After she finished her book Number and Time, which expands Jung’s ideas of a qualitative aspect of numbers related to time, Marie-Louise von Franz felt that more had to be said about the difficult problem of time itself. It is for the occasion of this lecture given at the Panarion conference in 1978 that she first laid out the foremost results of her investigation.
Jung remarked that in the deepest layers of the unconscious time and space tend to become relative. However, von Franz reminds us that we cannot say that the ego is time-bound and the unconscious atemporal since we can find a notion of time in the unconscious, which manifests in creation myths. Von Franz investigates in detail the archetypal foundation of the concept of time as it appears in Aztec mythology and in the I Ching. Both conceptions point in the direction of a psychic time born out of a sort of procession of divine figures. This eternal revolution of archetypal images also shows in Western astrology and antique ideas about time. The phenomenon of appearance and disappearance of archetypal images further seems to lend itself to a mathematical lawfulness. Von Franz stresses that although we are far from having sounded the depths of this dynamic aspect of time, the problem has increasingly come to the fore over the centuries. In the last part of the lecture, she relates the psychic, qualitative aspect of time to Jung’s ideas on the dynamic aspect of the self discussed in Aion and also elucidates its relation to the principle of synchronicity.
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