Friday, August 28, 2009

Carl Jung, UFOs & Daimonic Reality

In Patrick Harpur's book, Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld, he talks about many things similar to Jung's collective unconscious and Harpur's own notion of the slippery world of daimonic reality. My understanding after reading most of this wonderful book is that Harpur doesn't think we will every be able to describe many aspects of this other world that includes fairies (not my brand of them:), creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster among many other cryptozoological wonders, spirits, gnomes, trolls, UFOs and their "occupants" and other types of paranormal experience. He doesn't think we will ever be able to put these experiences on some great balance sheet because we try to literalize them. From page 48 in Harpur's book here is a quote that I hope will go some way towards explaining the concept of literalizing something: "When Jung spoke of images, he referred especially of course to those archetypal images we encounter as daimons and gods. We must not be misled by the word "images" into thinking of them as somehow unreal. We should, on the contrary, approach them as Jung approached daimons like his Philemon--"as if they were real people" to whom he "listened attentively." He did not, we notice, treat them as literally real, as we (mistakenly) treat hallucinations or (correctly) treat people in the street. He did not treat them as "extraterrestrials." Nor did he treat them as parts of himself, illusions or mere projections. He treated them as metaphorical beings, as if they were real people. And it is this metaphorical reality, as real as (if not more so than) literal reality--as real as Philemon--that he called psychic reality. In order to remove the taint of subjectivity which popularly attaches to the word "psychic," I shall call it daimonic reality."

Then on pages 13 and 14 of Daimonic Reality, Harpur goes on to say: "If Jung described the unconcious in terms of strata or levels, this was only a manner of speaking. The unconscious cannot be described in itself; it can only be represented by metaphors. It does not divide neatly into levels, for instance. Rather it is oceanic, shifting, seething, constantly in flux. Indeed, the ocean was a favorite metaphor of Jung's according to which consciousness is, of course, only a small island rising out of, and surrounded by, the vast unconcious fluidity."

"The content of the unconscious is a sea of images. These are usually, but not exclusively, visual--they can be abstractions, patterns, ideas, inspirations and even moods. The images of the collective unconscious are representations of what Jung called archetypes. This was not a new idea--it goes back to Plato, who postulated an ideal world of forms, of which everything in this world is merely a copy--but it was a new idea in psychology. The archetypes are paradoxical. They cannot be known in themselves, but they can be known indirectly through their images. They are, by definition, impersonal but they can manifest personally. For example, the archetype which lies, so to speak, nearest the surface is called the shadow. At a personal level, it embodies our inferior side, all our repressed traits. It might appear in dreams and fantasies, therefore, as a dark twin or a despised acquaintance or an idiot half-brother. At the same time, our personal shadows are rooted in an impersonal collective shadow, the archetype of evil, such as the Christian Devil represents."

And finally from Harpur's Daimonic Reality on pages 14 and 15: "The archetype which most concerns us is the one Jung called the self. It is the goal of all psychic life, all personal development, which he called individuation. This process forms the major task of our lives, in the course of which we are supposed to make conscious, as far as possible, the contents of our unconscious--for instance, by withdrawing our projections onto the world. The result is an expansion of personality and, finally, a state of wholeness which embraces even the dark and contradictory sides of ourselves. The self archetype is foreshadowed in the image of the Wise Old Man and consummated in his mystic marriage with the anima. But such personifications are not the only images of the self. They also occur in abstract form, most notably in circular patterns, often divided into four, which oriental religions have long understood and called mandalas. Such images can occur spontaneously near the beginning of the individuation process, or at a crisis in our psychic lives, as a guide to and token of the final goal. Jung believed that "flying saucers" were like mandalas; that UFOs, in other words, are projections of the collective unconscious. (However, I shall have more, and critical, things to say about "projection" later on.)"

And indeed, Patrick Harpur will have more to say! I do not think I have read a book that comes anywhere near as close to explaining why paranormal phenomena are so tricky, slippery and prone to exhibit strange but metaphorical and synchronistic behavior--on up to just plain bizarre and utterly nonsensical behavior. I hope to share more of what I have learned and am still learning from this astounding book very soon. The image is of a "Sunflower" mandala. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by!


Autumnforest said...

Great info! I agree that our literalization makes it very tough. I run into that with ghost hunting. The other day, I was thinking about a line in "Contact" when the preacher asks Jodie Foster's character, "did you love your dad?" "Yes." "Prove it." Hmm... Love is in the mind, it's not an actual thing. It's a reality we create. If you think about it, if a stranger from another world visited here and saw a man sitting in his house in a chair staring at a box for hours on end, he'd wonder what was wrong with his mind. If you look at the fact that with TVs and computers we stare at boxes all day long, it's rather absurd. It's the stimulation of our minds from those boxes that make them so irresistable. We have very little reality in our world and almost all of it is make believe from governments to money, from relationships to war... They're all concepts and mind-created entities. I just knew my friend, Devin, would get this weird babbling.

Alex Robinson said...

Devin, that was GREAT!! - Thank you.
Really helps me with ideas I'm wrestling with, both playfully & seriously - I will check out the library & see if I can find a copy.

Definitely looking forward to more if you feel like cooking up another batch of Daimonic Reality - would you accept payment in donuts? :) I hope you are very well my Friend.

Devin said...

Autumnforest -I am so very happy that you saw this article -I immediately thought of certain people as I was typing it and you were one of them!! "Love is in the mind, it's not an actual thing" that is great Autumnforest and is "down the alley" kind of for what this whole book has been about -like I say it has been a "paradigm shifter"
I do not think you were "babbling" at all Autumn-in fact I think the last several sentences of your comment would make a great idea for an article!! how true how true-think of the changes in the last 50 to 100 years-to our forebearers we would indeed be "box people" in a world full of "boxes" that stimulate -or perhaps "simulate" us from sun-up to sun-down-the simulate part is a subject i would like to talk about here in the future and would very much enjoy your input or any thoughts you have on it -it may not be til oct or nov till i get to it at this rate! best to you as always and thanks for dropping by!!

Alex -along with Autumn you were one of the other major people I communicate with quite a bit that i was hoping would see this!! Harpur's book is one I would recommend for anyone interested in any type of paranormal phenomena-maybe someday i would like to do an article here asking people what their "musts" are for their libraries -one to three books at a time-my first two entries would be Rigorous Intuition and Daimonic Reality!
I definitely want to do more articles inspired by both of these books and soon-and I would accept payment in donuts for many books I own but these two books along with just a few others I wont part with-not even for donuts:) I hope u can find it at your library -I am so broke now I was thankful for the giftcard or i would not have this book -the copy I ordered from Barnes and Noble was a supposedly used slightly edition marked down to $18.70 cents -but it looks as if it has never been opened so i was happy about that also -best to you as always my friend and I hope you are having a beautiful weekend!!

Alex Robinson said...

Sorry Devin, but I couldn't stand the frustration of trying to leave a comment at 'Dev's Questions' any longer - just can't figure out how to do it, so I'm going to drop it off here. Great posts by the way

Re KAL 007:
Hi Devin
A decidely sinister post! - what a lot of things to go wrong in one flight - it did remind me of the Antarctic AIRNZ 'Erebus' crash of '79 with the beacon problems & being fatally 'off course'.

You know I can't possibly take the Flight number without wondering big time & then of course my mind wanders to your Dee posts...

I read much of this out to my son too, so thanks for increasing his knowledge as well.
I hope you are very, very well.

hehe, word veri = 'authilic' = Auth(or) I like :)

Justin Russell said...

Excellent piece:

I bought two of Harpur's books Dev after you made mention of him in a post a little while ago. Dug into some reviews of his work and found it definitely worth closer inspection.
When I get onto reading them I'll get back to you.

But yes, it does seem that psychic phenomena, or daimonic reality, is a strange amorphous beast that refuses to be pinned down definitively. Certainly not thus far in empirical terms, and maybe not ever.
Look forward to more of your posts on Harpur's work.

Michael Skaggs said...

This puts an interesting twist on things!

Well done bro!
Great work!


Devin said...

Alex -thanks so much for stopping by-it may have been the Dee posts and the approaching anniversary of the incident that triggered this last minute decision to do the story over there-and no worries at all about where u leave the comment -you know me-I am easy:)so happy that you showed the info to your son-he is very creative and may have some thoughts about it when the series is finished -it will be a bit-haha orignally was gonna be a two post deal! best to you and yours as always!!

Justin as always I so appreciate your comments here and am glad you bought the books -after being almost to the end of this one I would now like more haha-but u know me Mr Brokola -however between 4 books I have-perhaps more including Daimonic and Rigorous Intuition there should be plenty to keep me going for awhile-am actually going to try to post today as long as connection holds-best to you as always and thanks for stopping by!!

Michael -so great to see your comment here and I so hope your situation is better!! thanks as always for the WV (alex also) and as I am working on my own stuff today hopefully I can get around blogland and see if any of you have updated also -best to you and your kitties as always!!

Michael said...

Cool post! I wish I could read Jung, but honestly, he puts me immediately to sleep. I guess that's really channelling the unconscious! ;-)

I've had some interesting dreams lately, one included a character that was very much like Heath Ledger's Joker, who I take to be my Gollum or Shadow. He was the guy who Var was dating BEFORE he met me, and then dumped (in the dream, not real life)! So basically the Joker was crazy jealous.

Anyway, thanks for posting about this "Daimonic Reality", lots of food for thought there. Hope the heat in Phoenix is moderating and that you are well.


Devin said...

Hahahaha-loved your comment on Jung and humor -no worries my friend-people either seem to love his work or find themselves much like you-falling asleep! I am still kicking myself for slowly losing or trading in all of my books by him over the years -I have moved around so much except for the last 5 years-I never realized how much people "shed" when they move!

thanks for the rest of your comment also -fascinating!! I was going to start keeping a dream journal again but have had insomnia so bad this summer it hasnt been worth it yet -here is how the last entry went: 8/29 "Had a dream-lost in a big hotel? -not sure-there was an offer on cigs to see if you liked one of three different types better-you had to bring your own lighter." haha cant get much from that eh??
it is still summer here but i cant tell you how happy i was to turn the calendar to sept 1 today -hopefully we will have a true and early (early being october for AZ) fall here-best to you and Var as always!!