Antinomies and Subtilization (6/18/10—Asunción)

Does the process of psychological differentiation consist, to a large extent, in taking apart the terms and containing forms of consciousness into subtler and ever subtler components—so that differentiation is essentially a movement from grosser to subtler forms of awareness—from chunky boulders to ball bearings, and then from ball bearings to fine sand?  Perhaps in the conscious embrace of logical and experiential antinomies (as opposed to dogmatic ‘certainties’ or articles of faith) we find a convenient means of pulverizing our ‘gross’ half-truths.

Jung writes: ‘We have to learn to think in antinomies, constantly bearing in mind that every truth turns into an antinomy if it is thought out to its end.’  Here he invokes the idea of enantiodromia that he borrowed from Heraclitus (a rough equivalent to which we also find in Taoism) to remind us of the inescapably polaristic ground of all possible ‘truths.’  Wholeness, completeness, comprehensiveness of vision are more successfully approached, it would seem, when we are willing to embrace the complements to all those ‘half-truths’ that we are apt to take sides with—to ‘stand’ upon—often with the idea that because we are on the right side, we are ‘in the right.’  But, at best, we are only half-right since we are identified with one side of an antinomy—and the antinomy, not our biased position, entails the more comprehensive, if as-yet un-integrated, perspective.  Moreover, the harder we struggle to isolate our half-perspective from its inseparable twin—the ‘other half’—the profounder is our error.  In fact, this very struggle to purify and isolate (logically, morally, ontologically, aesthetically, etc.) one side of a ‘contrary’ from the other seems more or less to be what Blake spoke of as ‘the consolidation of error.’ (Thus Spake Blake’?)


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