In Monoi’mos, who was called “the Arab,” Indian influences are not impossible.
His statement is significant because it shows that even in the second century 5 the ego was considered the exponent of an all-embracing totality, the self—a thought that by no means all psychologists are familiar with even today.
These insights, in the Near East as in India, are the product of intense introspective observation that can only be psychological.
Gnosis is undoubtedly a psychological knowledge whose contents derive from the unconscious.
It reached its insights by concentrating on the “subjective factor,” which consists empirically in the demonstrable influence that the collective unconscious exerts on the conscious mind.
This would explain the astonishing parallelism between Gnostic symbolism and the findings of the psychology of the unconscious.
I would like to illustrate this parallelism by summarizing the symbols previously discussed. For this purpose we must first of all review the facts that led psychologists to conjecture an archetype of wholeness, i.e., the self.
These are in the first place dreams and visions; in the second place, products of active imagination in which symbols of wholeness appear.
The most important of these are geometrical structures containing elements of the circle and quaternity; namely, circular and spherical forms on the one hand, which can be represented either purely geometrically or as objects; and, on the other hand, quadratic figures divided into four or in the form of a cross.
They can also be four objects or persons related to one another in meaning or by the way they are arranged. Eight, as a multiple of four, has the same significance.
A special variant of the quaternity motif is the dilemma of 3 -f- i- Twelve (3 X 4) seems to belong here as a solution of the dilemma and as a symbol of wholeness (zodiac, year).
Three can be regarded as a relative totality, since it usually represents either a spiritual totality that is a product of thought, like the Trinity, or else an instinctual, chthonic one, like the triadic nature of the gods of the underworld—the “lower triad.” Psychologically, however, three—if the context indicates that it refers to the self—should be understood as a defective quaternity or as a stepping-stone towards it.
Empirically, a triad has a trinity opposed to it as its complement. The complement of the quaternity is unity. 350-351