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  1. #1
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Default Robert Aziz - Jungian analyst, author

    I stumbled across this author last summer while reading about Jung's other topics, such as Synchronicity. I completed his book "C.G. Jung's Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity" which I must admit was a hard read but quite an eye-opener, although what it really could use is a short article describing the theory in layman's terms. The various examples from Jung's life of synchronicity in action were kinda cool.

    Has anyone else read his stuff? I will be taking a crack at his new book, "The Syndetic Paradigm" in a few days hopefully and I fully expect to be intrigued, if it doesn't take me a few decades to trudge through the darn thing

  2. #2
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    7 years later, I'm picking this book back up (The Syndetic Paradigm). Never before and never since have I ever found a book that I found compellingly attractive, yet couldn't make it past the 2nd chapter ... either because of the intensely specific writing style, or because the material I couldn't relate to well enough to keep my attention.

    Fwiw, the 1st chapter's text is reading a bit easier to me now.
    Last edited by spirilis; 04-22-2015 at 08:40 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    If there's one thing about Dr. Aziz's work that continually confuses me (and in the context of his writing, it would be Jung's own work that is confusing here, Aziz being only the messenger and interpreter), it's the references to an "element of the psyche" that is "timeless, spaceless" as it immediately conjures up images of psychic forethought or remote vision or some other pseudoscientific blahblah bullshit.,

    "Through his observations of synchronistic phenomena," I wrote in C.G. Jung's Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity,
    Jung determined that the psyche does at times, "as the knowledge of future or spatially distant events shows," function outside the normal space and time framework. In the unconscious, space and time appear to be relative, that is, "knowledge finds itself in a space-time continuum in which space is no longer space, nor time time." Commenting further, Jung states: "We conclude . . . that we have to expect a factor in the psyche that is not subject to the laws of time and space . . . [and] this factor is expected to manifest the qualities of time- and spacelessness, i.e., 'eternity' and 'ubiquity.' Psychological experience knows of such a factor; it is what I call the archetype." Related to this, Jung observed, through his study of the intrapsychic processes and the equivalent external psychic or physical processes characteristic of synchronistic phenomena, that an archetype "underlies not only the psychic equivalences but, remarkably enough, the psychophysical equivalences too." This tendency of the archetype "to behave as though it were not localized in one person but were active in the whole environment," led Jung to conclude that there is through the archetype a partial identity of psyche and matter, hence its description as a psychoid factor. Taken as whole, the above findings, therefore, led Jung to characterize the archetype as constituting, at the microphysical level, a psychophysical continuum of meaning in which the traditional concepts of space, time, and causality simply do not exist.
    However, the best I can do here that agrees with his interpretation of Jung's writings is think of the archetype as a basic form, a basic pattern, like (to use a physical "archetype") a crease or fold - something you can see in the binding of a book, or the corner of rectilinear walls, or manifesting itself in physical rock strata or outcroppings. The physical manifestations are obviously within the realm of space and time, but the basic idea of the form itself is not. So that's something I can wholly agree with - that there are "basic forms" which govern reality, can usually be explained in mathematical terms, etc. that transcend space and time by themselves through the fact that they show up within space and time wherever appropriate.

    (This whole comment feels comically obvious now that I've written it, but it felt worth sharing at the time.)
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  4. #4
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    While I'm coming off the heels of the previous post, the few pages that followed are noteworthy as well.

    Continuing then with Jung's theoretical discussion of the role played by the psychoid archetype in experiences and events of a synchronistic nature, one thing with which the Syndetic Paradigm cannot agree, it should be pointed out, is the Jungian Paradigm's view that the psychoid archetype is the foundational basis of these phenomena. The phenomena of synchronicity, Jung writes, "seem to be bound up with the archetypes." Elsewhere he reflects: "By far the greatest number of spontaneous synchronistic phenomena that I have had occasion to observe and analyse can easily be shown to have a direct connection with an archetype. This, in itself, is an irrepresentable, psychoid factor of the collective unconscious."
    ... leaving out some pedantry ...

    The point I wish to make here is not that I do not regard the archetype to be a psychophysical factor operating out of normal space-and-time limitations, for I do regard it as such. The point I wish to make, rather, is that it is the position of the Syndetic Paradigm that the archetype is not the foundational basis of what is occurring. Rather, the archetype is simply that through which self-organizing nature--which is the true basis of these phenomena--may or may not find expression. Self-organizing nature, in other words, not the archetype, is that which constitutes for the Syndetic Paradigm the basis of what Jung termed synchronistic phenomena.
    ... leaving out a whole lot of stuff involving pedantic takedowns of Jung and Jungian followers and patting himself on the back with the writings of a critic of Jung's work and finally a case example of how vapid and meaningless is typical Jungian "elevationism", as opposed to Freudian "reductionism", although he terms the former "archetypal reductionism" ...

    Concerning Kelly's handling of the question as to how these events are meaningfully connected, no answer of therapeutic value, I would suggest, is forthcoming. Indeed the conclusions that are drawn in this Jungian case study about the compensatory significance of these events are so general that they are no more therapeutically exacting than the statement "all meaning flows from God."
    Gosh darnit, he somewhat-unrelatedly brushed my main beef with pretty much every experience I've had in a Christian church square on the head with a 4kg sledgehammer there. I grinned.

    As true and even as encouraging as such a statement might be, I would not be alone in suggesting that we need to narrow things down somewhat when it comes to the practice of psychotherapy lest we completely succumb, through archetypal reductionism, to the undifferentiated meaningless that so often typifies so-called New Age thought. With regard to such New Age elevationist tendencies, Wilber himself reflects: "All sorts of endeavors, of no matter what origin or of what authenticity, are simply elevated to transrational and spiritual glory, and the only qualification for this wonderful promotion is that the endeavor be nonrational."
    Having outlined what Kelly himself said about this case history, we must now pursue what he didn't say, for it is only through our study of what wasn't said by Kelly that we will make the compensatory meaning of these experiences accessible to the analytical process.

    Kelly's case analysis is a classic example of Jungian archetypal reductionism wherein Romantic propensities carry things upward, and the higher they manage to do so, all the better. Indeed Kelly goes right to the top in giving the archetype of the self the central position in his analysis of these synchronistic compensatory dynamics. Pulling the archetype of the self out of a given compensatory situation, as Kelly does, is neither a great nor particularly enlightening feat, since, within Jungian psychology, the self, being regarded as the central archetype of orientation and meaning, is actually believed to stand behind all compensatory activity, archetypal and otherwise.
    ...leaving out more pedantry and detail...

    Reality, I wish to say in closing this section, is revealed not through our ascent into archetypal generalities, but rather through our descent into the details of the psychologically specific. As with the Blakean notion of being able "to see a world in a grain of sand," it is only through seeing and accurately interpreting the particular that we truly are given access to the whole. Never will we access the Reality line by jumping over the particulars of personal psychology; rather, such access will come about only by processing through them.
    Yep, as I've come to learned, the best things in life take time, which is a surrogate to say that the best things in life require actually processing the goddamned details, and that takes TIME.
    Last edited by spirilis; 04-28-2015 at 07:24 PM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    This shit is a brain twister with the precision of a surgeon's scalpel. I will probably re-read this whole book several times over as the years go by in order to properly transcript its import of meaning.

    (I'm in the 2nd section, "Nature's Intrinsic Morality" right now, page 95)
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  6. #6
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Section 3, Sexual Alchemy.

    Yep, he's diving head first into the topic of sex, a topic he will point out multiple times that Freud was obsessed with -- to the point that he could never view the sexual instinct beyond its role in pathological intentions, yet Jung was completely dismissive of. Also on tap is Christianity's traditional repressive view on sexuality, which he labels as an approach cut from the same cloth as Freud's, only aligned with the perspective that it can be contained rather than continually suppressed as Freud would suggest.

    For clarity, he then turns to eastern spirituality again, in this case Taoism and the fang-chung shu, a system that purports a paradigm on sexual development on top of taoism's existing "inner alchemy" framework, which he then picks apart, denotes the theoretical inconsistencies, then offers an alternate adaptation or translation of sorts into his own Syndetic Paradigm to offer clarity (to superimpose it on the theoretical system of the Syndetic Paradigm, so as to illustrate what Taoism left out that we now can offer to it in way of a path forward).

    I'm only ~1/3-1/2 through this section, and intentionally stopped right before turning the page after this:
    Very much in contrast to the standards of spiritual and depth meaning that have served humanity in centuries past, today, in accordance with the evolving unfoldment of self-organizing nature, it is incumbent on us to encounter consciously the sexual instinct in its own right. Regardless of whether people choose to accept this directive, or even know of its existence, it nevertheless remains, by way of self-organizing nature, an ethical imperative with which we must all come to terms. It is the case, accordingly, today, and most probably from this time forward, that no spiritual experience, no experience of depth meaning will be complete in the absence of its attainment.

    Now to the extent that this places unprecedented demands on the individual, it too places unprecedented demands on relationships of sexual intimacy, especially marital relationships. In its traditional, collective form the institution of marriage has done little more than act as a container for concrete social and religious mores. Never has it been concerned with the problem of cultivative sexuality, not to speak of self-actualization. Yet today, whether people are cognizant of the fact or not, they nevertheless hold within themselves by way of self-organizing nature expectations of such psychological and spiritual growth through marriage. And they do so, I would add, even though marriage as an institution today is no better equipped to meet these expectations than it was hundreds of years ago. In the present day, marriage is failing because the consciousness demands placed upon it by self-organizing nature grossly exceed the consciousness capabilities of its traditional form. This gap, the ever-increasing divorce rate tells us, is of the greatest social, psychological, and spiritual consequence. It is a gap that has remained unaddressed for too long.

    The discussion of sexuality to follow will proceed by way of an examination of two splits that exist as unhealing wounds within the collective consciousness of our culture. Firstly, we will turn to the problem of the
    (end of page)

    Ok, cliffhanger accepted, I'm expecting the author to finally turn the preceding 30 pages or so into practical, here-and-now-applicable theoretical terms.
    (As a man married for only 5 years so far, I am all ears to this.)
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  7. #7
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    In thinking about the events of Baltimore (a city of personal association as it's only 1 hour away, and a "place of orbit" for me all my life), the "self-organizing reality" ethic of Aziz's book is all the more meaningful to me. For my part, I no longer have to consider the social dynamics as having a certain mystique, it is all quite self-evident to me now.

    My position on that front, is that the violent protests are an obvious manifestation and illustration of the state of things, but their downstream effects will ultimately serve to continue the status quo. One thing is certain--in hearing the commentary and watercooler talk of my coworkers, it is abundantly obvious which of them bear the stamp of unconscious racist bias, those who almost eagerly wish the Baltimore police would open fire on the protesters and confess as such to their own workmates who they feel are a safe audience for such thoughts.
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  8. #8
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Perhaps the most important developmental step in the journey of the conscious masculine, not only for the Oedipal man but also for all men, is the point at which the pursuit of false comfort and power gives way to genuine passion and meaning. The instinctually supported masculine is an energy that shows up in life. A man gripped by the sexual instinct has a passion for life and for those in his life. He is a man who is instinctually present to his partner. He is a man, moreover, who expects no less of her. Only a man who is present in the instinctual masculine can take women off the highly idealized pedestal upon which he has placed them. Only a man who is present in the instinctual masculine can be passionate about the lives of his children. Only such a man can release himself from his social role, remove his persona, and offer, through his actual being, the love and passion required to help contemplate their latent potentials into life. To align with the masculine in its deepest instinctual form is for one's life to be gripped by a passion and meaning whose ultimate ground is unfolding Reality. It is to hone a consciousness that is in no way dependent on the approval of others, a consciousness that is firm enough in its resolve to incarnate amid the resistances that everyday life will invariably offer. It is to arrive at that fateful developmental point at which Oedipal heroics come to and end and the authentic heroic journey of self-actualization begins.
    (to clarify as the author did at the very beginning of his section on masculinity, it is not the position of the Syndetic Paradigm that the Oedipus complex is some universal and centrally meaningful experience for all men, but it does acknowledge that a body of clinical evidence exists that makes much sense for how Freud came up with the idea in the first place, the idea of a complex where afflicted men continually "take refuge" and comfort instead of engaging reality by the proverbial horns.)

    To say that I see something of myself in his description of the Oedipal man is an understatement. And the difficulties of breaking out of that (not described in that quote, but well before) are also equally sobering, but as a matter of hope I see a lot of metamorphosis in myself towards this "sexual instinct-gripped" ideal in myself, as I have been finding my own mindset shift to one that understands that it has to "show up" in conscience if not also in physical presence where it is meaningful.

    It also gives me an immense perspective on an old friend of mine who is, by anyone's account, suffering from some sort of psychological block, some long-standing pause in his personal development (to which he has been getting ever-increasingly frustrated and delusional from).
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  9. #9
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    And now in conclusion of part 3, Sexual Alchemy ..... Personal possessiveness of one's partner, that is to say exclusively and obsessively engaging the "personal sexual dynamic" can arrest the development of one's sexuality, giving way to ego-oriented control and neuroticism in a way that the opposite - "transpersonal sexual dynamic" - will free us from. That almost sounds like a license for polyamory, but I think the ultimate point is more general than that - when couples watch porn together, for instance, they are relating to sexuality outside of the personal realm (as they are watching someone other than their partner engage in sexual acts), and may be aroused by this - such "transpersonal" sexual dynamic seeks to stimulate and grow them, resulting in a greater desire and need to engage in physical sexuality of the personal nature.

    Likewise, it has always been a matter that I've read that people who have affairs sometimes, if it's covert enough that anger doesn't overcome the situation, may experience a heightened urge for sex from their primary partners, and I suppose this "transpersonal sexual cultivation" is the theoretical explanation for it. But the author does caution against "affairs" as they usually descend into personal attachment, which then perpetuates the arresting pattern as the affair-involved couples become possessive of one another and eventually fall into the same trap the original relationships found themselves in. That's something else I've always seen mentioned when reading about affairs.

    (to be clear, no, I'm not having an affair, have absolutely no appetite or intention to entertain the idea, but it is something I've read about for my own information. Such research and education may in its own right be a form of "transpersonal sexual cultivation" to me.)

    And now, part 4, the longest and final part of the book .... The Empty Mandala.
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  10. #10
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    There's a lot to be had from part 4, in fact it is basically the practical "path forward" and map of the ego in respect to how its "developmental edge" can look in different stages of personal development. It starts out by illustrating the shockingly useless import of spirituality that both Freud and Jung offer us going forward, shocking still that many contemporary spiritual leaders seek inspiration in Jung's work (or so the author says).

    One interesting perspective that Jung himself put forth is that Science essentially vanquished the "external, outward, objective" manifestation of spirituality, and thus Jung's position on religion and faith is that it's fundamentally based in the unconscious, collective or otherwise, and that humanity in the past has been a culture of "projection" of what is essentially the "self" or "God" projected onto the world, a world in which people viewed spiritual events as actually happening in the world around them; science systematically vanquished that projection, driving the realm of the spiritual to recede into the psyche, making it something literally "all in our heads". This is quite congruent to me with my own traditional perspective of religion, that science has "taken the blinders off" and made (pointing to my own upbringing/experience) Christian creed and mysticism functionally useless, "all in our heads."

    However, his (Jung's) contradictions, shell games and word games in trying to describe the essential nature of the "God" inside our heads has led the author to discredit Jung's spiritual perspective altogether as one big empty promise. Despite the fact, I'll add, that his previous book (published 17 years earlier) was entirely about this ("C.G. Jung's Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity").

    In return, Dr. Aziz offers a set of 6 criteria that define the "unique spiritual challenges" of this generation, of a generation with which Science is regarded as the discovery of the objective perspective of reality. It's obviously tuned and biased towards his Syndetic Paradigm, or maybe we should say that they explain the spiritual implications the Syndetic Paradigm has to offer:

    1. That the psychological and spiritual are treated as the same
    2. That a morality that is nature-based emerge (as opposed to relying on "God" and religious creed for morality)
    3. That a "feminine principle" of "relatedness" that exists in its own right within nature be incorporated and included vs. the traditional one-sided purely-"masculine principle"-governed worldview (e.g. that God "created" man, that God "imposes" his will on us)
    4. That the body and sexuality become mediums of spiritual *cultivation*
    5. That the inner and outer worlds be experienced as the one seamless whole that they are
    6. That there be a direct knowing of Reality beyond "fixed form."

    To an extent, I feel that the author is redeeming the old ways of spiritual thought, in that there is a perfectly valid explanation for why external events could have spiritual meaning (synchronicity being Jung's own revelation in this regard, but he never fully integrated that into his psychology in a theoretically consistent manner), by explaining the underlying plumbing of reality in terms of the "self-organizing" principle, and understanding that our minds are part of this reality, an inseparable part of this self-organizing nature, hence how and why we could be perceiving "meaning" as such in reality.
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