Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Comment on Knox, archetype and image schema

From "Convergent dialogues" by Yvonne Lynton Reid at the CG Jung Page. Note that image schema are elaborated into archetypal images by "actual affective experience."

"Jungian analyst Jean Knox suggests that recent work on the human genome, which puts the number of individual genes at closer to thirty thousand rather than the hundred thousand or more expected, makes the inheritance of images and ideas impossible. (Knox, 2003). Her synthesis of current positions of neuroscience, cognitive science and the developments in attachment theory makes a convincing case for the archetype as emergent, based on the presence of genetically catalysed image schemas which are elaborated into images of archetypal complexity by actual affective experience. An example which she cites is the presence of a schematic preparedness for 'containment' which the neonate organism seeks. This image schema would be elaborated into the archetypal representation of the mother. Another such schema is preparedness to register the configurations of a face. In this view, the archetypal aspects of experience, though in no way less influentially powerful, will be subject to cultural determination over a biological substrate, thus socially constructed rather than inherited. The imagery arising from these experiences is not innate, nor is it restricted to responses to physiological events such as hunger giving rise to an image of a ravening object inside the body. To my mind such theoretical revision in no way diminishes the power and ubiquity of the imagery basic to our humanness, imagery which has long been understood by Jungians as collective in its affective elements, thus archetypal."

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