Enantiodromia

Something about the comment thread in the last post on myth and history has suggested to me that I post something further about the meaning of “enantiodromia” and the panta rhei of Heraclitus. “Enantiodromia” was a term invented by the depth psychologist Carl Jung, following Heraclitus, to describe a reversal at the extremity, or how actions turn into their ostensible opposites.

Enantiodromia is really another representation of what is called the “karmic law” of action and reaction, just as Heraclitus’ ethos anthropoi daimon (“character is fate”) is an interpretation of the karmic law. A basic summary of that law may be stated thus: any action whatsoever, originating in mind or body, is attached to the initiator of the act as if by an umbilical cord, remains attached to the initiator of the act for the duration of its action, and ultimately rebounds upon the actor as the consequential (or even as “the accidental”).

This dynamic of the law is usually interpreted in terms of “reward” or “punishment”, or pleasure or pain, for thought or conduct, and even as the regulating action of the “invisible hand” of the market. But that is just an interpretation.

It is not possible to understand the karmic law or enantiodromia — or even Heraclitus for that matter — if one thinks only in terms of dualisms or extremes of opposition. The understanding of the law requires that one understands such dynamics in terms of polarities or complementaries and not mutually exclusive opposites.

This is rather crucial to understand. It is why the tongue of the serpent is represented as “forked” (divergent or dia-bolic), while the tongue of Christ is described as a “two-edged sword” (convergent or sym-bolic). One is the tongue of self-contradiction, and therefore of dis-integration. The other is the tongue of paradox or conjunctio oppositorum — the union or marriage of ostensible opposites or the integrative. Superficially, they might even look somewhat the same. But one must be very cautious about the subtle difference. Here, as in past posts, I invoke what I call “Khayyam’s Caution” — to whit, that “only a hair separates the false from the true”, which in itself also is a repudiation of dualistic thinking and an affirmation of polarity.

That the false is only the shadow of the true is equally expressed in one of Wm Blake’s Proverbs of Hell — “Every thing possible to be  believ’d is an image of truth” also expresses Khayyam’s Caution. And Blake, likewise, is completely unintelligible to those who think only in terms of dualisms rather than polarities. “Heaven in a Wild Flower” or “Eternity in the hour” express the essential polarity of events and things, such that time and eternity, or the finite (or definite) and the infinite do not exist apart or in separation (dichotomisation) from one another, but as aspects of one another.

Thus, fundamentally, cosmos and chaos (or good and evil) are states of polarity and not mutually exclusive opposites. At some intuitive level, human beings already perceive this even if in a distorted and often perverse way.

That any action whatsoever remains attached to the one who initiated the act, and that this is the fullest meaning of the karmic law of action and reaction, is why Buddhism places such emphasis on “non-attachment” as liberation from samsara, which is the karmic realm or “the wheel of time and space”. In Blake, samsara is called “Ulro” and is ruled by Urizen (who is the mental-rational consciousness or “the Selfhood”). Ulro is the shadow realm or emanation into which human consciousness — ego consciousness — is now in thrall, and not least of all because it has fallen into the trap of dualistic thinking. Ulro is called “the vegetative mirror” by Blake and is fully the equivalent of Seth’s “camouflage universe”. “Ulro” is really a state of consciousness and not a truly an “objective” reality.

The symmetry of the karmic law is expressed by the balancing of the action and the reaction. Any act is “bounded” by its participation in polarity, for at the extremity it reverts to its contrary, and thus some order is preserved. That  “limit” at which reversal occurs is the coincidence of the opposites, when action and reaction seem identical, or thesis and anti-thesis become identical, where the self-contradictory seems to be the norm. This is the “tipping point”, as some call it, (or “omega point”) where we are suddenly confronted with dilemma. This is expressed as “unintended consequence”, “ironic reversal”, “reversal of fortune”, “blowback”, “perverse outcome”, “revenge effect”, and so on. And it is this dynamic of action and its attendant reaction (or consequential) that human beings interpret in terms of metaphysical “reward” or “punishment”.

This state also signals the breakdown or disintegration of the mental-rational consciousness structure in self-contradiction or that state termed “duplicity”. It is also the condition called “crisis”, which means essentially the arrival at a crossroads or juncture where indecision, uncertainty, anxiety, self-doubt and self-contradiction are typical responses to the dilemma, which is arrival at the limit.

This “limit” represents, nonetheless, a guard against excess. It is meant to preserve order or “cosmos” against runaway actions by a kind of transmutation or revaluation of the act. The polarity shifts. This “limit”and subsequent reversal is what was meant by “hybris” and subsequent “Nemesis” by the ancient Greeks, indicating that they understood the karmic law quite well. Hybris is also what is called “transgression” or “sin” in the Bible, but which has become so clouded in superstition that it has become all but useless as a description of the karmic law.

That the Modern Era and the mental-rational civilisation have reached this “tipping point”, limit, or point of reversal (but is still deluded enough to think of this as “progression”) is evinced in some typical self-contradictory expressions like “creative destruction” to describe its present activities. Another I’ve made note of is to accuse one’s political opponent of “political correctness” while insisting for oneself on “ideological purity” (as if these were, in fact, opposites, whereas they are identical attitudes). It might even be stated that Jung’s conception of “enantiodromia” itself testifies to our arrival at this juncture or limit in which action and reaction have become identical as well as mutually negating. There are a thousand other similar confusions.

This juncture or limit, having been arrived at after about 500 years of progression, is also now recognised by terms such as “deconstruction” or “nihilism”. But in this deconstruction or nihilism is also the potential of a reconstruction or restructuration. The conjunction of opposites also represents the potentiality of the transformational. This is why Gebser, for example, insists that the present “destructuration” (or loss of the human form, ie, “the mental-rational consciousness”) is also an essential restructuration which he calls a “mutation” towards a new structure of consciousness — the integral, which he sees as the latent or implicit pole of the nihilistic tendencies of the era.

The Christian’s Book of Revelation — or the Apocalypse — is really about polarity. This is why I think hardly anyone understands it. We use “apocalypse”, for example, as if it meant destruction. It is about how the Christian impulse can revert into its contrary, and become self-negating and nihilistic, ie, “the anti-Christ”. Apocalypse means, however, “disclosure” or discovering or unveiling — a reversal at the extremity and at the limit. As truth is often experienced as “shattering” (depending on the depth of delusion one has lived under) so the apocalyptic can seem equally “shattering” or destructive or corrosive of established, but now deficient or inadequate, beliefs, norms, institutions, morals, etc. In that sense, “nihilism” can also be a clearing of the deck, as Nietzsche held it to be.

Shiva’s Dance of Destruction is the dance of polarity as well, destruction and creation, nihilism and genesis, death and resurrection. So is Bauman’s “Liquid Modernity” also a dance of Shiva. This is not to say that “enantiodromia” in these senses doesn’t have its dangers and perils. It will seem like an epidemic of madness, even something hellish — Nietzsche’s Dionysian frenzy. In that sense, one should soberly bear in mind what Heraclitus said of Dionysus (which perhaps Nietzsche did not know) — that Dionysus, who is Shiva and the spirit of renewal, was one of the forms or avatars of Hades, too, god of Hell.

More on this later.

 

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17 responses to “Enantiodromia”

  1. heraclitus says :

    Scott, everything you just wrote is like liquid gold… I’m developing my first feature film with a producer in Scotland and the script is highly inspired by these very ideas… I actually have specific scenes that take Heraclitus phrases and put them into action like stepping in the same river twice.

    I’m not as read and intelligent as you and I feel close to Herzog’s “illiterate” mode of being, but this post gives me more confidence in my ideas and particularity this film I’m developing. I’m specifically curious about how this post relates to “cycles” and “paradoxes”. I’m basically looking to affirm the ideas at the center of my story…

    I was raised Christian and from a young age I’ve been utterly confused by the dualistic perspective and conceptualization of god/life that was taught to me. When I began to discover ideas on my own, Jung, Hegel, Laozi, and Heraclitus became my friends. Along with filmmakers Herzog, Lynch, Tarkovsky, Weir, and Malick. I’m don’t fully grasp their ideas, often haven’t been able to understand the original writings and need others to explain the ideas to me… like this post.

    Additionally when I first started writing screenplays at 13 years old, I was unable to delineate the protagonist from the antagonist. They always felt superimposed on the fact that the antagonist is a projection of the protagonist. But the audience never experiences this truth apart from the cliche near the climax when the protag and antag meet and the antag says” “we’re not that different, you and I”. Also I’m not simply getting at how some films depict a person being their own worst enemy or whatever. I’m talking about how I can’t read Aristotle’s Poetics or any other titan in narrative rules and agree with them about this dualistic mode of storytelling. I’ve always been unsatisfied. The nature of my stories very much blur the line between the protag/antag dualism, and not through cheap tricks like the antag is the evil twin, doppelganger, or future self… it is in the narration (the unfolding of events) that the line is blurred. Essentially all my story’s pivot at a paradox, so normal cause/effect logic that strings events together doesn’t work on the whole, although for 70% of the film you feel like it’s held together by this logic, the crux of the story is a paradoxical event where you can’t fully separate the protag and antag. I understand this to be the event of enantiodromia.

    In my current script it sets out with a line drawn in the sand, here’s our hero and here’s our villain… but the conflict climaxes with a kind of “passing of the torch” and you think back throughout the story and looks at certain scenes differently. Basically the audience is suppose to experience or witness enantiodromia. And again its not simply Nolan’s “if you live long enough [as the hero] you watch yourself become the villain”. I think the story says something more like “where they ever different?”

    So I’m curious about how this post relates to “cycles” and “paradoxes” because that seems to be the “thing” at the center of whatever my stories are trying to get at… like the dance around the still point.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Hi. Just wanted you to know I’ve received your comments, but won’t be able to get back to you until tomorrow. I’m in the untypical situation today of being pressed for time.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I’m not as read and intelligent as you and I feel close to Herzog’s “illiterate” mode of being…

      Nothing to be ashamed of, really. The “illiterate” mode is just another way of saying “look to experience”, not to authorities about experience. That is, the “illiterate” mode of being places a high premium on the immediacy of perception against the mediate or mediated. Film-making is a very fine experimental form for wrestling with the conundrums of perception and time. Experience and experiment are, after all, related words — what you seize from the jaws of risk and danger and “peril” — and survive it. Metanoia and survival are also related meanings.

      In the circumstances of Late Modernity — liquid modernity — we “survive” (ie, “out-live” or “out-run”) our circumstances only by meta-noia — new mind or by changing. We are in the midst of what Trotsky called a “permanent revolution” — of dying to oneself daily — and that is about process, time, impermanence of all forms. Oddly enough, it affirms Buddhist “impermanence” also, and therefore Heraclitus as well. Your own experience and perception must be your guide. “Non-attachment” must be your practice. You also must become light and fluid, which is the “warrior’s way” as taught to Castaneda also. That is the meaning of Heraclitus’ “river” and panta rhei.

      It is in recognition of this that the social philosopher Rosenstock-Huessy proposed his new formula to replace the outmoded Cartesian formula. The Cartesian formula read, of course, “I think, therefore I am”, and we pretty much imbibe this “norm” with our mother’s milk. Rosenstock’s alternate formula reads “respondeo etsi mutabor” or “audi, ne moriamur”. “I respond, although I will be changed” or “Listen, lest we die!”. These are the tests of the adequacy or inadequacy of our responses. The emphasis here is not on space, as it is with the Cartesian formula — of subject and object. The emphasis shifts to time and the experience of time and change. We are, therefore, in an entirely new era, and it requires a new consciousness.

      This new consciousness is already in process of self-articulation, although it is not yet aware of itself as such. So, it stammers and stutters and is often “at a loss for words”, as they say.

      But the audience never experiences this truth apart from the cliche near the climax when the protag and antag meet and the antag says” “we’re not that different, you and I”.

      Brings to mind that movie “Runaway Train”, which I’m sure you’ve seen.

      So I’m curious about how this post relates to “cycles” and “paradoxes”…

      Time — the experience of time — is becoming a very prominent theme in a lot of current film-making — “Cloud Atlas”, “The Tree of Life” (I don’t see a lot of films, so I’m only mentioning two I have seen). Because they deal with this conundrum of time, they are sometimes difficult for people to appreciate, because our mental processes still remain space-bound and attached to the logic of space — to perspectivist “point-of-view-line-of-thought”. Some artists (Picasso) and filmmakers are trying to break out of this perspectivising mode of consciousness which is still attached, somewhat, to Renaissance perspectivism and the emphasis on “the point of view”.

      Augustine put it thus: “Time is of the soul”. For Blake, this is the realm of “Generation”, as he also calls it. There is, as such, no one “time” but only “times” in the plural. “These are times that try men’s souls”, as Tom Paine put it, which places an emphasis on time’s multiformity or plurality. “The times are out of joint” is Shakespeare’s. It is in recognition of this plurality of times that Rosenstock-Huessy describes his “new thinking” as “synchronisation of antagonistic distemporaries”.

      When you see how time is imagined and represented presently, this plurality is depicted as “time’s arrow” or “time’s cycle” (both linear, by the way) or “spiral dynamics”, or as Rosenstock’s “cross of reality” (time thrusting backwards and forwards, expanding or contracting, connected to the conservative or revolutionary moods of the soul), or the “time” of relativity theory, or time as “the measure of entropy” and realm of mortality, etc. Confusion about “time” and the meaning of time abounds. The word “secular” means, essentially, the “time-bound”, (as contrasted with eternity or timelessness).

      That there is no one “time” as such seems to confirm Augustine’s observation that “time is of the soul”, and in that sense, is connected with Seth’s remarks that “there are species of consciousness”. If one understands time in those senses, then Rosenstock-Huessy’s formula for creating peace in society “synchronisation of antagonistic distemporaries” makes immanent sense.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I might add something about this confusion about time that I addressed somewhat earlier.

      There is a CBC Ideas programme (which I’ve mentioned) called “Living on Oxford Time” about time as it is presently understood by physicists (at Oxford University). http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2010/01/27/wednesday-january-27-living-on-oxford-time/

      It is somewhat worth listening to, as long as one guards against falling under its demonic spell. For these physicists treat time as if it were identical to space, which it is not. Thus they deny anything like a “universal present” or “Eternal Now” in favour of a conception of infinite, discrete “Now” moments. These infinite discrete, bounded, self-contained “moments” eternally preserved in their isolation from one another, resemble atoms and sub-atomic particles. This is the way they think about “time”. The aggregation of such discrete “Now” moments sums up “time”. All time states — past memory and future probable states — are all preserved in these discrete “moments”.

      In this sense, there is nothing called “Now” but only infinite “Nows”.

      This is very foolish, but quite revealing and instructive.

      It is quite possible to turn the tables on these musings about unconnected infinite “now” moments as being only the ultimate atomisation and disintegration of time. One senses in all this, ironically, the old Parmenidean bias for static “Being” and a fumbling attempt to conserve it. If all moments (however these “moments” are defined) have this universal quality of “Now”, does it not make more sense to say that, rather than infinite “Nows”, there is in fact one Universal Now or universal presence that preserves within itself all time states — past, present, and future as a whole, rather than as infinite fragments of a whole?

      This is why “whole” and “totality” should not be confused. They are not the same. These Oxford physicists treat them as if they were synonymous or identical. This is wrong, because the word “whole” pertains to health (and the integral), while the word “total” is connected with words for “death” (Germanic “tot” or “Tod” meaning “dead” or “death” respectively).

      This confusion which makes life and death into synonyms is very revealing about the state of the modern mental-rational (analytical) consciousness. This is analysis carried to the point of absurdity, or as Wordsworth put it, “we murder to dissect”. This is why I warn in advance not to fall under the “demonic spell” of the views of these physicists. But it is necessary to understand in what way the contemporary mental-rational consciousness, with its greatest tool and weapon — analysis — has become disintegrate itself.

      And that also belongs to the dynamic of “enantiodromia” — the analyst has become the analysed.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Oxford philosophy reigns supreme, right? Oxford philosophy is killing the world.”

        The quote is from George Lakoff, from an article that just appeared in The Guardian today. How peculiar that it should do so just after I posted the above comment.

        http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/01/george-lakoff-interview

        Although Lakoff makes some points in the article, the issue of “the frame” is something that should be more thoroughly examined in itself. For just as the “point of view” and “line of thought” harken back to perspective art and perspectivising consciousness, so does so does the notion of “the frame”.

        Peering over, beyond, and through “the frame” — making the frame conscious — is what concerns me.

  2. abdulmonem says :

    Your two comments on the inquiry of Heraclitus made me dance in the flow of time, it remind me of the illiterate Mohammad, the illiterate mode of being and how it places a high premium on the immediacy of perception,after all ,we are all provided with the faculties of perception, look for our own experience, read the universe and not seek the experience of other. I was astonished not to see you mention Gebser in both comments ,specially when you mentioned the species of consciousness. The sufi is the son of now. the presence vigilantly in life, that is in the four moods of grammar as mentioned by Rosenstock, that is the integrative mood of Gebser. Thank you Scott.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I was astonished not to see you mention Gebser in both comments ,specially when you mentioned the species of consciousness.

      My oversight, although I have mentioned “species of consciousness” in connection with Gebser’s “structures of consciousness” in the past. The representation of time in each of these structures is quite different.

      Lakoff’s “frame” is also a structure,

      “Framing is not primarily about politics or political messaging or communication. It is far more fundamental than that: frames are the mental structures that allow human beings to understand reality – and sometimes to create what we take to be reality. But frames do have an enormous bearing on politics … they structure our ideas and concepts, they shape the way we reason … For the most part, our use of frames is unconscious and automatic.”

      That’s pretty much a valid characterisation of Gebser’s “structures” or Seth’s “species”, although they are far too narrowly understood in Lakoff’s thinking. It’s possible to critique this article for its limited understanding of consciousness structures, but I would like to become more familiar with Lakoff’s other writing first. In any case, “structures” (Gebser), “frames” (Lakoff), or “species” (Seth) all attempt to refer to the same issue of the “ordering” of our consciousness and perception.

      His other observation, that we tend to perceive the functions of the State or governments or political leaders with a paternal or maternal hue, is something I’ve already touched on in earlier posts as a seeming incorrigible feature of our childishness.

      But it’s precisely because of the “flow of time” that we erect consciousness structures or “frames” as fortresses, bulwarks. The ego consciousness seeks stability (permanence) against the flux and flow, and this “permanence” is involved with what Becker called “the denial of death”, denial of our mortality (and thus, confirms us also in this childishness mentioned above). This reification of consciousness (being “solid” or “four-square” or “a rock of Gibraltar” or being “constant as the northern star” is often considered high praise) can become a trap. Fortresses may defend against the flux, but they can also imprison. And that, too, belongs to “enantiodromia”.

      Newton’s “Frame of the World” is this “solid”, and is the mental-rational structure itself, and this “Frame of the World” is what so alarmed Wm Blake, too. He called it “Single Vision” and a prison for consciousness (“the mind-forg’d manacles”). I’m concerned that Lakoff doesn’t understand this by his reference to “frames” — or to Gebser’s archaic, magical, mythical structures also as “frames”.

      Making these frames (or structures) transparent — that is the task of the true educator. That is “enlightenment”. Using these frames for persuasion or manipulation — that is the purpose of the propagandist. The propagandist is, in effect, a fake educator, and his “enlightenment” is the preservation of darkness.

    • Scott Preston says :

      This is what he believes it would take to refashion the progressive mindset: the abandonment of argument by evidence in favour of argument by moral cause;…

      That’s another excerpt from the Lakoff article I take issue with. I prefer not to speak of “moral causes”. I prefer not to speak even of something called “the spiritual”, because this word “spiritual” is loaded with preconceptions and perversions. For me, these are pragmatic issues of energy and awareness — and the abuses of energy and awareness, or vigor and perception.

      Lakoff shows by his surrender of reason (“argument by evidence”) to “moral causes” that he is compromised by the reactionary zeitgeist, too. Isn’t that what al-Kahdir demonstrated to Moses? That his “moral absolutes” were fictions that had no power to bind the Spirit?

      The proper use of energy-as-awareness, which is life, is creativity and health, and is called “Genesis”. The abuse of energy-as-awareness is destruction, which is sickness and death, and is called “nihilism” or “sin”.

      That’s my contribution to what Gebser calls “the concretion of the spiritual”.

    • Scott Preston says :

      By the way, Abdulmonem, “dancing in the flow of time” is a brilliant piece of wording. Very lovely.

      • Scott Preston says :

        It just occurred to me, yes. Rumi was enraptured one day upon passing through the blacksmith’s quarter of Konya. In the rhythm of the blacksmith’s hammers he heard the voice of Allah, and began to dance to it. Thus was born his school — the Mevlevi – otherwise known as “whirling dervish”.

        Dance was also the “atheist” Nietzsche’s response to the voice of God when he uttered “you philosophers, learn how to dance!” and when he had his breakdown in Turin, his landlady found him dancing, naked, to some inaudible music and rhythm.

        “God is the power that makes men speak”, said Rosenstock-Huessy. And dance is also grammatical — is also eloquence and articulation, a weaving of repose and movement, a tapestry of silence and sound. The Irish called Jesus, too, “Lord of the Dance”, as the master of rhythm — of tempo and timing.

        Nietzsche was no atheist. The voice of God was in the music, and like Rumi in Konya, he felt compelled to dance in the flow of time.

  3. abdulmonem says :

    I for get to mention that I read the views of the three scientists and can not say but to agree fully with your healthy view.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    I can not catch myself but flow, the moral issues are not shackles to spirit ,how beautifully you deduced it , in time of necessity all laws of morality are nullified. We are rhythms in a sea of rhythms, we are in constant movement physically and mentally and that the dance of the spirit.
    I prefer to say when Neitzsche was in a drunkenness mode when he danced in Turin. In that stations some people lose their sanity , others their life, and that was the dilemma of Alhallaj.

  5. abdulmonem says :

    I can not catch myself but flow, the moral issues are not shackles to spirit ,how beautifully you deduced it , in time of necessity all laws of morality are nullified. We are rhythms in a sea of rhythms, we are in constant movement physically and mentally and that is the dance of the spirit.
    I prefer to say when Neitzsche was in a drunkenness mode when he danced in Turin. In that stations some people lose their sanity , others their life, and that was the dilemma of Alhallaj. I am sure you are familiar with the sufis terms Sikr (drunkenness) and Sawha (sobriety)

  6. LittleBigMan says :

    A joyously in-depth essay.

    If I understand it correctly, then, enantiodromia is the power to regenerate. In the sense world, enantiodromia can take centuries, as you have explained with respect to the rise and fall of the mental-rational consciousness structure, or within a year as we see with the changing of seasons. But enantiodromia can be quite instantaneous in the world that stirs on the inside (e.g. love/hate; sadness/happiness, etc.)

    It seems then as the Self distances itself from a more concretized ego-consciousness to a more fluid one, the dependence of enantiodromia on time will lessen. Within a completely fluid ego-consciousness, then, love and hate, sadness and happiness have become one and no longer exist; that is, the ego-consciousness has freed itself from the reincarnational cycle. At this point, awareness will no longer has a need for the raft that has helped it cross the river of physical life. The training is complete.

    The fact that it has taken 5 centuries for the mental-rational structure of consciousness to feel its own crushing blowback is evidence of its strong association with the camouflage of the natural world. Then the current nhilism resides at the very periphery of a the mental-rational structure and whatever structure (integral?) within which humanity will emerge next.

    We must be at the “event horizon” juncture of the interface with the next consciousness species and about to be sucked in and recycled. I love it. How appropriate that the civilizations that were most dependent on the products of the mental-rational structure are also closer now to using recycling and renewable energy generation technology.

    “Cloud Atlas” is one of the movies which is on my list of movies to watch. The trailer was quite interesting.

    “Your own experience and perception must be your guide. “Non-attachment” must be your practice.””

    Yes, and I would like to reiterate that those two sentences are inextricable. One’s experience and perception are loyal guides only if ego-consciousness has reached this point of “non-attachment.”

    “This [enantiodromia] “limit” represents, nonetheless, a guard against excess.”

    Indeed. The word “guard” here is very meaningful, implying the attention of guardian(s), which is very much related to Seth’s revelations:

    “communication is possible with various kinds of consciousness that have never been physically manifested, in your terms – personalities who do not have a physical reality in either your present or future, yet who are connected with your system of reality both as guardians and custodians.” (From page 161, Chapter 19, of my abridged copy of Seth Speaks).

    Isn’t it profoundly meaningful that Seth pairs up “guardians and custodians?” A guardian being as someone of an overseer’s stature while a custodian is more of an underling.

    Thinking about time, on the other hand, is quite exhausting to me.

    • Scott Preston says :

      The most succinct statements about enantiodromia are found in Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. Perhaps the most succinct is “Excess of sorrow laughs; excess of joy weeps”.

      You can see how this way of thinking contradicts a simple binary logic or mental dualism. Joy and sorrow are polarities. Enantiodromia is also to be noted in Gebser, who observed that the goddess Athena (goddess of reason) and the Gorgon were the same entity. Likewise, when Heraclitus stated that Dionysus and Hades were the same entity, he was asserting what Jung would later formally call “enantiodromia”.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        Your distinction between polar opposites and binary arrangements is very meaningful – with the former being portions of a continuous composition of a greater whole, and the latter being discrete islands with gaps that create dualities of all sorts.

        Enantiodromia is the negation of duality, and an indication of the continuous energy flux that underlies awareness.

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