with bones, the pensive Moon-watcher moves
In the black monolith, Kubrick has created his most startling and significant symbol which, we have seen, he understood in terms of a Jungian archetype, presumably the “God-concept.” As he told an interviewer in 1970, “the God concept is at the heart of the film.” “God-concept” is a Jungian term, like “God image” and “imago Dei,” that indicates — without regard to the existence or nonexistence of “God” – psychic readiness for symbolization:
Although the God-concept is a a spiritual principle par excellence, the collective metaphysical need nevertheless insists that it is at the same time a conception of the First Cause, from which proceed all those instinctual forces that are opposed to the spiritual principle . . . God would thus be not only the essence of spiritual light . . . but also the darkest, nethermost cause of Nature’s blackest deeps.
We may imagine that some kind of communication is taking place between the hominids and the monolith, but what we see and hear is their confrontation with a symbol. As a symbol, it does not impart information but draws out unconscious material. After his first analytic session with the monolith, Moon-watcher realizes, through playing with the remains of an animal, that a bone is not only a sign, but a symbol of death. Like Hamlet puttering with bones, the pensive Moon-watcher moves from play to insight. As he begins to see the possibility of the femur as a weapon, his grip tightens and conceptuality is attained. In other words, when objects are no longer seen as things in themselves but as constituents of thought, a revolution in cognition has occurred.
from the last of these 11 chapters : Thinking; Corporeality; Time; War; Light; Eros; Music; Technology; Speech; Poiesis; and Transcendence, in
Philip Kuberski, Kubrick’s Total Cinema: Philosophical Themes and Formal Qualities (2012) : 166 : link
initial landing : link
the Jung passage is, evidently, from The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, §103 : link
Kuberski’s book looks good, will read.