chapter  6
28 Pages

Whitehead’s unconscious cosmology

Our exploration of the philosophy of the unconscious from diverse theoretic tradi - tions has taken us through many different glimpses of psychical underworlds, each exposing us to various facets of psychic reality. From the general dialectical features of mind, to the dynamic composition of the soul, the existential disclosure of worldhood, linguistic causal structures, and the numinous character of the archetypes as a supernatural faculty, we have traversed the odyssey of human spirit. In all of these theoretical systems, the unconscious is conferred the ontological status of being or presence, which underlies the universal processes that condition human subjectivity. Hegel fi rst celebrated the mind as a burgeoning process of becoming, and this is echoed in various psychoanalytic and existential disciplines in many compatible ways. It may be said that Hegel, Freud and Jung articulate a dialectic that endures confl ict and is at odds with itself, but one that is oriented toward higher unitive experiences of progressive growth and psychic wholeness. Hegel emphasizes sublation, Freud sublimation, and Jung transcendence. This is further complemented by the transcendental philosophies of Heidegger and Sartre who place ultimate value in human freedom and agency. It is only with Lacan that we see a purely negative dialectic at play, where the three registers of mental life combat and pressurize one another in an endless impasse, and where the unconscious is both caused by its environs and is the cause of perpetual suffering.