The Cartesian Split : A Hidden Myth book cover
1st Edition

The Cartesian Split
A Hidden Myth

ISBN 9780367520489
Published April 29, 2022 by Routledge
232 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Cartesian Split examines the phenomenon of Cartesian influence as a psychological complex in the Jungian tradition. It explores the full legacy of Cartesian rationality in its emphasis on abstract thinking and masculinisation of thought, often perceived in a negative light, despite the developments of modernity.

The book argues that the Cartesian creation of the Modern Age, as accompanied by a radical dualism, is better understood as a myth while acknowledging the psychological reality of the myth. The Cartesian myth is a collective dream, and the urgency of its rhetoric suggests that an important message is being left unheeded. This message may lead us to answers in the most unexpected place of all. The book brings forth the Cartesian myth in a new context and shows it to have potential meaning for us today.

The book will be of great interest for academics, researchers, and post-graduate students in the fields of analytical psychology, mental health, comparative mythology, and Jungian studies.

Table of Contents

List of figures



1 Introduction

The allure of the error

The split in the middle

Approaching the split

The complexity of complexes

Cogito ergo non sum

A complex offering

Outline of chapters

2 The initial sessions

Body as machine

Ecological crisis

Feminist challenge

Subjective difficulties


Limitations in expression

Reduction and isolation

Pairs of opposites

The dominant paradigm

Old versus new

Heroic transcenders

Tragic transcenders

Charged images

First evaluation

3 The depth sessions

The great revolt

The ghost in the machine

The masculinization of thought

Cartesian disenchantment

The Cartesian mirror

The Cartesian theater

The turning point

The murder of the world soul

Further evaluation

4 Confronting the legend

The dawn of awareness

The problem of interpretation

The problem of caricature

The reality of the problem

Descartes’ dualism

The legend

The two worlds view

Critiquing the legend

Finding truth in myth

5 Ancient memories

Tales of the mirrored world

The first mirror

The dark mirror

The original split

The Gnostic two worlds

The chief archon

The splitting of the demiurge

A terrible world order

The first machine

Feminism and ecology

Solipsism and materialism

Gnostic transcenders


6 Psychological interpretation

Interpretation of the mirrored worlds

Becoming conscious of consciousness

Differentiation of opposites

Crossing the threshold

Mutual causation

The one world of certainty

The creation of consciousness

Death at the threshold

Interpretation of the split worlds

Gnostic consciousness

Atomic consciousness

Inside the split

The splitting of the ego

The splitting of consciousness

Modern dismemberment

7 Cultural memories

The Anglo-split


A new look at olde times

Dismemberment on stage

The sudden shift

The splitting of ritual

The splitting of the play

The splitting of cultural consciousness

Faustus’s internal split

The residual memory

A penny for the Guy

Religious dualism

The splitting of substance

Substantial epochs

8 The alien text

Descartes’ disclaimer

The evil genius

Cogito and consciousness

Meditations on split consciousness

Internalizing doubt

The process of doubt

A singular truth

A single sapling


The one small part

The religious problem

Meditations on God

Divine substance

Mysterious substance

Altered substance

Altered meditations


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Brandon D. Short is a mechanical engineer with an interest in psychology. He holds a doctorate of depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. He lives in Portland, Oregon, USA.