One becomes Two

Mt. Yu of Taiwan by Nasu Masaki 1929
Mt. Yu of Taiwan by Nasu Masaki 1929. US public domain, wikimedia

“When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges, then, as Nietzsche says, “One becomes Two,” and the greater figure, which one always was but which remained invisible, appears to the lesser per­sonality with the force of a revelation. He who is truly and hopelessly little will always drag the revelation of the greater down to the level of his littleness, and will never understand that the day of judgment for his littleness has dawned. But the man who is inwardly great will know that the long expected friend of his soul, the immortal one, has now really come, “to lead captivity captive”; that is, to seize hold of him by whom this immortal had always been confined and held prisoner, and to make his life flow into that greater life-a moment of deadliest peril!” (Carl Jung, CW 9i: 217)

Carl Jung starts with the sentence: “when a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds”. The metaphors express the transcendent movement in which we aim toward the summit of life and toward the blossoming of consciousness. Then he goes on to say: “from the lesser the greater emerges”. In this statement he expresses the possibility of an immanent turn. Let us read his words again; this time formatted as poetic verse.

when a summit of life is reached,

when the bud unfolds

from the lesser the greater emerges

One becomes Two

the greater figure, appears with the force of a revelation

When we look at Carl Jung’s words in this manner we can see the movement of transcendence and immanence with clarity. Upward and outward toward the transcendent summit, and then the return to the immanent truth:

Jung says, “from the lesser the greater emerges”. This is a metaphor for the revelatory moment when an individual discovers the depths of their subjectivity (the Self). This deeper subjectivity is at first believed to be “the lesser”, but then revels itself as “the greater”.

Next, he refers to phrase from Nietzsche: “One becomes Two”. It is in this phrase that we are brought to contemplate the Self, as it is both a part of us and greater than us. It is the Subject within: the space and place where the subjectivity of self meets the subjectivity of God, as Self. This deeper subjectivity is both part of self and extends beyond self / other duality.


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