The Semantic Impulse of Opposites

The nexus of life.
Contained in the opposites.
Together as ONE.
Anima and Animus.
A person and his shadow.

About this poem

The nexus of life is portrayed in the play of opposites. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung described it as such when he observed, as follows, in CW 4, para. 779: “I see in all that happens the play of opposites, and derive from this conception my idea of psychic energy.” Carl Jung’s psychological observations are confirmed by observed linguistic parallels in the play of opposites in which the semantic valence of a word, of any word, can only be more definitively determined by coupling every single word with that which appears to oppose it as an antonym. That is to say, as a given example, we cannot effectively define what “day” is, without contrasting it with what “night” is, and what seemingly opposes “day” with respect to its semantic reference; and so on and so forth. An entire encyclopedia of words must therefore, out of sheer necessity, find it an optimal requirement, in Jungian analytical terms, to “hold that psychic energy involves the play of opposites in much the same way as physical energy involves a difference of potential (CW 4, par. 779). It is this psychic “play of opposites” that I contend linguistically and semantically bind any given word as a synonym (in structural linguistics, the “signifier”) with another given word as its antonym ( in structural linguistics, the “signified”). Together, both a word and it’s opposing lexical item are required to compose a corpus that constitutes a semantic whole. In linguistic terms, I describe this as the genetic semantic impetus of linguistic opposites. 

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Written on February 07, 2022

Submitted by karlcfolkes on February 07, 2022

Modified on March 24, 2023

6 sec read

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABCDE
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 106
Words 23
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 5

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

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