Sociology of the depths
A concrete (phenomenal) society always consists of two parts – the aboveground and underground. The aboveground part is what we normally term “society”, meaning a sphere of rational activity where logos (λόγος) prevails. This is the domain of the “diurnal”. The underground part is the dark, underwater island of the collective unconscious, the region of the social night (the “nocturne”), where myth (μύθος) rules.
For some time, progressivist science believed that these two parts were situated in diachronic order. In ancient times (and among “primitive” peoples, the unfortunate “residue” of ancient times), myth was predominant. But the progress of civilization gradually supplanted the mythological order and replaced it with an order based on logos. The community, or Gemeinschaft, is superseded by society, or Gesellschaft (F. Tönnies). But this optimistic exaltation did not last long. Whereas blind faith in purported progress reigned almost unquestionably in 18th-19th century Western Europe, the subconscious, where the eternal and unchanging laws of myth predominate, was discovered by the beginning of the 20th century.
Jung’s works developed Freud’s theory and established a new topology of human psychology. Freud had already shown that in addition to the “I” (the “ego”), an invisible and repressed “It” (German “es”, Latin “id”) actively operates within man. Jung demonstrated that the foundation of this “It” is rooted in a special reality common to all people. The collective unconscious is one for all.
Jung’s follower, the French sociologist G. Durand, relying on the Jungean theory of the collective unconscious and its archetypes, complemented the psychoanalytic topology with a sociological one, thus laying the foundations for a “sociology of depths”, “deep sociology”, or “sociology of imagination.” Thus, the second, underground part of society, at the heart of which lies myth, was discovered, studied, and imparted with description.
Ordinary sociologists such as Weber, Sombart, Durkheim, Moss, Sorokin and so on, more often described aboveground, diurnal society and its properties, i.e., the social logos. Sociologists of the depths, on the other hand, such as G. Durand or M. Maffessoli, engaged in the exploration of social myths, elaborating a kind of sociology of myth.
The study of the interconnectedness between the two main levels of this topology, i.e., between logos and myth, buried the concept of rationality and the notion of “progress” at the very first stage. According to G. Durand, it turns out that the latter are nothing other than a rationalization of the myth of Prometheus. The next step was the discovery that Logos itself, as the axial destiny of Western European culture (from Plato through Descartes to positivism) was but a special edition of myth (an “ascendental myth” in G. Bachelard’s theory or the “diurnal regime”, “le diurne” in Durand’s theory). This is the discovery of deep sociology (the sociology of the imagination) based on the structuralism of C. Levi-Strauss, the history of religion (H. Corben, M. Eliade), psychoanalysis (C.G. Jung), reflexology (M.Bekhterev), modern physics and mathematics (R.Tohm, V.Pauli etc.). This opened a completely different view of the essence, content, meaning, nature and quality of social processes. Classical sociology, which had detected numerous failures of logos in society (for example, the principle of “heterotelie” – a sociological law that states that social processes almost always attain goals other than those they set to begin with, thus overturning the cause-and-effect logic in which the founding fathers of sociology – the positivists Kant and Durkheim – so firmly believed) came through deep sociology to form a consistent and semantically complete system. The enormous methodological and documentary material accumulated by the classical sociologists thus started to be interpreted in an entirely new way.
Thus, by the end of the 20th century, a “two-level sociology” was established in which research on the social logos was paralleled by studies of the “social underground” (“social dungeon”) and “social myth.” In other words, the “social unconscious” was discovered.
By his profession, a sociologist is called to look beyond “public opinion”, “common ideas”, and “common sense”, i.e., those beliefs and ideas that circulate among the masses in their “majority” and constitute the framework of “conventional wisdom”. “Public opinion” never reflects the whole picture. Its natural place is situated in the space between scientific truth and that which is a pure chimera, or nothing. Even Plato, in his The Republic, defined “opinion” (δόξα) as showing us something while at the same time hiding something else from us, in all cases revealing to us not that which lies on the surface of conveying, but somewhere else, thus always deceiving us. More straightforward American experts on financial speculation and stock markets have formulated the same law in rougher terms: “the majority is always wrong”.
In analyzing “opinion”, sociologists derive from such the half-manifested and half-hidden truth, and thus explain the mechanism and, in turn, semantic structure of lies (silence, euphemisms, projections, transposition, and other rhetorical tropes). It is thus the sum of extracted scientific truths, clarifications, and etiologies of misconceptions and lies – the content of the social logos – that constitutes the object of classical sociology.
The pessimism of the classical sociologists: Logos on the brink of catastrophe
The majority of the classical sociologists’ major reconstructions (“grand theories”) were marked by the disturbing nature of social processes in the 20th century. The very idea of “progress”, which has become something taken for granted in “public opinion”, was at a certain moment recognized to be a euphemism designed to brighten up premonitions of impending disaster.
Most sociologists, and Pitirim Sorokin in particular, unanimously emphasized the hedonistic, material, sensual, and sensate nature of modern Western civilization, and this quality affected the “social logos” all the more profoundly over the course of the 20th century. Material values, entailing an “obsession with economics”, the search for egoistic, material freedom and pleasure, came to the forefront and undermined, eroded the structure of society’s rational organization. Almost all sociologists predicted in one way or another that the social logos of the West and all of world civilization having come under decisive Western influence, threatens disaster.
This feeling especially intensified in the postmodern era, when many began to speak of the “society of the spectacle” (G. Debord), the “order of simulacra” (J. Baudrillard), or the “end of history” (F. Fukuyama). Indeed, Fukuyama spoke of a “society of gaps”, increasing “fragmentation of social ties”, etc. The social logos had disintegrated in front of our very own eyes, transforming into something else ascertained only with great difficulty and demanding new sociological methods for understanding and explaining it.
Some, such as Castells, have timidly suggested that logos does not die, but moves on to a new form of existence as a network. But this did not and does not sound very convincing. In any case, starting at the end of the 20th century, classical society stood at the threshold of, as the optimists say, a fundamental, qualitative metamorphosis or, as the pessimists (such as Spengler) suspected, collapse.
The social moment through the eyes of deep sociologists: Slipping into the night
Even more alerted by the exhaustion of modernity are deep sociologists, who have in principle believed that reassessing logos in view of myth amounts to a disaster, which by definition and from the very onset is fraught with collapse and colossal inflation of the logos. Being no opponents of logos, they merely point out that the gigantic endeavor of reassessing one half of society (the diurnal half) is fraught with the possibility of rapid regression and falling into the opposite extreme, the regions of the unconscious, with no easing up or intermediate stages. They rightly considered the European totalitarianisms of the 20th century to be such a rapid drop towards myth, i..e, the Nazi regime (with its “Myth of the 20th Century” which, admittedly, is rather a pale and pitiful parody of myth itself) and the USSR with its chiliastic attempt at building a “paradise on earth” (the diachronic-trinitarian myth of Joachim de Flora skipped over by Hegel, and specifically Russian, cultic messianism).
But the inflation of logos did not cease with the victory over fascism or following the end of communism. In the 1990’s arose the temporary illusion that the social logos had at last found its final incarnation in the liberal-democratic American paradigm (hence globalism and the “end of history”) which would last forever (as the American neocons tried to inaugurate with the “Project for a New American Century” and theories of “benevolent hegemony” and “benevolent empire”). In the 2000’s, all of this became increasingly doubtful. When the financial crisis of 2008 hit and the black Democrat Barack Obama came to power in the US, it became clear that the preceding round was not the establishment of a “new world order”, but the final agony of the Western-centric logos.
From the standpoint of deep sociologists, the point at hand was the collision of two myths that had acted for three centuries in the “dungeon” of Western European societies (and those that came under their influence).
The modern era and the Enlightenment reflected the rise of the myth of Prometheus, who inspired both the rationalists and romantics, the people of day and the poets of night. The titan, trickster, deceiver of the gods (night), Prometheus, acting as Faust and Lucifer, brings people fire and knowledge (day). Schelling, Hugo, Hegel, Marx, and both liberals and socialists were inspired by the myth of Prometheus. Even in fascism, through the Nietzschean lens of the “Superman” and Wagnerianism, Prometheus found peculiar expression.
But with the end of the 19th century, Prometheus began to give way to the myth of Dionysus. Emanating from decadent salons, he penetrated culture and subsequently became the main myth of people engaged in media (and, as a rule, dropouts, drunks, perverts and drug addicts, as Durand aptly noted), cinema, and later television, intellectuals, and artists – typical people of the night in practically all societies. Gradually imbued with the individualist-hedonistic style of “journalists”, inveterate skeptics, and the opponents of all rational organization (enemies of the social logos), society became a society of entertainment and enjoyment, the “society of the spectacle.”
Dionysus displaced Prometheus, the end of the whose myth is described in Andre Gide’s splendid, ironic book, Prometheus Ill-Bound. But Dionysus himself gradually lost his appeal, momentum, and energy as the decadent perversions of the elite, bearing something stylistically attractive, turned into the disgusting rot of the decaying masses sliding into the night. Plebeian gay parades turned the refined atmosphere of Oscar Wilde’s salons, the solar insanity of Arthur Rambo, and the poetic gesture of Kuzmin’s Apollon into plebeian kitsch (yet another instance of the significance of the expression “don’t throw pearls before swine”). The myth of Dionysus in turn reached the point of saturation and became one of the sources of freshness of the stagnant, stymphalian swamp.
The cycle of Western culture has come to an end. Postmodernity with its epiphenomena is a convincing illustration of this.
At any rate, sociologists of the depths are awaiting a new myth (perhaps they hope that this will be the balanced and integrative myth of Hermes – such as the Eranos group which included Jung, Eliade, Bachelard, Corben, Dumezil, Scholem, and Durand), but they clearly understand that the European logos is about to finally slip off into the night. Frankly speaking, it seems to me rather doubtful that these wonderful people, these neo-Hermeticists, will manage to stop that which is falling, much less shift this fall…
The preceding observations were necessary in order to arrive at the main topic, i.e., our attempt at conceiving what awaits humanity once postmodernity finally comes into its own and the social logos finally perishes into the night of the myth. In other words, we are interested in reconstructing the picture of the impending sociological dimension taking into account those structural, semantic meanings which we (or not) must survive (or not). On the basis of a sociological reconstruction of classical and non-classical theories, we can construct different models of the future, basing ourselves on the psychoanalytical topology of Jung, who preoccupied himself with the fate of man and attempted to as impartially as possible describe the fullness of the human factor in its various dimensions at different stages. Before “painting” the “sociology of the Apocalypse” with “Jung’s paint”, let us recall the main parameters of his topology.
According to Jung, a human being is a complex system consisting of several poles, the main of which are “ego”, “persona”, “anima/animus”, “shadow”, and Selbst (“self”). Let us add Freud’s “superego” for the sake of completeness.
My “I” and my mask
Man is considered to be a rational individual who calls himself “I”. In psychoanalysis, this function is denoted by the Latin term “ego”, whose properties are intellect, capacity for mental operations, the possession of logical structures (or “proto-logical” ones like among so-called primitive tribes” and “savages”), capacity for self-reflection and clear separation of oneself (“ego”) from the outside world, “others”, and “the other.”
The generalized social logos is the collective projection of the “ego”, what Freud called the “superego” or “super-I.” The “ego” always correlates to the “superego”, which thus gives rise to a system of social norms and determines a large part of the being of “I.”
In regards to other social “I” and the aggregate social logos (superego), the ego acts as the persona, personality, or mask. A gap exists between the ego and personality which consists of the “ego” having another dimension, reversed into itself, which distinguishes it from the personality or “persona” through a fully exhaustive socio-logical function. The ego has a psyche, while a persona does not (such is carefully hidden and ignored). The psyche of the ego makes itself known only when a persona begins to behave or feel inappropriately within society or in the face of the superego given as a standard in morality and the rules of thinking (a mental disorder).
“I” usually appears to be alone as a result of the reflection of the logos on the physical separateness of the human body. But this is not necessary, Jung emphasizes. The deformation of logical structures, a lowering of mental level (abaissement du niveau mental) or simply dreaming can easily blur the singularity of “I”, its identity, and scatter into various fractions the “alter-ego.” In some instances of psychosis, this manifests itself through voices, through sight, or even through visions of one’s self. In some cases, several “egos” can form a fairly stable form of identity (such as in Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).
Jung’s “I” is not a constant once and for all, but is plural. Sometimes Jung speaks of the ego as one part of a complex psyche alongside other “complexes.”
The realm of the collective unconscious and Selbst
Within the “ego” begins the space of the psyche containing different layers, some close to the “ego” (such as memory, subjective assessment of actions, and “invasion” from below) and those further away from it, such as the unconscious.
Freud called the unconscious “es” or “id.” He himself restricted the unconscious to individual feelings and instincts formed as a rule during infancy and even in the prenatal period. In Jung’s famous dream of 1909 in which he travelled across the Atlantic by ship with his teacher, he saw that in the unconscious there is an even deeper level which ceases to be individual, and becomes collective. The realm of the collective unconscious is the center of Jung’s conceptualized topology.
The collective unconscious, according to Jung, is all the same for everyone and is inhabited by eternal myths and archetypes. This collective unconscious is explained by stable plots of certain dreams (great dreams), myths, stories, fairy tales, religious visions, and artistic works. The properly perceived, integrated, embraced, accepted, and sacredly exalted collective unconscious directed above to the light at the surface is what Jung terms Selbst or “self.”
Animus/anima and the dark double
Furthermore, between the ego and collective unconscious exist two of the main intermediate instances: the animus/anima (the soul that Jung divides by gender) and the “shadow” (umbra, die Schatten).
Animus/anima (like Balzac’s Seraphitus and Seraphita) is an image of the collective unconscious as it appears in pure form in the male or female ego. Over the course of his research (including clinical studies), Jung noted that men steadily imagine the “unconscious” (“es” and “id”) as feminine (hence “anima”, the feminine soul), while women imagine such to be the male (hence “animus”, the masculine soul). In Russian, it would be tempting to use the cognate words dusha (“soul”) and dukh (“spirit”), but they have a steadily different meaning (although one could ask: do either of them have any meaning at all today?).
There is also the “shadow” representing the dark twin of the ego which consists of negative products of the dialogue between the ego and the collective unconscious. All that the diurnal mind represses, rules out, represses, pushes out, censors, and does not cognize in the impulses rising from the unconscious depths, makes up the “shadow”, shaping its structure and a kind of “anti-persona” (symmetrically opposite to a persona). The devil is the generalized form of the shadow.
Individuation as the realization of Selbst
Of great importance in Jung’s works is the subject of “individuation.” Individuation is the harmonious, balanced, incremental and measured transfer of the collective unconscious’ structures to the level of the logos. A correctly oriented human life is the realization of Selbst, i.e., individuation. Only in this case, the ego serves the purpose of letting what lies on the level of the myth out into the realm of logos.
Jung clarified the relationship between given instances in his topology, supplied nuances, explained details, and solved the puzzles of their dialectical relations. He delineated the dialectic of this structure in his patients and in works of art, religious doctrines, philosophical theories, famous biographies, and in the prejudices of average citizens. Practically all of his creative work was devoted to this end.
Sociology of the imagination
Applying Jung’s topology to society (with certain adjustments) yields deep sociology or the sociology of the imagination as developed mainly by R. Bastide and G. Durand. The social logos (Durkheim’s “public consciousness”) is the generalized ego (superego). At the other extreme is the collective unconscious (or social unconscious). Between them is the human ego facing society through its personality (persona) and facing the collective unconscious (the nighttime realm of myths) through its psyche and its figures (the anima, animus, and shadow).
Between the collective consciousness and collective unconscious exists a dynamic insofar as they resonate in certain issues and are homologous, while in some cases enter into discord and conflict. This is due to social kinetics (including mobility) and the deep content of social processes. The individual or human is a point in this complex two-stage dialectic of night and day, or diurne and nocturne.
Pitirim Sorokin’s tripartite model of social topology, which distinguishes between three types of societies and social structures (the ideational, idealistic, and sensual) on the grounds of a purely heuristic approach, is given firm ground in Durand’s three archetypal structures – the “heroic”, “cyclical”, and “mystical”, which are a direct mythological homologue to Sorokin’s sociological constructs. Durand’s school, the Center for Research on the Imaginary, has in the 50 years of its existence produced an enormous amount of hermeneutic work on “mytho-analyzing” sociological systems and the “mytho-criticism” of literary works or historical records.
Dreaming the world
Now on to the economic crisis. Above we said that it is highly probable that the current financial crisis is an expression of a much deeper process, i.e., the decline of the social logos blurred or saturated with sensual moments (a la Sorokin) or the Dionysian myth which has been overtaken by the osculating masses (a la Durand). In Jung’s system, this process can be seen as the “lowering of the mental level” (abaissement du niveau mental). Let us assume that the logical structures of the ego and superego were to crumble at a critical threshold – and this is highly likely if we take into account observations on Russian society, which has rapidly degraded in the intellectual and moral sense, as well as processes taking place in Western culture and politics. In this case, we should expect humanity to plunge head first into the night regime.
In Jungian topology, this means that we have descended into the collective unconscious. This is not simply nihilism. The very concept of nothing, or nihil, belongs to the order of logical structures capable of abstractly representing pure negativity in contrast to pure presence. But insofar as logic is eroded, the crystal-clear nothingness of logical nihilism appears to us not as empty, but filled with elusive meanings, inconsistent pictures, and cacophonesque sounds arranged disharmoniously. The nihilism of night is full of sounds, colors, and shapes, but only from the standpoint of the day. This is nothingness.
We will begin to see the critical points enumerated below in darkness. After all, there are always objects that are darker than others. It is at this point that we have arrived at the Jungian version of post-crisis futurology.
The social logos has fallen. Despite having successfully defeated all of its logical and ideological competitors (theocracy, monarchy, fascism, and communism), liberalism has not coped with the burden of the social logos, i.e., it is incapable of defending the order of the day all on its own against the night closing in on it from all sides and from within. The last such attempt was the American neocons’ imperial adventure. Meanwhile, the previous logoi are left hopelessly repudiated and distraught.
The diurnal character of liberalism is relative. Perhaps it won precisely because it offered the softest of all orders, the most unobtrusive logos, the most compromising and tolerant instrument of daytime repression of the nocturnal unconscious. But now it has perforce been left one-on-one in the face of chaos – the very same chaos which it relied upon earlier.
If the current economic crisis (for liberal civilization, economics is a substitute for order and logos) turns out to be the last, then a fundamental “lowering of the mental level of humanity” will take place. The world will be plunged into a dream.
Just what kind of dream will this be?
Post-anthropology’s new actors
The scrapping of the “ego” and “superego”, their overturning into the dark haze of psychosis, leads to the emergence of new actors in the forefront. These actors will be neither classes (as in communism) nor races (as in National-Socialism) nor even the individual (as in liberalism) – all of these social ideologies were founded on specific logical systems and, parallel to such, on rather distinguishable nocturnally structured myths. These actors will be the shapes of the unconscious left over from the epoch of the luminous domination of logos. This will be a post-logos order that will lead to the introduction of post-anthropology.
The main figures in the relationship between the ego and the unconscious will acquire autonomy and become the ego’s substitute. Humanity will hear “voices.”
The fact that modern man’s ego will become dynamic, plural, game-like, and random can already be seen everywhere – in the constant changing of professions, moving (the new nomadism), changing genders, nick-names, the appearance of doubles and clones (first in literature, films, and computer games, but tomorrow in practice). Such will become commonplace as life acquires more of an ironic, game-like nature. The cycle will shrink as families, partners, friends, countries, and occupations are changed with kaleidoscopic speed. People will change their gender all the more often, and sex-change operations will come to be more than a one time affair – one is a woman, has enough, becomes a man, then a woman again, and so on. But after a certain point – we will hardly notice it – the notion of individual identity itself will dissolve and the principle of freedom will corrode the “totalitarian shackles” of individuality. In the human atom separate components will be “discovered” – electrons, protons, quarks which will demand for themselves “new freedoms” (as the Belgian writer Jean Ray anticipated in his The Hand of Götz von Berlichingen.
And it is at this moment that we will face a series of very interesting phenomena and advents which will define the panorama of the post-anthropological landscape.
The coming of the shadow
The “shadow” will be one of the main actors of the “Jungian Apocalypse.” Fantasies of living shadows (in Anderson’s works and popular folklore) are a famous tale repeatedly surfacing in literature, theater, and opera. “Shadow” is a synonym for the devil, and we can say that this image coincides with the wide and varying descriptions of the Antichrist or the “coming of Satan.” Jung’s perspective differs from religious, theological views on this subject in that he examines the figure of the devil – in the spirit of Origen Adamantius’ “Apocatastasis” – as relatively negative. According to Jung, in the “shadow-devil” accumulates all that has been discarded by the ego over the course of unsuccessful individuation, i.e., over the course of the translation of the collective unconscious and its archetypes in the sphere of the logos. Thus, the devil is not independent or primordial, but merely symbolizes the totality of human failures and the results of friction with the “sueprego” which is in turn associated not so much with individual errors as with dissonance and the conflict of the social logos (including religious and moral aspects) with the mythological complex lying beneath the foundations of society. The shadow is failed Selbst. After all, the devil was once an angel of light who fell…
The shadow which will reveal itself in the near future should not necessarily be regarded as only the “devil” of the Christian religion. In social and psychoanalytic terms, this will simply be a ”residue”, some kind of surrogate of a disappearing “I”, and in the face of the undifferentiated collective unconscious, this figure will seem like “salvational straw” which, as it pertains to its identification, will be higher than the mythological chaos swimming down below. Therefore, for post-humanity the “shadow”, as an image preserved from the lost “ego”, will present itself as a kind of temptation. The shadow will not act as an enemy of humanity (especially since man will by this time give way to post-man). Rather, it will act as an enemy of the undifferentiated abyss of indistinguishable dreams.
What will this “shadow” be in its coming? This is difficult to imagine since the social landscape will change significantly. The collapse of the logos will not cancel science, or more precisely technology, hence the dissolution of the individual might very well be combined with the continuation of technological progress by inertia. Therefore, the shadow will come in the entourage of machines and devices. But it will not be a singular human being or group of beings. It will be something resembling a cloud, fog, a thinking nebula which can assume various identities, names, and types. These images will be somewhat vague, as if covered in fog. The shadow will hardly appear in the form of monsters, but rather in the form of memories and languid and dense dreams.
This is one pole.
Another figure of the Jungian Apocalypse will be the disincarnate female anima. This will not be a human female, but femininity in its collective, apparitional aspect.
Here it is worth dwelling on the idea of the anima in Jung’s works in more detail. Jung’s anima is not an image of a woman based on animal instinct or lustful observation of the female sex, and not even on genetic memory as Freudism and materialist psychology present such. It is the creation of a purely male ego which, through the anima, structures both itself and relations with the internal other (which is the same), proceeding to project this relation outwards on the other and itself now within the framework of form – this is woman in a social-gender sense.
The male ego does not know anything about the female ego, and does not want nor can it know nothing about it. It merely projects a living image, in which it is appealed to by the collective unconscious (“es”), onto the surrounding socio-biological matter. The internal anima and external woman are for the male ego (logos) strictly one and the same. The anima is primary and that which does not coincide with anime in a woman is either not noticed, rejected, censored, or hated by the male ego. All of this has been tracked by psychoanalysts in millions of examples.
If the male anima is drawn to the figure of the Melusine (the water-inhabiting fairy-fish-woman with a tail and no genitals), then a mismatch in external women in relation to this standard will be presented as their fault, and not as the fault of the image (in which, in fact, there is nothing pathological – after all, such is harmoniously and tightly woven into the sacred lexicon of great dreams).
Parallel research has been conducted by Levi-Strauss in studying the structure of kinship. In the myths of many American tribes as well as other peoples of Africa and Melanesia or, more broadly, the whole world, the theme of a “proper scale of marriage” is recurrent. In order to show what is correct, a myth shows what is incorrect. There are countless, stable motifs concerning marriage with animals (Masha and the bear etc.), spirits, demons and angels (the Book of Enoch), objects, monsters, and so on. These are too distant of relationships, which means that the ego swung too far across the horizons of the unconscious and, as a rule, legends warn that nothing good comes out of this.
Too close of a kinship is represented by incest, a taboo which rests at the heart of all known social structures with only the rarest exceptions (such as Zoroastrianism which legalized and even proscribed incest; and in the practice of Jewish Sabbatist sects in Turkey – see M. Maffesoli). In relation to the anima, this means that the ego has come too close to the collective unconscious, which is fraught with dissolution or could in place of such introduce its own “egotistical” projections leading to sterility or the generation of monsters, i.e., to flowing into the realm of the shadow. The shadow is the totality of those taboos which man has been tempted to violate.
Herein arises a question: From where does the male ego come? Different sociologists, philosophers, and psychologists have offered different answers. The Marxist sociologist Bourdieu, for example, believes that gender is a purely social phenomenon, i.e., the ego is endowed with a male quality exclusively by society – the dictatorship of the “superego” – and in practice through education and the structuring of family relations. According to Bourdieu, if a boy is raised and treated as a girl, he will be a girl, and his ego and persona will be fully-fledged feminine in personality. On this is based contemporary “gender tolerance” and the Western interpretation of human rights, in which man (as the classic of liberalism, Locke, affirmed) is a tabula rasa upon which society writes all that it pleases. Marx also thought so.
In any case, it can be assumed that it is not the gender of a soul (anima-animus) that depends on whether the ego is male or female, but on the contrary – a soul’s gender via a converse logic determines the gender identity of the ego. Anima leads to the ego being masculine in order to make the process of individuation harmonious, i.e., its coming out into the light of the logos. Conversely, the animus extrapolates itself in the region of the logical through the feminine ego in order to exercise the whole, same individuation. Let us note that all of these considerations apply only to Jung’s theory, according to which a soul has a gender.
At any rate, comprehending the particular autonomy of the soul imbued with gender allows us to visualize the figure of Anima who will probably meet us over the course of the global financial crisis. This femininity “without women” or “apart from women” might very well appear through a series of archetypes which will either diachronically or synchronously manifest themselves in the form of giant female figures, dark, ugly and old women, fairies, Undine, nymphs, and salamanders, or in the form of female elements directly such as water and earth. The plastic fantasy of the decaying social logos yields technical or virtual forms. However, it is unimportant whether these figures of Anima will appear by means of malfunction in the process of cloning or as a result of the development of the visual illusions of the totalitarian screen. Most important in this is not the technology of the phenomenon of Anima, but its philosophical meaning. The social logos has in the last millennium been predominantly masculine. In decomposing, it will spill out the final female fantasy just as, according to legend, the seed dropped by the hanged man yields the mandragora or Alraune (see the wonderful novel by Hanns Heinz Ewers, Alraune).
When we think of femininity without women, we want to emphasize just how the anima is associated with the male ego, and this means that the post-anthropological pole of anima will likely be tied to disappearing men and their sinking “I” rather than women who, from the logical point of view, will be relegated to a specific existential niche. We shall now consider just what kind of niche this will be.
If anima is the product of the pure male ego, then animus is the product of the purely female. The man who constitutes the woman’s dream, i.e., the male form of “es”, has never existed and does not exist. This is not the male ego, but something quite different altogether. Prince charming, the noble knight, the hero – the woman gives birth to and populates culture with them. Woman created man. In the literal sense, she gave birth to him. Figuratively, she invented him. Man was thought up by woman in three forms – as the baby, the hero, and the wise old teacher. These are the three instances of the unconscious. Puer ludens, homunculus, Lilliputian, the playing and laughing child – these are intimations of the unconscious which the female ego is capable of embracing, understanding, and encompassing. The heroic husband is the unconscious in the form with which existential battle can be waged to stake their existence (since real men who would deserve this simply do not exist). Finally, the elderly teacher is the unconscious in the form of death which captures the dynamic of the female ego and freezes it into the ice of eternity. Such men live only in the psyche of the woman and from there appear in works of art. Talented feminized artists read the thin folds of women’s dreams and bring them into culture. And only from there, as patterns, do they assume their male ego, entirely different in structure and style, conforming to social norms, the dictatorship of the “superego” and maintain the status of persona.
The weakening of the pressure of culture leads to men turning into what we see around us today from which the female ego recoils in disgust. These are today’s snotty, screaming babies, swine, filthy (in the best case), cowardly, and greedy men, and the old and rude who have accumulated over their whole lifetime only strife and bad habits. The social projections of the female spirit earlier weaved together images of heroic men and imposed such as the standard. When this work was weakened in a segment of the social logos for which female personalities were responsible in the era of patriarchy, then everything collapsed. Only strange and untidy beings of non-traditional orientations remain – freaks and geeks. Patriarchy was a product of the extrapolation of the female fantasy.
So who will Animus be without men?
This will be the figure of the final release of female energy, the solar hero, the “superman” – innocent like a child, cruel as a man, and wise as an elder. Feminine dialogue with the unconscious will yield the final volley of erotic energy in a flying, golden figure. It will be ephemeral and quickly dissolve since, given the absence of social order (on the surface of which the leftover residue will swim in the likes of traffic police, who will easily survive the disappearance of sense and logic in things), Animus will have nothing through which to secure its will to power. This will be the flash of the absolute dawn of metaphysical “fascism” which will show itself on the horizon only to melt away into the impending night in a flash.
However, who knows, perhaps even the momentary contemplation of the birth and disappearance of Animus will be a spectacle which, in an illusory manner, will satisfy great female expectations.
The Radical Subject
Yet another figure will have its place in the post-crisis (anti)utopia. This time, this personage is not from the arsenal of Jungian topology, but from the post-philosophical intuitions of “new metaphysics.” This is the Radical Subject described schematically in my books The Philosophy of Traditionalism, Post-Philosophy, and The Radical Subject and its Double. While not being a Jungian figure, it can nevertheless be described in the terms of the “Jungian Apocalypse.”
The Radical Subject is the realization of the outburst of the collective unconscious’ archetypes into the light of day along a model differing from that of the social and cultural logos which dominated in the cycle of known human civilization. The Radical Subject is the alternative logos (or more precisely, the logos in potentiality bearing a number of logoi) which shares with the hitherto known logos its diurnal nature, but which belongs to the collective unconscious and mythological foundation of society (culture, civilization) in a different fashion. Compared to this, the genesis of the former (old) logos out of mythos was questionable in the very beginning, if not fatally wrong.
From the philosophical point of view, the theory closest to this model is Heidegger’s “Ereignis” which he developed from 1936 to 1944.
The Radical Subject is capable of individuation under any circumstances insofar as it operates with logos not as an actuality, but with logos as a potentiality, i.e., in the sphere which lies between the collective unconscious (mythos) and its concentration in the actuality of the logos – before this concentration becomes irreversible.
This is the dissolved logos, the proto-logos. The Radical Subject is the realization of Selbst in its unconditional form free of all circumstances, and the psyche does not participate in such realization since we are dealing (according to Jung and Otto) with the numinous horizons of the spirit in pure form beyond psychic waters, a kind of “dry path.”
The final composition
The writer Mamleev once wrote in the title of one of his stories: “We are ready for the Second Coming.” That is right.
What will be the combination of the poles of post-anthropology?
Theoretically, and following formal symmetries, there will be four dynamic post-identities that are relatively autonomous – the shadow, anima, animus, and the Radical Subject. It can be assumed that the “shadow-devil” will try to expand its field to the maximally available extent, i.e., against the anima, animus, and Radical Subject.
Just how the re-doubling of the Radical Subject will happen, i.e., the establishment of its diabolical simulacrum – I’ve tried to describe this in my book The Radical Subject and its Double in which with “double” we have in mind strictly that which Jung refers to as the “shadow”, only in the apocalyptic and sociological perspective which we are now examining – the shadow of the macrocosm, not micro-psychology. To summarize this book in a single phrase: distinguishing the Radical Subject from its double will be difficult, and in this lies the metaphysical nerve of the whole drama of the world (the world was created in the light of the telos of this final discernment).
The valence of the relationship between the shadow and Radical Subject will, among other things, lend the shadow a metaphysical value, and out of this inertial residue of the scattering logos will turn it into a “socially” significant figure. Here, incidentally, is quite pertinent the theological model of understanding the devil who, unlike Jung’s psychological pragmatism (and his reliance on the Gnostics) forms in relation to this character the proper proportions of reaction, fight, and flight (if at such a point anyone is still “making up their mind”, then by now their mind is not simply “not theirs”, but disappears altogether like smoke).
The golden Animus, taking off from the periphery of the female horizon in the glow of absolute (never former) fascism, will probably have no relation whatsoever to Anima or the shadow. To the shadow it is inaccessible for in it the female ego is liberated from itself, its own sin, its own shadow. The female ego is the shadow. But what, then, is the male ego? Perhaps just a misunderstanding? How the Radical Subject relates to the disincarnate Animus is not clear yet. And will it ever have any meaning for it?…
Now the shadow is definitely trying to seize the liquid Anima, include it in its structure, perhaps by the inertia of memory. As modern physics knows, even material substances have memory. The shadow will see the post-anthropological symmetry with its female ego disappearing into nowhere.
Yet another, fifth, element will be the background, which can only be described as the “return of the ancient gods” (Heidegger’s formula), the rise of the collective unconscious or hell in its etymological form, as the invisible (Hades) becomes visible (idea, form). In the absence of a repressing logos, all myths will rise up together without any diachronical control or any order (Ordnung). Christian consciousness can also safely relate to this as religion demands. In a moral, strictly religious sense, temptation should have no power or force over saved man if evil does not in one moment assume ambiguous features that form a spiritual and moral choice – for the discernment of spirits is a truly heroic challenge and great feat – and not taking itself for granted as socio-cultural banality. When evil comes in the guise of evil, it is not so difficult to reject. When it comes forth as something incomprehensible and overwhelming all at once, then taking a strict position is much more difficult. Everything spins and falls out of place, and it is impossible to distinguish one thing from the other. This is vigorous and effective evil.
Will this happen?
It necessarily will, since, on the one hand, such a scenario has in general terms been written down in the sacred texts of humanity, while on the other hand, modern sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, and analytical psychology have in their own languages and terminologies come to a more or less similar view. It certainly will, and precisely as it has been described. The question is when exactly?
Every failure in the history of civilization, every great war, natural disaster, bloody revolution, and mad cycle of cultural, political, social, economic, and technological development can potentially mean the collapse of the social logos, which has clearly and sufficiently long since achieved its saturation and passed through the main stages of its journey. The social logos has already “born, married, and died.” This had become obvious by the time of Nietzsche. Heidegger, Spengler, and in a wider sense most of Germany’s conservative revolutionaries in the 1920’s and ’30’s were living exclusively with the feeling of this end.
The Russian Revolution rode this very same wave, at least as poets, philosophers, and the artists of the Silver Age understood it (and they were the only ones to understand it correctly). The proposal that the proletariat recognize itself as a class identity (especially in the 1920’s), A. Planatov’s literature, and Klyuev, Blok, and Mayakovsky’s poetry had already anticipated the post-anthropological movement of disembodied, de-humanized energies. Blok’s Rus-Sofia is Anima. Klyuev described in detail the geography of the collective unconscious with the thoroughness of a German zoologist or surveyor. Mayakovsky created a poetic ontology of class beings. Platonov explained how being lives and works through the luminous communes, as his heroes eat the earth (like the character Chevengur who calls himself “God”), transform into Dostoevsky, and ravishly and voluptuously harm the reality of Rosa Luxemburg and the world revolution.
If we peer deeper into history, then what Rus lived through in the age of the schism and Europe during the Reformation can very well be attributed to the same category. The world ended, the social logos cracked and toppled, and out from underneath the rubble crawled the giant figures of the untamed subconscious.
There have been no few repetitions of the current crisis, and humanity is culturally ready for such. The swindling which we call “modernity” with its chimeras and emptiness will sooner or later end. Thus, everything will happen, happen soon, and happen precisely so. Sure, we have not described how, because we see everything as open and are preparing to participate.
And still there is the likelihood that this bursting bubble is not the last (or the next to last). Heidegger metaphysically pondered: “We live close to the point of midnight – no, it seems not yet – always the eternal ‘not yet’”…
But no matter how frustrated expectations for a quick outcome might be, this does not mean that there will never be an end. It might be delayed, but look around. Everything bears its signs. Perhaps it will be postponed once again, will blow over, and the scum will once again rejoice and stir, feeling that this time it is “still not yet…” We could allow for this, but then again, maybe it won’t be postponed. Even if it were, one must live – already today – as if it will not be postponed. And when we will truly live, fixed on the post-anthropological outcome, living within it itself and perhaps anticipating its events, then everything will happen .
It will, it necessarily will.
Translated by Jafe Arnold