Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Introduction to Giegerich's Concept of Soul

"Much like the Pharaoh in ancient Egypt, profit maximization is the sun around which we humans today have been assigned to revolve, by no means because of the personal greed of those who profit from this profit, but because the Copernican Revolution has redefined the role of humans as mere satellites.
"[Profit maximization] needs us, needs our heart, our feeling, our imaginative attention and rigorous thinking effort so as to have a chance to become instilled with mind, with feeling, with soul. It must not be left as something that happens totally outside of us and apart from our consciousness. It must, as it were, be reborn through the soul and in the soul."
- http://www.cgjungpage.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=141

And yet, we desire to be defined by our work, not by our income. The global market defines people as statistical units, and yet we still desire for our innate idiosyncrisies [Jung] to be acknowledged by others. That is the realization that we as a culture must come to. That is to say, we must find a way to define ourselves by our achievements within the soul dimension of life, not the ego dimension.

From the soul's perspective, income is the positivistic, hypostatized artifact of one’s life work. Income is utterly meaningless to the soul. What matters to the soul is the intrinsic quality of one’s work itself.

There can be no soul dignity to income, because valuation based on income is precisely the rejection of valuation based on qualities of soul.

We overeat for psychological reasons, we watch TV for psychological reasons--in short, we consume mostly for psychological reasons, that is, for reasons beneath the level of conscious logic. 

Consumerism is a neurosis, a condition of the soul.

Giegerich's whole ouvre hinges on the root cause of certain addictions, such as consumerism, and certain other neuroses, and the claim that these addictions are caused not by genetics and not by environmental factors, but by soul--by an unexplainable urge within consciousness itself. 

But why use the word 'soul', which is heavy with religious connotations? The Wikipedia article on Giegerich had a good clarification I think: "Giegerich argues for a shift in focus from the individual, whose very definition has changed radically throughout history, to a focus on the cultural mind, evolving zeitgeist, or as he prefers, 'the soul,' which is what ultimately gives rise to the changing understandings of what it means to be an ‘individual’." He prefers 'soul' to 'cultural mind' because he is trying to move beyond the dichotomy of individual vs. collective, and "cultural mind" is still on the level of "collective mind", "collective unconscious" [Jung], and more generally the new-agey idea "everything is one". "Soul", on the other hand, has none of the connotations of mass-mindedness, and yet our age recognizes that soul is not an attribute of the individual as Medieval Europe believed. Our age has negated the concept of the individual eternal soul, and in doing so, opened the door for a transformed concept of soul.