By Edward F. Edinger
Jung's Aion laid the root for an entire new scholarly self-discipline that may be known as archetypal psychohistory. It applies the insights of intensity psychology to the research of cultural improvement, the following targeting the assumption of the God-image, or Self, because it has advanced over 2,000 years of Western pondering. An edited transcript of the lecture sequence given on the C.G. Jung Institute of la, 1988-89.
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Extra resources for The Aion Lectures: Exploring the Self in C.G. Jung's Aion (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts)
Only through Christ could he [man] actually see this consciousness mediating between God and the world, and by making the person of Christ the object of his devotions he gradually came to acquire Christ's position as mediator. Through the Christ crucified between the two thieves man gradually attained knowledge of his shadow and its duality. This duality had already been anticipated by the double meaning of the serpent. Just as the serpent stands for the power that heals as well as corrupts, so one of the thieves is destined upwards, the other downwards, and so likewise the shadow is on one side regrettable and reprehensible weakness, on the other side healthy instinctivity and the prerequisite for higher consciousness. Thus the Shadow Quaternio that counterbalances man's position as mediator only falls into place when that position has become sufficiently real for him to feel his consciousness of himself or his own existence more strongly than his dependence on and governance by God. (pars. 402f. ) That statement is packed with import. Jung is referring to the basic idea that the human being exists as a mediator between God and the world. Jung says that this symbolic position was first presented by the image of Christ who was the son of God and descended from above, while at the same time he was incarnated flesh that was man. Thus he served the mediating function between God and the world. Then Jung expresses the remarkable idea that one becomes that upon which he meditates—man's worship of Christ the mediator functions as a kind of prelude to his assuming that role himself. An additional aspect of this idea is the remark, "Through Christ crucified between two thieves, man gradually attained Page 188 knowledge of his shadow and its duality. " The canonical image of the Crucifixion is that it was actually a triple crucifixion. On either side of Christ a thief was crucified at the same time. One of those thieves, the one on the left, cursed Christ and the other one blessed him. The result was that the one who cursed him descended to hell on his death, and the one who blessed him ascended to heaven. The Crucifixion took place between the opposites and united the two realms heaven and hell by the fact that the two thieves went in different directions. Jung tells us that this image, which was meditated upon in innumerable church services and innumerable artistic representations, had the unconscious effect of preparing us for a conscious knowledge of the shadow and the opposites. Jung's formula, abstracted from the four joined quaternios, is pictured in paragraph 410, and reproduced here in figure 28. It is an abstract fourfold quaternity which can be thought of either as a static entity or as a circular process of continual clockwise movement running A through D and then repeating itself. As mentioned previously, this formula is quite similar to the vision of Ezekiel; you will notice in the formula that each of the four quaternities has at each of its four corners representations of itself and of the other three quaternities.