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Jung: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – June 7, 2001
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`offers a concise introduction to Jungian psychology, covering everything from the collective unconscious and the archetype to the theories of synchronicity and individuation.'
Ken McGoogan, Calgary Herald
About the Author
Anthony Stevens is also the author of Archetype: A Natural History of the Self (1982), On Jung (1990), and, most recently, The Two Million-Year-Old Self (1993).
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“As time passed, Jung’s differences with Freud became harder to conceal. Two of Freud’s basic assumptions were unacceptable to him: (1) that human motivation is exclusively sexual and (2) that the unconscious mind is entirely personal and peculiar to the individual.” ---------- Turns out, this is the difference for Jung that made all the difference. In Jung’s view, we humans have many reasons for doing what we do well beyond the boundaries of sexuality. And also, the human unconscious taps into the entire range of experiences we have developed as a species over millions of years
“Moreover, beneath the personal unconscious of repressed wishes and traumatic memories, posited by Freud, Jung believed there lay a deeper and more important layer that he was to call the collective unconscious, which contained in potenitia the entire psychic heritage of mankind. . . . The existence of this ancient basis of the mind had first been hinted to him as a child when he realized that there were things in his dreams that came from somewhere beyond himself. Its existence was confirmed when he studied the delusions and hallucinations of schizophrenic patients and found them to contain symbols and images which also occurred in myths and fairy-tales all over the world. --------- Again, Jung acknowledged there is a personal component to the unconscious realm we encounter in our dreams, but this is only the start: there is an ocean of unconscious energy deeper and wider than the personal – the collective unconscious. Thus, Jung’s lifelong fascination with symbols, such as mandalas, numbers, mythic animals, light-infused and shadowy superhuman presences.
“What distinguishes the Jungian approach to developmental psychology from virtually all others is the idea that even in old age we are growing toward realization of or full potential. . . . aging was not a process of inexorable decline but a time for the progressive refinement of what is essential. ‘The decisive question for a man is: is he related to something infinite or not?’ ---------- A critical difference from Freud: what happens in our psyche isn’t always about working out our relationship with our mother and father buried in our personal past; rather, every stage in the human cycle, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, old age, has its own powerful psychic energies and challenges. It is our task to accept the challenges at each stage of our life to reach the full flowering of our humanity. Thus, for Jung, psychotherapy isn’t so much about curing illness as it is about personal growth.
“Jung held it to be the business of the psychologist to investigate the collective unconscious and the functional units of which it is composed – the archetypes, as he eventually called them. Archetypes are ‘identical psychic structures common to all’, which together constitute ‘the archaic heritage of humanity’. ---------- The author devotes two entire chapters to Jung’s archetypes: the Self, the ego, the shadow, the persona, the anima/amimus. And, what is an archetype? By way of example, we read: “One example which Jung frequently quoted was that of a schizophrenic patient who told him that if he stared at the sun with half-closed eyes he would see that the sun had a phallus and that this organ was the origin of the wind. Years later Jung came across a Greek text describing an almost identical vision.’ In other words, the archetype images we encounter in dreams belong to a common dream language we share will all humans, including our prehistoric ancestors and peoples of all world cultures and societies. And, according to Jung, these archetypical images can be understood as promptings to encourage our growth.
“In working on a dream the starting-point for Jung was not interpretation but ‘amplification’ – that is, to enter into the atmosphere of the dream to establish its mood as well as the detail of its images and symbols, in such a way as to amplify the experience of the dream itself. Then its impact on consciousness is enhanced. ---------- Dreams are central to Jungian analysis. And if you are interested in pursuing Jung’s vision of what it means to live a full human life, reading this small book would be a great place to start.
This basic introduction has everything you need to know about Jung, the man, how his life and personality shaped his contribution to Psychology and Science in general, the basic concepts and themes of Jung's approach to the human psyche, mental illness, psychoanalytical practice, his troublesome relationship with Freud and his supposed pro-nazism. The chapter on Dreams perhaps the weakest part, mostly because the dreams chosen from Jung seem a bit complex and too symbolic for a book that tries to be approachable and addressed to the general public.
The language used is concise, approachable with the bare minimum technicalities, yet, with enough depth to make you understand the basics on which to build your knowledge about Jung and Jungian Psychology.
This is a good Kindle edition with good-quality photos, but the final index is not linked, unfortunately.
I'm impressed that such a short book can capture so much of this man. Scholars of the subject might criticize short works for their cursory analysis of important topics, but reviews of this book that I have seen indicate otherwise. I will be reading more Jung now, as I have realized Freud was rather dull compared to him.
Jung’s ideas are very well presented. It is as if the author (Anthony Stevens) has immersed himself in Jung’s writings to such a degree that he is able to present the key ideas better than Jung was able to do himself.
The book starts with biographical notes that are crucial to understanding the development of Jung’s ideas throughout his lifetime. Not only are the early years described, especially Jung’s relationship with his parents, but due weight is given to the importance of the interactions that occurred between Jung and his contemporary colleagues most notably Sigmund Freud.
This short introduction is not only a delight to read, it makes Jung’s ideas particularly accessible. I strongly recommend it.
Most recent customer reviews
A lot of the material cited in this book is taken from Memories Dreams and Reflections, and I recommend it as a more dense...Read more