Let’s take a closer look at the word ‘synthesis’. The word psychosynthesis was first used in 1889 by Pierre Janet in his book L’automatisme psychologique. Freud spoke of the synthesizing function of the ego, but he used this word only in the sense of re-establishing the condition existing before a split or dissociation due to a traumatic experience or to strong conflicts.
Others, such as Jung and Maeder used the words synthesis and psychosynthesis in a deeper and wider sense as the development of the integrated and harmonious personality, including both its conscious and unconscious parts.
The word ‘synthesis’ comes from the Greek word syntithenai, in turn deriving from syn meaning “together” and thtehnai meaning “to put, place.”
Assagioli writes that the Lotus is a symbol of Synthesis.
Next week I will be at Casa Assagioli in Florence, helping Gruppo alle Fonti host their International Meeting. The theme this year is “Synthesis,” a mighty big concept to come to terms with in less than a week. In anticipation, I have begun to reflect on what Synthesis means. The word comes from the Greek word syntithenai, in turn deriving from syn meaning “together” and thtehnai meaning “to put, place.”
One of Assagioli’s triangles from his Archives.
The concept of Synthesis is complex because it is not only a quality or a state of being, but also a continual process, an attitude, an approach. I have written a number of blogs about Assagioli’s ideas on the synthesis of polar opposites. Basically, synthesis occurs when a pair of opposites continually interact until they are brought into equilibrium. Ultimately the opposites are transmuted into a transpersonal quality. Assagioli liked to draw triangles to illustrate his idea of balancing and transmuting these opposite energies into higher spiritual qualities. Continue reading →