Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We'll start with the X

I'll note in this post that a basic understanding of the concepts of archetypal symbolism and the collective unconscious will most likely make these entries a little more accessible until I add a proper introduction that will explore these concepts along with the general thesis behind the concepts I'm exploring. In the meantime I will try to supply each entry with some basic definitions that may be helpful in reading. Credit to Wiki for the the definitions.

Archetype:In Jung's psychological framework archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations. A group of memories and interpretations associated with an archetype is a complex, e.g. a mother complex associated with the mother archetype. Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological constructs that arose through evolution.

Self:In Jungian theory, the Self is one of the archetypes. It signifies the coherent whole, unified consciousness and unconscious of a person. The Self, according to Jung, is realized as the product of individuation, which in Jungian view is the process of integrating one's personality. For Jung, the self is symbolized by the circle (especially when divided in four quadrants), the square, or the mandala.

Individuation:it is the name given to processes whereby the undifferentiated tends to become individual, or to those processes through which differentiated components tend toward becoming a more indivisible whole.

But to the draft:

This myth (The X files), which is one of the most well defined in the belief system of Ufology, has man layers of intricate and expanding symbolism which will be examined in detail throughout this work.

I would like to begin with the first symbol that we encounter, that which is in the title itself, the "X". This can be seen as both a symbol of the "self" or integrated psyche, and of the basic model of the modern spiritual belief system and how it functions.

Jung tells us that the spiritual "self" can be represented by the equilateral cross, a quaternity that he saw modern western man having drifted from in his religion and art. In this equation there are four arms representing four facets that make the whole. These can be seen to represent the following: The topmost arm representing the creator (god the father, the organizing force in the universe, etc), moving clockwise to the conscious self (the hero, god made flesh), the bottom arm as that of the divine feminine (mother earth, pagan gods that live within nature), and the fourth arm as the spirit (holy spirit, soul). Or to put it in Jung's psychological terms, in the same order, thinking, sensing, feeling, intuiting.

It has been observed that in many older religions, the quaternity is represented by symbols like the equilateral cross, while in Christianity there was a deviation into a different cross, that of the crucifixion, which symbolically raised the horizontal bar of the old cross and thereby elevated three of these parts, placing a value of "goodness" upon them and casting the fourth component, (the divine feminine) into the realm of "evil" or that which opposes not only its opposite, the creator, but the two other parts as well.

The myth which we now examine shows us not the cross of the trinity nor of the classical quaternity, but rather the equilateral cross turned on its axis to for a new symbol for the self, that of the "X".

But how can we view the function of this new symbol? In our post modern, technological age it seems our collective world view has shifted, and that within that new paradigm the components of the psychological "self" must be adjusted to include the component of scientific thought. So let us now view the four aspects as follows: Where there was the creator there is now belief in that for which we do not have empirical evidence (aliens, the supernatural), where we placed the spirit, we now place that which does have empirical evidence (science). Leaving the other two aspects, that of the conscious self or hero and that of the divine feminine to be represented in this particular myth by our hero (Mulder) and heroine (Scully).

Why the turning of the symbol? In both of its former forms the cross had strong symbolic implications of value in the placement of the components as above or below, left or right. In the turning of the symbol there is a new balance and dynamic between the parts of the whole. We can also see another new dimension in which the feminine is below (or is the child of) science and the masculine is below the ephemeral. (It should also be noted that these alignments are the opposite of the traditionally perceived functions and characteristics of male and female, in which the male would be associated with the logical and concrete, and the female with the intuitive and fluid. This is important because it addresses the rapidly changing roles of men and women in the 20th and early 21st centuries.)

We find this symbolism bears out in the course of our myth when we are confronted with a man who is the intuitive believer and the woman who is the scientist and skeptic. As these two characters interact and proceed on their dramatic journey we can return to the symbolism of the "X" and see how the two lower arms work to bring the other closer to their opposite points, until the four elements can be seen as converging toward a single point in a dynamic symbol of the integrated consciousness.

We can also note at this point that in turning the cross to an "X" and bringing the feminine aspect to a level equal with that of the hero we are also addressing the changing role of a man's anima in our modern culture, wherein men are called upon to more actively manifest their "feminine side" in their daily lives.

The changing role of the woman is not only symbolized by her arm of the quaternity moving to an equal plane with the male arm, but also in our particular myth's lovely choice in making our female character Catholic and her wearing of the Christian cross. This serves as a constant reminder of the modern woman's spiritual struggle to reconcile her role in the modern spiritual equation against her traditional role as the dark side of nature.

So that's it for now...let me know if it makes coherent sense, I know that deeper examination of the concepts might be tough when I'm only presenting one small fragment of the whole idea, but I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts.


detective said...

It is very interesting.
Generally, I`m agre with your theory. I`d like to read the rest of Your work :)
But I have a question. I don`t know if I follow... Does exist any rule which determine turning of the cross? Or this movement is just teoretical construction to explain and show how Jung`s teory can be transformed in a postmodern world?
If it`s not teoretical- is the cross move random?

captjojo said...

That turning from cross to X is something that I see as a projection of the collective unconscious. It is a symbol that seems to have had great attraction in the last part of the 20th Century (Generation X, Xtreme, X sports, etc)...

They theory of it relating to the cross, at least in relation to this myth is my own. It came from Jung's thoughts on the raising of the central bar from the equilateral cross to the Christian cross in symbolic terms, and since it is right there in the title of the myth I figured it was worth exploring.

detective said...

Thanks for explanations. Now, I see I have to refresh my knowledge about Jung. I was always more Freudian :)

You wrote: "That turning from cross to X is something that I see as a projection of the collective unconscious."
I have one more question: Did you prove it some way? If it possible, may you give some examples?

captjojo said...

I'm no is all purely theoretical, basically, I took Jung's observation that symbols of the self in ancient cultures tended to be in a balanced 4 fold, and that the Western Christian viewpoint had a symbol which changed the balance of those old symbols, and looked at the X which comes in the title of this myth and has been used quite a bit in the popular culture in general and tried to examine it in terms of what it might say about our contemporary culture, in terms of gender roles and the advent of the scientific mindset.

I hope that makes sense...I have a tendency to regard Jung as a philosopher just as much, if not more so than as a psychologist...he had a much more spiritual focus in his work than I've observed in Freud and others.

detective said...

Yes, of course it makes sense :)
I`m not a scientist, me neither, but You wrote that You are not sharing your complete work, so I was thinking that there are some fragments of bigger whole. A book, maybe?

When I asked about rule which could determine the movement of the cross, I was thinking about the beginning of these movements. (Now, I hope that it makes sense :))
I was wondering if there were some happenings in our history or in culture which could start this process.

You` re right about Jung, he was- using his words- more complex than Freud, but there wasn`t Jung`s works without Freud`s works :)