Enantiodromia: From Objectification to Subjectification

Not so long ago, the principal complaint was about the “objectification” of the subject. That was the complaint about the Old Normal, as it were. But there has been a dramatic reversal of this dynamic, a seemingly revealing example of Jung’s “enantiodromia” or reversal at the extremity. The problem of the “New Normal” is the subjectification of the objective.

This notion of the subjectification of objective reality was something we already explored in earlier posts in The Chrysalis, particularly those posts dealing with Rolf Jensen’s book The Dream Society. This “Dream Society” can only be understood as the subjectification of what we normally take to be “objective reality”.

I didn’t object to Jensen’s basic thesis about the new primacy of the Imagination. What I did object to about the book was its attempt to harness the imagination for purposes of social and psychological manipulation and control — basically, capturing the imagination and spiritual enslavement, which is precisely what Jean Gebser called the “demonic” or “the sorceric” as also being the grave danger of an “Age of Subjectivism”, as Aurobindo called that.

What twigged that again was reading an article today that described covid-19 delirium. “They Want to Kill Me’: Many COVID Patients Have Terrifying Delirium“. Reading the article, I realised that a coronavirus delirium doesn’t seem much different from the pandaemonium of our present “chaotic transition,” or what we often refer to as “the New Normal”.

What does that suggest but the breakdown of the conventional membrane that separates the subjective and objective and a weird twist of fate by which the objectification of the subjective suddenly reverts into a subjectification of the objective, something that Stirk’s referred to as “the Triumph of the Irrational” (Technology and Magic).

The subjectification of objective reality would certainly bring with it a “crisis of truth” by our inability to discern between what is conventionally seen as the unreal and the real. But what the subjectication of objective reality leads to cannot be described in such terms, but only as the “irreal”. The irreal (which is, I’m sure, related to the word “eerie”) is the domain where sasquatches and Loch Ness serpents, monsters and aliens from outer space, unicorns, devils and angels all roam freely and assume objective form (such as the egregores). What also roams freely are formerly repressed fears, anxieties, complexes, phantasmagoria, fantasies and nightmare all of which seem to assume objective reality.

This subjectification of all objective reality would definitely describe the meaning of “the culture of narcissism”.

The word “delirium”, which is Latin, has pretty much the same meaning as the Greek “paranoia” — para + noos. Oddly, delirium originally suggested being stuck between two furrows (or, as we might say today, not in the groove) as Greek “paranoia” or insanity meant being of two minds or stuck between two minds (or, as we might say today, “beside oneself” or “not in one’s right mind”).

In the previous post I referred to the problem of the “conflation” of the subjective and objective which is pretty has pretty much the same meaning as the subjectication of objective reality and equivalently a loss of discernment — a failure of discerning reason. The danger here is not so much that we take the objective into ourselves, but that we dissolve completely into the objective, which was the fate of Narcissus. And we are certainly close to this when we invest our identity in certain “brand” images and lose ourselves in them so that they begin to seem more alive than we are:

“Come alive with Pepsi” as it were. We have to keep our wits about us.


8 responses to “Enantiodromia: From Objectification to Subjectification”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Dangers of an “Age of Subjectivism” — that we see our deepest, secret self smirking back at us in objective reality, filling us with such loathing that we attempt to annihilate it.

    The “Dr. Jekyll” solution to his Mr. Hyde problem, which didn’t end well for either Jekyll or Hyde. An important enough reason to cultivate Buddhist “non-attachment”

  2. Yeffen Ray says :


    Taking Apart the Light – NASA Space Place

    Appraximeter was the greatest tool that ever happened for humans by AI…

    Sociological reality culminates as game theory as in actions, reactions, interactions, occur between agents — positive/negative di-synchrony (a phase space).


  3. Scott Preston says :

    “Listening not to me but to the logos it is wise to agree that all things are one” — Heraclitus

    Yet, also from Heraclitus: “War [or strife] is the father of all things”.

    Another of Heraclitus’s grand paradoxes.

  4. Steve says :

    Wow ! simply appalled by what I see on media. I mean, for god sake’s, people need to get their shit together. Scott, can I come live with you in small town
    Canada ? Small town anywhere seems nice right now. I really do think the next twenty or so years are going to be, well, what can I say. Gebser might be right about a future American dictator. Someone who will make Trump look like a little girl. I don’t want to sound arrogant but good god people are horrific.

    • Steve says :

      I was riding my bike past this gathering and had to stop and listen.
      This is Austin Texas. I’m in the crowd turning red in the face.

      • Scott Preston says :

        A pleasant morning here this morning, damp but fresh and much needed. Sorry, but as far as I know, the border is closed, and probably will remain closed for the rest of the year. Strange to say it but I think there will come a time when we’ll have to open the border to asylum seekers and refugees from the US, as we did once before during the Vietnam War. I think there was something like 100,000 young Americans who took asylum here. I’ve met about 3 of those.

        In any case, things are a bit tense here as well, but nothing quite like what we see going on in the US or the UK — yet, anyway. The planet is in a process of transformation, but in some places it is more intense and turbulent than in others, just like climate change itself.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      All quiet here in my little hometown in NC. Cloudy and relatively cool for this time of year. (Kind of wondering if this relatively stable state of affairs doesn’t turn out to be a kind of Pippin’s Shire moment, though.)

      Downtown Charlotte, otoh, saw its share of looting and rioting and tear gassing at night alongside peaceful BLM marches and protests during the day over the last couple of weeks, but was entirely focused there for not entirely unknown reasons. (Seems when night falls, the black blocs and opportunists crawl out of the woodwork to wreak their havoc and try their best to cast a bad pall over the whole affair.)

      As a result of the backlash, orders have been issued that tear gas can no longer be deployed to disperse crowds of…well, anyone at any time, really. (Dodged a bullet there.)

      The craziness here mostly extends to the politicization of whether or not it’s “constitutional” to request (and, now, big surprise…not) demand face coverings be worn during a global pandemic. (Seriously? As if that isn’t a no-brainer. It’s not a political issue, it’s a public health issue and the real question is whether or not one cares for one’s own health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of others. Give me a break.)

      But, there we are.

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