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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Synchronicity, Liminality, Paradox, Chaos, and the Transcendent Function

Jung’s concept of archetypes as having two different poles—instinct (red) and image (blue) combine in the color purple and also in play. Archetypes are where the metaphorical rubber meets the road; where the physical meets the imaginal. Von Franz describes this spectrum in many places, notably in Creation Myths (1978), and Alchemy (1980a).

M. Fox (2002) mentions that creativity is where the divine and the human meet. Peat (1987) notes that the same is true of synchronicity, referring to synchronicity as the bridge between mind and matter. Synchronicity was explored in the writings of the following authors, too: Jung (1951/1981, 1952/1981); von Franz (1980b); Skafke (2000); Mansfield (1995); Cousineau (1997); Progoff (1973); Begg (2001); and Howell (1990) in the context of astrology

Other aspects of the natural world and how they relate to play were explored, especially chaos theory. Gleick (1988) explicates the complex nature of chaos. Conforti (1999) relates patterns in nature to patterns in psyche. Shulman (1997) discusses chaos theory in relation to psyche and culture and its liminal nature. Like Shulman, Lewin (1992) also considers the edges of chaos and how they relate to complexity theory. Talbot (1991), in The Holographic Universe, discusses the nature of the part being contained in the whole, while DeBono (1992) concentrates on the notion of lateral thinking.

Woodman and Dickson (1996) discuss chaos’s role in the transformation of consciousness. Goodchild (2001) demonstrates the confluence of Eros and Chaos, as do Sheldrake et al. (1998, 2001), and Abraham (1994). Van Eenwyk (1997) explores chaos and archetypes as strange attractors, giving special attention to the eternal return. Jeffrey Miller (2001) explicates Jung’s notion of the transcendent function (1957/1981) as another place where opposing forces meet and are transformed. Peat (1991) links chaos theory with alchemy.

V. Turner (1988), the high priest of liminality, discusses play and paradox, along with play’s relation to ritual. In Play and Culture, Schwartzman (1980a, b, c) also examines paradox as it relates to play, while other contributors to that volume examine the structure and dimensions of ritual and play and their interrelationship (Blanchard 1980, S. J. Fox 1980). Bateson (1990) as previously mentioned discusses play in regards to paradox, liminality, and meta-communication. Cazden (1976), too, discusses play linguistically. Handelman (1980) discusses play and identity, while Grof (2002) explicates Bateson’s thoughts on play most elegantly.

Play’s developmental and applied aspects are explored in Yawkey and Pelligrini (1984) including humor (McGhee, 1984), novelty (Ellis, 1984), and the bipolar nature of play theories (Sutton-Smith and Kelly Byrne 1984b). Spariosu (1997) discusses play and liminality. Sutton-Smith (1997), as previously mentioned, takes an overview of play theories themselves and explores the ambiguous nature of the different theories of play.


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