Sunday, September 20, 2009

C. G. Jung: The Red Book

The New York Times Magazine:

Thomas Hannich for The New York Times
Published: September 16, 2009
"This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and
handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome."
"And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again."
"Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it."
"Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom — “There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely,” she wrote — while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic."
Perhaps we should be thankful that DSM did not exist then!
Sara Corbett continued:
"THIS COULD SOUND, I realize, like the start of a spy novel or a Hollywood bank caper, but it is rather a story about genius and madness, as well as possession and obsession, with one object — this old, unusual book — skating among those things. Also, there are a lot of Jungians involved, a species of thinkers who subscribe to the theories of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and author of the big red leather book. And Jungians, almost by definition, tend to get enthused anytime something previously hidden reveals itself, when whatever’s been underground finally makes it to the surface."

C. G. Jung: The Red Book
W.W. Norton & Company

C. G. Jung: Memories, Dreams, Reflections
The Exhibition: Rubin Museum of Art

1 comment:

Todd Laurence said...

"Mind Knows, ego observes."

Carl Jung, working with the physicist W. Pauli, concluded
that the balance to cause and effect is "acausality" - which
Jung termed a 'synchronicity principle' - i.e., "meaningful
coincidences." They also indicated that "number" is the
most primal archetype of order in the human mind:

This represents the first verification of this principle:

Bx. Times Reporter

The star Kochab has a long history in mythology,
with references dating to 2467b.c.e. It, and a
companion star are known as the Guardians of
the Pole....

"man has need of the word, but in essence number
is sacred." Jung....

"our primary mathematical intuitions can be arranged
before we become conscious of them." Pauli....