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Donati, M. (2019). From Active Imagination to Active Life: At the Roots of Jungian Social Activism. J. Anal. Psychol., 64(2):225-243.
   

(2019). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 64(2):225-243

From Active Imagination to Active Life: At the Roots of Jungian Social Activism

Marialuisa Donati

Our traditional Western worldview is often unconsciously based on a polarized, dichotomous perspective. However, many of Jung's ideas hint at a deep interrelation between opposites, such as inside and outside, which are, as the principle of synchronicity shows, rooted in a conceptualization of psyche and matter conceived as intertwined. Another pair of philosophical concepts, traditionally considered as opposites, needs further investigation: that between imagination and reality. If we are lucky in our daily practice as analysts, we can use imagination as a powerful tool to help people discover themselves as individuals and to get in deeper, more lively and responsible touch with reality. This paper explores the difference that Jung outlined between ‘active imagination’ and ‘passive fantasies’, and the transformative power of taking an active part in what imaginatively happens - he called it ‘active participation’ - rather than being passively overwhelmed by invasive fantasies. It is argued that it makes a great difference whether we become the actors and not just the spectators of our lives, and this is linked with the core of the individuation process in which, if individuals discover their particular place and meaning in the universe, they can live an ‘active life’, playing a heartfelt and responsible role in the collective world to which they belong. These ideas are at the heart of Jung's work, and they represent one of the roots of Jungian social activism.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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