In this lesson you will be given references and tools to help establish criteria for ordering things and improve your analogic thought.
We will put together a system of cultural references covering the great theorists of the imagination from the last century (C.G.Jung, G.Bachelard, G.Durand, J.J.Wunenburger).
We will summarise G. Durand’s anthropological-philosophical vision and his “science of the imagination”.
Following on from G. Durand, we will gradually compile a kind of universal map of images which could act as a kind of compass, orienting our studies as we complete our nomadic research.
Extraordinary contemporary phenomena have led to massive cultural change in the form of globalization. At the end of this lesson we will demonstrate how important, useful and up-to-date a tool anthropology of the imagination is for analysing and interpreting these phenomena, looking in particular at a work by J.J. Wunenburger on television and its imagination.
Carl Gustav Jung (Kesswil 1875 – Küsnacht 1961)
Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.
Initially (1906) close to Sigmund Freud, but distanced himself in 1912-13, establishing a new school of thought (“Analytical psychology”) in which psychoanalysis is no longer seen as simply a therapy but as a way of developing and expressing the inner self or soul throughout a person’s life (“process of individualization”).
For Jung, the unconscious (those impulses and processes of the mind which are not consciously perceived by the individual) is formed not only through actual, forgotten or ignored personal experience but also has an innate component which is inherited. The individual unconscious forms part of a collective unconscious, an indeterminate and immutable collection of “primordial images” (archetypes) which are the original, universal source that feed the imagination and which can be explored through studying myths, the great “collective dreams” of all humanity.
C.G. Jung and after his death M.L. von Franz (edited by) Man and his symbols (1964), Italian version L’uomo e i suoi simboli, 1967, 2009
Carl Gustav Jung (Kesswil 1875 – Küsnacht 1961). Source: Uncyclopedia
Gaston Bachelard (Bar-sur-Aube 1884 – Paris 1962)
French philosopher, philosopher of science and poetry.
Employed by the postal services, he studied mathematics and engineering. After the war (1919) he taught science and philosophy. He was particularly interested in the study of the imagination in contact with nature and the elements. Theorist of «psychanalyse de la connaissance objective», inspired by Carl Gustav Jung’s analytical psychology: a study on the affective obstacles present in the mental universe of a scientist which prevent him/her from really understanding phenomena. Theorist of rêverie as a learning process in opposition to that of science which enables people to explore and develop their imagination.
La psychanalyse du Feu (1938), Italian text La psicanalisi del fuoco, Dedalo, Bari
L’Eau et les rêves (1942), Italian text Psicanalisi delle acque, RED, Como, 1992, 2006
L’Air et les songes (1943), Italian text Psicanalisi dell’aria, RED, Como, 1992, 2007
La Terre et les rêveries du repos (1946), Italian text La terra e il riposo, RED, Como, 2007
La Terre et les rêveries de la volonté (1948), Italian text La terra e le forze, RED, Como, 1989
La Poétique de l’espace (1957), Italian text La poetica dello spazio, Dedalo, Bari 1975
La Poétique de la rêverie (1960), Italian text La poetica della rêverie, Dedalo, Bari 1984
Gaston Bachelard (Bar-sur-Aube 1884 - Paris 1962). Source: Oneiricworld
Gilbert Durand (Savoia, 1921)
French philosopher, anthropologist and sociologist.
Follows on from the work of Gaston Bachelard and Carl Gustav Jung, but also Lévi-Strauss, Greimas, Cassirer, Chomsky. Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of Culture at the University of Grenoble and Chambéry. Founder of “Centre for Research into the Imaginary” at Chambery (1966). Theorist of “figurative structuralism” (research into structural constants in historic-social phenomena) and of ”mythanalysis” (clarification of deep anthropological meaning behind the set of myths our culture produces), he tried to establish “science of the imagination” as a proper science.
Les structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire (1963), i.t. Le strutture antropologiche dell’immaginario. Introduzione all’archetipologia generale, Dedalo, Bari 1972, 2007
L’imagination symbolique (1964), i.t. L’immaginazione simbolica, il Pensiero Scientifico, Roma 1977
Figures mythiques et visages de l’œuvre. De la mythocritique à la mythanalyse (1979)
Gilbert Durand (Savoia, 1921). Source: International Association for Analytical Psychology
Jean-Jacques Wunenburger (1946)
One of Gilbert Durand’s students. Director of Gaston Bachelard Centre in Dijon. Teaches philosophy at Jean Moulin University in Lyon.
His philosophical-anthropological work focuses on the physiognomy and role of images, symbols and myths in their relationship with philosophical, scientific, political and cultural rationalism.
L’imaginaire (2003), i.t. L’immaginario, Il Melangolo, Genova 2008
Jean-Jacques Wunenburger (1946). Source: Chaire UNESCO
In his work Les structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire (1963), Gilbert Durand’s original intention is to create a universal repertory of all the different kinds of images to be found within humanity’s great cultural heritage (a sort of “garden of images” using Linneo’s botanical system of classification) but he actually constructs a theory of the imaginary which aims to encompass all forms of conscious human production.
The work is divided into the following chapters:
Book one: Images and their daytime regime
first part: The changes of time
second part: The sword and the sceptre
Book two: Images and their nocturnal regime
first part: the descent and the cup
second part: from money to the stick
It is a very complex book which is difficult to read because of the specialist use of many theoretical and philosophical terms that the author sometimes seems to invent using word roots from ancient Greek. It does, however, provide us with an endless source of examples of the way analogic thought can be used and gives lots of suggestions both theoretical and imaginary.
We will try to provide a brief summary of it for you.
Constructing a “science of images” according to Gilbert Durand involves the following:
The “anthropological route” that Gilbert Durand devised is a speculative sequence that crosses a vast conceptual constellation and establishes analogic relations between material and immaterial human activity.
The conceptual constellation that G. Durand’s thinking covers draws on various disciplines and can be represented, as a first draft, like a group of “clouds” of concepts floating at different heights and levels between the physical world (red background) and the world of the psyche (blue background).
As we go through each of the stages in the construction of a conceptual constellation in more depth, the group of “clouds” will gradually resolve itself into a diagram which represents Durand’s isotopic classification of images: together we will thus construct a kind of universal map of the human imaginary.
Anthropological route: starting point (subject area: Reflexology).
The formation of images is rooted in our neuro-biological infrastructure, which is made up of three primary reflexology systems. Each one of these involves a part of the sensory system and constitutes a “dominant” characteristic in the development of interaction with our environment.
The three primary reflexology systems (with their respective sensory apparatus and the dominant behaviour generated as a result) are:
Gilbert Durand's theory of the imaginary. First stage of anthropological route: from reflexology to technology. Graphics by Donatella Mazzoleni.
Gilbert Durand's theory of the imaginary. Second stage of anthropological route: from technology to philosophy. Graphics by Donatella Mazzoleni.
Gilbert Durand's theory of the imaginary. Third stage of anthropological route: from philosophy to iconology. Graphics by Donatella Mazzoleni.
Gilbert Durand's theory of the imaginary. The end of the anthropological route: from iconology to semiology. Graphics by Donatella Mazzoleni.
Representation of an isotopic classification of images (Universal map of the Imaginary) based on Gilbert Durand's theories - © Donatella Mazzoleni. Copy of original manuscript belonging to Donatella Mazzoleni, preserved and restored by Ivan Paolozza, student from 1981-1982.
Representation of an isotopic classification of images (Universal map of the Imaginary) based on Gilbert Durand's theory - © Donatella Mazzoleni.
Anthropology of the imaginary is an extremely useful, important and modern tool for analyzing and interpreting the meaning of the extraordinary phenomena in today’s world which are causing such massive cultural change in the form of globalization. We will get a taste of this by looking at a quotation about television and the imaginary by J.J. Wunenburger.
«The television (…) represents, in the heart of the domestic space, a place of intimacy and rest synonymous with suspending work and, at the same time, an open space that connects with the outside world (…). In mythological terms (…) it is a kind of incarnation combining Hestia, the goddess of the home and Hermes, the god of contacts, communication and exchange (…). A major factor in the globalization of customs, the television encourages (…) an almost ritualistic set of standard behaviours (…) profoundly archaic human behaviours which can be traced back to sacred imagery (…). The framed screen in our houses is similar to the altar with its image of the god-figure behind it (…). The television aerial (…) which has left its mark on the landscape, recalls the mythical function of the axis mundi, the point where heaven and earth came into contact, permitting movement between the two areas, and enabling the supernatural forces and energy to be harnessed (…). Switching on the television is like the rite of lighting the holy candle (…). Our eyes and ears are in a passive, receptive state (…). There is no longer any need to believe in anything beyond what is represented because the representation is a perfect simulacrum of what is present».
Da Jean-Jacques Wunenburger L’imaginaire (2003), t.i. L’immaginario, Il Melangolo, Genova 2008