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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FOUR BY FOUR

The "empty and purely formal" archetype is the principle around which these "clues" aggregated.  For Jung the emotional wonder of beholding the sun as a sacred mystery would be the keystone of making a myth about it, while the specific local details of any given myth were the "ions and molecules" upon which the organizing power acts.-- JUNG LOVE, FIRST LOVE.
I regard sensation as conscious, and intuition as unconscious, perception. For me sensation and intuition represent a pair of opposites, or two mutually compensating functions, like thinking and feeling. Thinking and feeling as independent functions are developed, both ontogenetically and phylogenetically, from sensation (and equally, of course from intuition as the necessary counterpart of sensation).-- Jung, PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES.
Myth basically serves four functions. The first is the mystical function,... realizing what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and experiencing awe before this mystery....The second is a cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned – showing you what shape the universe is, but showing it in such a way that the mystery again comes through.... The third function is the sociological one – supporting and validating a certain social order.... It is the sociological function of myth that has taken over in our world – and it is out of date.... But there is a fourth function of myth, and this is the one that I think everyone must try today to relate to – and that is the pedagogical function, of how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.-- Campbell, THE POWER OF MYTH.

It's long been of interest to me that both Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell emphasized a quaternity of functions, though to very different ends.

Jung's four functions are quasi-Kantian deductions about the nature of consciousness, which I consider identical to the "organizing power" of archetypal potentiality.  One might say that through the lens of these functions one views mythical representations from "the inside out."

Campbell's, however, belong to the world of the actual than of the potential. Myths leave "clues" about the "ions and molecules" that make up human experience, and from which the structures of mythical representation are assembled. Through the lens of these functions one views these representations from the "outside in."

For the majority of my essays on both THE ARCHETYPAL ARCHIVE and NATURALISTIC! UNCANNY! MARVELOUS!, I have somewhat privileged Campbell's functions in terms of analyzing the mythical representations found in both canonical and popular fiction. That's because Campbell's functions deal with functions of information-- forms he earlier termed "metaphysical, cosmological, sociological and psychological"-- rather than pure states of consciousness.  I might attempt to use Jung's function-terms to assert that Dave Sim's cerebral CEREBUS privileges the function of "thinking" more than any other, and that Frank Miller's SIN CITY privileges the function of "sensation." But though it's easy to make such an assertion, it's less easy to demonstrate its truth through textual examples.

In contrast, if I wish to state that CEREBUS' psychological content is more complex than that of SIN CITY, I could examine both works in term of some common psychologically-informed archetype and sort out which of them provided more elaborations of the archetype.

Still, there is value in viewing Jung's functions of consciousness as potentialities of a fourfold "axial system," to evoke Jung's own metaphor.  I have not attempted to elucidate this system in detail, but I do view Jung's functions as expressing the fourfold ways in which relationships between facets of consciousness are implemented; to wit:

The KINETIC is a potentiality that describes the relationships of sensations.

The DRAMATIC is a potentiality that describes the relationships of discrete personalities.

The THEMATIC is a potentiality that describes the relationships of abstract ideas.

The MYTHOPOEIC is a potentiality that describes the relationships of symbols.


In addition to calling attention to the polysemic nature of the human mind's "organizing powers," all four Jung-functions will also prove signficant to my continuing description of that form of sublimity I term "the combinatory-sublime," which in turn may provide a holistic concept of the nature of creativity.

 

 

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