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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/26/16

A Refreshing Presentation of Jung's Thought (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Carl Gustav Jung and Analytical Psychology - ISAPZURICH
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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) December 26, 2016: In 2009, Norton published a luxurious edition of C. G. Jung's The Red Book: Liber Novus, edited and with an introduction by Sonu Shamdasani, translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Shamdasani. Basically, it's an over-sized art book featuring Jung's paintings and calligraphy. It is suitable for displaying on a coffee table. Its publication has renewed interest in Jung's work. The Latin words "Liber Novus" mean "New Book." But they capture Jung's sense of new life emerging within him in his psyche in connection with the inner experiences that he records in the book.

As I will explain momentarily, the publication of The Quotable Jung, collected and edited by Judith R. Harris with the collaboration of Tony Woolfson (Princeton University Press, 2016), is especially timely. Woolfson is Harris' spouse. Harris (born in 1950) is a Jungian analyst, the author of the book Jung and Yoga: The Psyche-Body Connection (Inner City Books, 2001), and the president of the Philemon Foundation, which is dedicated to preparing for publication previously unpublished works by Jung. (Philemon is the name of one figure in Jung's inner experiences recorded in The Red Book: Liber Novus.)


C. G. Jung, M.D. (1875-1961), was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychological theorist. As a young man, he made a name for himself through his psychological research and publications, and then he entered into a fateful relationship with Sigmund Freud, M.D. (1856-1939), who was old enough to be Jung's father. But their fateful relationship was broken off in 1913 after they disagreed with one another and could not resolve their differences.

After breaking with Freud in 1913, the year in which Jung turned thirty-eight, Jung went into an understandable psychological tailspin as the result of his loss of this significant relationship in his life -- similar in kind to the non-death mourning process that Susan Anderson, C.S.W., describes in her perceptive self-help book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing (Berkley Books/Penguin Putnam, 2000).

In non-death mourning of a significant loss in one's life, like mourning the death of a significant person in one's life (also known as bereavement), involves the surfacing of the archetypal field in one's psyche. By definition, clinical depression involves the archetypal field almost overwhelming one's ego-consciousness. When the archetypal field overwhelms one's ego-consciousness, a psychotic break occurs. Ego-consciousness needs certain ego strengths to fight off the archetypal field.

Overall, the archetypal field can include both masculine and feminine archetypes. The late Jungian theorist Robert L. Moore (1942-2016) of the Chicago Theological Seminary has suggested that there are four masculine archetypes of maturity and four feminine archetypes of maturity. However, according to Moore, there are also immature forms of both the masculine and the feminine archetypes. He characterizes the various immature forms as "shadow" forms.

For Jung, his inward journey of the non-death mourning process involved in the loss of his significant relationship with Freud can perhaps also be likened to the pattern that Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) outlines to the best of his ability in the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Pantheon Books, 1949).

Jung's inward journey of the non-death mourning process can also be likened to the pattern that Erich Neumann (1905-1960) delineates to the best of his ability in the book The Origins and History of Consciousness, translated by R. F. C. Hull (Pantheon Books, 1954).

In Jung's inward journey of the non-death mourning process, he experimented with a dangerous practice that he later came to refer to as active imagination. In effect, active imagination involves accessing materials in the psyche when one is awake that normally might be accessed in dreams when one is sleeping. Because the materials Jung was accessing when he was awake and engaging in the practice of active imagination do not normally surface in one's ego-consciousness when one is awake, Jung refers to them as coming from the part of the human psyche that he styles the unconscious, by which he means literally the unknown part of the human psyche -- in effect, the unknown unknown.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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