What is a quote?

“What is a quote? A quote (cognate with quota) is a cut, a section, a slice of someone else’s orange. You suck the slice, toss the rind, skate away. Part of what you enjoy in a documentary technique is the sense of banditry. To loot someone else’s life or sentences and make off with a point of view, which is called “objective” because you can make anything into an object by treating it this way, is exciting and dangerous. Let us see who controls the danger.”

(page 45)

Anne Carson, “Foam (Essay with Rhapsody): On the Sublime in Longinus and Antonioni.” in Decreation. New York: Vintage, 2006.

A technology and economy in which fixed points proliferate

“[If] the history of modernity is the acting out of a fantasy and a psychosis by a technology and economy in which fixed points proliferate, […] it should be that much harder to go beyond an existing idea, a familiar category, for these constitute points of reference for identity, or the ego. We are more likely to lose confidence in saying anything that is not familiar, to need confirmation for what we do say from the other. We are also more likely to only affirm that which affirms us as we are.

Whatever the content of an inspiration, carrying it through requires the confidence to proceed in the propositional mode.”

(Preface, xii)

Teresa Brennan. History After Lacan. London: Routledge, 1993.

A congeries of intrapsychic imagoes

“The sense of Self is carried in a congeries of intrapsychic imagoes. Life is inherently traumatic. At birth we are ripped from primordial connection, beneficent belonging, are flung into an uncertain world, and end in annihiliation. The magnitude and qualitative character of the inevitable wounding shapes the sensibility of the person, that is, programs the intrapsychic imago in profound and reflexive ways, the imago through which we interpret the spectrum of experiences which come to us. From the child’s phenomenological reading of the environment and experiences, a sense of Self, a sense of Other, and acquired strategies of transactions between them are assembled. This assemblage constitutes the inevitable false self or provisional personality with which we enter the world. Invariably it is a misreading, for it lacks alternative experiences, lacks conscious reflectivity, and remains trapped in the fallacy of overgeneralization.”

(pages 105–106)

James Hollis, The Archetypal Imagination. Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2000.

Chanced on and borrowed from the Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal.

What blocks each of us is fear

“The ultimate end of depth psychology is to stand respectfully before inner truth and dare to live it in the world. What blocks each of us is fear – fear of loneliness, fear of rejection, and most of all, fear of largeness. We are all afraid to move from the confining powers of fate into the invitations of our destiny, afraid to step into the largeness of our calling to be who we were meant to be.

Another consideration requires attention here. When Jung says, “a feeling is as indisputable a reality as the existence of an idea,” feeling types will say “of course” and thinking types will learn this truth at their begrudging expense. Jung considered feeling, along with thinking, one of the two rational functions. Sensation and intuition are experiential. But both feeling and thinking weigh, measure, ratio, evaluate. So surely, to evoke the popular cliché, to be out of touch with one’s feelings is to be separated from a powerful internal guidance mechanism which offers a continuous commentary on the course of our own lives and invites behaviours appropriate to those evaluations. But too often we continue to confuse feeling with emotion. Emotion is the raw, neurological discharge of energy when a stimulus occurs. That energy is immediately processed through the screen of the particular person’s sensibility, that is, the complexes, culture, and extent of consciousness. What transpires after this screening is feeling, which is fraught not only with judgement but with a content as well. The content of a feeling is not only energy, that is, emotion, but thought as well. That thought may be based on a false premise, a misreading of external reality, but it has its own self-referential character.”

(pages 103–104)

James Hollis, The Archetypal Imagination. Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2000.

Chanced on and borrowed from the Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal.

Psyche is a verb and not a noun

“We do not know what the psyche is, this noun taken from a verb psychein, “to breathe.” But therein lies the clue that the psyche is a verb and not a noun, a process and not an entity. To think of the psyche, even the unconscious, as an entity leads to the fallacy of literalism wherein one is more easily seduced by the fantasy of measurement or manipulation, rather than the more respectful effort to track those energies as intentions and to possibly align oneself with them. Jung has noted this difficulty:

[Our] premises are always far too simple. The psyche is the starting point of all human experience, and all the knowledge we have gained eventually leads back to it. The psyche is the beginning and the end of all cognition. It is not only the object of its science, but the subject also. This gives psychology a unique place among all the other sciences: on the one hand there is a constant doubt as to the possibility of its being a science at all, while on the other hand psychology acquires the right to start a theoretical problem the solution of which will be one of the most difficult tasks for a future philosophy.”

(page 102)

James Hollis, The Archetypal Imagination. Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2000.

Chanced on and borrowed from the Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal.

Of course we do not know what the soul itself means

“When we recall that the foundation metaphors, or archetypes, represent radical openings to mystery, then we recover the possibility of depth which is missing in modern psychology and psychotherapy. To consciously evoke soul when we practice psychology (the expression of soul) or psychotherapy (the attendance upon soul) or address psychopathology (the suffering of soul) is to recover something original, profound, and generally lost to modern practice. Of course we do not know what soul itself means, but this not knowing is proper to sustain the soul’s purchase on mystery. In the etymological metaphors of soul we find both the transmogrifying butterfly and the verb “to breathe,” the invisible inspiring, animating energy which enters the husk of life at birth, undergoes its autonomous permutations, and departs at death.

Tracking this deep, divine breath was historically the task of mythologies, then theologies, and now, when the gods have withdrawn and gone inward as Jung suggests, the task of depth psychology. The lame gods are now psychopathologies and find their incarnation as somatic illness, addictions, sociopathies, neuroses, and personality disorders. Only when we discern the divine dramatic in these patterns will we have any respect for the fact that they are indeed psychodynamic, the dynamics of the soul. Only then can we recall what Jung and Hillman have been saying, only to be more and more ignored, over the course of the twentieth century. Only then can psychopathology be seen not only as the sufferings of the soul but the embodied religious crisis of the modern as well.”

(pages 100–101)

James Hollis, The Archetypal Imagination. Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2000.

Chanced on and borrowed from the Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal.

These things around us look to us for deliverance

“What passes unnoticed is not unreal, but it depends on human consciousness to bring it full identity. To this partnership with the invisible world we bring recognition. The Mystery confers being, but the human saying confers meaning. The world does not mean, it is. We are the organisms of meaning and make our contribution through the gift of consciousness.


In this paradox of being, with the transience of all things, the soul longs for permanence. However momentary this life we lead, Rilke and Jung suggest that the vocation of naming, of praising, of becoming conscious plays an immense role in the unfolding of the cosmos. These things around us look to us for deliverance from obscurity, from obloquy, from oblivion.”

(pages 51–52)

James Hollis, The Archetypal Imagination. Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2000.

Chanced on and borrowed from the Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal.