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Psychology and the Occult: (From Vols. 1, 8, 18 Collected Works) (Jung Extracts) Paperback – January 21, 1978
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Text: English (translation)
About the Author
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). Founded the analytical school of psychology and developed a radical new theory of the unconscious that has made him one of the most familiar names in 20th Century thought. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The following items appear reprinted in this book:
"Foreword to Jung: "Phenomens Occultes"" (1939) - A brief foreword relating Jung's theories on the occult and immortality.
"On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena" (1902) -This is Jung's dissertation for his medical doctorate written while he was at the Burgholzli. In this dissertation, Jung explains the role of hysteria and epilepsy (very similar) in the production of occult phenomena. He begins by noting several instances of hysteria and epilepsy in women. Then, he turns to the case of a girl, Miss S. W., who served as a medium (her personality being taken over by that of her grandfather and a spirit named Ivenes). This girl presented an elaborate metaphysical system, which Jung copied down. Jung argues that this girl was a hysteric and explains some of the phenomena surrounding this girl. He notes the reality of multiple personalities, somnambulistic states, and emphasizes hypnosis as a means to understanding altered states of consciousness. In particular, he notes the fact that small tremors are not uncommon in the hands and that these tremors often can produce writing and drawings which relate to what is going on in the mind. Jung also explains much of what this girl says as a product of cryptomnesia. Jung notes the similarity of her case to the case of the Seeress of Prevorst (made famous by Justinus Kerner). Jung also notes how much of what she said appears to be unconsciously plagiarized (cryptomnesia) from the book _From India to the Planet Mars_ of Flournoy. To illustrate how this occurs Jung produces two pieces of writing, one from Nietzsche's _Thus Spoke Zarathustra_ and the second from Kerner's _Clairvoyant of Prevorst_ and shows the great similarity. He contends this is an instance of cryptomnesia. Jung ends by noting how this girl's worldview shares much similarity with that found in gnostic and occult literature, foreshadowing the collective unconscious.
"On Spiritualistic Phenomena" (1905) - This is a lecture given by Jung. Jung notes the history of spiritualism which grew as an opposition movement to materialism. Jung explains the role of the Fox sisters, romantic poets, Swedenborg, Kant, Johann Josef von Gorres, Katherina Emmerich, and Mesmer within this movement. Jung quotes extensively from Kant's book on Swedenborg, _Dreams of a Spirit-Seer_ as well as from a writing by Wiliam Crookes.
"The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits" (1920) - Jung explains belief in spirits among both primitives and moderns such as Crookes, Myers, Wallace, and Zollner. Jung emphasizes the role of the archetypes of the collective unconscious.
"The Soul and Death" (1934) - Jung explains the soul, death, and the fear of death. Jung notes the role of religion and explains that it is the rationalist position which is neurotic towards death. That is, the rationalist seeks to deny death by claiming it is simply an end and not something more.
"Psychology and Spiritualism" (1948) - This is Jung's foreword to a book by Stewart Edward White in which he notes the role of "Invisibles", as well as the role of modern physics in providing a possible explanation for parapsychological phenomena.
"Foreword to Moser: "Spuk: Irrglaube Oder Wahrglaube"" (1950) - Jung's foreword to a book by Fanny Moser in which he attempts to explain a haunting that he experienced in terms of unconscious manifestation.
"Foreword to Jaffe: "Apparitions and Precognition"" (1958) - Jung's foreword to a book by Aniela Jaffe about fantastic tales of superstition, mentioning the stories of E. T. A. Hoffmann.
"The Future of Parapsychology" (1963) - Jung's answers to a questionnaire regarding the future of parapsychology to be printed in a journal. This is particularly interesting because it notes Jung's thoughts on the possibility of scientific investigation of the occult.
This book provides a fascinating look into the mind of Carl Jung and his thinking regarding the occult. It is sure to intrigue those who hope for a life beyond death and particularly those who believe that psychology has something to say about occult phenomena. For those who believe in the reality of the supernatural, this book is certain to provide some solace.
I've been very impressed by how relevant Jung's observations about the psyche are to my inner life. Unfortunately Jung has fallen out of favor and the current attitude towards the unconscious is to suppress it and fear it. Although I read a lot of books, I have encountered few references to supernatural reverie, entrancing dreams, or other indications of a profound connection to the life of the psyche. You have to read 19th century Romantic poets to find the right sensibilities.
There were two passages in this book that I found noteworthy; "When a complex of the collective unconscious becomes associated with the ego it is felt as strange, uncanny, and at the same time fascinating. At all events the conscious mind falls under its spell." This is a good description of a supernatural reverie when the soul seems to fall under the spell of some eerie recollection or a fascinating, poetic vision. Another accurate description is the following passage, "An integral component of any nocturnal, numinous experience is the diming of consciousness, the feeling that one is in the grip of something greater than oneself, a most singular feeling which one willy-nilly hoards up as a secret treasure. This is the purpose of the experiece - to make us feel the overpowering presence of a mystery." The most interesting point made here is that a numinous experience is treasured, profoundly mysterious, and kept to oneself. Jung genuinely valued the unconscious.