Sunday, November 30, 2008

Journeying with Jung 41



Just a little insight into Jung's character:

Sometimes when we attend lectures we are often caught, not alone by the thread of argument but by the throw-away remarks of the lecturer.  This also happens when one is reading.  Hayman's marvellous biography is replete with such asides which are always illuminating.  Therefore, I shall start this post with one small but significant aside.  Hayman mentions the South African soldier, author and broadcaster Laurens van der Post who, when he had encountered Jung, was led to proclaim the following about our "guru."(Interestingly, I have two books by the same man on my shelves and both are replete with references to Jung and his work.):

When he met Jung, he felt he was coming into contact not just with a set of ideas and not just with another man who had visited Africa, but with 'what Jung was in himself... He had a genius for propinquity.' Van der Post felt reassured: he had been right to have faith in the dreaming area.  (Hayman, 398)

I believe that this throw away aside by Hayman is significant.  Firstly, our biographer paints Jung in all his colours, in his very integration of all the good and the bad in himself; he paints him as a real and very whole person who, not alone was open to his shadow side, but had integrated it.  Jung is presented as a fulsome and congruent, true to self human being.  In other words, to state this in Jungian terms, Hayman presents Jung to us as an individuated man. This is what, in my belief, made Jung so attractive to all who encountered him, that is, in van der Post's words, he truly had 'a genius for propinquity,' that is, a genius for kinship with all of humanity whom he was privileged to meet.  Being neither saint nor sinner, he was an integrated whole person which blended the two.

Chapter 35:  Jesus and Satan are Brothers:

Once again we can say that Hayman has surpassed himself with the appropriateness of chapter titles.  This title is nothing if not provocative, and at the same time it sums up Jung's genius for unorthodoxy.  This chapter covers roughly the years 1950-51.  During this time Emma was hospitalised after fracturing her shoulder in a fall; the Pope promulgated the dogma about the Virgin's bodily Ascension into Heaven and finally CG wrote his provocative Answer to Job while suffering from liver trouble.  His priest friend Fr Victor White stayed at Bollingen for the second time.  However, their arguments over the nature of evil was to lead to a breach in their friendship, needless to say.  Personally, I feel, that White was himself walking a tightrope; that deep down he felt attracted by Jung's arguments but that his loyalty to his Church won over his intellect.  White, when reviewing the Eranos yearbooks of 1947 and 1948 in Dominican Studies accused Jung of confusion and 'quasi-Manichean dualism.'  Jung would reply in a letter on New Years Eve 1949 with the simple statement: 'I guess I am a heretic.' (Op cit., 405)

While White and Jung would disagree vehemently on the nature of evil, they both believed passionately that the church could not function adequately in the modern world unless it caught up with psychology.

Jung on Modern Art:

Jung was never too interested in looking at individual works of art by contemporary artists because he felt that they had an unhealthy tendency towards fragmentation.  We must remember that the whole thrust of his theories and therapy was towards integration and wholeness, that is moving beyond the fragmentation that occurred in many of our personalities and especially in those with psychological and psychiatric problems.  Jung was to write:

The great problem of our time is the fact that we don't understand what is happening to our world.  We are confronted with the darkness of our soul, the Unconscious.  It sends up dark and unrecognisable urges.  (Quoted ibid., 406)

Jung and Synchronicity:

See my other posts on this subject here .  Jung had introduced his concept of synchronicity during 1930 in his obituary for Richard Wilhelm, and in February 1933, writing to a German pastor, had affirmed his conviction that ' a door exists to a quite different order of things from the one we encounter in our empirical world of consciousness...' (Quoted ibid., 406) Indeed, Jung collaborated with the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, the 1945 Nobel Prize winner in his subject.  They collaborated authored by writing a chapter each on aspects of Synchronicity in the 1952 book entitled The Interpretation and Nature of the Psyche. (See ibid., 406-7)  Pauli and Jung were to collaborate for some five years on this topic.  However, Pauli was to prefer his term 'meaningful correspondences [Sinnkorrespondenzen] rather than the word SynchronicityHayman is interesting yet again about this fruitful collaboration:

Thanks to Pauli, Jung's language was becoming less ambiguous and more scientific, though his thinking was shifting towards parapsychology.  According to Max Planck's quantum theory, there is no smooth continuity in natural processes but a series of unpredictable jerks.  The archetype, said Jung, was like a radioactive atom, except that it consisted of qualitative - not quantitative - relationships.  What excited him most of all was the idea that the psyche and matter might be different aspect of the same reality, with archetypes as its governing principles. (Ibid., 407-408).

To be continued.

Above I have uploaded a picture of the younf Swiss physicist, Wolfgang Pauli (April 25, 1900 – December 15, 1958)

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