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Memories, Dreams, Reflections

by C. G. Jung

Other authors: Aniela Jaffé (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,134203,475 (4.17)33
In the spring of 1957, when he was eighty-one years old, C. G. Jung undertook the telling of his life story. At regular intervals he had conversations with his colleague and friend Aniela Jaffe, and collaborated with her in the preparation of the text based on these talks. On occasion, he was moved to write entire chapters of the book in his own hand, and he continued to work on the final stages of the manuscript until shortly before his death on June 6, 1961. This edition of Memories, Dreams, Reflections includes Jung's "VII Sermones ad Mortuos." It is a fully corrected edition.… (more)

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English (15)  Spanish (3)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
This replaces a copy bought and lost in the 1960's
  herculese | Jan 23, 2022 |
ed. by Joseph Campbell
  cheshire11 | Apr 7, 2021 |
I won't say it's a straight-up easy book to read, but I've never found Jung as difficult to read as everyone says he is. An illuminating look into the life and ideas of an indisputable genius. Definitely a book to be remembered, not only by an individual, but by human society as a whole. ( )
  DF1158 | Oct 20, 2019 |
One of the best memoirs ever written, this book has impacted my own dreams. Jung is still vital even as his spirit pervaded the reality of the 70s in almost everything I encountered. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I quite liked this book. It is an unusual autobiography. It is an autobiography of his spiritual / intellectual / emotional life rather than a chronology of events.

It does give a fair amount of insight into the gent, though I must say that there were times when I thought that he rambled a bit. Given his age, and the number of thoughts that were probably rushing through his head, I would say that this is understandable

What I like, is the style of writing. Easy to read and follow. I was expecting turgid prose.

Read a chapter a day. Else, it can get a bit confusing, especially if you have other things to do! ( )
  RajivC | Jul 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. G. Jungprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jaffé, AnielaEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cahen, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jerotić, VladetaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Lay, YvesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winston, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winston, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He looked at his own Soul with a Telescope. What seemed all irregular, he saw and shewed to be beautiful Constellations; and he added to the Consciousness hidden worlds within worlds. -- Coleridge, Notebooks
First words
Prologue -- My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole. I cannot employ the language of science to trace this process of growth in myself, for I cannot experience myself as a scientific problem.
When I was six months old, my parents moved from Kesswil on Lake Constance to Laufen, the castle and vicarage above the Falls of the Rhine.
Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life.  Philemon represented a force which was not myself.  In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought.  For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I.  He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added, “If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them.”  It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche.  Through him the distinction was clarified between myself and the object of my thought.  He confronted me in an objective manner, and I understood that there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend, things which may even be directed against me.
It is of course ironical that I, a psychiatrist, should at almost every step of my experiment have run into the same psychic material which is the stuff of psychosis and is found in the insane. This is the fund of unconscious images which fatally confuse the mental patient. But it is also the matrix of a mythopoeic imagination which has vanished from our rational age. Though such imagination is present everywhere, it is both tabooed and dreaded, so that it even appears to be a risky experiment or a questionable adventure to entrust oneself to the uncertain path that leads into the depths of the unconscious. It is considered the path of error, of equivocation and misunderstanding. I am reminded of Goethe's words: "Now let me dare to open wide the gate/Past which men's steps have ever flinching trod." The second part of Faust, too, was more than a literary exercise. It is a link in the Aurea Catena which has existed from the beginnings of philosophical alchemy and Gnosticism down to Nietzsche's Zarathustra. Unpopular, ambiguous, and dangerous, it is a voyage of discovery to the other pole of the world.
The psyche is distinctly more complicated and inaccessible than the body. It is, so to speak, the half of the world which comes into existence only when we become conscious of it. For that reason the psyche is not only a personal but a world problem, and the psychiatrist has to deal with an entire world.

Nowadays we can see as never before that the peril which threatens all of us comes not from nature, but from man, from the psyches of the individual and the mass. The psychic aberration of man is the danger. Everything depends upon whether or not our psyche functions properly. If certain persons lose their heads nowadays, a hydrogen bomb will go off.

The psychotherapist, however, must understand not only the patient; it is equally important that he should understand himself. For that reason the sine qua non is the analysis of the analyst, what is called the training analysis. The patient’s treatment begins with the doctor, so to speak. Only if the doctor knows how to cope with himself and his own problems will he be able to teach the patient to do the same. Only then. In the training analysis the doctor must learn to know his own psyche and to take it seriously. If he cannot do that, the patient will not learn either. He will lose a portion of his psyche, just as the doctor has lost that portion of his psyche which he has not learned to understand.
I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success or money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears. For that reason the idea of development was always of the highest importance to me.

The majority of my patients consisted not of believers but of those who had lost their faith. The ones who came to me were the lost sheep. Even in this day and age the believer has the opportunity, in his church, to live the “symbolic life.” We need only think of the experience of the Mass, of baptism, of the imitatio Christi, and many other aspects of religion. But to live and experience symbols presupposes a vital participation on the part of the believer, and only too often this is lacking in people today. In the neurotic it is practically always lacking. In such cases we have to observe whether the unconscious will not spontaneously bring up symbols to replace what is lacking. But then the question remains of whether a person who has symbolic dreams or visions will also be able to understand their meaning and take the consequences upon himself.
Among the so-called neurotics of our day there are a good many who in other ages would not have been neurotic—that is, divided against themselves. If they had lived in a period and in a milieu in which man was still linked by myth with the world of the ancestors, and thus with nature truly experienced and not merely seen from outside, they would have been spared this division with themselves. I am speaking of those who cannot tolerate the loss of myth and who can neither find a way to a merely exterior world, to the world as seen by science, nor rest satisfied with an intellectual juggling with words, which has nothing whatsoever to do with wisdom.

These victims of the psychic dichotomy of our time are merely optional neurotics; their apparent morbidity drops away the moment the gulf between the ego and the unconscious is closed. The doctor who has felt this dichotomy to the depths of his being will also be able to reach a better understanding of the unconscious psychic processes, and will be saved from the danger of inflation to which the psychologist is prone. The doctor who does not know from his own experience the numinosity of the archetypes will scarcely be able to escape their negative effect when he encounters it in his practice. He will tend to over- or underestimate it, since he possesses only an intellectual point of view but no empirical criterion. This is where those perilous aberrations begin, the first of which is the attempt to dominate everything by the intellect. This serves the secret purpose of placing both doctor and patient at a safe distance from the archetypal effect and thus from real experience, and of substituting for psychic reality an apparently secure, artificial, but merely two-dimensional conceptual world in which the reality of life is well covered up by so-called clear concepts. Experience is stripped of its substance, and instead mere names are substituted, which are henceforth put in the place of reality. No one has any obligations to a concept; that is what is so agreeable about conceptuality—it promises protection from experience. The spirit does not dwell in concepts, but in deeds and in facts. Words butter no parsnips; nevertheless, this futile procedure is repeated ad infinitum.

In my experience, therefore, the most difficult as well as the most ungrateful patients, apart from habitual liars, are the so-called intellectuals. With them, one hand never knows what the other hand is doing. They cultivate a “compartment psychology.” Anything can be settled by an intellect that is not subject to the control of feeling—and yet the intellectual still suffers from a neurosis if feeling is undeveloped.

From my encounters with patients and with the psychic phenomena which they have paraded before me in an endless stream of images, I have learned an enormous amount—not just knowledge, but above all insight into my own nature. And not the least of what I have learned has come from my errors and defeats. I have had mainly women patients, who often entered into the work with extraordinary conscientiousness, understanding, and intelligence. It was essentially because of them that I was able to strike out on new paths in therapy.

A number of my patients became my disciples in the original sense of the word, and have carried my ideas out into the world. Among them I have made friendships that have endured decade after decade.

My patients brought me so close to the reality of human life that I could not help learning essential things from them. Encounters with people of so many different kinds and on so many different psychological levels have been for me incomparably more important than fragmentary conversations with celebrities. The finest and most significant conversations of my life were anonymous.
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In the spring of 1957, when he was eighty-one years old, C. G. Jung undertook the telling of his life story. At regular intervals he had conversations with his colleague and friend Aniela Jaffe, and collaborated with her in the preparation of the text based on these talks. On occasion, he was moved to write entire chapters of the book in his own hand, and he continued to work on the final stages of the manuscript until shortly before his death on June 6, 1961. This edition of Memories, Dreams, Reflections includes Jung's "VII Sermones ad Mortuos." It is a fully corrected edition.

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