Jean Carteret: Language and Psyche
Below is something I read a few years ago in a book by a Dutch writer, George Bode.
His thinking is mainly based on the thoughts of a French philosopher, Jean Carteret. As far as I know, nothing is written on paper by Carteret, but Bode wrote a book called: ‘Het poetische denken van (poetic thinking of) Jean Carteret’.
A book in which Bode tries to give an impression of the thought process of Carteret.
Deeply hidden in that book was the following (English translation of the Dutch writings of a French thoughtprocess, so something might get lost here):
At a certain moment Carteret was very impressed by a line in Jungs book ‘Man and his symbols’: Matter and psyche are two aspects of one and the same phenomenon. Superficially from this comes that matter obvious is the visable side of the psyche.
But if one stays in this stage, it becomes a formula and becomes a presence where you cannot go about. That never happened to Carteret, therefore was his analysing quality to good. His second association by the phrase of Jung was: matter and psyche are sort of the same, but matter is also energy.
Coming from this scientific fact, he then formulated: the energy in the matter can be seen as workable infinity, an infinity in action. And matter is a condition of limitation. So there is a couple of matter/energy and besides that there is also the psyche. But psyche also is invisible like energy. Psyche, which is an inner concept, asks for a fourth concept, that is to the psyche what energy is to matter.
The search for this fourth concept could start, a search which could take weeks, sometimes even months. But also sometimes only a blink of an eye.
The latter was wat happend here. Suddenly he thought of something from the psychiater Lacan about language. And apart from how Lacan meant that, he had found his fourth concept to use in a dialectic.
He formulated it about this: Matter is the ‘condition’ of ‘limitation’ from an ‘infinity’ in ‘action’ (energy). Psyche is just like energy an ‘infinity’ but a ‘condition’ of infinity. And language is the ‘limitation’ in ‘action’.
Because the psyche is the oceanic infinity and the ocean does not move, while on the contrairy the rivers do. So the psyche is the ‘condition’ of ‘infinity’ of which language is the ‘limitation’ in ‘action’.
So on one hand as a physical aspect of the world, there is the couple matter/energy: a condition of limitation and an infinity in action.
And on the other hand, complemantary to that and as a metafysical aspect, there is the couple psyche/language: a condition of infinity and a limitation that can work on that actively.
The result of that, if maximum, is poetry and if this does not work then there is the language that totaly drawns in the actual unspeakable of the psyche, which gives the mystical.
Action = ACTIVE
Condition = PASSIVE
Infinity = POTENTIAL
Limitation = STRUCTURE
Energy is ACTIVE POTENTIAL and transforms into Matter which is PASSIVE STRUCTURE.
Psyche is PASSIVE POTENTIAL and transforms into Language which is ACTIVE STRUCTURE.
Energy = Active Potential
Matter = Passive Structure
Psyche = Passive Potential
Language = Active Structure