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Experiencing the conflict of opposites

The transcendent function is not something one does oneself; it comes rather from experiencing the conflict of opposites.

- C.G. Jung, Letter to M. Zarine, 3 May 1939. C.G. Jung Letters 1906-1950 (Routledge 2015), Vol. 1, p. 269.

Jung's notion of the transcendent function is based on the idea of the dialectical [acting through opposing forces] and deep structural [psychological] nature of all change in the living world as expounded by Hegel in his great work, The Phenomenology of the Spirit. Hegel posited a tripartite schema as fundamental to all change, including psychic change, a situation in which an original oppositional pair, a dyad, which he called thesis and antithesis, struggle together [react and respond to one another], until, under the right conditions, a third position, a synthesis, is achieved. This third position heralds the transformation of the oppositional elements of the dyad into a position [an inward way] with new properties which could not have been known about before their encounter, the tertium quid non datur [the third, not given, interactive field that transcends each of opposites but contains them both] in Jung's terms. Hegel called this ubiquitous struggle dialectical, because it demonstrated how transformations in the natural world happen through the resolution of an oppositional struggle and can be understood to have meaning and purposefulness [two conflicting opposites come together and synthesize to experience a greater whole]. This was a deep structural patterning of dynamic change that was archetypal by nature and developmental as a dynamic movement in time.

Source - Hester McFarland Solomon, The Self in Transformation (Karnac Books 2007), pp. 268-269.

The meaning and purpose of the process is the realization, in all its aspects, of the personality originally hidden away in the embryonic germ-plasm; the production and unfolding of the original, potential wholeness. The symbols used by the unconscious to this end are the same as those which mankind has always used to express wholeness, completeness, and perfection: symbols, as a rule, of the quaternity and the circle. For these reasons I have termed this the 'individuation process.' This natural process of individuation served me both as a model and guiding principle for my method of treatment.

Source - C.G. Jung, On the Psychology of the Unconscious. CW 7: Two Essays in Analytical Psychology, pars. 186-187.

Art: Pavel Filin

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