Introduction: is the only way up?

Bishop, P. (2022) Introduction: is the only way up? In: The Descent of the Soul and the Archaic: Katábasis and Depth Psychology. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 1-16. ISBN 9780367514983 (doi: 10.4324/9781003054139-1)

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According to the words of a song written by George Jackson and Johnny Henderson (which, originally released in 1980 by Otis Clay, became in 1988 a chart-topping single for Yazz and the Plastic Population), the only way is up, baby. But is it? What about the way down? What about katabasis, or nekyia, or the descent of the soul? After all, Nietzsche described the modern age as precisely one of descent rather than ascent, telling his reader that ‘it is true you climb upon the sunbeams of knowledge up to heaven, but you also climb down to chaos’, and warning: ‘Your manner of moving, that of climbing upon knowledge, is your fatality; the ground sinks away from you into the unknown; there is no longer any support for your life, only spider’s threads which every grasp of new knowledge tears apart’. Can we, as Nietzsche nevertheless suggested, view this matter ‘more cheerfully’ and, as Slavoj Žižek proposed, enjoy our symptoms? What are the archaic dimensions that open up when the soul embarks on its descent?

Item Type:Book Sections (Introduction)
Additional Information:eISBN: 9781003054139
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bishop, Professor Paul
Authors: Bishop, P.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
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