Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy:
IV. Some Implications for Neoplatonism

H. Complexes as Daimôns

The genotype governs the development of the phenotype, in particular, the growth of the individual brain.  This is an ongoing process, which begins with the development of the nervous system in the fetus, and continues with the experience-conditioned reorganization of the brain throughout an individual’s life.  Complexes, which are networks of associations, are created by intense or repeated activation of the archetypes in the ontogenetic psyche (Stevens 1982, 65).  Therefore, each archetype becomes a nucleus for complexes, which constellate around the universal archetypal core, but incorporate individual associations, formed according to the laws of similarity and contiguity (Stevens 1982, 65).  According to Jungian psychology, the personal unconscious, as opposed to the collective unconscious, comprises the complexes formed through this interaction.  Although complexes are fundamentally personal, some of them may be shared by families and other groups, even entire cultures.

Popularly, complexes are thought of as pathological conditions, but from a psychological perspective, they are a normal and necessary part of our psyches, for they mediate between the universal archetypes and our individual lives.  One psychologist calls them “the functional units of … the ontogenetic psyche” (Stevens 1982, 65).

As Jung (CW 8, ¶253) stresses, “complexes behave like independent beings.”  That is, each archetypal god engenders δαίμονες (daimôns) associated with an individual and constellated from their experiences  (Stevens 1982, 66).  Such a god may be called the ἀρχηγός, that is, the leader, progenitor, or originator, of its descendent δαίμονες.  These δαίμονες are in the god’s σειρά, that is, in their “line” or “lineage.”  Similarly, if a god and their δαίμονες dominate a person’s individual psyche, then that person is, in effect, also in the σειρὰ of the god.  Perhaps this is why Pythagoras was said to be in the σειρὰ of Apollo.

A person’s δαίμονες go through life with the person, and each δαίμονων’s nature is structured from those particulars of the individual’s life that are associated with its universal, divine progenitor.  Therefore, unlike the archetypal gods, someone’s δαίμονες incorporate aspects of that person’s biography and experiences, for they have developed out of the life of that person (e.g., Plotinus 3.5.6).  Because one’s δαίμονες are as much “inside the head” as outside of it, they may incorporate a person’s inmost thoughts, fears, hopes, and so forth.  Finally, since δαίμονες exist in space and time, they are creatures of the World Soul, personified as Ἑκάτη Δαιμονιάρχης, that is, Hekate Ruler of Daimôns.

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