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of the species, sexuality, hunger, the death urge, and so on; rather, beyond all those, it serves the self-representation of the essence of humanness, which can be expressed only through a symbol, to wit, the image of the cosmic man.38 In the West the cosmic man is to a great extent identified with Christ and in the East with Krishna and Buddha. In the Old Testament, this same figure appears as the “son of man,” and in later Jewish mysticism as Adam Kadmon.39 Certain religious movements of antiquity simply called him Anthropos (the Greek word for man). All these symbolic figures point to the same mystery: the unknown meaning of human existence. Certain traditions assert that this great man is the goal of creation; yet this is definitely not to be understood in an external sense, but rather as an inner goal. Hinduism, for example, assures us that though the real universe will not dissolve into the primordial man, at some point our perception of this material reality will indeed pass away, giving place to this “person.” As the rivers that flow into the sea, when they reach it, are absorbed into it and their own names and forms pass away so that one speaks then only of the sea, so the components of the watcher (the ego), when they come to the Purusha, are absorbed by him, and their name and form disappear. And then men speak only of the Purusha, and he (the Purusha) becomes indivisible and immortal. The ego’s orientation toward the external world and its ideas, which rush from theme to theme, and its desires, which seek object after object, disappear into the realization of the “great man.” These examples, taken from different civilizations and times, show how widespread the symbol of the cosmic man is as an image of the mystery of the wholeness of the human being. Because the symbol refers to something complete and whole, the great man is often represented as hermaphroditic. In this form he unites in himself the most important psychic opposites, male and female. This unity is often also symbolized as a divine royal, or otherwise distinguished, couple.40 The following dream of a forty-seven-year-old man shows this aspect of the Self with particular clarity: I am standing in an elevated place and see below me a magnificent, black female bear with a shaggy but groomed coat. She is standing on her hind legs, and on a slab she is polishing a flat, oval black stone, which is

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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