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Maduro, R. (1980). Symbolic Equations in Creative Process: Reflections on Hindu India. J. Anal. Psychol., 25(1):59-90.

(1980). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 25(1):59-90

Symbolic Equations in Creative Process: Reflections on Hindu India

Renaldo Maduro, Ph.D.

Every creative individual owes all that is greatest in his life to fantasy—the dynamic principle of fantasy is play.

C. G. JUNG (22)


MODERN ANTHROPOLOGY is experiencing the revival of interest in two very traditional, yet in many ways unexplored, psychological and cultural categories: mythological and religious symbolism. Recent attempts to describe and analyse symbolic structure, content, and process in ritual social contexts, however, often do not ask crucial questions related to depth psychology (Cf. SPIRO 41). It seems important to emphasise that a comprehensive grasp of central cultural symbols requires a studied appreciation of intrapsychic processes and meanings in relation to interpersonal dynamics.

A holistic view of both symbolic content and process considers that symbols arise out of a dynamic unconscious and have complex meanings on at least three different levels of abstraction and interpretation: (1) the sociocultural, (2) the personal, both psychological and biological, and (3) the transpersonal (archetypal), considered to be important by Freud, but developed and elucidated most trenchantly in terms of the archetypes in the works of Jung, and later by Levi-Strauss and others. Each level raises important questions related to degrees of specificity in attempts to interpret symbolic phenomena cross-culturally by empirical analysis. In holistic perspective, the meaning of any particular symbol or symbolic motif would in some ways always include, to paraphrase the anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn, what is like all other men, like some other men, and like no other man.

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