Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A dream guides Jung to make his approach more accessible

Near the end of his life, Jung finally managed to put his best and most original ideas in a form that was simple enough to reach a general audience, without diluting or dumbing anything down. He might not have done this except for a dream. After watching Jung's very human interviews with John Freeman for the BBC in 1959, the publisher of Aldus Books had a bright idea: why not ask Jung to write a book for a general audience? 

Jung's answer, when approached by Freeman, was a flat No. He was now in his 80s, and did not want to take the time that remained to him for this. Then Jung dreamed that he was standing in a public place and lecturing to a multitude of people who were not only listening with rapt attention but understood what he was saying. The dream changed his mind. 

Jung had said in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, "All day long I have exciting ideas and thoughts. But I take up in my work only those to which my dreams direct me." Now he proved this, again, by embarking on the book that was published (after his death) as Man and His Symbols. He conceived it a collaborative effort and invited trusted colleagues like Marie-Louise von Franz to contribute chapters. 

His personal contribution was a long essay titled "Approaching the Unconscious" . The essay is, first and last, about dreams. He completed it just ten days before the start of his final illness, so this work may be called his last testament. It testifies, above all, to the primary importance of dreams in Jung's psychology and in his vision of human nature and evolution. Jung makes this ringing statement: "It is an age-old fact that God speaks, chiefly, through dreams and visions." 

1 comment:

Patricia said...

Perhaps it is time for another reading of Jung. Something of his perspective of archetypes to go along with this whisper of vision shaken from the hypnogogic into my day a while back?

I go to the edge and cast my net. I am set a flame and drop to the earth to soothe my fiery core. Cool offerings, the soils pulse can hold the flame into delight. Take care the archetype and take care of it's gifts you fish beyond the edge, packets from the Goddess now. Cool the flame too early and creation stops cold. Not only the one you feed grows, but the one you shun will grow also. Shadow made from the light and light made from the shadow, step beyond that edge already played out.

I do believe a few beers and some belly laughing stories at the pub with my kiddos this Thanksgiving may be the just right balance into delight for the next scene of my life here.