Friday, May 8, 2020

historical “psyche”

‘Psychal’ and ‘psychality’ also allows more-direct association with its classical Greek root, psyche, which is revealing of the Self/self Difference.

The combining form ‘psych-‘ originally meant “life, spirit, soul, self” (M-W Unabridged). All of that! life itself? life as “spirit”? essentially spirit, but life apart?

Greek psyche is “akin” to Greek psychein: to breathe, blow. I blow, but do I breathe?: Forgetting that I breathe, by attending to anything in my day, “I” continues to breathe, as if there is another I within me: spirit, like the wind of Nature breathing.

Does “soul“ express each and both? Does the spirit of Nature have soul?

So, there is one Self of plurality, one spirit of Nature—or better: mysterious ambiguity of denotation. What is each so denoted by ‘psyche’? How is Nature like us?

Modernity constrained ‘psyche’ to mean (according to M-W.U.) “the vital principle of corporeal matter that is distinct mental or spiritual entity…” (17th century). Ergo, what’s “psychological” or “cerebral” or “mental”: “…the specialized cognitive, conative, and affective aspects of a psychosomatic unity: mind; specifically: the totality of id, ego, and superego including both conscious and unconscious components.” Well, specific for Dr. Joy. (’Freud’ is German for ’joy’.)

Entertain that: a troubled realm of disowned, objectified Self (‘id’: German for “it”), maladapted realm of self-centrism (‘ego’: Freudian for “I”), and displaced (sublimated) realm of [inter]personal relations (‘superego’: Freudian for transpersonal ideality). Modernity unbearably congested.

And, of course, classical Greek Nature was biologized long before Freud, as humanity furthered Itself “spiritually." At heart (post-Freudian), spirit/soul/self is beyond life: being wholly of itSelf—mentalities itself of evolving intelligence—self-differencing from Nature via “Our“ nature of Self-differentiating that looks back scientifically into biogeny (evolution of life as biology—as biology) to find autopoiesis in genomic epigenesis evolving.

Charmingly different is being psychic: born from Greek psychikos: of the soul, of life, which came to mean (mid-19th century) “sensitive to nonphysical forces and influences: marked by extraordinary or mysterious sensitivity, perception, or understanding.”

I love this stuff. In my next incarnation, I’m going to be an etymological philogenist.

‘spirit’: Latin spiritus: spirit, breath, coming to 13th century Middle English as “the breath of life, yet soon “a supernatural being…or personality usually invisible to human beings…held to be able to enter into and possess a person.” Then, thanks to Christianity, that was theologized as the mystery of the Difference between the holy and one’s soul.

Ah, soul: from Old English sawol, 12th century, older than ‘spirit’. So, it came to pass that spirit comes to one’s soul which precedes It, first as “the immaterial essence or substance, animating principle, or actuating cause of life or of the individual,” then later, being in mysterious belonging with “the psychical or spiritual principle in general shared by or embodied in individual human beings or all beings having a rational and spiritual nature.”

And there’s more!: being of “the psychical or spiritual nature of the universe related to the physical world as the human soul to the human body—compare ‘Logos’.” Logos! Some other day...

Modernity brings more individualization: ‘Soul’ becomes “the immortal part of man [sic] having permanent individual existence,” becoming wholly secular as “a person’s total self in its living unity and wholeness—sometimes distinguished from spirit.” Sometimes. That is: sometimes still appreciating Selfal self-differentiation (i.e., individuated Self/self Difference) as implying supernatural reality apart from one’s being; sometimes being sufficient unto oneSelf.

Or is your soul living in-between: an embodiment of feeling, a “moving spirit: inspirer, leader”? Or maybe it’s a “man’s moral and emotional nature as distinguished from his mind or intellect.”

One maybe at heart, one is possessed by a “fervor—spiritual or moral force.”

Or one is merely a person hoping to get through another day well. (Airline pilots commonly speak of how many “souls” are on board, as if to remind themselves of their duty of care.)

Or is soul “one having a good or noble quality in the highest degree: exemplification, personification”?

Well, at heart, it’s surely our potential for intimacy.

This is part 3 of “being one Self