VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

3 2 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 5 The Question of Ontology of the Numinous The question remains whether the experience of the Numi- nous is merely a symbol of collective ideas, important for mental health, as claimed by Carl Gustav Jung, or whether it is a result of a subject’s dialogue with some essential onto - logical pendant of religious experience. In agreement with Schleiermacher and Otto, Jung emphasiz- es the original numinous experience , as this “ seizes and con- trols the human subject ” and is an “ involuntary state of the sub- ject ”. He is less concerned with the quality of its “ careful and scrupulous observation ”. However, such an experience is rather a kind of raw material that can take the form of magic, super - stition, or even madness, and may not result in an authentic religious attitude. The primitive experience (Ger. Urerfahrung ), which is essential in every religion, is emphasized here, but at the same time, it provides an unbalanced image of reli- gion, as it appears from broader anthropological research. Besides the passive acceptance of superpersonal forces, the soul in the mystical experience and immediately after it also takes the necessary degree of active attitude (interprets the world, inculturates itself, socializes and acts in accordance with the accepted morality). Edmund Husserl’s pupil Gerda Walther describes the first phase of abandonment and deso- lation (Ger. Verlassenheit ) as propaedeutic for the culmination of a mystical experience. In it, one feels an urgent demand to abandon one’s self-consciousness and to allow one’s own Self to be carried to unification with the Sacred. Subse - quently, however, a conscious and voluntary consent of man, through which the mystical experience culminates, comes (Walther 1956). This anthropological “accessory equipment” of a pure numi - nous experience, however, does not say anything about its metaphysical essential basis, as it develops in the field of everyday empire. It only points out that the human psyche contains a strong desire for “true judgment”, concerning real - ity, either attributed to faith or reason. The “truth” of spiritual experience really lies outside the competence of an empiri- cal psychologist. However, it does not lie outside the compe- tence of a speculative psychologist (philosopher or theolo - gian), whose gnoseological demands, reflecting the demands of man as such, transcend the line between the empirical and the metaphysical. Even according to the empiricist Jung, the psyche itself is a postulate beyond the boundaries of science (it is a Grenzbegriff , Ger. “a boundary concept”) and its contents are unexhausted and inexhaustible. Although arche- types are hypothetically primordial images of the collective unconscious, they perform the function of temporary models for the subject and no empirically verifiable hypothesis can explain their origin. Here, however, Jung must paradoxically break the aforementioned transempirical boundary when he presupposes their origin in essential energy (“ undifferenti- ated libido ”) and sees the goal of psychic transformations in attaining one’s own Self (Ger. das Selbst ). For the sake of com- pleteness, it must be said that Jung does not say anything about the transcendent external principle, but places also these boundary concepts in the boundary sphere between immanence and transcendence (in the space of the “house, just in front of the window” looking outside). Although Jung uses the term “ transcendent function ” of the symbol, uniting the various tensions of the psychic apparatus into a higher synthesis, this unification (from the Greek syn-bollon ) is a liv - ing creative act, overcoming contradictions, in the process of subject individuation. The symbol fulfills a transcendent function, but in the sense of the subject’s disposition to go beyond the empirical, not in the sense of the real presence of the Sacred in the realm of experience. The subject him- self disposes, through the symbols, to meet the Sacred, but psychologist Jung refuses to say whether the Sacred reality exists in se , outside the experiencing subject. The Oxford theologian and psychologist, Jung’s friend, Victor White, points out that symbols are polyvalent, that is, they can have various meanings. However, this also means that the meaning of a true symbol will not be exhausted if we find its rational formulation that will define the symbol or

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