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The Primordial Dance

Diametric and Concentric Spaces in the Unconscious World

Paul Downes

This book argues that a silent axis of the unconscious world rests largely undiscovered. It recasts foundational concepts in the psychology of Freud, Jung, Carol Gilligan and R.D. Laing, as well as in cognitive science, to highlight this hidden unconscious axis: primordial spaces of diametric and concentric structures. The author generates fresh approaches to understanding the philosophy of early Heidegger and Derrida, with the idea of cross-cultural diametric and concentric spaces fuelling a radical reinterpretation of early Heidegger’s transcendental project, and challenging a postmodern consensus that reduces truths and experiences to mere socially constructed playthings of culture.
The book, which also examines projected structures in modernist art, suggests a systematic refashioning of many Western assumptions, but it is more than a deconstruction. It also attempts to offer a new interplay between structures and meaning, as a spatial phenomenology. This significant expansion of the boundaries of human subjectivity opens alternative pathways for imagining what it means to be human, in order to challenge the reduction of experience to instrumental reason.


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Part III Spatial-Phenomenology as a Discourse Prior to Language and Myth


through a Collective Spatial Unconscious chapter 7 Transcending Subjectivity and Myth in Search of Meaning The work of Jung and Derrida is conjoined by a preoccupation with loss of meaning. Both respond to the crisis of meaning by interrogating a broaden- ing of understanding beyond individual subjectivity. Less obviously, both extract key insights concerning the need to transcend myth in search for meaning. Their inquiries centrally engage with spatial themes. A spatial-phenomenological reinterpretation of their work on the unconscious world requires straddling domains of structuralism and post- structuralism, modernism and postmodernism. It is not being sought to systematically explicate the divergent, multifarious strands within these far from monolithic abstractions, nor to bring fully to the fore tensions between conceptions of modernism and modernist movements in art and literature. A necessarily selective and somewhat fragmented exploration of these terrains is being adopted in relation to concentric and diametric spaces, and Jung and Derrida’s work in particular. In doing so, it is sought to build on the strengths of aspects of these movements, while avoiding at least some of their pitfalls. While modernist writers like Eliot and Beckett were rejecting and challenging the comforts of the edifices of myth to sustain and organize reality,1 they emphasized the rootlessness, disintegration and wasteland 1 As Eagleton (1995) highlights, Joyce’s modernist employment of myth varied between its use as a formalist device and as an ironical inversion. Joyce arguably gave expres- sion to both Freudian and Jungian concerns in his novel Ulysses. In similar...

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