Sunday, July 29, 2018


First posted May 2011.

Dr. David R. Hiles of De Montfort University, Leicester UK, a professor of psychology, a student of Jung and Blake, makes these comments on suffering and the contraries in his paper "Jung, William Blake and our answer to Job":
"Taking this view on board, we can see that Job should not be seen as the archetype of suffering, but instead we should think of Job as the archetype of our relationship to suffering. The story of Job is not just about suffering, or about the human experience of suffering, but about the wisdom that can unfold from our experience of suffering. The Job archetype is something that we all possess, but only with profound difficulty, can we access it in ourselves. Of necessity, each of us must formulate our own answer to Job, from our experience of, and participation in, suffering. The importance of our experience of the Job archetype is that it so clearly portrays the coincidentia oppositorium, the coincidence or conjunction of opposites that are brought into human consciousness (I must stress this is not the marriage of opposites). This is an idea which occupies such an important place in Jung’s psychology. However, what is at stake here is not the recognition of opposites, or the interplay of opposites in our experience, or even the union or marriage of opposites, but the shocking realization of their conjunction in the same object or situation. The reason why the coincidentia oppositorium is so crucial is that it does not simply represent the opposition of fear and love, but represents fear and love of the same object. Fearing one object, and loving another, is hardly a challenging experience. But fearing and loving the same object, now that is a completely different matter!! This is a theme, or psychic truth, that must lie at the core of an existential- transpersonal model of human experience. It is almost certain that the fearful symmetry which William Blake refers to in his poem, The Tyger, is precisely this conjunction of opposites:" (Page 19)
"If we take this seriously, then it does not take much effort to realize that the God archetype could not manifest itself in human consciousness in any other way. It is precisely this realization that lies at the core of Blake’s interpretation of Job, but which Jung strangely fails to make explicit despite his extensive study of alchemy, and the creative tension of opposites. A close examination of the major difference between Jung’s and Blake’s interpretation of Job shows that, whereas Jung sees Job as morally defeating God, there is no suggestion of this in Blake’s engravings at all. This is a crucial point. For Blake the conjunction comes at the midpoint, i.e. at Plate 11. The marriage, or union, of opposites that unfolds in the second half of Blake’s designs would not be possible without this terrifying conjunction being experienced first. The notion of a moral defeat, over God by Job, is really a symptom of being stuck in the coincidentia oppositorium, and not being able to move beyond it.
Blake therefore offers a resolution that Jung falls well short of. Blake is offering a richer and far more subtle view of the human response to suffering than can be found in Jung’s Answer to Job." (Page 21)

Oothoon in The Visions of the Daughters of Albion seems to have reached the resolution of holding both the joy and the sorrow of experience in the one vision of everything as holy.
Wikipedia Commons
Visions of the Daughters of Albion
Plate 11

Visions of Daughters of Albion, Plate 7-8, (E 50)
"Does the sun walk in glorious raiment. on the secret floor
Where the cold miser spreads his gold? or does the bright cloud drop
On his stone threshold? does his eye behold the beam that brings
Expansion to the eye of pity? or will he bind himself
Beside the ox to thy hard furrow? does not that mild beam blot
The bat, the owl, the glowing tyger, and the king of night.
The sea fowl takes the wintry blast. for a cov'ring to her limbs:
And the wild snake, the pestilence to adorn him with gems & gold.
And trees. & birds. & beasts. & men. behold their eternal joy.
Arise you little glancing wings, and sing your infant joy!
Arise and drink your bliss, for every thing that lives is holy!

Thus every morning wails Oothoon. but Theotormon sits
Upon the margind ocean conversing with shadows dire.

The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, & eccho back her sighs." 


1 comment:

Susan J. said...

"the archetype of our relationship to suffering"

"everything that lives is holy"

thank you so much, dear friend!