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The Origins and History of Consciousness…
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The Origins and History of Consciousness (Mythos Books) (original 1949; edition 1995)

by Erich Neumann, R. F.C. Hull (Translator), C. G. Jung (Foreword)

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498339,903 (3.88)1
The first of Erich Neumann's works to be translated into English, this eloquent book draws on a full range of world mythology to show that individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as has human consciousness as a whole. Neumann, one of Jung's most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right, shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, or tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.… (more)
Member:tumler
Title:The Origins and History of Consciousness (Mythos Books)
Authors:Erich Neumann
Other authors:R. F.C. Hull (Translator), C. G. Jung (Foreword)
Info:Bollingen (1995), Paperback, 520 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Origins and History of Consciousness by Erich Neumann (1949)

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I love and hate this work. All at the same time and for some of the same reasons simultaneously.

Why? Because it pre-dates a lot of Joseph Campbell's much more interesting and more carefully analyzed use of mythology. The subject matter is the same in a lot of ways, using the analysis of myth to understand what is going on inside us as individuals, but his conclusions are Pure BS.

Look, I know it's easy to sit here and review massively impressive works that feel like a direct-line inheritance from Carl Jung, full of glorious archetypes and VERY impressive scholarship, and let me be clear: I have no problems with the scholarship. The bibliography and the erudition are beyond reproach.

What I have a problem with is something pretty simple. His thesis has no antithesis.

Backing up, the whole idea here is that human consciousness arose from the conflicts between the female and male principles. It's very Jungian but I think Neumann takes it a bit farther. His full analysis is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS from the perspective of Fantasy Worldbuilding. I'd buy and read the hell out of a heroic series of books that expounded everything in here... as long as the FINAL CONCLUSIONS were re-analyzed.

Practically EVERY SINGLE IDEA in here propagates the idea that women, or rather, the World Mother, is the Dragon, the great Oroborus, and that all myth continues this trend all the way down to the overthrow of the female. From ALL the myths of castration to the extrapolation of the Furies as the ubermyth from which all our legends stem, justifies the patriarchy.

Where's the devil's advocate, here? A little lip service saying that men are spurred on and challenged by the female principle and women are spurred on and challenged by the male principle?

So what? Freud had been around for generations by this point. And at the end of the 40's, we should have gotten a little bit beyond this. But wait, it's the 40's and WWII was still fresh on everyone's minds.

I appreciate the attempt to analyze the models of our subconscious reliance on all the models that now seem broken and I LOVED the rich, rich, rich mythology and even the attempted thesis, but there's no serious counter-argument going on here. And there are TONS of possible counter-arguments.

Do I really need to write a book on this book? Suffice to say, WOMEN AREN'T EVIL. Let's leave it at that. Sheesh. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
A great text by Princeton Classics that touches on archetypes, Jung, theorists, and much more. There is a lot in here and the scope of this text is immense and should serve as an incredible amount of intellectual material for those to devour. I am one of the belief that it is important to understand the history and foundations of something to a great extent before delving further and this book accomplishes all that and more. Incredibly interesting and still, I believe, important to this date for what it tried to accomplish, this is a classic for the modern age.

4.5 stars- DEFINITELY recommended. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Aug 14, 2019 |
A complicated but fascinating book that I will need to read one or two more times before the content really sets in. Overall, the content goes over how, starting at birth, a person becomes gains consciousness over their lifetime. While simultaneously describing this development alongside the journey of a hero, from the archetypal hero-journey from mythological stories.

A dense read but very much worth it. ( )
  Kronomlo | Jan 30, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erich Neumannprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jung, C. G.Forewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
He whose vision cannot cover
History’s three thousand years,
Must in outer darkness hover,
Live within the day’s frontiers.

GOETHE, Westöstlicher Diwan
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FOREWORD

THE AUTHOR has requested me to preface his book with a few words of introduction, and to this I accede all the more readily because I found his work more than usually welcome. It begins just where I, too, if I were granted a second lease of life, would start to gather up the disjecta membra of my own writings, to sift out all those “beginnings without continuations” and knead them into a whole.
INTRODUCTION

THE FOLLOWING ATTEMPT to outline the archetypal stages in the development of consciousness is based on modern depth psychology. It is an application of the analytical psychology of C.G. Jung, even where we endeavor to amplify this psychology, and even though we may speculatively overstep its boundaries.

Unlike other possible and necessary methods of inquiry which consider the development of consciousness in relation to external environmental factors, our inquiry is more concerned with the internal, psychic, and archetypal factors which determine the course of that development.
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The first of Erich Neumann's works to be translated into English, this eloquent book draws on a full range of world mythology to show that individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as has human consciousness as a whole. Neumann, one of Jung's most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right, shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, or tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.

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