Contemporary and Jungian Perspectives on Emotion, and Relevance to the Visual Image
Carl Jung asserted that emotion, synonymous with affect but not feeling, was a body-based physiological response closely aligned with the sensate function. For Jung, an affect-laden experience served to bring unconscious content bound in a complex into subjective awareness, making emotion the indicator of shadowed complexes. Contemporary theoretical perspectives on emotion assert that they arise in response to significant life experiences, are physiological in nature, and are accompanied by specific patterned responses unique to each basic ‘family’ of emotions. As such, emotions are thought to be constructive reactions to important life events that generate motivation, initiate action, and function as adaptive responses to challenges presented in the environment. The contemporary Dual-Process Model of emotion suggests that emotional states are generated as ‘bottom-up processes’ beginning in the more primitive subcortical region of the brain (the amygdala), which then communicates with the cortical region to generate a ‘top-down’ cognitive appraisal of the event in order to modify emotional and motivational responses. These processes are often in conflict with one another and battle for supremacy, requiring transformation of these difficult affective states through conscious awareness. This presentation examines Jung’s theory on emotion as expression of a deeper activated complex and its relationship to contemporary theory, along with the role that working with the visual image plays in the canalization of libido (intense energy) contained in the presenting emotion. An overview of the cosmogonic significance of the daemon of love, Eros as limb loosener and disrupter, will provide a mythological framework in which both theories of emotion can be integrated.
Lynlee Lyckberg earned an MFA in Arts and Consciousness Studies from John F. Kennedy, and an MA/ PhD in Mythological Studies/Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is currently working on a PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Cal Southern University and has long been interested in Jungian studies and the visual image. She spent time at the University of Hangzhou in China studying Traditional Chinese Arts and Healing, and her interests include Zen, Thangka Painting, Ayurveda/Yoga, the I-Ching, and creative practices of all kinds. She has presented papers at the IAJS Regional Conference in Osaka, Japan; at the Jean Gebser conference in Seattle, WA; at the Mythologium conference in Morro Bay, CA; and at the Portland JSSS Conference. In Portland Oregon. In addition, she has two upcoming essays in the Los Angeles Jungian publication, Psychological Perspectives, a published essay in Jungian Psychology in the East and West compiled and edited by Konoyu Nakamura & Stefano Carta, and an essay in Evolving God Images, compiled and edited by Patrick J. Mahaffey. Her primary interests include healing through the visual image, and as an active artist, she exhibits her artwork internationally and has work in several university collections.