Edward F. Edinger, a physician and Jungian analyst in private practice in Los Angeles, and teacher at the C. G. Jung Institute there, is one of the principle interpreters of Jung's Answer to Job, and one of the clearest proponents of the idea that Jung's ideas have vast implication beyond mere clinical practice. As these quotations illustrate, he expects Jung's insights to become the basis for a new living Myth for personal and global consciousness. Thus his work stands at the center of the idea of "pleromatics."
Edward F. Edinger:
The Creation of Consciousness: Jung's Myth for Modern Man
Toronto: Inner City Books, 1984, isbn 0-919123-13-9
[Box 1271, Station Q, Toronto M4T 2P4. Telephone 416-927-0355]
From Chapter 1. The New Myth:
The biblical statements regarding the Paraclete [Jn 14:26, Jn 16:13; see also Acts 9:15] thus anticipate the new myth which sees each individual ego as potentially a vessel to carry transpersonal consciousness ... The image of the ego as a vessel leads to the important idea of being a carrier of consciousness, i.e., an incarnation of transpersonal meaning. [p. 22]
The individual psyche is the Holy Grail, made holy by what it contains. [p. 32]
From Chapter 3. Depth Psychology as the New Dispensation
At the outset, let me candidly state my appraisal of this book [Answer to Job]. In my opinion it has the same psychic depth and import as characterize the major scriptures of the world-religions. In accordance with the modern mind, it differs from these scriptures in its modesty of expression and in the objective consciousness that iluminates it. One should not be deceived by its personal, unpretentious style. It is this very quality that demonstrates its authenticity. [p. 60]
I must make a distinction here between containment and relatedness. It is, of course, possible to be related, indeed lovingly related, to a particular religion, church, or religious community without being contained in it. Containment is an unconscious phennomenon of psychic identification. One can be contained in a religion just as one can be contained in a family or other collective group. One then has not individual, living relation to the numinous archetypes. Relatedness to a religion, however, means connecting with it out of one's individual numinous experience. In the latter case we have not a community of believers, but rather a community of knowers, or better, a community of individuals, each of whom is a carrier of the living experience of the Self. [p. 62]
In Answer to Job, Jung submits the basic myth of the Western psyche to an intense conscious scrutiny. He accepts the imagery as psychic reality and follows the implications of the images all the way to their conclusions. This has never been done before. [p. 63]
Another aspect of Jung's revolutionary realization is his interpretation of
the myth of incarnation. ... Christ becomes identical with Yahweh through the
doctrine of the homoousia [same substance], while Satan is cast out of
heaven and thus condemned to live the life of a disscoiated, autonomous
Herein lies the reason for Jung's observation that Yahweh's incarnation in Christ is incomplete. It left out of account Yahweh's dark side. This is reflected in the myth of the immaculate conception and the everlasting virginity of Mary. ...
The incomplete incarnation of Yahweh in Christ leads Jung to the idea of the continuing incarnation. This is already suggested by the Apostle Paul ... (Rom 8:14-17)
The Gospel of John also implies a continuing incarnation ... [in the sending of the Paraclete] ... (John 14:26)
From this viewpoint the imitation of Christ takes on a new meaning. Christ's precepts as outer rules of behavior are no longer to be taken literally and concretely. Rather, one is to live his own reality as totally as Christ lived his. To the extent that one lives in conscious relation to the Self he will experience Christ as his brother since Christ is our outstanding example of such a life. [pp. 82-84]
Edinger quotes Jung's letter to Elined Kotschnig [Jung, Letters vol. 2. p. 314] >> Although the divine incarnation is a cosmic and absolute event, it only manifests empirically in those relatively few individuals capable of enough consciousness to make ethical decisions, i.e., to decide for the Good. Therefore God can be called good only inasmuch as He is able to manifest His goodness in individuals. His moral quality depends upon individuals. That is why He incarnates. Individuation and individual existence are indispensable for the transformation of God the Creator. << [p. 90]
Edinger: [If the individual] patiently and diligently seeks the way of individuation which the unconscious both reveals and withholds -- then his efforts will have a gradual transformative effect on Yahweh. He will be offering himself as a crucible for the transformation of the dark God and contributing his widow's mite to the cosmic drama of continuing creation. [p. 90]
From Chapter 4. The Transformation of God
According to the psychological standpoint man cannot get outside his own psyche. All experience is therefore psychic experience. This means that it is impossible, experientially, to distinguish between God and the God-image in the psyche. My use of the term "God" in this chapter, therefore, always refers to the God-image in the psyche, i.e., the Self. [p. 91]
As it gradually dawns on people, one by one, that the transformation of God is not just an interesting idea but is a living reality, it may begin to function as a new myth. Whoever recognizes this myth as his own personal reality will put his life in the service of this process. Such an individual offers himself as a vessel for the incarnation of deity and thereby promotes the ongoing transformation of God by giving Him human manifestation. Such an individual will experience his life as meaningful and will be an example of Jung's statement: "The indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the third Divine Person, in man, brings about a Christification of many." [Collected Works 11:758] [p. 113]
See also: Is Christianity doomed?
Transformation of the God-Image: An Elucidation of Jung's "Answer to Job"
Toronto: Inner City Books, 1992
[From a lecture]
Pleroma ... [is] a Gnostic term that refers to the eternal realm outside of phenomenal, temporal existence. It means approximately the same thing as the collective unconscious. I think we need to practice a certain kind of visualization of the collective unconscious. Because it is not tangible and visible most people do not even acknowledge its existence.
We who know that it exists, by virtue of our experience of it, need to practice or exercise our visualization of what our experience of the collective unconscious indicates that it is. I would suggest that we think of it as a very subtle fluid that pervades everything. It is most concentrated in human beings but it is not at all confined to them. We know through our experience of synchronicity that it extends all the way down to inorganic matter.
I think we have to hypothesize that the fluid pervades all of existence as we perceive it. It means, then, that the basic patterns that go to make up existence are pervsive and repeat themselves on all levels, not only on the psychological level but also on the chemical and physical and astronomical levels. On all those levels the same patterns repeat themselves. The energy, the dynamism that operates through that fluid, likewise extends like a pervasive network through everything, and that all goes to make up what's called the pleroma. But it exists outside of time and space. Things get a little hard to visualize when you add that proviso, but is a necessary proviso because our experience teaches us that the collective unconscious does transcend time and space. Time and space are categories of the ego so they are necessary for ego consicousness but they do not apply to the unconscious. [p. 68]