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

What is Soul?

by Wolfgang Giegerich

ISBN: 978-1-935528-19-7
350 pp.

The latest book in the Studies in Archetypal Psychology Series
Series Editor: Greg Mogenson
In this brilliant new book, Wolfgang Giegerich, the renowned author of The Soul's Logical Life tackles psychology's more essential question: What is soul? Rooted in the metaphysics of bygone times, the notion of soul in our Western tradition is packed with associations and meanings that are incompatible with the anthropological and naturalistic thinking that prevails in modernity. Whereas treatises of old conceived of the soul as an infinite, immaterial substance which was the ground of man's hope for eternal salvation, modern psychology has for the most part discarded the concept in favor of more tangible touchstones such as the emotions, desires, and attachments which characterize man as a finite, bodily-existing positive fact. An exception to this trend has been the analytical psychology of C.G. Jung. Against the positivistic spirit of his times, Jung insisted upon a "'psychology with soul,' that is, a psychology based upon the hypothesis of an autonomous mind."

In this volume, Wolfgang Giegerich once again takes up the Jungian commitment to a psychology with soul. Agreeing with Jung that the soul concept is indispensable for a truly psychological psychology, he supplements and re-orients the Jungian approach to both this concept and the phenomenology of the soul by means of a whole series of nuanced discussions that are as rigorous as they are thoroughgoing. The result is nothing short of a tour de force. Giegerich's particular contribution resides in his showing the movement against the soul to be the soul's own doing. In self-negating moments of itself, consciousness in the form of philosophy and Enlightenment reason turned upon itself as religion and metaphysics. Far from abolishing the soul, however, these incisive negations were themselves negated. As if dancing upon its own demise, the soul came home to itself, not as an invisible metaphysical substance, but more invisibly still as the logically negative evaporation of that substance into the form of subject, or better said, into psychology.
*****
Praise for What is Soul?
"Among contemporary Jungian writers, Wolfgang Giegerich stands out for the scope and depth of his insights into the historical and philosophical foundations of Jung's work and their implications for the future of psychology as a domain of human experience and investigation. With the publication of What Is Soul? he presents the most comprehensive discussion of his position since The Soul's Logical Life. What Is Soul? demonstrates once again how Giegerich's exceptional command of the philosophical tradition can inform our understanding of Jung. Encountering Hofmannsthal's Letter of Lord Chandos, to take but one example, in a discussion of modern psychology provides a moment of pure intellectual pleasure, while at the same time reminding the reader of the time of crisis within which Jung worked. Jungians of all persuasions often speak of soul work, but Giegerich gives us a picture of the work of soul. His is a complex, but always stimulating voice that deserves our continued attention."
George B. Hogenson, Ph.D., Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts, and Author of Jung's Struggle with Freud
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: What Is Soul?
PART 1: THE CONCEPT OF SOUL
Psychology with or without soul?
The corpse and life
Shared meanings. Or: life and the soul
The soul as speaking and production
The corpse and the perceiving mind and the soul as sublated "corpse"
The spark
Retroactive fetishization of the corpse
Why is it the corpse that ignites the spark?
The historical continuity of the soul's life. Soul as historicity
Psychology's "not not." From the most general concept of soul to psychology's specific concept of soul
PART 2: THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE SOUL (1): THE EXPERIENCED OR OCCURRING SOUL. VERTICALITY, INCURSION
The opposition between events of soul and ordinary human existence
A preliminary touchstone: "Intrusion." "The exceptional"
The soul sense of "exceptional"
The relativity of what is exceptional
The difference between "the psychic" and "the psychological"
Difficulties concerning the psychological difference
Human emotions versus the soul's archetypal truths
Excursus on "staged spontaneous event" and "systematically employed cryptomnesia"
The soul's coldness
The twofoldness of what we call soul
Practical gain versus blessedness
A historical complication
Avertedness of the I versus blindness of the modern ego
The fundamental deficiency of the imaginal mode outweighed by premodern man's unbornness
Born man's inevitable blindness to the soul
Psychology as ersatz for soul
The psychological difference absorbed into the one side of itself
The new psychological difference
Ordinary human existence surrounded by the soul
"From below"
Excursion on "the sick soul"
No "immediate experience." Mediated immediacy!
Modern versus premodern experience
The historicity of soulful feelings
The objectivity of the objective soul: works of culture and cultural institutions
Beyond imagining and fantasizing
"From above"
The difference in modern psychological life between authentic and simulated soul phenomena
Excursus on two fundamentally different concepts of "amplification"
Excursus on emotions and "the numinous" in therapy
PART 3: THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE SOUL (2): THE SOUL AS SUBJECT, STYLE, AND WORK (SOUL-MAKING)
The otherness and absence of the subject during premodern times
The subject as an "it": the soul substance
Enlightenment philosophy falsely blamed
The soul's home-coming. From substance to subject
Modernity (1). The irreducible externality and otherness of the other
Modernity (2). From "soul" and early-modern I to "psychology"
Regressive resubstantiation of the already achieved form of subject. Ego-psychology
The psychological difference within the soul-as-subject
The psychological I
PART 4: THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE SOUL (3): THE TWO OPPOSITE PURPOSES (DIRECTIONS, TELEOLOGIES) OF THE SOUL
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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 four volumes of his Collected English Papers: The Neurosis of Psychology, Technology and the Soul, Soul- Violence, and The Soul Always Thinks (all published by Spring Journal Books).