Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Spring Journal Books
$ 32.95

The Logic of a Metaphysical Illness

by Wolfgang Giegerich

ISBN: 978-1-935528-58-6
464 pp.

The latest book in the Studies in Archetypal Psychology Series
Series Editor: Greg Mogenson
"Is it not amazing? We have had more than a hundred years of psychoanalysis… but to date there has not yet been a psychological concept of neurosis."
—From the Introduction

Psychoanalysis began over a century ago as a treatment for neurosis. Rooted in the positivistic mindset of the medicine from which it stemmed, it trained its empiricist gaze directly upon the symptoms of the malaise, only to be seduced into attributing it to causes as numerous as there are aspects of human experience. Edifying as this was for our understanding of the life of the psyche, it left the sickness of the soul that was its actual subject matter, the neurosis which it was supposed to be about, out of its purview. The crux of this problem was of a conceptual nature. As psychology increasingly gave up on its constituting concept, its concept of soul, it succumbed to the same extent to treating its patients without an adequate concept of what both it and neurosis were about. Attention was paid to mishaps and traumas, the vicissitudes of development, and the Oedipus complex.

But neurosis, according to the thesis of this ground-breaking book, comes from the soul, even is soul; the soul in its untruth. Indeed, both it and the modern field of psychology are successors of the soul-forms that preceded them, religion and metaphysics, with the difference that psychology's reluctance to recognize and take responsibility for its status as such has been matched by the neurotic soul's clinging to obsolete metaphysical categories even as the often quite ordinary life disappointments of its patients are inflated with ABSOLUTE importance.

The folie deux has been on a massive scale. Owing their provenance to the supplement they each provide the other, psychology and neurosis are entwined in a Gordian knot, the cutting of which requires insight into the logic that pervades both. Taking up this sword, Giegerich exposes and critiques the metaphysics that neurosis indulges in even as he returns psychology to the soul, not, of course, to the soul as some no longer credible metaphysical hypostasis, but as the logically negative life of the mind and power of thought. Using several fairy tales as models for the logic of neurosis, he brilliantly analyses its enchanting background processes, exposing thereby, in a most lively and thoroughgoing manner, the spiteful cunning by which the neurotic soul, against its already existing better judgement, betrays its own truth.

Topics include the historicity of neurosis, its soulful purpose as a general cultural phenomenon, its internal logic, functioning, and enabling conditions, as well as the Sacred Festival drama character of symptomatic suffering, the theology of neurosis, and "the neurotic" as the figure of modernity's exemplary man. A collection of vignettes descriptive of various kinds of neurotic presentation routinely met with in the consulting room is also included in an appendix under the heading, "Neurotic Traps."
Introduction: Neurosis from the perspective of the soul's logical life
The psychological standpoint
Thinking neurosis
Part 1. The concept of neurosis
Surplus of value and significance
Neurosis as metaphysical illness
Neurosis as logical illness and the necessity to approach neurosis thinkingly
The logical genesis of the neurotic "The Absolute"
Morbus sacer
Part 2. The historicity of neurosis. Its historical enabling conditions
Critique of the idea of the religious depth of neurosis
The historical emergence of the definition of man as single solitary individual
The "cosmic" constitution of man
The isolation of the human individual from the cosmos
The sinking of the stars into the individual and the creation of the "inner"
"The frontier is closed." The end of the soul's self-releasement into its own infinity
Absolute negativity
"The Absolute" as will and desire
The sphere of the personal and private as the new "battleground"
Part 3. The internal logic and functioning of neurosis
The spellbound soul and "the absolute principle"
Excursus: An alternate interpretation of the tale as not about neurosis. The psychology of the virgin and the shift from inner concept to real life
A. Self-contradiction
B. Immunization
C. Chiasmus
D. "Yes, truly—but still more truly"
Partial total dependence
The internal view of neurosis
The truly internal view. Or: Neurosis as Bühnenweih-Festspiel (Sacred Festival Drama)
Consequences for therapy
The self-occluding glory of the Sacred Festival Drama
Part 4. Neurosis in the context of normal life
The fabrication of a trauma, or the initial origin of a neurosis
Loopholes for the ghost. The sudden outburst of complex reactions out of the blue
Having the right insights but rendering them ineffective
Part 5. The soul issue, meaning, and purpose of neurosis as a cultural phenomenon
Winkelried. Zeroing in on the subject's self as the soul's new battleground
A. The Winkelriedian principle: from truth to "I!," "Me!"
B. Acquisition of the logic of subjectivity
C. The materialization of the logic of subjectivity
The theology of neurosis and "the neurotic" as the figure of exemplary man
The soul purpose of neurosis as a cultural phenomenon
Part 6. The Absolute's further-determination in its striving for its incarnation as immediate present reality. Or the semantics of neurosis
THE neurosis
Semantic specification
Deducing the content of neurosis
Metamorphosis of the content of neurosis
A. "I"
B. Here
C. Now
D. Not-I
About the Author:
Wolfgang Giegerich is a Jungian analyst, now living in Berlin, and the author of numerous books, among them The Soul's Logical Life (published by Peter Lang) and What Is Soul?, as well as five volumes of his Collected English Papers: The Neurosis of Psychology, Technology and the Soul, Soul-Violence, The Soul Always Thinks, and The Flight Into the Unconscious (all published by Spring Journal Books).
Other Giegerich books published by Spring Journal Books include:
Click on a book below to view more information.
The Neurosis of Psychology
Collected English Papers
Vol. 1
Technology and the Soul
Collected English Papers
Vol. 2
Collected English Papers
Vol. 3
The Soul Always Thinks
Collected English Papers
Vol. 4
The Flight Into The Unconscious
Collected English Papers
Vol. 5
Dialectics and Analytical Psychology
The El Capitan Canyon Seminar
with David L. Miller and Greg Mogenson
What is Soul?