Beauty and the Beast, we have a father who loses his wealth.  His daughters are split into "good and bad" in their reactions to this loss.  Beauty accepts humility and retains her sense of humanity and honor.  Her sisters are selfish and can't let go of their sense of entitlement.

So the story that plays out is one in which Beauty must learn to valuate the ugly and seemingly worthless while living in the lap of luxury.  She has to pick the true animus over the wealthy provider (surrogate father figure).  Because she's a heroine, she eventually succeeds (where her sisters, the shadow element in her ego . . . or the Demon of the complex, fail).It seems to me you are doing the very thing MLvF warns against.  The Beast is simply the ugly aspect of her own being she needs to come to terms with.

Another problem in the framework of the story/complex that is common in fairytales is the single parent.  We don't hear much if anything about Beauty's mother in these B and B stories (i.e., "animal bridegroom").  So we might posit a guess that some aspect of the original complex, for which Beauty is the heroine who can resolve it (the "antidote"), has something to do with an absence of a mother.

But ultimately, any story in which there is a hero who solves a heroic task is about individuation.That is not what this story is about, as MLvF states it about the Self attempting to solve a problem given by nature.  Of course, all individuation is the resolution of a pathological complex, a reconnection to healthy instincts, an adaptation to environment.  I would argue that the hero (like its antithesis, the Demon of the complex) is an archetype the emerges out of the dynamic of the core complex.  The complex is the psychic and logical structure that facilitates all of these fairytale archetypes.  The complex is the way we experience the hero, the self, the animi, the Demon.  These archetypes would not exist without the complex (which is the result of the coming together of biology and culture in the human psyche and brain).


Quote from: Keri
. . . from Marie-Louise von Franz', The Interpretation of Fairy Tales.  The quote is long, but instructive, I think:

Quote
Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes.  Therefore their value for the scientific investigation of the unconscious exceeds that of all other material.  They represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest, and most concise form.  In this pure form, the archetypal images afford us the best clues to the understanding of the processes going on in the collective psyche.

. . .

In many so-called Jungian attempts at interpretation, one can see a regression to a very personalistic approach.  The interpreters judge the hero or heroine to be a normal human ego and his misfortunes to be an image of his neurosis.  Because it is natural for a person listening to a fairy tale to identify with the main character, this kind of interpretation is understandable.  But such interpreters ignore what Max Luthi found to be essential for magical fairy tales, namely, that in contrast to the heroes of adventurous sagas, the heroes or heroines of fairy tales are abstractions - that is, in our language, archetypes.  Therefore, their fates are not neurotic complications, but rather are expressions of the difficulties and dangers given to us by nature.  In a personalistic interpretation, the very healing element of an archetypal narrative is nullified.


So, all this is pretty much exactly the same as what I said above (taking into account my "deviant" definitions of archetype and complex).  Von Franz and I are rejecting the "personalistic complex"Where did this term come from?  Certainly not from MLvF, she mentions "personalistic approach," but I cannot see how that term can equate, in any fashion, with  "personalistic complex." She is clearly referring to archetypes, not complexes. interpretation for fairytales in favor of a purely archetypal approach . . . and seeing "myth" as comparatively less generic/"abstract"/purely typical. Speak for yourself.  MLvF is saying the same thing Jung said, the the complex is the royal road to the unconscious, not the dream.  When MLvF writes  "to a very personalistic approach" she is correctly identifying a common problem among Jungians.  The problem is that of "identifying" with an archetype.  Most Jungians, including analysts are like Bush, where he sees a terrorist behind every tree and rock, the Jungians see archetypes.  And it is identifying personally with an archetype that destroys the healing factor.  She is clearly not speaking of a personal complex.  She is saying that the archetype that is at the core of the complex is very pure and undiluted, and therefore affords the best opportunity to study unconscious processes.  Why is the archetype so pure and undiluted?  Because it was constellated or precipitated out of the collective unconscious by the environment, it is this interaction between archetype and the environment that forms the basis for all our behavior and experience.    And it is the feeling-toned "ideas" that form around the constellated core archetype that create the complex.  Complexes, according to Jung are found in the personal unconscious which contains things that once were conscious and repressed, or have merely been forgotten.  But the key item is that the contents of the personal unconscious are capable of being brought to consciousness. This allows us to study and identify the archetype. The contents of the collective unconscious, on the other hand, cannot, by defintion be made conscious, and must be inferred and studied indirectly.


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Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2008, 08:51:52 AM »
Quote from: Matt Koeske

To try to steer this screed back to the theme of this thread; to identify the archetypal images in a fairy-tale is but the beginning of understanding the tale.  Behind the image, in the case of Beauty and the Beast, of the heroine is an archetype(the image is not the achetype remember), and arranged around this archetypal pattern is the feeling-toned complex(IMHO)we call the "father complex."  This fariy-tale is NOT about archetypes, but about complexes.

But is it really fair to call this a "father complex", when the story is at least as much characterized by an "animus complex"?  The animus complex has a different motif:

Quote

The animus complex, when it functions constructively, helps a woman to be appropriately assertive and able to cope with the world of structure that is a domain of the animus (See Ch. 4). It shows itself as an ability to reflect, deliberate and take initiative. When this complex takes a negative cast, the woman can be opinionated and power-driven.

Mary Ann Matoon, from her article: Obstacles & Helps to Self-Understanding , This article is a revised version of Chapter 7 and 8 of Jungian Psychology in Perspective. (The Free Press, 1985).
This article, in its entirety, can be found at:  http://www.voidspace.org.uk/psychology/complex2.shtml
  If we psychoanalyze the heroine, we could say that she initiatlly suffered from a father complex . . . but the story is about an animus transformation/valuation/redemption that frees her from the father.

So what really signifies this story most, its precondition or its process and conclusion?  The problem that nature presents for solution.

"We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves."
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Sealchan

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2008, 03:16:23 PM »
I'm going to take another whack at addressing the Beauty and the Beast story to see if I can (ingloriously) reduce it down to some simple dynamics and see if this helps sort out our differences/clarify our perspectives.

Belle = female protagonist (making this a "feminine" (in my language "connective") oriented ego tale)
Maurice = father of Belle
Gaston = original animus
Beast = alternate animus (or "second animus"?)

Both Gaston and Beast are same age figures in this tale with respect to the protagonist Belle.  Being they are of opposite sex and that they are coniunctio candidates, I would declare simplistically that both Gaston and Beast are animus figures for Belle.

The story starts off with Belle in a problematic relationship with her animus in the form of Gaston.  Belle being shaped by her father Maurice, has an unconscious masculine value system that her father has impressed upon her through his kind, gentle, inquisitive and creative personality.  This unconscious value system conflicts with the possibility of coniunctio with Gaston who stands in contrast with her father as an extroverted, attention-seeking, self-important leader.  There are positive qualities in Gaston that are mixed inseparably with qualities that Belle instinctively devalues.  Yet, in the beginning, within the sphere of her experience, there are no other more suitable mates to be found.  Belle can only repeatedly reject Gaston, but in the end, unless the options change, she will have to give in to his advances or face a life without psychic wholeness for the village is really all a part of her psyche.  The villagers are all the inner personality centers who see Gaston as the natural center around which they would like to organize, but she cannot stand to be put into a conscious relationship with him at all.  To me this is a split as to whether it is a father complex or an animus complex.  In the end I think there is a continuum between the two and perhaps this story highlights this continuum by indicating that Belle is largely free to think independently of her father and to reject Gaston.

Now Belle's entrance into the unconscious region is initiated by Maurice who is Belle's original masculine character (Father).  Maurice journey's into the outer world and is overwhelmed by natural and instinctual forces and subsequently, through his helplessness in this foreign psychic territory, is trapped in a dungeon by another animus figure, Beast. 

Now Belle's original masculine character (her archetypal Father) has forced her to engage with this other psychic region which her father as her original masculine guide has naively got stuck in.  This has been done because his naivete has trapped him and his connection with his daughter will inevitably bring his daughter into the same trap.  Perhaps this best exemplifies the problematical father complex.

Belle's encounter with the Beast is analogous to the unacceptible thought of getting married to Gaston willingly.  Only now in this otherworld into which her father has wandered and through their unconscious, unquestioned connection has now brought her consciousness, the problem of Gaston is inverted in a dream-like fashion and is now the problem of the Beast. 

Both Gaston and the Beast as the animus seeks to connect to the feminine ego by imprisoning her father.  Their relative mastery of the masculine realm allows both Gaston and the Beast to overwhelm her inner masculine (Father).  Through their ability to control her father Maurice (imprisoning in dungeon or asylum) allows them to control her because she has an unbreakable connection (love) for her father.  So what they do to her father she must respond to.  Her animus' lack of empathy (connective orientation) allows them to manipulate her and her naivete regarding the separative does much the same.

But there is an element that allows both the Beast and Belle to connect, their separation from the community.  The Beast has, perhaps, willingly put himself in isolation but Belle is isolated by virtue of her unconscious inner masculine, her father, who is introverted.  Perhaps because the Beast is on her playing field whereas Gaston is a highly extroverted figure, Beast and Belle can find some common ground.   Belle also finds the Beast's secret, his Wound in the form of the enchanted Rose.  Through exploration of the Beast's wounds the wounds begin to heal.  This work is the work of building a conscious connection between I and other and Belle is able to redeem her inner masculine by relating to the Beast.  Of course, the Beast is her inner masculine and so his redemption and finally their mutual love is her redemption and, also, the redemption of her father proving that despite the problematic situation her original inner masculine (father) got her into, it is the very qualities of that original disposition that allowed her, in the end, to reconcile and develop a conscious relationship with her the compensatory masculine within her.  Those qualities are the patient, confident ability to look within and see the objective situation. 

The problem of the outer world, the inner multitudes of voices who are oriented with the extraverted Gaston, now returns.  The value system of the extraverted Gaston and the villagers now violently clashes with the mutually oriented value system of the introverted Maurice-Belle-Beast.  Perhaps, Gaston is a second animus that is extroverted and represents the ultimate limits of masculine-feminine coniunctio given that Belle has decided to form her coniunctio within the introverted sphere.  In any case, a great inner war erupts and wounds are suffered on both sides. 

Belle was able to see the root of the problem of her inadequate consciousness of the separative element by finding the wound in the Beast which is, in fact, her wound.  In the prelude, where the Beast as a French prince rejects the old beggar woman, he performs the ultimate profane act for the feminine ego, to willingly separate from the unconscious (Great Mother).  This act is not allowable to the feminine ego and as such is both a source of connective strength (directing a great deal of libido and delay of gratification toward maintaining connection) and a source of weakness in that she is easily manipulated by greater separative (masculine) characters.  In the end, in the great conflict of opposites where the animus' clash it is her preference--represented as a slight difference between the mortally wounded Gaston and the nearly mortally wounded Beast--that decides the winner (else the Beast would likely also have died, I suspect).

Anyway, this is a sketch that is meant to outline how I might interpret this story.  I haven't seen the movie in a long while so this analysis was based on the Wikipedia article on the movie.  This analysis is a weak one in the sense that I don't have the "full text" of the dream, but perhaps this might server as food or fodder for further discussion.  From my analysis I am left with a sense of perhaps an unsatisfactory treatment of the extraverted.  However, I would have to seriously dig into the fully script of this movie to be confident I haven't missed additional elements.  For instance, the animated teapot and other of the Beast's household staff as well as the Beast's princely title suggest that an alternate ground for an extraverted principle is contained within Belle's "alliance" of inner significant others.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 05:28:56 PM by Sealchan »

Matt Koeske

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2008, 09:39:18 AM »
Quote from: Matt Koeske
In Beauty and the Beast, the beast is a very generic animus figureNo he is not; remember the polar nature of archetypes.  The Beast is one pole, the Father, the opposite pole. . . . but when we want to locate an animus figure in myths, usually we have to take a fragment from a much longer story (one story of many including this character).  Seen through the lens of the whole story or all the stories of a mythological character, not everything the character does is compatible with "generic animus behavior".  But the animus figures in fairytales like the Beast behave always and only as animus figures.  Everything they do is animus-like.Only as one pole of the archetype.

Of course, the interpretation of fairytales is a subjective and creative enterprise.  I don't feel comfortable saying that one interpretation is right while another is not.  All I can do is give my reasoning for interpreting the tale as I do.

I call the Beast a generic animus figure, because he is a prototype (perhaps THE prototype) for a character in fairytales called the "animal bridegroom".  Always this animal bridegroom is married to a woman initially against her will or inclination and almost always because of some transgression her father made.  Usually this transgression is expressed in the Jephthah's Daughter theme, where the father is lost in the woods and meets the animal bridegroom who saves the father but requests in payment the first thing the father sees when he returns home.  The father thinks it will be the dog or something expendable, but of course, it's always his youngest, most beautiful, and favorite daughter.

All of these stories have in common a process of transformation for this lost daughter whereby she either comes to love and accept the animal bridegroom in his grotesqueness (which eventually "redeems" him into human form) or else she manages to escape or defeat his imprisonment and find a prince to take his place (but in her escape, she is also transformed or given certain powers . . . "marked").  These two common variations are really very similar from a psychological perspective.  All the stories tell (psychologically) of the maturation through a "fathering transgression" of one sort or another.  The Freudians would leap to claim this transgression is incest (and nothing but), but this is a projective interpretation that I feel is unnecessary.  The transgression could simply be "spoiling" the daughter and keeping her a child past childhood, or it could be eroticizing her, making her into his anima or surrogate mother (which doesn't require actual incest), or it could be a tendency to masculine the daughter in order to make her into a hero who can redeem the father's wounded masculinity that he himself could not address . . . or a number of other things.

The solution to this "Father complex" is always offered by the animus and the heroic relationship with the animus, which moves the daughter out of the prison of the parental complex (the Demonic) and into a post-Coniunctio "rebirth" that is roughly parallel to what the alchemists meant by the White Stone.  That is, she gradually warms up to her groom, but just as she decides she wants to be with him, he is lost or wounded (the Nigredo) and she must seek him out heroically in order to redeem him, the accomplishment of which allows them to be "reborn" as one.  Like Shakespearean comedies, these fairytales always end in sacred marriage . . . and therefore depict the animus process or the fulfillment of the syzygy motif (two become one).

So when you say, "The Beast is one pole, the Father, the opposite pole", I don't really disagree, but would reply that this is a matter of perspective (and semantics).  I would agree because the animus always develops out of the father.  More accurately, the animus develops in women almost always in direct response to the dissociation in the Father archetype that they inherited from their fathers or father figures.  The animus in a woman is the potential redeemer of the broken masculinity with which the father "saddled" the daughter.  Or, we could say that the Father instinct in the daughter (i.e., what she needs from the father in order for this masculine instinct to be expressed in her adaptively) could not imprint adequately on the real father, because the real father was dissociated in his own masculinity.  Therefore, she inherited a dissociated masculine archetypal image attached to her instinct for masculinity.  The animus work is a later instinctual movement meant to correct this dissociation.

Therefore, the animus figure will begin as a prediction of the unified dissociation (Opposites) of the Father.  The way the dissociated father archetype is characterized is typically as a Demonic half (that perpetuates the pain of the dissociation in the masculine that the daughter inherited) and an idealized half (that appears to be the flip side of the Demon, but is actually another manifestation of the Demon's imprisonment of the daughter's Self).  The Demonic half neglects or berates of punishes while the idealized half smothers with presents and privileges and cloistering affection.  If the daughter tries to reject the idealized father's gifts, he will instantly turn into the Demon and brutalize her for her "ingratitude".

The birth of the animus in her psyche will usually see him as possessing attributes of both the Demonic and the idealized halves of the father . . . but he will also be younger and more attractive to her.  He is attractive to her, because he represents the union of dissociated Opposites and the healing of the wound that the father bore and could not deal with.

But where I would disagree with your characterization of Beast/father as Opposites is in the implied notion that the beastliness of the Beast is a reflection of the Father's beastliness.  In fact, we have no indication in the text of the story itself that the father is beastly (where beastly would imply animalistic, rough, instinctual).  I think the beastly enchantment that Beast is trapped by is on one hand an indication of his Self-driven instinctuality (i.e., he is the animus archetype and the animus is a configuration of the Instinctual Self) and on the other hand, a representation of his Otherness and ugliness in the eyes of Beauty.  In the most famous version of the fairytale, Beast is characterized by his notable honor and his "plainness" or unadorned emotional and personal straightforwardness.  That is, his personality is held in contrast to that of a wooer of great wit, decorum, and deceptive seduction.  But he is not rough and never behaves like an animal.

The very name he choses for himself, "Beast", is a misdirection.  He is naming himself out of humility or shame for his enchanted appearance.  He is naming himself based on the way he knows other people of limited insight will see him.  But this is not his "True Name", it is not descriptive of his character.

Despite this disagreement, I do not contest that he is held up as a parallel of Beauty's father . . . but I think it is a parallel that hides within it a solution.  The circumstances appear to be similar for Beauty both at home with her father and in her engagement to Beast, but really, her life with beast allows there to be a solution to her Father-wound that is not offered her at home.  That is, her situation is something like this: rich father loses his wealth, and the family is forced to make do with humble means.  This creates a split in the daughters.  On one hand, they could accept humility without judgment or complaint (against the masculine).  This would be the noble thing to do.  Or, they could bitch and moan about how their stupid daddy couldn't hold on to his wealth and give them the pampered life they feel entitled to.  That is, they could resent their father's squandering or loss of their wealth.

Beauty represents the noble humility of the former and her sisters the crass selfishness and entitlement of the latter attitude.  I think it's fair to say (psychologically speaking) that these are the two attitudes toward the masculine/father that are at war in the daughter's ego.  The selfish, entitled attitude is the child's attitude who wants the father to be the eternal provider and protector, and the humble, accepting attitude is the adult's attitude.  It can accept and even embrace independence.

This dilemma is reconfigured in the Beast's palace (where, or course, Beauty wound up as a result of her father's transgression . . . picking the rose).  Although picking the rose from Beast's garden could be seen as an incest symbol ("defloration" that is violating), we could, less pathologically, look at it as an attempt of the father (or father complex) to take something from the garden of the animus.  And of course, the father cannot bestow animus gifts on the daughter . . . as to do so would violate and/or imprison her.

In Beast's palace, Beauty is given unbelievable wealth and privilege, and it is a kind of fairy-wealth or Plutonian gold.  It is a temptation, and it is the hero's task to resist temptations like these.  We see in the reaction of her sisters when they find out about her wealth that they become greedy and envious.  The hero's task, though, is to differentiate this great and tempting wealth (a Fatherly providence) from the genuineness and true beauty of Beast.  She recognizes her true feelings for Beast only after a Fall.  That is, she returns to her father's house and is tempted by that old comfort and by her sisters' jealousy.  But in the moment of her temptation, she realizes that this life was not what she wanted, and what she really needed and desired was the simple and intimate companionship of Beast.  She therefore rushes back to him and finds him near death because of her infinitesimal transgression.  But now she understands and confesses her love and concern for him.  He, in all his beastliness and simplicity and humble decency, is the thing of true and lasting value in her life.  And this recognition reanimates him.


Quote from: Matt Koeske
So the story that plays out is one in which Beauty must learn to valuate the ugly and seemingly worthless while living in the lap of luxury.  She has to pick the true animus over the wealthy provider (surrogate father figure).  Because she's a heroine, she eventually succeeds (where her sisters, the shadow element in her ego . . . or the Demon of the complex, fail).It seems to me you are doing the very thing MLvF warns against.  The Beast is simply the ugly aspect of her own being she needs to come to terms with.

But again, is the "moral of the story" suggesting that Beast is ugly?  His ugliness is a facade, an illusion brought on by a failure to see deeply into his nature.  In fact, he is the Self.

I'm not sure what it is I'm doing that MLvF warns against.  Certainly, I am not accentuating a personalistic interpretation.  To say that the Beast is the ugliness of Beauty is more personalistic and interpretive than what I have said.  What I'm outlining here is a purely archetypal/instinctual interpretation.  The superficial ugliness and beastliness is an archetypal aspect of the animus . . . and requires no personalistic projections onto the text.  Like a dream, Beauty and the Beast pretty much just says what it is.

As far as Beauty's "ugliness", this is never indicated in any way in the text.  She is always demonstrating her notable character and honor and heroism.  The text tells us that the "ugliness" is in her sisters.  This is sans any interpretation (as I said, a fairytale pretty much says what it is).  Now, if we want to psychologize the text, then we could say that Beauty is the ego (or heroic ego) and her sisters are her shadow (or Demon of the complex).  Recall that in many variations of this story theme, it is the sisters who see only ugliness in the animal bridegroom, while the heroine sees deeper.


Quote from: Matt Koeske
But ultimately, any story in which there is a hero who solves a heroic task is about individuation.That is not what this story is about, as MLvF states it about the Self attempting to solve a problem given by nature.

Well, in this statement, I think von Franz has overstepped her logical orientation and exaggerated or spiritualized a bit.  But it's mostly the phrasing I dislike.  For instance, this is not a problem given to the Self by nature.  This is a problem given to the Self (as whole personality, including ego) by culture (or by experience).  Nature didn't create the problem . . . unless you consider having instincts problematic.  But the Self IS instinctual, so this all gets very airy.  For me, this is one of the many fairytales that talks about an individuation experience in a woman (which always involves the animus in some form).


Quote from: Matt Koeske link
So, all this is pretty much exactly the same as what I said above (taking into account my "deviant" definitions of archetype and complex).  Von Franz and I are rejecting the "personalistic complex"Where did this term come from?  Certainly not from MLvF, she mentions "personalistic approach," but I cannot see how that term can equate, in any fashion, with  "personalistic complex." She is clearly referring to archetypes, not complexes.

I placed this term in quotes with the intention to indicate that it was an "as-if" or an amalgam.  Sorry for the confusion.  What I meant was that a "personalistic complex" would be like a Freudian complex, not an archetypal complex.  That is, it would not be characterized by archetypal themes and energies, but would be attributed (by a psychoanalyst) to personal experiences, probably in childhood.  I.e., "blame the parents".  I see archetypal methods of interpretation as different from the "blame the parents" approach, because they are less likely to pathologize transformation.  The personalistic approach sees damage and neurosis, but the archetypal approach (that I and I think von Franz advocate) sees a common individuation theme, and therefore a "cure" for damage and neurosis . . . and not a reenactment of the neurosis (Oedipus style).  The story ends in resolution, not imprisonment.  Only tragedies end up with the Demon of the complex defeating the potential hero.  Fairytales depict successful individuation experiences.

And by the way, now that I look more closely, my comment above says that she was REJECTING the "personalistic complex" notion.  I did not attribute it to her.


Quote from: Matt Koeske
interpretation for fairytales in favor of a purely archetypal approach . . . and seeing "myth" as comparatively less generic/"abstract"/purely typical. Speak for yourself.  MLvF is saying the same thing Jung said, the the complex is the royal road to the unconscious, not the dream.  When MLvF writes  "to a very personalistic approach" she is correctly identifying a common problem among Jungians.  The problem is that of "identifying" with an archetype.  Most Jungians, including analysts are like Bush, where he sees a terrorist behind every tree and rock, the Jungians see archetypes.  And it is identifying personally with an archetype that destroys the healing factor.  She is clearly not speaking of a personal complex.  She is saying that the archetype that is at the core of the complex is very pure and undiluted, and therefore affords the best opportunity to study unconscious processes.  Why is the archetype so pure and undiluted?  Because it was constellated or precipitated out of the collective unconscious by the environment, it is this interaction between archetype and the environment that forms the basis for all our behavior and experience.    And it is the feeling-toned "ideas" that form around the constellated core archetype that create the complex.  Complexes, according to Jung are found in the personal unconscious which contains things that once were conscious and repressed, or have merely been forgotten.  But the key item is that the contents of the personal unconscious are capable of being brought to consciousness. This allows us to study and identify the archetype. The contents of the collective unconscious, on the other hand, cannot, by defintion be made conscious, and must be inferred and studied indirectly.

Well, this all leads back to the problem of me defining some of these terms differently than Jung and von Franz do.  I don't wish to restate those arguments which can be found above and elsewhere on the site.  Also, my preferred model of the psyche owes more to modern neuroscience than Jung's model did.  For instance, I don't really accept the existence of the "Collective Unconscious" except as a metaphor.  Also, I don't think the unconscious (again, another metaphor) is divided up into personal and collective (but again, I understand and sympathize with this as metaphor).  Additionally, I don't think there is a interaction of archetype and environment behind all behavior.  Archetypes for me are abstract categories . . . and it wouldn't be entirely accurate in my opinion to say that all behavior is the result of interaction between instinct and environment.  That would require too mystical a definition of instinct for my tastes.  I would be OK with saying that all behavior is the product of interaction between brain and environment, or generically, "body" and environment.  But I see archetypal instincts as specific behavior conditioning factors in our species, not as the exclusive behavior conditioning factors.

As for the myth vs. fairytale distinction, the quote from von Franz I had in mind was: "But such [personalistic] interpreters ignore what Max Luthi found to be essential for magical fairy tales, namely, that in contrast to the heroes of adventurous sagas, the heroes or heroines of fairy tales are abstractions - that is, in our language, archetypes."  This was the very same argument that I made in the thread on the hero archetype.  I merely cast it as "the 'true hero' is to be found in fairytales more so than in myths, where what we see is more the 'conquering hero'".  I am substituting the word "myth" for the term "adventurous saga", and perhaps von Franz's term is better . . . but I think we mean the same thing.

On the topic of identifying with archetypes, yes this can definitely be problematic when it occurs, because an archetypes denotes an instinct that is autonomous and Other to the ego.  Therefor, the ego can never be like an archetype, and any claim or desire to be archetypal in this sense is delusional (but not uncommon).  To read this into a fairytale, though, I think we have to recognize that various characters collectively represent psychic structures.  This is why I say that a psychologization of the story would see Beauty and her sisters as aspects of the same ego, an ego with divided attitudes on her situation.  This is what we see in dreams commonly.  Characters in dreams (especially ego/shadow characters) are often divided based on the different attitudes they represent.  In the waking state, we hold these attitudes simultaneously (although often one dominates the others).  In dreams, each attitude is differentiated into its own personage, and the interaction between attitudes is narrativized.

Fairytales ask us to identify with the hero of the story, which is essentially an invitation to identify with the heroic ego.  I see this is similar to the process of individuation, in which individuation or healing dissociations must be done by taking up the heroic attitude toward the complex.  This is not a "believing that one is a hero", but a willingness to see the hero archetype as a positive model and to say, "Yes, this is the right thing to do . . . even if it will hurt a bit."  Identifying with non-egoic archetypes like the animi or other Self manifestations is more pathological.  I also suspect that such inflated identifications involve a power play by the Demon of the complex, which has managed to successfully impersonate the hero and has become the new model for the ego to emulate.  I think this is most common in instances where the attitude one takes toward heroism is mostly in the conquering vein.  If one doesn't understand that real heroism is sacrifice, honor, and humility (as demonstrated by Beauty in this story) and thinks it is toughness, power, fortitude, then inflation is almost definitely going to be an issue (where inflation is basically a Demonic attempt to fortify oneself by claiming the supposed power and indestructibility of the Self).

You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Matt Koeske

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« Last Edit: June 21, 2008, 10:20:57 AM by Matt Koeske »
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2008, 10:55:57 AM »
Matt,
I am going to cherry pick a bit now.  I want to respond to these two quotes of yours in the hope that we can widen the discussion a bit.


Quote

Well, this all leads back to the problem of me defining some of these terms differently than Jung and von Franz do.  I don't wish to restate those arguments which can be found above and elsewhere on the site.  Also, my preferred model of the psyche owes more to modern neuroscience than Jung's model did.  For instance, I don't really accept the existence of the "Collective Unconscious" except as a metaphor.   Also, I don't think the unconscious (again, another metaphor) is divided up into personal and collective (but again, I understand and sympathize with this as metaphor).  Additionally, I don't think there is a interaction of archetype and environment behind all behavior.  Archetypes for me are abstract categories . . . and it wouldn't be entirely accurate in my opinion to say that all behavior is the result of interaction between instinct and environment.  That would require too mystical a definition of instinct for my tastes.  I would be OK with saying that all behavior is the product of interaction between brain and environment, or generically, "body" and environment.  But I see archetypal instincts as specific behavior conditioning factors in our species, not as the exclusive behavior conditioning factors.

I certainly agree with you on this one Matt!  Recently I have picked up something from somewhere outside Jung that helps me, a recent email contained this statement(the sender has not given me permission to share the entire email, and I will ask for the source when they return from vacation):

Quote

I also 
find interesting what Walter Ong had to say about the collective 
unconscious—that it is true in the sense that the unconscious of each 
individual is shaped by what comes from the outside, from society, 
without being processed interiorly by the individual's consciousness. 
"But the unconscious exists only in individual persons, individually. 
It is 'collective' in the sense that it exists in me as coming from 
or interchanged with others and hat wen I try to lay the particular 
reflective claim to it that makes it fully my own, it becomes fully 
my own all right but only by turning it into consciousness." We are 
not or do not have to be the sum total of what we have assimilated 
from society.

This is certainly an area when Jungian thinking needs revision(merely renaming it the "Objective Psyche" did not do much IMO).  How does what Ong has to say strike you?


Quote

Fairytales ask us to identify with the hero of the story, which is essentially an invitation to identify with the heroic ego.  I see this is similar to the process of individuation, in which individuation or healing dissociations must be done by taking up the heroic attitude toward the complex.  This is not a "believing that one is a hero", but a willingness to see the hero archetype as a positive model and to say, "Yes, this is the right thing to do . . . even if it will hurt a bit."  Identifying with non-egoic archetypes like the animi or other Self manifestations is more pathological.  I also suspect that such inflated identifications involve a power play by the Demon of the complex, which has managed to successfully impersonate the hero and has become the new model for the ego to emulate.  I think this is most common in instances where the attitude one takes toward heroism is mostly in the conquering vein.  If one doesn't understand that real heroism is sacrifice, honor, and humility (as demonstrated by Beauty in this story) and thinks it is toughness, power, fortitude, then inflation is almost definitely going to be an issue (where inflation is basically a Demonic attempt to fortify oneself by claiming the supposed power and indestructibility of the Self).

I wonder if there is not way to much emphasis on the "Heroic?"  Not only in these pages, but in our culture in general.  IMO our political leaders are hiding behind the use of the term heroic.  If one listens to the news everybody and his sister and brother are heros for one reason or another.  It seems to me that behind this almost constant invocation of the terms hero and heroic there exists the need, the desire for a hero or heroine to rescue this culture from the mess it has made of itself?  But I ask, as you consider the use of the term to bear Hillman in mind:

Quote

Where there is hero, there is shadow.  Depth psychology has too long insisted that the hero integrate the shadow, whereas maybe the heroic is actually a product of the shadow.  When Heracles was born, a weasel, attendant at his birth was the first to recognize and proclaim Heracles to the world.  This sneaky moment calls up the heroic from the beginning; something tricky is going on whenever a heroic impulse comes into being.(My underlining).  Does the weasel want the hero?  And if so, are heroisms and egoisms emboldened weaslings?  At this point the terms 'ego' and 'shadow' begin to dissolve into each other. We have begun to guided by Hermes towards the serpentine roots of consciousness, the imagistic impulses that cannot be contained by concepts such as ego and shadow.(Again my underlining).
James Hillman, the essay "Notes On Opportunism," found in The Puer Papers. p. 159.

So IMO opinion we need to very careful in invoking the "heroic,"  lest we follow "the wrong god home."
"We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves."
      -Eric Hoffer

Matt Koeske

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2008, 12:03:01 PM »
Quote

I also 
find interesting what Walter Ong had to say about the collective 
unconscious—that it is true in the sense that the unconscious of each 
individual is shaped by what comes from the outside, from society, 
without being processed interiorly by the individual's consciousness. 
"But the unconscious exists only in individual persons, individually. 
It is 'collective' in the sense that it exists in me as coming from 
or interchanged with others and hat wen I try to lay the particular 
reflective claim to it that makes it fully my own, it becomes fully 
my own all right but only by turning it into consciousness." We are 
not or do not have to be the sum total of what we have assimilated 
from society.

This is certainly an area when Jungian thinking needs revision(merely renaming it the "Objective Psyche" did not do much IMO).  How does what Ong has to say strike you?

I don't mean to make it seem like I'm playing all fields here, but I think I am more conventionally Jungian in my approach than Ong seems to be.  That is, what Jung called the Collective Unconscious and saw as populated by archetypes that could not be known in themselves but were essentially "primordial images" that may or may not (he equivocates on this issue) be culturally inherited (Lamarckism). . . I see as the Instinctual Unconscious, which is genetically structured in very much the same way for all the members of our species.  It's part of what defines our species.  In this Instinctual Unconscious (also a metaphor, but one that pays more attention to biology), along with brain-determined/directed structures that give cognition and human behavior is general "logic" or order, there are genetically-based drives that are not always "on", at least not in the same mode.  These instinctual drives are probably composed of "quantum predispositions" (by which I mean, numerous partial elements that predispose behavior and thought/feeling that are very difficult or impossible to observe singularly, but can be observed in their effects and in the images that cluster around them in both individual fantasy and in art).

Instincts have to imprint on environment in order to effect behavior . . . much as neurons develop and interrelate as a result of an individual's environmental interaction . . . "living".  But I diverge from Jung in that I do not accept that archetypes are inherited by any kind of cultural learning.  The so-called archetypes are based in instincts that well-predate homo sapiens.  Sociality, mating and courting, family/parenting organization and attitude, etc. . . . these instinctually predisposed behaviors are easily observable in all kinds of animals.  The difference with humans is not in kind but in degree and "coloration" of the instincts.  Our instinctual behaviors have a human character to them, but they are fundamentally the same instincts that apes and other mammals have.

I reject the Jungian notion that images and symbols are hardwired into our psyches or brains.  What I see are instinctual predispositions or preconditions that imprint on our environments . . . and don't always imprint successfully.

But equally . . . and this is where I think I disagree with Ong . . . instincts, the predisposition of structures to which archetypes must conform, are not culturally learned.  On this issue, I am an evolutionary psychologist.  Also, when Jung spoke of the Collective Unconscious, he was referring primarily to an inherited unconscious that reached backward into human history (and, supposedly forward to some degree . . . which I personally don't agree with).  It's contents were not really what an individual learned in his or her lifetime . . . and since they were unrepresentable (unlike what we learn), they are of a fundamentally different stuff than the information we absorb from culture.

What Ong seems to be saying above is not the way I would describe the Collective or the Instinctual Unconscious, but how I would describe the ego.  The ego is, of course, also a metaphor . . . and it's a huge topic.  It's on my list to write more about (i.e., it has to be decided or argued that the ego is a valid and useful metaphor through which to talk about human psychology, and modern neuroscience is steadily deconstructing the 20th century notions of the ego), but I'm not sure the discussion of Beauty and the Beast is the right place for this.

For the time being, I would prefer to say (in a more or less Jungian fashion) that there is an observable difference in human cognition and behavior and culture between the instinctual/archetypal elements that provide the skeletons or forms of these things and the cultural/egoic, which provide the flesh.  We can propose this differentiation based largely on the studies of animal behavior that resembles human behavior.  But taking this data (and other studies done on people in evolutionary biology and psychology) into account, we can begin to recognize the "artifacts" of biological instinct in our art and religion and beliefs and behaviors and culture.  These artifacts are what the Jungians generally see as evidence of archetypes.  Like the evolutionary psychologists, I see these artifacts as corroborating evidence that human culture and behavior is predisposed by biology, by instincts.

So, unlike Ong, I see the "Collectivity" of the unconscious as meaning genes not culture.  The Collective Consciousness, on the other hand (and if we even accept that such a thing exists, even as metaphor) would be the "cultural psyche".  So Collective Unconsciousness exists in and is passed on by our genes, while Collective Consciousness exists in our share information and beliefs.


More on the hero later.  Gotta run.

You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]