Earth/Psyche: Foregrounding the Earth’s Relations to Psyche
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, La Fonda Hotel
Dates: Sunday evening, June 26th through the evening of Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
Call for Proposals:
In his essay “Mind and Earth” in which he theorizes about “mind,” Jung offers a vision of earth that claims that earth must be transcended for consciousness, yet implies in his vision of connected levels and in his premise of “everything” being “alive,” that earth is in a deep way connected to mind. He writes:
[In the psyche] everything is alive, and our upper storey, consciousness, is continually influenced by its living and active foundations. Like the building, it is sustained and supported by them. And just as the building rises freely above the earth, so our consciousness stands as if above the earth in space, with a wide prospect before it. But the deeper we descend into the house the narrower the horizon becomes, and the more we find ourselves in the darkness, till finally we reach the naked bed-rock. . . . Phylogenetically as well as ontogenetically we have grown up out of the dark confines of the earth. . . .” (CW 10 par.55)
This formulation roots mind in earth, but places consciousness, the exciting possession of evolved humans, clearly above it. Still, Jung maintained a commitment to including earth in his understanding of psyche. This commitment appears in his writings on alchemy, the feminine, the psychoid, and most resonantly in his late-life writings about synchronicity. These essays, like the thrust of his work, attempt to persuade others of the existence and functioning of psyche. In that sense, Jung assumes earth in the background of his interpretations.