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Corbett, L. (2020). Is the Self other to the Self? Why Does the Numinosum Feel like Another? The Relevance of Matte Blanco to Our Understanding of the Unconscious. J. Anal. Psychol., 65(4):672-684.

(2020). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 65(4):672-684

Is the Self other to the Self? Why Does the Numinosum Feel like Another? The Relevance of Matte Blanco to Our Understanding of the Unconscious

Lionel Corbett

Using Ignacio Matte Blanco's approach to the unconscious, this paper attempts to explain why the experience of the Self or the unconscious, for example in dreams, is difficult for the ego to understand. Matte Blanco believes that the logic of the unconscious is radically different from the logic of consciousness. The unconscious uses processes that Matte Blanco refers to as symmetry and generalization. Symmetry means that the converse of any relationship is identical to it, so that asymmetrical relationships are treated as if they were symmetrical. Generalization means that the unconscious treats any object as belonging to a larger class of objects that is a subset of an even larger class which is in turn a subset of a wider class ad infinitum. Hence Matte Blanco's idea of the unconscious as infinite sets. These unconscious mechanisms, combined with the possibility that the unconscious has more dimensions than consciousness, contribute to the difficulty of understanding dreams, and help to explain why the Self is experienced as other to the ego.

[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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