C. G. Jung and numinous experience: Between the known and the unknown

Schlamm, Leon (2007) C. G. Jung and numinous experience: Between the known and the unknown. European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, 9 (4). pp. 403-414. ISSN 1364-2537. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

By exploring the shades of meaning of the ‘known’ and the ‘unknown’ in Jung’s writings and the way they frame his engagement with numinous experience, this paper will demonstrate that Jung’s never fully realisable individuation process, whose goal is the ego’s acquaintance with the infinite unknowable Self, is suspended between the known and the unknown. The failure to individuate can be identified with the failure to acknowledge the relativism of all knowledge and experience, even numinous experience, realised through encounter with the unknown unconscious. In spite of his celebration of his approach to numinous experience as the real therapy rather than the treatment of neuroses, Jung’s post-religious ‘deconstructive’ relationship to religious experience can be characterised, borrowing a phrase from Ricoeur’s study of Freud, as embodying a ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’. In the individuation process there is no unconditional acceptance of unqualified knowledge providing the foundations for spiritual identity and authority within religious traditions, but rather a humbling acknowledgement of the relativism of all knowledge and experience, albeit one grounded in numinous experience of the Self. However, for Jung, this agnosticism is experienced not only as a limitation, but also as an invitation, even a challenge, to consciousness to further explore its unknown psychic background, thereby extending its boundaries and understanding.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Jung; numinous; known; unknown; individuation; self
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: L.P. Schlamm
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2008 17:05
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2010 14:11
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/3538 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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