Archive for December, 2009

new year, new sources

Posted on December 30, 2009. Filed under: Jung, Reading | Tags: , |

Supposed  to be taking a break as my brain got too mashed to write coherent sentences before xmas – knew it was all going downhill, as if writing with fingers disconnected from thoughts, which had disconnected from feelings… not very much in the spirit of this journey!

But found Christopher Hauke’s book ‘Human Being Human:  culture and the soul’ a wonderful, rejuvenating read, rich in allusion to film and rooted in a Jungian sense of the human condition. Noted particularly his challenge to the marginalisation of intellect by aspects of psychotherapy – yes, glad to reclaim the mind, as long as it isn’t the only source of insight or information about the self or the world. Also referred to the ‘fantasy of wholeness’ which made me think about whether my thesis rests on such a fantasy, or how I might modify this to reflect the difference between the wholeness which I do believe underpins everything and  the partial and limited efforts which most of us are capable of making. Also to become aware of the danger of eliding differences which require attention – a tendency I always opposed in my political animal days; that dreary ‘let’s all be friends’ motif that belongs more fully to pop songs than ethical philosophy.

But underneath that, there is a unity, a coherent energy that can be seen in quantum physics at the subatomic level and in Hubble photos at the macro level and which can also be called divine. Bud Harris (see link to website) is giving a talk about wholeness and Holy longing from a Jungian perspective, which sounds appealing.  I say sounds appealing but am becoming aware of  different flavours of Jungian – those who take a romantic new age approach and those who are asking similar questions about being human and the role  of transcendence but seem more capable of recognising human awkwardness and the trickiness of such endeavours. Hauke reflects the latter group I think – more my cup of tea.

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slow progress

Posted on December 11, 2009. Filed under: Jung | Tags: , |

Just finished another two chapters – basic architecture really, they lack flesh, commentary , narrative, but have collected most of the quotes and set them in order now. Strong sense that there is so much more in my head than on paper – have read so much but some books end up as a quote here or there.

On the positive side I now find re-reading texts illuminating as obscure concepts become more familiar through repeated exposure.

Have noted quite different attitudes to Jung among those writing about him: there are the romantics who tend to use his language and imagery; the skeptics who assert their own distance and refer to ideas that ‘no one in their right mind’ would accept. Seems to reflect an internal split in Jung himself; the part that enters his own dreams, excavating his psyche for images and meaning; and the part that insists on his role as an empirical scientist. The latter role is challenged when  his selection of incontrovertible ‘facts’ includes concepts like archetypes!

Have also been reading about his anti-Semitism, which shocked me two years ago when I first read about it as my impressions had been more favourable until then. I’ve also met people who refuse to admit this possibility. But I respect those writers like Samuels who are practising Jungian analysts and prepared to look into this ‘abyss’. it does seem a non-negotiable aspect of his personality, which raises another point: I can’t think of another leading thinker whose actual person and biography attracts more coverage from examining their ideas. The life of Marx is interesting, for example, but one doesn’t have to come to terms with his personal and political decisions in the same way as seems to be required of those considering Jung’s concepts.

But Jung is awkward around all sociological issues: his focus is the individual and he treats society as oppressively normative, something from which the individual must separate to become him/her self. My thesis tries to blend his approach with a sociological ‘take’ – mm, not sure the two are going to blend as there is a real category split. My aim will be to hold a Jungian-type space in which the focus on the individual ethic can be ‘held’ in the context of social mores.

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