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produced the first human couple in the form of two rhubarb plants. Curiously enough, the Chinese P’an Ku is also depicted covered with leaves like a plant. He is a unity that arises as a living growth, that simply exists, without any animal-like movement, that is, without any manifestation of selfwill. Among a group of Mandaeans still living today on the banks of the Tigris, Adam is worshiped as the secret “oversoul” or protecting spirit of the whole of humanity. According to their legend, too, he sprouted from a date palm (the plant motif again!). We have seen that the process of individuation is symbolized by the unconscious as a tree, and here we also see a hint of the cosmic man appearing as a plant. The plant represents a lawful process of growth in accordance with a fixed pattern, as well as something that develops directly out of inorganic matter. In a similar fashion, the Self also appears as something that grows objectively in the human psyche, beyond all impulses and instincts, as the psychic element in us that stands for continuity and pure being. The plant always has a part of itself hidden in the earth, and the image of the plant in the human psyche points to the fact that we too have a part of us that participates in life as a whole that remains hidden from us. In many Gnostic circles and in the East, the great man was already recognized as an inner psychic image rather than described as a concrete reality. According to the Hindu view, the Purusha, for example, was something dwelling in every human individual, the only part of him that is immortal. This inner great man is also capable of redeeming the individual by guiding him out of creation and its suffering back to the eternal origin; yet he can only do that if the individual recognizes him and is inwardly alert for his guidance. In the symbolic world of the Indians, this figure is called Purusha, which means “person.” He exists externally in the cosmos and also at the same time as something inner and invisible in each individual human being.35 According to many myths, this cosmic man is not only the beginning but also the ultimate goal of the world and its life.36 The inner nature of all grain means wheat; and of all metal, gold; and of all birth, man,” the medieval sage Meister Eckhart says in this sense.37 Seen from a psychological point of view, this is actually the case. The inner psychic reality in every person ultimately contains a hidden goal—to realize the Self. Practically, this means that we will never be able to explain the existence of the individual human being purely in terms of utilitarian mechanisms such as survival, perpetuation

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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