The Emergence of Symbolic Imagination

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Date(s) - 19/05/2018
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Cambridge - Friends Meeting House


The Emergence of Symbolic Imagination

Talk by Warren Colman

How do humans make symbols and how do symbols make us human?  The starting point is the lion-man of Hohlenstein-Stadel – the oldest figurative sculpture in the world (40,000 years) and the first visible evidence of the power of human imagination to create new ideas and forms that go beyond the material world, bringing into being the life of the psyche.  The lion-man provides an illustrative motif for how symbolic imagination arises out of collective social activity in and through the world of material objects.  This view updates Jung’s concept of ‘archetypes’ as pre-existent ideas in the mind with a view that makes symbols themselves constitutive of the human psyche. We cannot ‘think the spirit’ without a material world to think it with.

Warren Colman is a training and supervising analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology and a former Editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology. He has published over 40 papers.  His book, Act and Image: the Emergence of Symbolic Imagination was published in 2016.

Chair: Martha Stevns

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