Zizek has done some excellent work on the middle period of Deleuze’s thought and he has succeeded in integrating important ideas from DIFFERENCE AND REPETITION and LOGIC OF SENSE, but Deleuze’s positive evaluation of Jung remains a blind spot for him.

Zizek operates with a normalised vision of Jung at the very moment that he argues against Pippin and Brandom’s “re-normalization of Hegel” in favour of Hegel’s “madness”. I wish to argue that a similar operation of “de-normalization” has been effected by some of the post-Jungians to dissolve the standard image of Jung.

Zizek makes six reproaches concerning “Jungian”-type problematics:

biologism, universal archetypes, depth, harmony, cosmic totality, reduction to meaning.

Since Zizek contrasts this ensemble of negative Jungian traits with Freud’s problematic as read through Lacan’s re-working, a more appropriate comparison would be with Jung as read through James Hillman’s re-visioning.

Hillman flatly rejects biologism as a form of the “naturalistic fallacy”

Hillman claims that Jung’s fundamental insight is “image is psyche“, where psychic images are “irreducible” appearances, that are appearances of nothing deeper:

“the image has no referent beyond itself” (Hillman, ARCHETYPAL PSYCHOLOGY, page 6).

According to Hillman depth is a quality of the image, like intensity not a locality. Depth is not to be taken literally as a direction, it must be de-literalised and seen to be a fantasy that does not take us away from appearances, but makes us more attentive to them:

“the fantasy of depth encourages us to look at the world again” (29).

Archetypality is another quality of the image, expressing a psychological value rather than an ontological hypostasis. “Universal” is an adjective rather than a noun, it expresses that an image is a matter of “essential and collective importance”, not an anthropological law.

Harmony is not a feature of Jung’s vision because everything has an ineliminable shadow, even God.The key activity of the soul for Hillman is not harmony but “pathologizing”

Hillman argues that there is no totality, no single unified cosmos, any cosmos is just one image amongst many, as “image is psyche” implies plurality of cosmoi (each with their own shadows and pathologies).

Finally, meaning for Hillman is a de-stabilised process of “sticking with the image” and has nothing to do with a fixed system of significations.

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9 Responses to AGAINST ZIZEK’S NORMALIZATION OF JUNG: Hillman’s non-standard Jung

  1. Lost in the maze again.OK tho.



  3. Kendred Tillotson says:

    Either I’m lost or this is going over my head. Looking at a philosopher (loose characterization) perspective of another philosophers perspective, without actually going into detail about what these perspectives are relating to, is very hard to follow, reject, or agree with. If you could respond to this it would be much appreciated, Thanks, Kendred.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kendred Tillotson says:

      I’m talking about what it relates to in the case of objective/subjective metaphysical forms we place words onto.


      • terenceblake says:

        I am talking about Zizek’s critique of Jung as based on a set of false stereotypes. James Hillman is a post-Jungian psychoanalyst who has exploded these stereotypes, so to understand more you could read his REVISIONING PSYCHOLOGY (1975) and Zizek’s DISPARITIES (2016).


  4. Pingback: AGAINST ZIZEK’S NORMALIZATION OF JUNG: Hillman’s non-standard Jung | AGENT SWARM – The AntManBee

  5. Jack Wershler says:

    Jung was openly contemptuous of Hegel in “Memories Dreams and Reflections” and was a psychoanalytic heretic. Zizek wouldn’t be Zizek if he didn’t disagree with Jung on almost everything. To put it another way, Zizek’s superficial incompatibility with Jung is the problem of psychological types personified.


  6. Why does image connected with significations even come up. The signifier has separated from the signified and circulates. I like Baudrillard on all this.


  7. Pingback: AGAINST PSYCHO-IDEOLOGY: Zizek, Jung, Badiou, and (yes, quelle horreur!) Jordan Peterson | AGENT SWARM

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