The until now unpublished spiritual journey book by Jung has just been published.
What’s worse, in English!
What’s worse, with commentary!
I see terrible articles being committed in the near future by all sorts of woomeisters and New Agey wackos. The Lacanists, pomos, Kristevists, the Golden Horde of ignorance will be busying themselves with analysing the text from the relativist quantum perspective for months, if not years.
What really makes me wary of the book, however, is this:
Jung was associated with Freud for a period of approximately five years, beginning in 1907. Their relationship became increasingly acrimonious. When the final break came in 1913, Jung retreated from many of his professional activities for a time to further develop his own theories. Biographers disagree as to whether this period represented a psychological breakdown. Anthony Storr, reflecting on Jung’s own judgment that he was “menaced by a psychosis” during this time, concluded that the period represented a psychotic episode.
And in particular, the word “psychosis”.
The Red Book was a product of a technique developed by Jung which he termed active imagination. As Jung described it, he was visited by two figures, an old man and a young woman, who identified themselves as Elijah and Salome. They were accompanied by a large black snake. In time, the Elijah figure developed into a guiding spirit that Jung called Philemon (ΦΙΛΗΜΩΝ, as originally written with Greek letters). Salome was identified by Jung as an anima figure. The figures, according to Jung, “brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life.”
So he was seeing things. And hearing voices. And wrote a book.
AND PEOPLE TAKE IT SERIOUSLY WHY?
I mean, obviously, the last time I thought that reading Jung was cool was in secondary school, right before I read Eliade, and decided I had enough of this sort of verbose nonsense. But. This is what he says about his book, which he wrote when and because he was seeing things and hearing voices:
The years… when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.
This means that everything he ever wrote was based on what he made up when he was seeing things and hearing voices. I’m not qualified to say whether he was mentally ill or not, and it’s not even so interesting, anyway. But then again, seeing things, and more importantly, basing you life’s opus on the things is not something that makes you a reliable, trustworthy scholar.
And people take him seriously why, again?