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'Jung's single-minded humility, his passion to unearth truth, is one of the loveliest impressions to emerge from this absorbing and many-sided book.' The Times 'He was on a giant scale ... he was a master physician of the soul in his insights, a profound sage in his conclusions. He is also one of Western Man's great liberators.' J. B. Priestley, Sunday Telegraph 'Can sometimes rise to the heights of a Blake or a Nietzsche or a Kierkegaard ... like any true prophet or artist he extended the range of the human imagination ... to be able to share Jungian emotions is surely an almost necessary capacity of the free mind.' Polly Toynbee, Observer
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Text: English, German (translation)
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology (also known as Jungian psychology). Jung's radical approach to psychology has been influential in the field of depth psychology and in counter-cultural movements across the globe. Jung is considered as the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is "by nature religious" and to explore it in depth. His many major works include "Analytic Psychology: Its Theory and Practice," "Man and His Symbols," "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," "The Collected Works of Carl G. Jung," and "The Red Book."
"What we are to our inward vision, and what man appears to be sub specie aeternitatis, can only be expressed by way of myth. Myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than does science... Thus it is that I have now undertaken, in my eighty-third year, to tell my personal myth. I can only make direct statements, only "tell stories." Whether or not the stories are "true" is not the problem. The only question is whether what I tell is _my_ fable, _my_ truth." (C. G. Jung, p. 3) If you're looking for a book "about" the life of Carl Jung, keep on looking. This is not so much a biography as it is a window into the process of Jung's experience. Think of this as Jung's "case summary" of his life. We don't read many of the amusing anectdotes, or "objective" critical insights that other biographies offer in abundance. Instead we get to experience Jung's auto-mythos for ourselves. Jung reveals much, imparts wisdom, offers us early memories, and paints the canvas of his life for us. It's an incredible gift from a wise and self-reflective man. Jung was not without his faults, as other biographers have pointed out, he had many--some quite appalling! More than one of his analysands became his lover--behavior that would cost him his license today. But again, this is material you should look elsewhere for. Here he ponders his fears, his weaknesses, the ones that he has already accepted and worked with. I recommend this book for people who have never read Jung before. It teaches more about his approach than any of his other books. It finds the meaning in his own life, viewed through his approach to life. "Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore the equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable--perhaps everything." (p. 340)
This book is less complicated than most of Jung's other writings and really explains the man Carl Jung. I highly recommend the book to anyone studying Jung. I would also recommend the book an Encounter With A Prophet.
More than any other work in his oeuvre, Carl Jung's biography, 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' (1961) takes the reader inside the mind of the eminent Swiss psychologist. Jung was both a self-admitted gnostic and an introvert, and this very personal account of his life, which he was completing at the time of his death, is correspondingly subjective in tone.
Jung had a difficult but remarkable childhood, to which he devotes a substantial portion of the text. Both blessed and plagued by heretical visions which he was unprepared to understand or interpret (among them: God defecating on a cathedral; an enormous cyclopean phallus enthroned in a subterranean chamber), Jung also found himself unable to seek advice from his father, a country parson suffering from a crisis of faith, or his mother, whom Jung believed to have a weird and "uncanny" "second personality" which only emerged at night. In time, the awkward young Carl came to believe that he had a guiding "second personality" of his own, which he perceived to belong to a mature and intellectually accomplished man of 18th century Europe (as an adult, Jung would adopt another "psychic being," whom he called "Philemon," as his personal "daimon," mentor, and guide). Already tending temperamentally towards remove from others, these experiences only acerbated Jung's boyhood sense of rural backwardness, loneliness, and social isolation.
Due to both its subjective nature and the enormous scope of Jung's experiences and speculative beliefs, 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' is the sort of book that hardline scientists and skeptics may scoff at, especially since Jung is largely concerned with discovering the liminal crossroads where objective truth, physical law, spirituality, and human psychology converge.Read more ›
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I think Carl Jung was very ahead of his time and he was in sense an explorer like Columbus, except that his territory was the vast space of his own interior. My understanding of Jung is that he took his own explorations to the brink of psychosis in the service of understanding himself and the psyche. Whether you are a Jung fan or not, it has certainly been my experience that he has a lot of insight and wisdom to share with respect to the nature of the psyche.
This book is basically an autobiography and it is very dense reading. Jung was highly educated in a variety of fields and without some basic understanding of philosophy, major literary figures and mythology, it may be a difficult reading. However, if taken slowly, it is truly manageable and you will discover many gems.
I agree with some of the other excellent reviews that suggest that this volume presents Jung the legend more than being an objective account of his life. However, it offers a lot of insight into his thinking, major influences, etc. It is a fascinating story in itself.
I think this book is most useful and interesting to people who already know a lot about Jung. It is not the best introduction to Jung. If you want a good introduction, I would suggest Murray Stein's "Jung's Map of the Soul." Another concise introduction in Jung's own words is Aion. I would read one or both of these first before tackling this volume.
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