Author Topic: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced  (Read 11600 times)

Matt Koeske

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Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« on: May 11, 2009, 05:02:01 PM »
The Philemon Foundation has announced that Jung's Red Book will finally be published on October 7th, 2009.  The standard edition is available for pre-order at Amazon.com for $94.50 (as of 5/11/09).

You can read more about the Red Book at the Philemon Foundation link above.  Of course, this publication has been anxiously anticipated by Jungians for many years now.  It looks like the book will be quite beautiful and well worth the price for the art alone.  Although I am not anticipating this publication in the way many "acolytes" might be (i.e., as a kind of holy object or divine revelation), I have to admit that I am also very excited.

From the little I know about Jung's Red Book, it seems as though it will be a piece of Jungian literature of great significance to me.  I have written numerous times on this forum that I felt there was a discord between Jung's professional writings on the anima (and animus) and his personal experience of the phenomenon.  That is, in his published essays and scholarly/scientific works, Jung is largely critical of the anima (and even more so of the animus).  The negative far outweighs the positive.  When he isn't being overtly critical of the anima, he is belittling it or marking it with the sexism that has tainted the anima and animus theories for subsequent Jungians ever since.  This sexist and demeaning trend in Jung's scholarly treatment of the anima is highly suspicious when we compare it to his writing in Memories Dreams Reflections, where he discusses the creation of the "Black" and "Red" books.  He devoted vast amounts of time and energy to composing active imagination "conversations" with his anima . . . to which he attributed great transformative meaning and out of which the Red Book's contents were largely formed.

Why would someone who shows such great respect for the anima to even agree to hold such conversations and then to artistically render them into a work of fantasy or mystical literature then go about belittling this inner figure so soundly in subsequent professional writings?  I have some guesses, but suffice it to say that the disconnect here is palpable and most likely indicative of a complex (if we were to apply Jung's own theory to the man himself).

I am personal excited about the Red Book's publication because I hope (perhaps beyond reason) that it will depict Jung's anima work.  I have yet to read any Jungian writing analyzing and elaborating what I have been calling the "animi work" . . . and the absence of such writing strikes me as a glaring omission in the Jungian canon.  I must clarify that I am not (at least not any longer) surprised that Jungians did not manage to elaborate and understand the animi work.  It must be understood through an experience like what I'm hoping Jung related in the Red Book.  It cannot simply be deduced from casual psychological observations.  The animi work is sort of the missing link in Jungian individuation studies.  It constitutes the component quality of individuation that likens it to a spiritual discipline or mystical experience of transformation.

What has passed for "animi experience" in Jungian psychology is largely a distant fantasy of the animi that lacks the transformative element . . . so when I use the term animi work, I mean to imply that there is some kind of opus going on, a movement, a process of transformation.  This process is far different than a mere sighting or rendezvous with an animi figure.  It moves beyond the realm of fantasy or curiosity and into a realm of immediate necessity, compulsion, survival.  The ego (during the animi work) relinquishes its power to choose what aspects of the animi to experience and what to avoid.  Egoic will is given over to an instinctual process of egoic reorganization (similar to what we see depicted in alchemical symbolism).  The ego becomes increasingly identified with the heroic attitude, and as it does, the animi becomes increasingly interested/attracted to the heroic ego.  As they move toward one another, they begin to mirror or "twin" each other, and the details of both "personalities" gravitate toward a singular new organization of personality (which I have called the Syzygy) that is aligned with the instinctual Self and oriented toward the Self's facilitation.

What I hope to find in Jung's Red Book is not an exact parallel of my anima work theory (as his published writing on the anima and animus is clearly not entirely compatible with my own understanding).  Rather, I would like to see Jung the man and Jung the theorist through the lens of his anima work.  My guess is that there will be fantasy material in the Red Book that remains inadequately translated or understood through Jung's (and subsequent Jungian) psychology.  Ideally, this fantasy material would make more sense through the paradigm I've been applying (i.e., as a narrative of the anima work) than it would through the more conventional Jungian anima theory.

Still, I think I am prepared for this not to be the case.  I am also suspecting that there will be no clear explanation for Jung's tainted treatment of the anima and animus concepts in the Red Book.  What there is of worth in this publication for post-Jungian thinkers will most likely have to come through a complex analysis and interpretation.  One thing I do feel quite certain will hold true (although this is only an intuition, I must admit) is that the Red Book will prove to be inadequately interpretable through conventional Jungian paradigms.  I can only suspect that it has remained isolated from the rest of the published works of Jung for so long in part because it didn't exactly fit with the image of Jung Jungians have or have wanted to have.  It is outside the Jungian box.

If we take Jung at his word, his subsequent theories all derived in some sense from this core imaginative work that came upon him like some kind of revelation, seemingly from some Other source.  I have had numerous similar experiences in my own writing (my book of poems, What the Road Can Afford, being the most notable example), and so I feel I understand what Jung was on about.  If Jung's assessment and valuation of the material in the Red Book is valid enough, then we might be able to discern the difference between Jung's "vision" and his interpretation of that vision.  If Jung the psychologist took this body of psychic data and rendered it into theory, we may get a chance to see if we agree with that rendering. 

I often get the feeling in reading Jung that there is a conflict of sorts between his intuitive revelatory intelligence and his more-scientific, analytical intelligence.  Over the years of his life, he took various attitudes toward the intuitive/revelatory aspect of his intelligence.  He seemed to always both "believe" in it and mistrust it (or mistrust his desire to believe in it).  Sometimes Jung's written stance was too "rationalistic", and other times it was too "spiritualistic".  He fights with himself on behalf of himself as a kind of mercenary for either army.  I don't think he ever managed to reconcile this polarized perspective on the Self (as is well-evidenced in the dualistic Self he proposed even as late as the writing of Aion).

One of the main reasons for my revisions of Jungian thinking is that Jungian thinking did not make adequate sense of the experience of the Self for me.  It was profoundly helpful for getting initially oriented to the "universe" of the instinctual Self, but it did not serve me well enough past a certain point of ego/Self relationship.  That dividing line for me was the anima work and the difference between anima fantasy and anima work I described above.  Jungian psychology (and its understanding and valuation of the Unconscious or Self as well as its concept of individuation) can get the individual to the animi fantasy stage, a stage in which the Self is a tribalistic totem and the animi stands as an abstract agent beckoning for the ego to come closer to the Self yet not adequately preparing the ego for the terrors of ego/Self intimacy and the dissolution stage that precedes the vaunted Coniunctio.  Therefore, the animi also represents these terrors and sacrifices the Self seems to ask for.

These fantasy totems in the Jungian imagination have numinous power, but (in Jungian rendering) their numinousness does not so much attract the individuant to the instinctual Self as it attracts her or him to the Jungian tribe (or some parallel spiritualistic New Age tribe).  This is not inexcusable by any means, as it seems fairly evident to me that the original (and still, the unconscious) construction of the tribe was that of a collective entity with which the Self instinct was meant to imprint as part of its organization of survivable behavior.  This backfires in modern Jungianism, because tribalism is no longer a survivable means of organization in the modern world.  What's more, Jungian tribalism is somewhat more impaired survival-wise compared to some of the other tribal formations that manage to exist, such as various academic ideological schools.  The most "fit-making" source of tribal organizational influence in academic tribes today tends to be materialistic science.  Those tribes that have invested in the "god" of science have had more staying power and perhaps also been more adaptable while tribes that have taken intellectualist belief systems as their gods usually have only a limited run before they splinter or go extinct.

Jungianism is in a position that could either prove more advantageous in this regard or else more dangerous . . . because it has numerous scientific potentials (that have not been adequately developed and actualized).  If Jungianism could take the god of science constructively into its sense of organization, it could become more adaptable and survivable on a tribal level.  But its current quasi-scientific stance means that it also lives close to the flame, and therefore, its failures to be adequately scientific will stand out more visibly and invite more criticism.  The result of this is that Jungianism has been placed on the fast track to its fork in the survival road.  It will have to change ("mutate") quickly in order to make it . . . or else it will meet with its extinction just as quickly.

With the Jungian failure to utilize scientific thinking sufficiently (and the Jungian tendency to ignore or underestimate the compulsive power and the value of socializing psychology), it has lacked the tools or discrimination necessary to tell the difference between tribal indoctrination (into the Jungian tribe and dogma of the "numinous unconscious") and individuation (which is a matter of severing instinctual imprinting from environmental associations and affiliations and reattaching them to more individual and creative languaging expressions of instinctual behavior and attitudinal organization).  What the animi figure represents is the Call toward the Self and away from tribal affiliations or imprintings of instincts or archetypes with environmental objects or ideas.  This is reflected in the common animi work metaphor of romantic love, a love for which the lovers are willing to give up all their tribal affiliations and worldly attachments (e.g., Romeo and Juliet).  Such love of Self is a great introverting force in the psyche, and parallels what we (Jungians) might see in the shamanic experience . . . where to relate to the tribe in any functional way the shamanic individual must accept a kind of otherness or fringe status (as part pf having a more intimate relationship with the gods, spirits, or ancestors).  I.e., conscious relationship to the tribe rather than unconscious relationship (or participation mystique).  In Jungian "individuation", participation mystique is not overthrown in favor of individual consciousness and redefinition of Eros.  Instead, the Jungian participates in the Jungian tribe . . . usually symbolically and intellectually, but in the case of analysts, very substantially, as well.

In practice, if one does not love and valuate and follow the animi figure with enough devotion (and self-sacrifice), one cannot individuate and establish a truly conscious self/tribe relationship.  And since Jungians do not have a developed notion or application of the animi work, genuine individuation cannot occur under the Jungian system.  Instead we see indoctrination which is totemized into a magical object or fetish called "individuation", which is worn like a medallion of belonging to the Jungian tribe.

And yet, it seems to me that Jung himself managed to pursue his individuation process with much greater than average success.  There are indications, at least, that he gave himself over to the instinctual process of reorganization enough to "sacrifice himself" to the anima work.  I'm not sure his analysis of the anima in retrospect is all that viable, which is curious, but I do see Jung as in "individuated" person . . . in a way that many other Jungians do not quite manage to live up to.  But then, other Jungians only had Jung's odd and tainted analyses of the anima and animus to "study from", while Jung himself seems to have bucked all these theories to do what he had to do to follow the instinct of reorganization heroically.  And "what he did" is, I think portrayed at least partly in the Red Book.

If this hunch does turn out to be valid, then the publication of the Red Book might give Jungians the impetus to reinvent Jungianism in a more viable and contemporary way.  Of course, I am hoping that this more viable and contemporary way will be not unlike the way I have been proposing and progressively constructing for the last years here at Useless Science.  To be more cynical, I have to also admit the distinct possibility that Jungians will simply be so unprepared to understand Jung's anima work (if that's what we get), that the Red Book will just get turned into a totem of conventional Jungianism that is worshiped instead of being effectively analyzed and practically used.  Another fetish to wear instead of a process to live through.  As cynical as I might be, I am still placing the majority of my faith in the Jungian ability to take from the Red Book a "get out of jail free" card, a second chance at their own Grail whose first glimpse left them dumbfounded.

Even if the Red Book proves to be no kind of Grail at all, it should be a very interesting glimpse into Jung's imagination and art.
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Matt Koeske

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 07:20:50 PM »
The Holy Grail of the Unconscious by SARA CORBETT

An article in the New York Times about the impending (October 2009) publication of the Red Book.  Thanks to my newly acquired, non-Jungian brother-in-law, Madison, for sending it to me.

Pretty long and quite interesting.  Author Sara Corbett has some romantic and somewhat skewed (not always positively) descriptions of Jung's ideas and methods, but overall, a surprisingly extensive and compelling mainstream write-up of Jung and Jungianism.  At least it surprised me to see so much space and thought devoted to what I figured was a very esoteric Jungian text for "insiders" only.  Some of the dream-crazed, mythology obsessed Jungians sound like a bit of a caricature . . . but also , I must confess, a bit familiar.  I guess they are as lovable as any form of geek.
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

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Keri

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 08:03:22 PM »
I especially liked this part . . . something I need to remember.

Quote
Creating the book also led Jung to reformulate how he worked with clients, as evidenced by an entry Shamdasani found in a self-published book written by a former client, in which she recalls Jung’s advice for processing what went on in the deeper and sometimes frightening parts of her mind.

“I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can — in some beautifully bound book,” Jung instructed. “It will seem as if you were making the visions banal — but then you need to do that — then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church — your cathedral — the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them — then you will lose your soul — for in that book is your soul.

Keri
O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now . . .

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace

O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind
  - Leonard Cohen, "Come Healing"

Let me be in the service of my Magic, and let my Magic be Good Medicine.  -- Dominique Christina

Matt Koeske

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2009, 04:09:16 PM »
An audio interview with Sara Corbett on the publication of the Red Book.
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simionescu

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 04:07:06 PM »
This is very exciting indeed!

Can you guys share your opinions on the red book. I'd be interested to see interpretations on it.

Matt Koeske

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2011, 08:37:24 PM »
Certainly.  As far as I have seen, I have a unique perspective on the Red Book . . . and one that many Jungians might find (and in direct response to me, have found) disturbing.  My "Critical Review of the Red Book"is on my blog. 

I had begun by taking notes (or noting reflections) as I read it, also on the blog (scroll down to the Text section and see Red Book Diary).

My preliminary expectations of the Red Book were certainly not fulfilled.  But, interestingly, Jung's Red Book journey accorded far better with my theories of individuation and archetype than I could have ever anticipated.  The challenging part (for Jungians) is that, in terms of my thinking, the Red Book cannot be understood as a memoir of spiritual transcendence or a guidebook to individuation (as it continues to be described in most Jungian articles) . . . but as a failed individuation journey.

I didn't find this inevitable conclusion problematic.  In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I came to respect the Red Book and cherish it as potentially the most important piece of Jungian literature since Jung's collected writings.  The Red Book allows Jungians a last best chance at reforming a number of flaws in Jungian thinking, specifically those pertaining to the characterization of the Other and the understanding of individuation.

That Jung's Red Book project failed to demonstrate a complete individuation actually makes it more educational and more important to Jungian literature.  It reads like an immensely thorough case study (and I believe that this is one of the key attitudes Jung himself took toward the project).  If the Red Book depicted a successful individuation story, it would remain a Jungian mysterium, an object of faith and worship.  It would not be capable of advancing analytical psychology.

Of course, most Jungians are still approaching it like that.  They come to the text with this lens or assumption already in place.  And the massive and spectacular production and price of the Red Book (as well as the extreme fanfare of its introduction) are, I think, indications of an unanalyzed inflation surrounding (projected onto) the Red Book.  Therefore, what stands between Jungians and a better understanding of the Red Book is a bit of analysis and self-reckoning.

That will probably not be acted on effectively any time soon (if Jungian habits persist), but the fact that the Red Book has "appeared" now wrapped in these complexes and inflations makes the Red Book like a pivotal dream during dream work.  The "object" of the unconscious has materialized in exquisite form . . . and that is usually an implication that (Jungian) consciousness is just about ready to recognize this Other for what it is.  And that could begin a process of reckoning and progress for Jungian thought and the Jungian tribe.

Personally, I have found the Red Book to be the most ideal "key" to Jungian identity and complexes.  Anyone wanting to understand (and repair) Jung and Jungianism must read this text.  Regrettably, it seems most Jungians are not very much motivated by a desire to understand Jung or Jungian tribal identity.  Instead, they want to persist in one or more of a few fantasies about Jung (e.g., guru or failed father).  But to me, the Jung of the Red Book is a scientific explorer of mystical experience (and not an actual mystic).  And that makes the Red Book the most unique modern text on mysticism we have.

Best,
Matt
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Matswin

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2011, 07:09:54 AM »
I haven't read the Red Book, but I would be interested to know what makes you draw such a drastic conclusion. What is  "failed individuation", anyway? If "completeness" is the goal of personality, then Jung's oeuvre stands out as a particularly complete life. He was unusually successful, both in the inner and outer aspect. But completeness is a questionable notion.

Jung's life's journey serves as symbolic of the self. I think the popular books about the magician Harry Potter have a similar function. The Red Book is like a secret book which tells about the secret of becoming a great magician. Jung corresponds to Merlin, the Celtic symbol of the self. What I mean is that it smacks of pagan naivete, not unlike the Harry Potter idolization.

According to v Franz (C.G. Jung - His Myth in our Time, ch.XIV), Jung felt a kinship with the Merlin figure, which is a self-symbol of pagan origin that compensated for the one-sided spirituality of the Christ. Wolfgang Pauli dreamt that this medieval wizard was surrounded by women and children, who were much fond of him. If Jung, not unlike Harry Potter, is portrayed as a medieval necromancer surrounded by women and children, then it relates the image of a rather naive ideal.

I contend that the ideal of "completeness" isn't good enough. It is a worldly ideal that pertains only to half of reality. Arguably, it causes a drift toward New Age ideas, "childish" occupations, and superstitions. For instance, the notion of "active imagination" is easily corrupted by the aesthetic person. It becomes a product of fantasy and takes off in the tangential direction.

Mats Winther

simionescu

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 08:48:23 AM »
From a ontological perspective, you can't actually embrace (or surround) an idea, you can only (at most) touch it. I would interpret here that "failed individuation" means failure to grasp one's individuation / authenticity as one would expect (though touching it at some points). Every "existential" (sorry about this cliche) philosopher, from Kierkegaard to Heidegger, (and, why not, Plato, Aristotle...) would agree on this.

More plainly, as a human, on any level, you can't purely individuate yourself, you can just touch some aspects of the idea of individuation. But I have a question for Matt. You have said that:

"Observing this, we are forced to ask why it is that Jung characterized the anima as so seductive when in fact he himself was substantially more susceptible to patriarch figures and their magical "Logos"."

Could you elaborate on this? Also, what's your academia.edu link?

Matt Koeske

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2011, 12:14:55 PM »
I haven't read the Red Book, but I would be interested to know what makes you draw such a drastic conclusion. What is  "failed individuation", anyway? If "completeness" is the goal of personality, then Jung's oeuvre stands out as a particularly complete life. He was unusually successful, both in the inner and outer aspect. But completeness is a questionable notion.

My reasoning is maybe a bit complicated, but I have written about the component issues often in various places.  Some of my takes on the Red Book are on my blog site (as linked above).  As for the subject of individuation, it has always been my primary focus, and this forum is chock full of various (albeit not in any way organized) reflections.  I'm currently at the beginning of an effort to more formally organize some of my writings on individuation.  I started a series of essays for the blog site called Deconstructing and Reconstructing Individuation.  So far, all I posted was a fairly length introduction.  Two subsequent essays have been drafted, but I never got to go back and revise them. 

A few years back, I also recorded and analyzed (and expanded upon) some of the pivotal dreams I had 20 years ago during a period of turmoil and transformation that I now call the anima work, the first and initiatory stage of individuation (and the one that Jung and Jungians have begun to imagine but always struggled to actualize and comprehend).  Beyond the anima (or animus) work, I have written in various places about the Work, a period of more disciplined and ethics based psychic reorganization and tending that involves the facilitation of the Self and the practice and refinement of the valuating attitude.  Much of this writing may have come in the context of dream work discussions.  I'm not sure all of it is public.
 
There is some slightly dated writing on the forum about shamanism and individuation . . . most of it done before I really started reading about shamanism directly (as opposed to through Jungian and other interpreters).

And of course my critiques of Jungian thought and culture are numerous.  All of these scattered ideas and more come together to construct the logic of my critical review of the Red Book.  But the gist of my critique is quite straight forward.  The Red Book does not portray a successful individuation event, because successful individuation is a mysticism.  That is, it requires the passing through of a threshold of initiation or the completion of a "mysterium".  Jung (in the Red Book) does not succeed in developing the attitude toward the Other necessary to make the initiate's sacrifice.  Jung is a psychologist, not a mystic. 

As a psychological case study, the Red Book is quite successful . . . and I think very important to Jungian thought (and utterly essential to any psychological study of the individuation process).  But it doesn't satisfy the necessary criteria for a mystical/initiatory text.  Yet, because of Jungian expectations (and inflation), most Jungians have approached the Red Book as if it was Jung's sacred initiation guide.  They want it to be a totem, just as individuation has always functioned as a totem to Jungianism.  They want to project their exaltation fantasies into this totem.  That is what Jungians have always done instead of actually individuating.

That is, they are acquiring tribal identity from participating mystically in the totem of individuation.  It is one of the Jungian identity totems that gives Jungians a meaningful sense of self, anchors a belief in the validity of Jungian identity.  It is manufactured to approve of that identity . . . so long as it is believed in, it approves of you.

It's a lot to see through for any indoctrinated Jungian.  That seeing through would be a precursor to genuine individuation.

Although I think Jung went farther in his own individuation journey than other Jungians seem to, he was the one who established the precedent of conflating individuation with participation in an image or idea (totemic participation).  You see a certain kind of mandala in a vision, or a green Christ, or an Indian guru, or a hieros games ceremony . . . and you have "individuated".  This notion infuses Jungian notions of mysticism: to see the numinous image is to be transformed.

But that is not how legitimate mysticism or transformative initiation actually works.  Initiation is accomplished by significant, often self-sacrificial acts, not by observations, not by "just showing up" ready to believe.  And the content of these acts is ethical, not transcendent.  The process of individuation demands more integrity than it does faith.

Jung imagines the Red Book experience as a journey, and it sometimes involves acts (like transforming Izdubar into an idea so he can be reborn).  But mostly it is a catalog of encounters.  Various characters show up and present Jung with what amounts to arguments for the existence of their otherness (within the psyche Jung feels is his).  Jung generally interprets these encounters as unfair demands or even temptations or attempted deceptions of him.  It's always about him.

Does the appearance of these Others mean he is crazy, he wonders?  Do they try to lead him astray?  Do they have something to give him (magic, mana, etc.)?  The ultimate value of these psychic Others in the Red Book to Jung is a matter of the power (mana) they "offer" to Jung, if he can figure out how to be clever and tough enough to take it.  He treats these Others as tests he must pass by remaining at least partially inviolable.  They all want to change him, and he treats these efforts like Satan's temptations of Christ (whom he identifies with on multiple occasions).  But imagine an initiate treating his or her initiators in this manner.

This is not the mystic's or the individuant's attitude.  It's a bit of magical thinking along the lines of "my enemy is strong and terrifying.  But if I kill him and eat his heart, I will become stronger and more terrifying".  This is essentially how Jung describes it in Two Essays on Analytical Psychology.  The individual who "assimilates the unconscious" and "conquers the anima" takes on the magical power the anima possessed (what Jung calls "mana").  Absorbing that won mana, one becomes a "mana-personality".

Exactly as he described it in Two Essays (I believe with the later revision in 1928), so he enacted (or at least imagined) it in the Red Book.  These two writings of Two Essays (1917 and 1928) function like bookends for the Red Book project.  Two Essays is Jung's attempts to explain what he experienced in the Red Book.  They are inseparable texts, really.  Two Essays is the analysis of the case study Jung called Liber Novus.  He just doesn't overtly confess that he is or was the experimental test subject the analysis is based on . . . but that conclusion was perfectly obvious, even before the Red Book was published.

The prototype for Jung's idea of the mana-personality is, of course, Philemon the magician (who has notably been detached from his traditional partner and wife, Baucis* . . . just as Jung has been detached from his Soul).  And in Two Essays, Jung remains equivocal about the mana-personality.  He half-recognizes that it is an archetype and is not fit for egoic identification, yet he can't entirely get over the idea that the ego has acquired some kind of genuine "mana" from its "conquering of the anima".

Quote
* an note on the whole Philemon and Baucis image in the Red Book.  As the Wikipedia article states, Ovid's tale of Philemon and Baucis demonstrates "the pious exercise of hospitality, the ritualized guest-friendship termed xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved."  That xenia is indeed the functional (mystical) attitude the initiate needs to take toward the Other.  I suspect these figures emerged into Jung's consciousness in part because they represented the proper welcoming attitude for the stranger gods.  But Jung (through further "active imagining") entirely destroys this functional and meaningful symbol by conflating the Ovid's story with Faust, where Philemon and Baucis, a pious old couple who have a chapel on the land Faust has been "reclaiming from the sea".  The tolling bell of the chapel annoys Faust, because it reminds him that he doesn't yet own that small piece of land (and also that his power and wealth have come from unholy means). He has Mephistopheles get evict them, which Mephistopheles does through murder.

When Jung makes Philemon into a wizard and mana-personality, he has infused Faust (and Faust's will and power to ward off or conquer Otherness) into Philemon.  Essentially, Faust conquers Philemon from within . . . and the conquering is every bit as Demonic as when Mephistopheles murders Philemon and Baucis.  Jung was actively identified with Faust.  Over the gate on his tower at Bollingen, Jung hung a sign that read (in translation from the Latin) "Philemon's Shrine - Faust's Repentance".  The figures are intimately connected for him.  But is Faust's repentance adequate for enshrining one of his murder victims?  Especially when Faust's power and desire and fear of Otherness are installed in Philemon?  I don't think so. 

Jung saw the evils and limitations of Faust as superman.  He knew Faust was corrupt.  But, like Faust, Jung hoped he could be magically or spiritually redeemed even without ceasing to be Faust.  That is, with unapologetic recognition of his evils, Jung felt those evil could be redeemed.  In other words, instead of conventional repentance or repayment of a kind of karmic debt, Jung sought to satisfy himself with the personal/psychological recognition and acceptance of his evils and his capacity to to do evil.  As long he he understood the full extend of his sins, he believed he was free.  Just like Faust.

But that is a superman's Demonic version of repentance.  It is not good enough because it still rejects all Otherness.  This attitude is evident in Jung's life in various ways, perhaps most clearly in his lack of repentance for contributing to anti-Semitic Nazi philosophies in a few of his writings.  He felt he had to apologize to no one . . . although it seems he recognized (and at one point privately acknowledged) that he had slipped up".  He is truly Faustian in this approach to apology.  It doesn't matter what he does or how he treats others . . . so long as he knows in his own mind the full extent his actions.  Total bullshit.

I found a website that gives a fairly extensive commentary on Act V of the second part of Faust, where Faust has Philemon and Baucis kills and dies shortly after (blinded by Care).  It is well worth reading as a parallel to the Red Book's conclusion and the attitude Jung/Philemon adopts toward his "reclamation" project with the unconscious or with Otherness.


The genuine mystical attitude is nothing like the conquering and power seizure Jung describes.  Traditionally (and cross-culturally) mysticism is about surrender to the Other.  That surrender involves the acceptance of ego dissolution and sacrifice.  Such is the case with what is probably the prototype of all mysticism, the shamanic initiation.  The shamanic initiate doesn't go "to the other world" and deliver the smack down to the spirits or gods.  S/he is dismembered and reconstructed anew (often with special components added to his or her body . . . one of the classics being iron, the original sacred metal from the heavens).

The shamanic initiate submits to this and does not resist it or bargain for how its done.  A variation of this symbol is also used in the story of the passion and crucifixion of Christ.

But in the Red Book, Jung identifies with Philemon, the mana-personality, who conquers "the dead" (the devalued remnants of the psychic Others that previously had presence in Jung's visions . . . most importantly, "the Soul") with word magic . . . with pseudo-gnostic sermons.

Most Jungians have a hard time seeing this, because it amounts to a realization that would violate tribal taboos, would see through the totem of individuation.  But Jung, I think, understood perfectly well that Philemon was not an ultimate solution.  I believe there are some footnotes of Shamdasani's that say as much.  He didn't completely see through Philemon or understand precisely what was wrong with Philemon's treatment of the dead.  There was always an identification with Philemon for Jung that was never entirely resolved.

Jungians generally try to see Philemon as a Self figure.  That is wholly wrong.  Philemon is an amalgam of the hero and the Demon . . . is the hero hijacked or impersonated by the Demon.  This mana-personality is an inflation.  It seeks to increase its "power" in the psyche by conquering Otherness.  The true hero seeks to valuate and facilitate Otherness, to repair and redeem and maintain it.  Jung does not accomplish this at the end of the Red Book.  He merely comes to a figuration of the Demon (as Philemon) that he fails to see through because he too badly wants to be it, longs for its power, its cleverness.

Around 1930, Jung abandoned the Red Book project . . . supposedly (as he claims in an unfinished comment following the main text of the Red Book) because he had discovered alchemy and sought to continue his search (and perhaps his individuation) through that.  I have no doubt that he did look on alchemy in that way.  But his treatments of alchemy lack some of the same comprehension of genuine mysticism (as surrender to the Other) that was lacking in the Red Book.  He fails to understand alchemical symbols like the Coniunctio and the Nigredo/prima materia properly.  He appropriates them to accord with his notion of the conjunction of opposites into a consciously held state of close tension.  He conflates Coniunctio with hieros gamos and exalts the image.  but in alchemy, Coniunctio is not some kind of exalted mystical marriage that stands as a symbol of attainment.  It is a death and utter dissolution resulting in blackness . . . the true prima materia from which the Work can begin.  I.e., it is not an end, not a static state to set upon a pedestal.

Coniunctio is a death that marks the end of solid ego identity, but it is also a conception that can lead to the growth of new life.

As many faults as I find in Jung's constructions of individuation, I still feel his grasp of individuation was much more sophisticated than that of other Jungians.  Individuation was not a mere totem for Jung.  He may never have become a mystic, but I do think he was an individuant.  That is, he was significantly differentiated and dissociated from participation in his tribes: medicine/science, Christianity (especially Swiss Protestantism), even mysticisms and the occult and German romanticism.  He only ever had one foot in any of these traditions or tribes.  I don't think he ever took many identity constructions blindly form these tribes.  He did not really participate.

And what's more, he was also always an outsider in the tribe that formed around him.  Even as a "Jungian", he was dissociated and alone, often not wholly participating.  At the end of his life, he often seemed disappointed with what other Jungians had done with his ideas.

I think Jung the individuant is still miles beyond conventional Jungianisms.  But what I am opposed to perpetuating and seek to criticize is the idea of Jung the mystic.  Jung was always more of a scientist than a mystic (even when his science was mediocre).  But the modern world doesn't need mystics.  Mystics (in the form of shamans) are functional only in tribal cultures, where they work to maintain and restore "soul" or the connection of tribal identity with the principles of the Self system.

That Jung was more scientist than mystic is the real foundation of his importance to modern thought and culture.  He was a first rate scientist of mysticism, but only a second rate mystic (at best).  Jung the mystic cannot treat the modern soul, but Jung the scientist still can.

Regrettably, Jungians are remiss to valuate Jung the scientist.  They want their totemic prophet . . . as to believe in that prophet makes them feel righteous and special . . . "chosen".  To adopt Jung the scientist as guide and inspiration would mean that Jungians would have to finally get to work, learn to fix things, learn to build, learn how to change and heal themselves.  That is a great labor.  And Jungians never wanted a great labor.  They want a perfect ideological solution.  They wanted and continue all too often to want providence.  Providence and responsibility don't mix.

That's what it boils down to for me.  If Jung can be made into a mystic, Jungians have no responsibility to the soul (or to their own tribe and identity).  But if Jung can be understood as a scientist, then, through acceptance of responsibility and integrity, Jungians can work and create and rebuild the Jungian tribe and Jungian thought.  It is an ethical issue . . . because Jung the mystic leads to feelings of chosenness and righteousness.  But Jung the scientist means embracing and reckoning with some fairly unsound scientific roots and striving to make amends.

Taking Jung for a mystic is self-serving.  But taking him for a scientist is a process of valuating the devalued Other.  It requires ethical consciousness and sympathy with the shadow.
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Matswin

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2011, 12:50:39 PM »
That was an interesting account of The Red Book. I see, that explains the lack of empirical references in Two Essays, something which has frustrated me. He relates no patient case histories, following scientific standards. I have suspected that the archetypal succession of integration is really Jung's personal universe, e.g. the 'mana personality' that stands behind the anima, the transcendent function, etc. It is in fact The Red Book which is his empirical source. I do not doubt the existence of an 'anima' archetype, but, as you say, his rendition of the succession of events in the course of individuation remains a quandary. I have also taken the view that the mystical path demands self-sacrifice, and even self-mortifying practices, rather than one heroic deed after another.

Mats Winther

Matt Koeske

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2011, 01:52:36 PM »
But I have a question for Matt. You have said that:

"Observing this, we are forced to ask why it is that Jung characterized the anima as so seductive when in fact he himself was substantially more susceptible to patriarch figures and their magical "Logos"."

Could you elaborate on this? Also, what's your academia.edu link?


My Acaedmia.edu link is http://independent.academia.edu/MattKoeske . . . but I never use it.  I put a copy of my book of poems there, but that's it.


I meant to get around to writing an essay on the subject of Jung's preoccupation with "wise old men" in the Red Book, but my time and energies went elsewhere.  I'm not sure how much more I can expand on it (other than to go back and cite all those many examples from the Red Book).  Basically, Jung is entranced in scene after scene of the Red Book with every wise old man type character he meets.  He finds them seductive.  They represent what he covetously wants to be: the contented senex whose great knowledge and insight crack open the universe like an egg for the senex to neatly fry in a pan and consume.  That's Jung's fantasy of assimilation of the Other in general.  All is assimilated through gnosis.

And of course Jung had the same problem with Freud . . . to whom he confessed he had "something of a religious crush".  One can only wonder what happened in the case Jung mentions briefly (in MDR, I think?) where an older man her revered molested him.  But it becomes a repetition compulsion for Jung.  A complex.  He never sees through it.

But he does keep seeing through each instance.  That is, he finds the individuals onto whom he projected this wise old man to be inadequate to hold that projection for him.  Freud is the most obvious real world example, but in the Red Book, Jung goes through a long succession of old wise men, and one after another leaves him ultimately dissatisfied (after initially striking him as profound).  This goes on cyclically until he meets up with Philemon (in his magician mode).  In the text, he doesn't see through Philemon.  But Shamdasani tells us (or Jung himself states somewhere) that he eventually began to see through or depotentiate Philemon, who then became another figure and another.  I don't have the text with me now, so I can't retrieve the citation.

All of this adoration of wise old men is counterbalanced by a consistently negative and resistant attitude toward female or anima figures. He is never seduced by them (in the Red Book, real life was perhaps another story) . . . and only occasionally listens to what they say while going into hysterics of resistance.  Then, of course, he quickly forgets what they try to tell him.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Complimenting this, we have Jung's consistent portrayals of the wise old man archetype as a "self figure".  This archetype is glorified and worshipped in Jungianism.  And Jung's take on the anima archetype is equivocal at best . . . always peppered with talk of her seductiveness and darkness that must be resisted.  But the Red Book makes a mockery of this supposed "theory", because never once does an anima figure try to seduce him.  The closest thing to "seduction" that he experiences comes from Salome, who tells him he is Christ and worships him (as he protests).

Essentially, Jung is full of shit.  His portrayal of the anima is not even derived from his own experience.  It comes entirely from a patriarchal prejudice that has long associated women with "dark nature" and blames women for "making" men act impulsively in the heat of attraction.  Deep sexism.  Jung makes this into a "theory".  Luckily, his theory is somewhat redeemed by his truly excellent work as a psychological phenomenologist.  That is, all of the phenomena he observes and collates and attributes to the "anima" is quite accurate . . . even the darkness and seductiveness (though it isn't as prominent as he makes it out to be). 

So Jungians inherit a scientifically and phenomenologically sound concept . . . but its loaded down with a lot of sexist crap and worthless interpretation.  And as far as the animus, well, Jung slandered it so much that many Jungians have simply rejected it as a concept.  That is unfortunate to say the least because the (ultimately positive) animus is a common figure especially in folktales.  Jung's intense sexism has prevented Jungianism from effectively studying this abundant source material.

But what I didn't realize until I read the Red Book was that Jung's severely negative comments about the anima (and the animus) are utter displacements.  He projected all of his unrecognized animosity for wise old man figures onto the anima . . . while mostly turning the wise old man into a creature of light and goodness.

All of this is constellated in Jungian identity and thought like a complex (as it was for Jung).  Jungians have essentially inherited that complex.  It is not merely an opinion, but a compulsive and unexamined assumption of "the way things are".  A number of Jungian tribal complexes can be traced back to the Red Book, where they have their way splendidly with Jung.  And that's why the Red Book is really important.  If Jungians can't see and begin working with these Jungian complexes with the aid of the Red Book, there is no hope for them to ever understand.  The complexes will just keep nudging Jungianism into oblivion.
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Matt Koeske

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2011, 01:57:11 PM »
I should also point out that in the link I posted above to a commentary on Faust, the author's conclusions about Faust's successful repentance are utter horseshit.  I certainly don't advocate that, but if anyone wanting to follow this conversation needs to be acquainted or reacquainted with Faust, the commentary in general is helpful.


The author's conclusions about Faust's repentance are delusional in a way that parallels Jung's euphoric inflation at the end of the Red Book . . . and delusional (and hello! BLIND!) as Faust is in the moments before his death.  I'm not really sure what Goethe ultimately thought about Faust's repentance, but today it doesn't feel at all plausible.
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Matswin

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2011, 02:41:16 PM »
Concerning "sexism" in Jung's discussion of anima and animus. I opine that today's view of the sexes is coloured by the "ideology of sameness" that permeates society. To expose the dark sides of the sexes, women's falseness, how men are conditioned by group psychology, etc., would serve us well. I can't vouch for Jung's understanding in the matter, but there certainly exist marked differences in the psychology of the sexes, and corresponding dark sides. The following is fetched from my little essay about feminism (here).

"Female psychotherapists take note of [women's] unhappy condition. Marie-Louise von Franz, in "The Feminine in Fairy Tales" (1993) discusses the "obvious inferiority of women" in today's world. Barbara Hannah, in "Encounters with the Soul" (1991) says that women never really assume responsibility for their own lives. She has in mind responsibility on a psychological plane, namely that women, unlike many a man, never achieve a psychological maturity, and a true psychological independency. Katrin Asper in "The Abandoned Child Within" (1993) even questions whether there is something wrong with today's psychological theory as it seems perfectly impossible to lead a woman on to psychological independency through integration of her dark sides.

Colette Dowling, in "The Cinderella Complex", says largely the same thing, namely that women rarely take a genuine responsibility for their own lives. They retain a childish wish of being tended on, like a sweet princess. If they have the choice to put themselves in a situation of psychological dependency, then they make this choice, rather than developing their personality and talents.

Liam Hudson & Bernadine Jacot say in "The Way Men Think" (1991) that women retain a dependency on the mother, whereas men have a much stronger drive to break free. The authors say that the consequences of this are enormous. Men can develop an "abstract passion" and a greater individual freedom, thanks to the continual source of energy that the "wound" provides. This means that men have a capacity of being objective, of seeing the truth. Women have no big passion for truth.

Marie-Louise von Franz, in "Archetypal Dimension of the Psyche" (1999, p.248), says that the feminists are projecting their own inferior side ("animus") on their male superiors, and therefore regard them as tyrants. The phenomenon is grounded in the repression of their own femininity to the advantage of their own animus (their inner masculinity), whom they covertly worship. Feminists are therefore secretly attracted to the dominating male, and are unconsciously drawn to tyrants, whom they often choose as partners. Unconsciousness always creates this kind of repercussion.

(Don't blame me. It's female therapists who are saying these embittered things about women.)"


Mats Winther

Matswin

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Re: Jung's Red Book Publication Date Announced
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2011, 08:15:55 AM »
This article in International Journal of Jungian Studies,  Issue 1, 2010, about Jung's negative view of yoga, can perhaps shed light on the discussion. Arguably, yoga belongs to the trinitarian tradition of mysticism.
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19409050903498337

Mats