So Strong; yet so calm: Mary's Choice.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Active imagination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Reason is the organ of truth,
imagination is the organ of meaning."
~(C.S. Lewis)~

The Red Book was a product of a technique developed by Jung which he termed active imagination.

Jung was associated with Freud for a period of approximately five years, beginning in 1907. Their relationship became increasingly acrimonious. When the final break came in 1913, Jung retreated from many of his professional activities for a time to further develop his own theories. Biographers disagree as to whether this period represented a psychological breakdown. Anthony Storr, reflecting on Jung's own judgment that he was "menaced by a psychosis" during this time, concluded that the period represented a psychotic episode.

Jung referred to the episode as a kind of experiment, a voluntary confrontation with the unconscious.

About the Red Book, Jung said:

The years… when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.

Active imagination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Active imagination is a cognitive methodology that uses the imagination as an organ of understanding. Disciplines of active imagination are found within various philosophical, religious and spiritual traditions. It is perhaps best known in the West today through C. G. Jung's emphasis on the therapeutic value of this activity.

As developed by Carl Jung between 1913 and 1916, active imagination is a meditation technique wherein the contents of one's unconscious are translated into images, narrative or personified as separate entities. It can serve as a bridge between the conscious 'ego' and the unconscious and includes working with dreams and the creative self via imagination or fantasy. Jung linked Active Imagination with the processes of alchemy in that both strive for oneness and inter-relatedness from a set of fragmented and dissociated parts.

Further explaining its origination, Jung describes his conclusion that active imagination spawns from the desires and fantasies of the unconscious mind, which ultimately want to become conscious. But once they are realized by the individual, dreams may become "weaker and less frequent" whereas they may have been quite vivid and recurring beforehand.

Carl Jung developed this technique as one of several that would define his distinctive contribution to the practice of psychotherapy. Active imagination is a method for visualizing unconscious issues by letting them act themselves out. Active imagination can be done by visualization (which is how Jung himself did it), which can be considered similar in technique at least to shamanic journeying. Active imagination can also be done by automatic writing, or by artistic activities such as dance, music, painting, sculpting, ceramics, crafts, etc. Jung considered indeed that 'The patient can make himself creatively independent through this painting himself he gives shape to himself'. Doing active imagination permits the thoughtforms of the unconscious, or inner 'self', and of the totality of the psyche, to act out whatever messages they are trying to communicate to the conscious mind.

For Jung however, this technique had the potential not only to allow communication between the conscious and unconscious aspects of the personal psyche with its various components and inter-dynamics, but also between the personal and 'collective' unconscious; and therefore was to be embarked upon with due care and attentiveness. Indeed, he warned with respect to '"active imagination"...The method is not entirely without danger, because it may carry the patient too far away from reality'. The post-Jungian Michael Fordham was to go further, suggesting that 'active imagination, as a transitional phenomenon ...can be, and often is, both in adults and children put to nefarious purposes and promotes psychopathology'.

Role in scientific and mathematical discovery

Hadamard (1954) and Châtelet (1991) suggest that imagination and conceptual experiment play central roles in mathematical creativity. Important scientific discoveries have been made through imaginative cognition, such as Kekulé’s famous discovery of the carbon ring structure of benzene through a dream of a snake eating its tail. Other examples include Archimedes, in his bathtub, imagining that his body is nothing but a gourd of water, and Einstein imagining himself to be a photon on a horizon of velocities.

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