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Jung ( Memories, Dreams,..) - Review

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Contrary to more voluminous magna opera like "Mysterium Coniunctionis" or "Psychology and Alchemy", this is a more accessible and, at the same time, central book of Jungian myth. Having seen various elements of this popular hagiography dismantled by mordant & unrelenting Jungophobes like Richard Noll, I would only stress what I consider the lasting value & glowing inspiration for modern ( Western ) (wo)man in search of her/his soul. I'll post my review in a half-humorous form of a fragment of a dialogue, the now extinct form venerated by Plato, Galileo or Bruno.

Q. What, then, is the message of Jung's life, that,what William James had described as ordeal of consciousness ?

A. The goal of Jungian individuation is expansion & integration of the psychic contents ("soul") within the field of awareness, the ego being the center of conscious life. The grand finale would be fusion, coniunctio, of the "soul" ( psyche ) and "Spirit" ( pneuma/Self ), with ego retaining its "privileged" position as the center of the conscious life.

Q. So is this expansion and integration something one is aware of when it is happening or when it has happened ?

A. Well, that's a tricky subject. I'll try to give some hints a few outspoken Jungians like Marie Louise von Franz, and Jung himself have adumbrated. Of course, the entire spiritual "enterprise" is based on the Western Hermetic/Gnostic tradition, from Corpus Hermeticum to alchemists's "opera". In short, you got a growth of inner ( and outer life ) on various levels of consciousness ( altered states, dreams, hypnagogic dreams, guided imagination, prayer, conscious ponderings, listening your inner daemon/voice, ordeals of emotional & family life,....). The goal is "individuated" man/woman: that is, someone who lives an authentic life ( Shakespearean "to thine own self be true" ), not an onedimensional spiritual saintly prototype nor a conformistic ego- centered mediocre. I suppose the ultimate ideal would be someone like Goethe or Plato- a multidimensional, creative individuum with strong sense of "I", yet in deep contact/fusion with the divine wellspring within- in sum, ideal of the "Renaissance man".

Q. Was Jung able to achieve the "fusion" in his own life?

A. From what is described in his spiritual autobiography- yes. Yet, I suspect he went even a step beyond: his final stage was that of a deified psyche ( with ego/ I-sense still present, but somehow subdued & the eternal/divine life perpetually glowing in the background of waking consciousness.)


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text content by Arvan Harvat
page uploaded 15 July 2004