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Williams, M. (1983). Deintegration and the Transcendent Function. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(1):65-66.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(1):65-66

Deintegration and the Transcendent Function

M. Williams

One of Jung's contributions to the understanding of the psyche was based on the idea of two realities: one of images springing from the archetypes of the collective unconscious and the other from the learnt or given reality of the known world. Active imagination was a method evolved to induce a meeting between these opposing but complementary realities. What Jung called the transcendent function was a psychic function which came into operation to achieve this end.

A vital link may be made between the process of the deintegration of the self as described by Fordham and the transcendent function. In normal development, deintegration is in the service of the ego and leads to a widening of consciousness and a leap forward. As, however, deintegration involves a disruption of the previous state of integration, it can resemble a disturbance of a jigsaw puzzle while a pattern incorporating new material is forming. It may therefore feel like disintegration with attendant regressive symptoms. In clinical practice with sick people this disturbance of the status quo, whenever a new factor seeks a place in the psychic economy, may feel persecutory and be violently resisted or may be embraced with such fervour that all sense of proportion is lost. In the transference at such times, the analyst is likely to be experienced as representing the deintegrate. Should the reality of the analytical situation be lost sight of entirely the transcendent function does not work, at least for the time being. In passing, its function, as described, is, in my view, similar to that of Eros as he who joins things together, the messenger between gods and men, and the power of the mating urge between men and women. It is, perhaps, not so passing a reference as it leads into the fear which inhibits or destroys the creative impulse which is always concerned with putting things together in a way which had not previously been envisaged. This is also the Eros function of analysis.

What, then, if there is too much Phobos? It appears that the deintegrate is imbued with shadow material which has been blown up out of all proportion by the activity of the archetypal image which is seeking to be known. Hence there may appear phantasies of monsters and devils akin to those associated with hell and concentration camps, both of which regularly appear in the description of feeling states of deprived or traumatised people.

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