Hub Zwart
Erasmus University Rotterdam
This paper analyses the technoscientific objective of building a synthetic cell from a Jungian perspective. After decades of fragmentation and specialisation, the synthetic cell symbolises a turn towards restored wholeness, both at the object pole and at the subject pole. From a Jungian perspective, it is no coincidence that visual representations of synthetic cells often reflect an archetypal, mandala-like structure. As a symbol of restored unity, the synthetic cell mandala compensates for technoscientific fragmentation via active imagination, providing a visual aid for the technoscientific turn towards reintegration. Although the biotechnological desire to reconstruct life in vitro has been compared to alchemy before, a Jungian analysis allows us to make this comparison more specific and precise. The problem of archetypal images, however, is that alluring prospects of reintegration may underestimate and obfuscate the deficiencies and tensions at work in the current situation. As a projection of a future wholeness, it fosters optimism, but may also function as a misleading façade, covering up collisions and complexities. This can be averted by the conscious employment of the mandala as a symbolic scaffold fostering processes of individuation and working through.
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1080/19409052.2018.1441890
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Phänomenologie des Geistes.G. W. F. Hegel & J. Hoffmeister - 1953 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 15 (3):528-528.
What is Life?A. Cornelius Benjamin - 1948 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 8 (3):481-483.
Phänomenologie des Geistes. Hegel & Georg Lasson - 1908 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 65:218-219.

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