Jung's Acausal Principle

"The connection between cause and effect turns out to be only statistically valid and only relatively true..."

"Causality occupies this paramount position with us, but it acquired its importance only in the course of the last two centuries, thanks to the levelling influence of the statistical method on the one hand and the unparalleled success of the natural sciences on the other, which brought the metaphysical view of the world into disrepute."

"I define synchronicity as a psychically conditioned relativity of time and space."

"The primitive as well as the classical and medieval views of nature postulate the existence of some such principle alongside causality. Even in Leibnitz, causality is neither the only view nor the predominant one. Then, in the course of the eighteenth century, it became the exclusive principle of natural science. With the rise of the physical sciences in the nineteenth century the correspondence theory vanished from the surface, and the magical world of earlier ages seemed to have disappeared once and for all..."

In speaking of synchronicity as an acausal principle, Jung writes, "Here, for want of a demonstrable cause, we are all to likely to fall into the temptation of positing a transcendal one. But a "cause" can only be a demonstrable quantity. A "transcendental cause" is a contradiction in terms, because anything transcendental cannot by definition be demonstrated. If we don't want to risk the hypothesis of acausality, then the only alternative is to explain synchronistic phenomena as mere chance,..."

"Although meaning is an anthropomorphic interpretation it nevertheless forms the indispensable criterion of synchronicity. What that factor which appears to us as "meaning" may be in itself we have no possibility of knowing. As an hypothesis, however, it is not quite so impossible as may appear at first sight."

Quotes from Einstein

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods."

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious; it is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science."

"Why does this applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it."

"Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science."

Stroking the Edifice of Science

Psychology finds itself in a continually awkward attempt to be a science. In its attempts to justify its existence to its professional and acacdemic communities by presenting itself as a science, Psychology has greatly retarded its own psychological growth. What has been lost in the donning of the ill-suited persona of science is its ability to imagine, and hence has prevented it from becoming an arena of psychological wealth.

To understand the way psychology fantasizes about the psyche, we must examine the mytho-structures that give form to psychology's ideation. A strong infrastructure of psychology's imagination is science. In trying to understand the logos of the psyche, the school of psychology has relied heavily upon scientific fantasies for structuring its ideas. By academia and the mental health profession, psychology has been held accountable to the ideals of the scientific method. Psychology has suffered from these restrictions for they have greatly constrained the formation of its images and ideas.

Liberating Psychological Imagination

The problem that psychology faces with the constraints of its pseudoscience academic classification, does not arise from its inability to follow methodologies that purport reliability in establishing objective truth. The problem is that it strangles itself imaginatively in its efforts to pretend to be something that it is not. Psychology attempts to study the phenomenon of the human being and his ever illusive non-physical nature, referred to as the psyche. In order to entertain the fantasy of understanding the psyche more tools are needed other than scientific methodology.

The idea that these fantasies of science have a negative impact on individuals and, hence, therapy and psychology comes from the assumption that the psyche benefits from expanding itself phenomenologically and imaginatively. The individual who is in need is most likely troubled by some motif that is burdening her life. The motif itself is usually less the problem than the fact that the motif is overwhelmingly pervasive to the exclusion of other necessary life themes. From this idea comes the therapeutic fantasy that a troubled individual would benefit by expanding the imagination with a plethora of experiential motifs, rather than the present palette of but a few which have become disabling. Science effects the imagination of the psychologist by putting great restrictions on psychology's theoretical perspectives. The psychologist who is limited in fantasy will bring these limitations to his client and the client at best will have a chance to trade a dysfunctionally limiting fantasy structure for a more socially accepted limiting one.

For the psychologist there is no bad news here. Accepting the process from which ideas are born as a nature human function that is always going to include the fantasy structure of the creator only liberates the imagination from the sterile fantasy of scientific methodology. Since the human experience or psyche is so multifaceted that it is essentially undefinable within the realm of ideas, the psychologist in an effort to bring understanding to such a mysterious beast must have a vast plethora of tools with which their fantasies of human nature are framed.

Copyright 1996 The Ares Press
and Hermes Systems