Art Musings: on the Dichotomy of Man

The pen and ink drawing by Otto Bjornik, titled “The Dichotomy of Man“,  is a wonderful representation, not only of the dichotomy of man, but also, of integration. In the artwork we find one woman who is also two lovers kissing (look closely to find the two lovers embracing each other). This could be seen as the anima and animus in union, the two aspects of Self that represent the whole.

Søren Kierkegaard said that “man is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity, in short it is a synthesis. A synthesis is a relation between two factors. So regarded, man is not yet a self.” (The Sickness Unto Death, 1849).  We are both split within ourselves, and we are the consciousness which is capable of creating a synthesis out of the split.

In Otto’s painting we see the spiral dynamics between time and that which blossoms forth from time: one side we have the eternal spiraling of time and space and on the other the blossoming forth of flowers and the emergence of life.

It is the machinery of the imaginal which connects these two realms of being. The clockwork machinery of time and space becomes organic, giving rise to life. It is playful, easy, as if divine imagination. I love the atom at the heart: the basic unit of matter or life, which sets the whole movement in motion. And the heart, as the integrating center, is the place and space from which the whole imaginal play arises.

This is immanence: the two that are one, the multiple that is the whole. The divine discovering itself within duality, and then again in the multiplicity. It is a continual spiraling, the unfolding dynamics of relationality.


One thought on “Art Musings: on the Dichotomy of Man

  1. Carl Jung > Archetypes


    Animus is the archetype of reason and spririt in women. This is the male aspect of the female psyche, as the anima is the female aspect of male psyche.

    This archetype is projected in various male images and characters like great artists, heroes, warriors, sportsmen, philosopher, and so forth. When identified with the animus (animus-inflated), women develop an excessive rational drive which may end up in excessive criticism and stubbornness.

    In animus-inflated women with strong interest in intellectual matters we find the need to impose and maintain a rigurosus and schematic list of values judged the most important. There’s no reflection as regard the tenues of these values, nor any aim at discussing about them. Only the urge to impose them to others.


    Great blog.

    You have a wonderful observation, and a very visual mind to capture both woman and man.
    We’re all one and oneness with ourselves and the universe correct?

    Say, if you’re interested in philosophy, and psychology.
    Please feel free to come over to my blog and read my blog post.

    and join in on some discussions.

    here’s my link.

    ~Charlie Z

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