Friday, October 09, 2009

Why Carl Jung?

Carl Jung is a massive figure or "rite of passage" for many art students. Whether one comes to any conclusion about Jung's thoughts or art student would be unlikely to have not encountered a teacher or fellow student who wasn't exploring Jung's ideas.

Carl Jung gave respect to feelings and dreams and the inner life of the human being. If only for that contribution to the practice of studying or observing the human condition he is a remarkable thinker.

For me Jung was interesting because he articulated something that I only felt intuitively as a child in museums and art galleries. This is that patterns, themes, content and form seem to have common elements around the world. I love folk lore and Jung gave oral narratives, non-agricultural based artwork validity in many ways. Jung respected artmaking and storytelling from all kinds of cultures, social classes and pre-literate or non-verbal languages. Although I haven't given a lot of thought to Carl Jung in many years...I am very curious about this new publication of The Red Book. I absolutely love the trailer for the book above how it is made with seriousness and with a little fun anecdotes thrown in.The publication of The Red Book is a book lovers wet dream and any book geek will likely be pretty excited about this event. The video cure does capture the feeing of an momentous event or spectacle. I hope visitors check out the video's really quite well done and a lot of fun! Here is the Amazon link for The Red Book


Here are some note from Wikipedia for those not familiar with this ever-controversial figure Carl Jung.

In 1913, when he was 38, Jung experienced a horrible "confrontation with the unconscious". He saw visions and heard voices. He worried at times that he was "menaced by a psychosis" or was "doing a schizophrenia". He decided that it was valuable experience, and in private, he induced hallucinations, or, in his words, "active imaginations". He recorded everything he felt in small journals. In 1914, Jung began to transcribe his notes into a large red leather-bound book, which he worked on, on and off, for sixteen years.

When he died, Jung left no instructions about what to do with what he called the "Red Book". His family eventually moved it to a bank vault in 1984. Sonu Shamdasani, a historian from London, for three years tried to convince Jung's heirs to publish it—they generally said no to every hint of an inquiry about it, and as of mid-September 2009 only about two dozen people had seen it. But Ulrich Hoerni, Jung's grandson who manages the Jung archives, decided to publish it. When money ran low, the Philemon Foundation was founded and raised more.

In 2007, two technicians for DigitalFusion, working with the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, painstakingly scanned one-tenth of a millimeter at a time with a 10,200-pixel scanner. It was published on October 7, 2009 in German with "separate English translation along with Shamdasani's introduction and footnotes" at the back of the book, according to Sara Corbett for The New York Times. She wrote, "The book is bombastic, baroque and like so much else about Carl Jung, a willful oddity, synched with an antediluvian and mystical reality."

The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City will display the original and Jung's original small journals from October 7, 2009 to January 25, 2010. According to them, "During the period in which he worked on this book Jung developed his principal theories of archetypes, collective unconscious, and the process of individuation." Two-thirds of the pages bear Jung's illuminations of the text.

Jung had many friends and respected colleagues who were Jewish and he maintained relations with them through the 1930s when anti-semitism in Germany and other European nations was on the rise. However, until 1939, he also maintained professional relations with psychotherapists in Germany who had declared their support for the Nazi régime and there were allegations that he himself was a Nazi sympathizer. In his work 'Civilisation in Transition, Collected Works Volume X', however, Jung wrote of “… the Aryan bird of prey with his insatiable lust to lord it in every land, even those that concern him not at all."[

There are writings that show that Jung's sympathies were against, rather than for, Nazism. In his 1936 essay "Wotan", Jung described Germany as "infected" by "one man who is obviously 'possessed'...", and as "rolling towards perdition", and wrote "...what a so-called Führer does with a mass movement can plainly be seen if we turn our eyes to the north or south of our country." The essay does, however, speak in more positive terms of Jakob Wilhelm Hauer and his German Faith Movement which was loyal to Hitler.

He would later describe the Führer thus: "Hitler seemed like the 'double' of a real person, as if Hitler the man might be hiding inside like an appendix, and deliberately so concealed in order not to disturb the mechanism ... You know you could never talk to this man; because there is nobody there ... It is not an individual; it is an entire nation." In 1943, Jung aided the United States Office of Strategic Services by analyzing the psychology of Nazi leaders.

In an interview with Carol Baumann in 1948, Jung denied rumors regarding any sympathy for the Nazi movement, saying:
It must be clear to anyone who has read any of my books that I have never been a Nazi sympathizer and I never have been anti-Semitic, and no amount of misquotation, mistranslation, or rearrangement of what I have written can alter the record of my true point of view. Nearly every one of these passages has been tampered with, either by malice or by ignorance. Furthermore, my friendly relations with a large group of Jewish colleagues and patients over a period of many years in itself disproves the charge of anti-Semitism.

A full response from Jung discounting the rumors can be found in C.G Jung Speaking, Interviews and Encounters, Princeton University Press, 1977.

Jung recommended spirituality as a cure for alcoholism and he is considered to have had an indirect role in establishing Alcoholics Anonymous. Jung once treated an American patient (Rowland Hazard III), suffering from chronic alcoholism. After working with the patient for some time and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed.

Rowland took Jung's advice seriously and set about seeking a personal spiritual experience. He returned home to the United States and joined a Christian evangelical Re-Armament movement known as the Oxford Group. He also told other alcoholics what Jung had told him about the importance of a spiritual experience. One of the alcoholics he brought into the Oxford Group was Ebby Thacher, a long-time friend and drinking buddy of Bill Wilson, later co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Thacher told Wilson about the Oxford Group, and through them Wilson became aware of Hazard's experience with Jung. The influence of Jung thus indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original twelve-step program, and from there into the whole twelve-step recovery movement, although AA as a whole is not Jungian and Jung had no role in the formation of that approach or the twelve steps.

The above claims are documented in the letters of Carl Jung and Bill W., excerpts of which can be found in Pass It On, published by Alcoholics Anonymous. Although the detail of this story is disputed by some historians, Jung himself made reference to its substance — including the Oxford Group participation of the individual in question — in a talk that was issued privately in 1954 as a transcript from shorthand taken by an attender (Jung reportedly approved the transcript), later recorded in Volume 18 of his Collected Works, The Symbolic Life ("For instance, when a member of the Oxford Group comes to me in order to get treatment, I say, 'You are in the Oxford Group; so long as you are there, you settle your affair with the Oxford Group. I can't do it better than Jesus.'" Jung goes on to state that he has seen similar cures among Roman Catholics.

-Jung had a 16-year-long friendship with the author Laurens van der Post from which a number of books and a film were created about Jung's life.
-Hermann Hesse, author of works such as Siddhartha and Der Steppenwolf, was treated by Dr. Joseph Lang, a student of Jung. This began for Hesse a long preoccupation with psychoanalysis, through which he came to know Jung personally.[54]
-James Joyce in his Finnegans Wake, asks "Is the Co-education of Animus and Anima Wholly Desirable?" his answer perhaps being contained in his line "anama anamaba anamabapa." The book also ridicules Jung's analytical psychology and Freud's psychoanalysis by referring to "psoakoonaloose." Jung had been unable to help Joyce's daughter, Lucia, who Joyce claimed was a girl "yung and easily freudened." Lucia was diagnosed as schizophrenic and was eventually permanently institutionalized.
-Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man can be read as an ironic parody of Jung's "four stages of eroticism."
-Jung appears as a character in the novel Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker. He appears as the therapist of Tashi, the novel's protagonist. He is usually called "Mzee" but is identified by Alice Walker in the afterword.
-Morris West's 1983 novel The World is Made of Glass investigates Jung's relationships with a mysterious woman patient, Toni Wolf, and Emma.
-Miguel Serrano had a long standing friendship with both Jung and Hesse, which he recalls in El Circulo Hermetico or Record of Two Friendships.
-Robertson Davies alludes to Jung's ideas in his novel Fifth Business and writes frequently of Jung in his letters.

-The visionary Swiss painter Peter Birkhäuser was treated by a student of Jung, Marie-Louise von Franz, and corresponded with Jung regarding the translation of dream symbolism into works of art.
-American Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock underwent Jungian psychotherapy in 1939. His therapist made the decision to engage him through his art, leading to the appearance of many Jungian concepts in his paintings.

Television and film
-Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, one of art cinema's most renowned filmmakers, brought to the screen an exuberant imagery shaped by his encounter with the ideas of Carl Jung, especially Jungian dream interpretation. Fellini preferred Jung to Freud because Jungian psychoanalysis defined the dream not as a symptom of a disease that required a cure but rather as a link to archetypal images shared by all of humanity.
-Jung and his ideas are mentioned often, and sometimes play an integral role, in the television series Northern Exposure. Jung even makes an appearance in one of the character's dreams.
Television programs have been devoted to Jung; for example, in 1984, an edition of the BBC documentary Sea of Faith was about Jung.
-Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket makes a mention of Jungian beliefs when the protagonist, Joker, mentions the duality of man he was displaying by wearing a peace button with 'born to kill' written on his helmet.
Jung and his ideas are referenced in the anime Serial Experiments Lain.[citation needed]
-In the American TV Series "Frasier" the main character, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and his brother, Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce) are both psychiatrists. While Frasier is a disciple of Freud, Niles bases his therapies on Jungian principles.

-An opera, The Dream Healer, based on the book Pilgrim by Timothy Findley, centres on Jung's efforts to bridge the known and unknown aspects of the human mind.
-Jung appears on the cover of The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the top row, between W.C. Fields and Edgar Allan Poe.
-Peter Gabriel's song "Rhythm of the Heat" (Security, 1982), tells about Jung's visit to Africa, during which he joined a group of tribal drummers and dancers and became overwhelmed by the fear of losing control of himself. At the time Jung was exploring the concept of the collective unconscious and was afraid he would come under control of the music. Gabriel learned about Jung's journey to Africa from the essay Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams (ISBN 0-691-09968-5). In the song Gabriel tries to capture the powerful feelings the African tribal music evoked in Jung by means of intense use of tribal drumbeats. The original song title was Jung in Africa.
-On the cover of The Police's final album, Synchronicity, which was named after Carl Jung's theory, Sting is seen reading a book called "Synchronicity" by Carl Jung.
-The British composer Michael Tippett was one of the first composers to use Jungian archetypes[citation needed] as the basis for characterisation in his operas, such as The Midsummer Marriage and The Knot Garden. The notion of the Jungian reconciliation of opposites pervades the whole of Tippett's output.
-Mentions of Jung's work in Tool's song Forty-Six & 2


Beej said...

Candy, absolutely fascinating post. I think I'm going to buy 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' this week. Would you be interested in reading it with me?

The release of 'The Red Book' is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime.

Candy Minx said...

Yeah, see I didn't even know there was a "Red Book". I'll totally read the "Memories, Dreams, Relections" with you. Lets do it up large!

Beej said...

Yay! I'm going to finish up the book I'm reading now (The Handmaid's Tale; Atwood) and then read the book waiting in the wings (The Glass Castle; Jeannette Walls) and then I'll start in on Memories, Dreams, Relections. It'll be fun!
Thanks mama.

Four Dinners said...

The most fascinating people are, almost invariably, nuts.

It's part of the 'human condition'.

Jung was nuts. No question. I don't mean this in an insulting way, he just was.

No different from Van Gogh.

Let's face it. You cut off your own ear you are definitely a sandwich short of a picnic.

Genius is frequently connected with insanity.

Somehow I missed the 'genious' bit....;-)

Lewis Lafontaine said...

Your article is very good.

You may enjoy my Carl Jung Depth Psychology Blog and Facebook Group.

Thank you