Carl Jung
September 16, 2011 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Carl Jung: Taking inner life seriously. An eight-part series on the thought of Carl Gustav Jung from the Guardian's How to Believe series (previously.) Jung's relationship with his patient, student, and rumored lover Sabina Spielrein, and his mentor Sigmund Freud is the subject of a new film, "A Dangerous Method." [Via]

Part 2: A troubled relationship with Freud – and the Nazis
Part 3: Encountering the unconscious (previously)
Part 4: Do archetypes exist?
Part 5: Psychological types
Part 6: Synchronicity
Part 7: The power of acceptance
Part 8: Religion and the search for meaning
posted by homunculus (14 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been having dreams about Carl Jung. I don't know what that means.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:36 PM on September 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Thanks for this.
posted by safetyfork at 12:24 AM on September 17, 2011


Thanks for this. I've been talking Jung methods with my therapist for the last six months as some of his stuff really clicked with me. Or rather, some of his students books and their students teachings have made me have a few eye opening experiences into my life. It is hard to admit these days in the world of CBT that you get the most help from old school theories and sometimes I feel looked down on by others for agreeing with some of what he said.

I only looked at a few of these links so far but I'll be pursuing the rest all day.
posted by kanata at 4:06 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


kanata you might like works by post-Jungians – one woman I read recently, Sue Austin (I have no idea why that book's so expensive now, I got it for much cheaper), put her (constructive) critique of Jung, and then of object-oriented methods, in a way that finally helped me understand my own somewhat-mixed feelings about Jung, and my stronger uneasiness with CBT. In short, and I'm paraphrasing here, Jung did live in a time when "masculine" traits were considered superior to "feminine", which comes through in some of his writing, even though he was very much ahead of his time in recognizing that "feminine aspects" and women analysands needed to be taken seriously and on their own terms, not shunted into a "masculine" world view. I use scare quotes for this stuff because obviously our own culture is what defines "masculine" and "feminine" when, as many post-Jungian analysts believe, they would be better described as alterity; otherness. What was revolutionary with Jung was his idea that otherness and a dissociative view not dissimilar from that of Derrida were the key to becoming "more whole" – as you understand differences, you better comprehend which are part of your own personality, which are not, and especially, how you can relate to them.

This is where the critique of object-oriented approaches come in – they tend to classify, and thus stultify, behaviors and traits. And they do so in the context of their culture of origin, namely our Occidental, "masculine"-oriented culture. And so you get things like "aggressiveness" being judged as negative and "assertiveness" being judged as positive... except that it's mainly women who are called "aggressive" and men who are called "assertive". I'm oversimplifying for the intarwebs, btw, this is only one relatively easy example among many. With a dissociationist and deconstructionist approach, which Jungian thought is, you can look at the individual's relationship to their aggressiveness, for instance, and what they're trying to express with that, a long-term search which almost inevitably leads to what I can only describe metaphorically, as a sort of cooking in which you start out with distinct ingredients, sometimes very different, and end up with a coherent outlook that's nonetheless rich and nuanced, with more awareness of yourself, other individuals, society, and their interrelations.

I totally get the feeling of being looked down on for taking him seriously too. I think it has a lot to do with commercial values – Freud's approach to psychology unfortunately (and mostly unintentionally, though Jung did warn him of the risks) lent itself to a later reduction and categorization of human impulses that has been used (and abused), which is to say, most of the objectifying, monetarizing "values" of today. Whereas Jung, in putting humans front and center, and in positing individuals as arbiters of their own lives no matter how surprising and unique they may seem to others, and in appreciating alterity and relational understanding, is quite antithetical and even threatening to commercialization. You really can't commercialize Jungian psychoanalysis. It just doesn't work. And so it falls into a weird space in contemporary society.
posted by fraula at 4:50 AM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


karl jung is watching you phantasize
posted by LogicalDash at 5:01 AM on September 17, 2011


Thanks for the book recommendation fraula. I'm just getting into this sort of thing and have been devouring what I can get my hands on and have been struggling a tad bit with integrating a modern feminist aspect with what Jung says but find if I remind myself to take him as coming from the era he does that I can digest it easier. Still though I end up feeling a lack of guidance (?) in dealing with feminine issues. But very worth while.

I had pretty much given up hope on ever coming out of a long depression (I believe I once commented here that I was just looking for a doctor to help me end it as was my right) as since exploring Jung as well as some Buddhist principles I've felt greater understanding of myself and a large easing of my sadness. Being able to see life beyond just a chemical imbalance or genetic disorder and delve into the area of uniting our selves and becoming whole really was an eye opener.

Ah, I can't explain it well as you as I haven't really formed the correct way I think about Jung or even why CBT does not work for me. I just know when discussing him with my therapist or reading the books of John A. Sanford (whom I enjoyed even though I'm an atheist) and James Hollis things just really popped open and for the first time in my life I found myself *thinking* and making connections. A very liberating experience.

Tho I find myself being quiet about how some dream work has proven helpful as that tends to send people running for the hills.
posted by kanata at 5:28 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this great post homunculus.
posted by Sailormom at 6:43 AM on September 17, 2011


It is hard to admit these days in the world of CBT that you get the most help from old school theories and sometimes I feel looked down on by others for agreeing with some of what he said.

It may be a bit heavy on religious symbolism, but I found Care Of The Soul by Thomas Moore to be tremendously helpful in my life way back when. His insights as to how to apply Jungian concepts into daily living enriched my existence greatly.
posted by hippybear at 8:30 AM on September 17, 2011


I've been having dreams about Carl Jung. I don't know what that means.

In my case it meant the beginning of studying a lot of his books (over a long time). Damn ... what a trip! Readers who're interested in Jung but don't know which rabbit hole to follow: have a look at Memories, Dreams, Reflections ... one of the more remarkable autobios.
posted by Twang at 3:22 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work in a CBT context (agency-determined), but the basis of my approach to counseling is Jungian.

Also, someday I want to start a band called "Sigmund Freud's Ex-Friends" and cast people as Jung, Adler, and Erikson.
posted by catlet at 3:42 PM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Carl Jung speaks about Death
posted by homunculus at 12:15 AM on September 18, 2011


someday I want to start a band called "Sigmund Freud's Ex-Friends" and cast people as Jung, Adler, and Erikson.

With Bill Reich on drums?
posted by Grangousier at 4:58 AM on September 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great post! Is there a page that has all eight parts? Printing each of these out individually is a bitch.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:07 AM on September 18, 2011


‘Matter of Heart: The Extraordinary Journey of C.G. Jung’
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


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