Transformation: Emergence of the Self

By Murray Stein | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Three Portraits of Transformation: Rembrandt, Picasso, Jung

The secret of alchemy was . . . the transformation of personality through the blending and fusion of the noble with the base components, of the differentiated with the inferior functions, of the conscious with the unconscious.

-- C. G. Jung

Listening to a Beethoven symphony or string quartet, it is hard to refrain from believing that the composer was born specifically to give the world this music. Is there not a Master's hand at work in such manifestations of spirit in human life? The beauty and astonishing variety of butterflies is matched by the splendor and generous abundance of forms taken by the human imago. God must be an artist.

Yet, I say to myself, this sounds awfully pre-Darwinian. Arguing from artifact to artificer went out with eighteenth-century Deism. This type of argument is out of fashion in this scientistic age. We do not know,1 in a way that can be scientifically verified or subjected to empirical study, if there is a Designer behind the design. All we can allow ourselves as moderns to observe is that there are people who accept the challenge when angels call, and when transformative im

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