Monday, January 16, 2006

The relevance of Jung

There has been a major shift in the realm of knowledge production with the advent of post-structuralism. Many of the concepts and methods of Psychology were also under attack when the monopoly of the knowing, perceiving subject was called into question. Psychoanalysis, in its Freudian way, faces criticism of its fundamental concepts of repression, unconscious, and the decisive role it gives to infantile sexuality. The general framework of psychology is shifting in a number of ways which in effect will be the future trajectories of Psychoanalysis. The shifts have taken shape in the following ways:

a) from neurosis to 'schizo' ('schizoanalysis' instead of psychoanalysis by Deleuze & Gutttari)
b) Many of the concepts like Oedipus Complex have been criticized for anchoring themselves in patriarchal culture. These concepts, which helped bringing in the whole discourse of Psychoanalysis itself, are undergoing a serious revision with new thinkers. (Luce Irigaray, …)
c) Language is now understood as the cultural constitutive factor of the 'self' (Lacan).

Without underestimating the initial endeavours of Psychoanalysis, it is important for us to read Jung in its Eastern philosophical underpinnings. Unfortunately, this is one of the efforts Indian psychology academia has long forgotten. Unlike Freud, for Jung, the time immemorial tradition of religion, spiritual and mystic experience of mankind is not a neurotic deviation. Nor for Jung, man is someone to be defined from the point of view of maladaptive behaviour. Thus, the crucial task of an encompassing explanation of human behaviour begins and progresses subscribing itself to different philosophies. Take for example the practice of Free Association whose genealogy has been located in the Christian practice of 'confession' by Michel Foucault. The never ending process of defining "who I am" is a play between knowledge and pleasure constituted by 'power'. But when Jung places confession as a fundamental tenet of psychopathology, it is about an originary relationship of the self to the "collective unconscious" of humankind.

I have in mind two projects:

1. Locating the two different philosophies of Psychoanalysis and Analytical Psychology, the former as a function of "capillary mechanisms of power" that attribute subjectivity and identity for the self, and the latter in relation to a "collective unconscious" that functions as a curative truth of the self.

2. Developing the concept of "collective unconscious" in order to reach out to the 'other'. I wish to develop this idea in order to read the post-structuralist texts. The fundamental question in this regard would be, is it possible to explain with the idea of 'collective unconscious,' the efforts of many of the post-structuralist thinkers like Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida to reach out to the 'other'? Is the idea of 'collective unconscious' a relationship to the 'other' beyond all moral and ethical structures of human knowledge?

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