Jenna Lilla limns the path of soul in the work of Carl Jung
Carl Jung notes that there are several philosophical perspectives on the spirit. One is of spirit in opposition to matter. The archetypal representations of immaterial spirit is ‘God’. Jung says:
“Spirit, we say, is the principle that stands in opposition to matter. By this we understand an immaterial substance or form of existence which on the highest and most universal level is called “God.” We imagine this immaterial substance also as the vehicle of psychic phenomena or even of life itself.” (ibid)
Another view of spirit is that of the’ supernatural’ view of spirit. In this case spirit stands in opposition to nature. Jung says:
In contradiction to this view there stands the antithesis: spirit and nature. Here the concept of spirit is restricted to the supernatural or anti-natural, and has lost its substantial connection with psyche and life.” (ibid)
Let us turn to Badley (1951) to more fully understand the supernatural idea of spirit. Bradly discusses this view in a manner that seems consistent with Carl Jung’s view of the subject. Badley say:
‘The word [spirit sometimes implies] something that completely transcends not only external nature but also human experience in the values that apprehends it. It is in this sense of supernatural, implying something entirely apart not only from nature but from human nature as well, that there can he said to be an advance in the transference of interest from the supernatural to the human.” (p. 146, emphasis added)
Bradly states that it is this ‘supernatural’ view of spirit that forms a view of God as omnipotent. He says,
“To an omnipotent being, terrible alike in power and in righteousness, existing apart from a world created and maintained by his divine well, the only thing attitude was one of distant adoration and humble submission.”
This view of an ‘omnipotent being’ who ‘transcends not only nature but also human experience’ is important for understanding transcendence and immanence. This is the transcendent perspective of spirit and God. In Carl Jung’s essays on spirit he is going to take us into a more immanent perspective, so that we are able to view spirit as it appears through images within our psychic life.
Carl Jung, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious – CW 9i (1934–1954) (1981 2nd ed. Collected Works Vol.9 Part 1)
Badley, John Haden Form and spirit : a study in religion. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1951.