Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jung's Red Book

This book will be very expensive, according to the publisher's website but I very much want to purchase a copy. Because what people write about what they think is different than what they actually think, and when someone tries to write what they actually think, and that person is regarded as one of the great thinkers, then that is very interesting.

The experiences that led Jung to theorize much of what he theorized are captured in this book, and I have found many of the various tools and terminology based on Jung's theories useful and meaningful.

A sticking point for me, though, is the 'collective unconscious'. It seems like it could exist, there are things that imply it might, but it is difficult to prove. The parallels between the Tarot and I Ching, two different divinination methods from two different cultures in two different times support the notion of a collective unconscious, for example. But nothing is really proven by that kind of strange exercise: one is not isolating hormones or psychoactive chemicals that exist naturally in the brain that are shown to lend themselves to 'storing' shared unconscious memories. But there is the similarity in 'deified personalities' that exist in different cultures that had never had contact prior to conceiving the personalities-- Loki and Coyote, for example. Many disparate human cultures have generated similar deified personalities for Earth. So it seems like there is an intuitive 'groove' or tendency in us that is shared: a cognitive 'parser' that assigns like attributes regardless of cultural overlay. But is that a collective unconscious? Maybe. It seems to be a collectively shared template.

There is kind of a problem with reading things about Jungian theories, because it takes a long time to accrue the knowledge that supports them, the people who write knowledgably about them are kind of giant blowhards. Korean shaman would become 'certified' by going through a series of initiation rites that could induce psychosis, but they aren't as articulate either, I guess. So there is good and bad in all of it.

But I do want that book.


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