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Mansfield, V. Spiegelman, J.M. (1991). The Opposites in Quantum Physics and Jungian Psychology: Part I: theoretical foundations. J. Anal. Psychol., 36(3):267-287.

(1991). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 36(3):267-287

The Opposites in Quantum Physics and Jungian Psychology: Part I: theoretical foundations

Victor Mansfield and J. Marvin Spiegelman, Ph.D.

Introduction

The conflict of the opposites can strain our psyche to the breaking point, if we take them seriously, or if they take us seriously. The tertium non datur of logic proves its worth: no solution can be seen. If all goes well, the solution, seemingly of its own accord, appears out of nature. Then and only then is it convincing. It is felt as ‘grace’ (Jung 5, p. 335).

During the years when Jung was forging his pivotal theory of the opposites, quantum mechanics (QM) was struggling with the opposites in matter. While Jung was penetrating the unconscious, physicists were developing the elegant mathematics of QM and thereby paving the way for understanding Complementarity—the principle at the heart of QM.

Recent scholarship (Holton 2) shows that there were more than just parallel developments in depth psychology and QM in the first third of this century. Neils Bohr, the chief architect of our understanding of QM, was deeply influenced by psychology, especially William James's famous book The Principles of Psychology. There, and in other psychological writings, Bohr found provocative ideas and supporting parallels for his celebrated Principle of Complementarity. Holton suggests that Bohr may have taken the term complementarity from its psychological use by James. Whether this is the origin of the term or not, QM clearly has an intellectual debt to psychology. Part of the effort in the present two-part series of papers is to take the Principle of Complementarity, now refined and developed by decades of theoretical and experimental studies in QM, and apply it back to depth psychology. In this way we may make a small contribution towards repaying QM's debt to psychology.

Even

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