Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Wikipedia.
Psyche(sī`kē), in Greek mythology, personification of the human soul. She was so lovely that Eros (Cupid), the god of love, fell in love with her. He swept her off to a beautiful, isolated castle but forbade her to look at him since he was a god. When she disobeyed, he abandoned her, but she ceaselessly searched for him, performing difficult and dangerous tasks, until at last she was reunited with him forever and made immortal.
Psyche(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Psyche is the name of an asteroid as well as the soul or mind. Psyche, asteroid 16 (the 16th asteroid to be discovered, on March 17, 1852), was named after a beautiful woman in a Greek myth, said to represent the soul. It has an orbital period of 5 years and is 248 kilometers in diameter (making it the same size as Juno). Psyche is one of the more recent asteroids to be investigated by astrologers. Preliminary material on Psyche can be found in Demetra George and Douglas Bloch’s Astrology for Yourself, and an ephemeris (table of celestial locations) for Psyche can be found in the second edition of their Asteroid Goddesses.
Unlike the planets, which are associated with a wide range of phenomena, the smaller asteroids are said to represent a single principle. George and Bloch (1987) give Psyche’s principle as “psychic sensitivity”; their tentative key phrase for Psyche is “my capacity to be psychically sensitive to another person.” Zipporah Dobyns views Psyche as either the capacity to understand and care for others or the incapacity to do so if one is self-centered or insecure. J. Lee Lehman regards Psyche as representing the unconscious aspect of the mind, particularly one’s unconscious mental habits. Jacob Schwartz gives the significance of this asteroid as “psychic and physical bonding, erotic love, raw psychological wounds and recovery.”
in Greek mythology, the personification of the human soul, usually represented as a butterfly or a maiden. The myth of the love of Psyche and Eros has been used as a subject in literature by Apuleius, La Fontaine, Molière, I. Bogdanovich, and others and in art by A. Canova, A. Pajou, and Raphael, among others.
a property of highly organized matter; a special form of the reflection of objective reality by the subject.
The most important characteristic of psychic reflection is activity. Psychic reflection is a product of the subject’s activity. In addition, however, by mediating this activity, psychic reflection orients and controls it. Thus, psychic phenomena constitute the essential internal aspect of the subject’s objective activity, and the character and laws of the psyche can be scientifically explained only by analyzing the structure, kinds, and forms of this activity.
The concept of the psyche as a reflection makes it possible to overcome the false formulation of the problem of the correlation between the psychological and the physiological, which may result in the dissociation of the psyche from the functioning of the brain, in the reduction of psychic to physiological phenomena, or finally, in a simple assertion of the parallelism of psychic and physiological phenomena. If psychic reflection is interpreted as the product of activity that results in the interaction of the material subject with objective reality, the treatment of psychic phenomena as purely spiritual phenomena isolated from corporeal cerebral processes is precluded, since it is through these processes that reflected reality is transformed into psychic reflection. However, the characteristics of the subject’s activity cannot be derived directly from the physiological processes that realize the activity. The subject’s activity is determined by the properties and relations of the objective world, to which it is subordinate, and to which the psychic reflection arising in the subject’s brain is, therefore, also subordinate. Thus, although psychic phenomena exist only as a result of the functioning of the brain, and although they are, in this sense, a function of the brain, they can neither be reduced to physiological phenomena nor derived from them. Psychic phenomena constitute a special quality manifested only in the system of relations of the subject’s activity.
Originating at a particular stage in biological evolution, the psyche became a necessary condition for the further development of life. As it changes and becomes more complex, psychic reflection acquires in man a qualitatively new form—the form of consciousness produced by man’s life in society and by the social relations that mediate man’s ties with the world. The development of consciousness is necessary, owing to the special character of human labor, which differs qualitatively from the instinctive behavior of animals. As a purposeful, productive activity, labor requires the representation of its objective result in the human mind, in a subjective form that makes it possible to compare the result of labor with the original material (the object of labor), with its transformations, and with the final result (the product of labor). The representation that regulates the subject’s activity is embodied in the product of this activity—the objectified form in which man perceives the representation. The process of comparing the representation, which mediates activity, with the reflection of its product is the process of conscious perception, which is possible only if the subject perceives the object in a form that is reflected in language. Therefore, what is consciously perceived is also invariably verbalized. In performing this function, language is not only a means of communication among people but also a true consciousness, which exists for an individual only insofar as it exists for other people (K. Marx, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 29). Thus, as a form of the individual psyche, consciousness is possible only in society. Although consciousness is the main form of the human psyche it is not the only form. There are also unconscious psychic phenomena and processes in man, but he is unaware of them, for they are not accessible to introspection.
Although the phenomena of conscious reflection are accessible to introspection by the subject, their character can be determined only by objective analysis. The study of the psyche is the subject matter of psychology.
A. N. LEONTEV