Jung, The Red Book

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
Wyrmfang
Frater
Posts: 1105
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 10:22 pm
Location: Jyväskylä

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Wyrmfang » Thu May 31, 2018 5:44 pm

For me November will probably be the best month, as I will work intensively with my post doc plan in August-October, and in July I'm still working with the PhD.
obnoxion
Sodalis
Posts: 1705
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby obnoxion » Thu May 31, 2018 6:10 pm

obnoxion wrote: - Jiva (June)
- Benemal (?)
- Insanus (anything goes)
- obnoxion (?)
- Nefasto (?)
- Wyrmfang (November)
- Astraya (December)
This is the list so far.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
User avatar
Benemal
Frater
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Benemal » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:00 pm

Some have read it before, at least obnoxion has, so do you remember, if there was a part of the book concerning art? Maybe that's for me to try to understand. Funny thing is though, I've never read a book about art. I'm sure Jung has a theory about that as well.
obnoxion
Sodalis
Posts: 1705
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby obnoxion » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:06 pm

Benemal wrote:Some have read it before, at least obnoxion has, so do you remember, if there was a part of the book concerning art? Maybe that's for me to try to understand. Funny thing is though, I've never read a book about art. I'm sure Jung has a theory about that as well.
I am familiar with the general contents of the Red Book, and I own the large illustrated edition, but I have not read it yet. The Red Book is an early work, and most of the writings that Jung is best known for is written after the Red Book (which wasn't meant to be published). Before the Red Book, much of Jung's work was concentrated on clinical psychiatrics with schizophtenic patients, and his collaboration and separation with Freud.

I don't think that there is any clear Jungian art theory presented in the Red Book, but I think I will consider the books illustrations as art in my posts. Some of Jung's illustrations remind me of the illustrations you have kindly done for my Unseen Fire -magazine articles, fra Benemal.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
User avatar
Jiva
Frater
Posts: 515
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:13 am

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Jiva » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:19 pm

Art is a huge blind spot for me; one of the reasons I’m looking forward to this group is others’ insights in such matters.

While I don’t think Jung had a particular theory of art (as in painting etc.), he did have strong opinions regarding aesthetics. However, I don’t think any of this is explicitly mentioned in The Red Book (I could be wrong though); rather, I think The Red Book helped inform his opinions regarding aesthetics.

Anyway, I’m now working on an intro to The Red Book in general and the first chapter ('The Way of What Is to Come'), and – if there’s no rush – will post it within the next 2 weeks.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
User avatar
Benemal
Frater
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Benemal » Sun Jun 03, 2018 3:30 pm

Just in case Jung inspires further conversation about art, I'll mention, that I'm not an expert. Making art isn't theoretical and doesn't require reading books.
obnoxion
Sodalis
Posts: 1705
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby obnoxion » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:22 am

Benemal wrote:Just in case Jung inspires further conversation about art, I'll mention, that I'm not an expert. Making art isn't theoretical and doesn't require reading books.
I was just looking at pictures of paintings by Yves Tanguy, and though I have enjoyed reading some theory and critic that aims to explain something of it, it is the unspeakable of it that gives it life and enchantment. So perhaps the best way to agree if we understood Yves Tanguy the same way, would be to find or manufacture an experience that would have a similar atmosphere of simultanous serenity and threat. So I do agree that the deepest thoughts on art are in the making of it.

I believe we have between us seven an ideal variety of angles from which to appreciate the Red Book. And it is not first and foremost an object of art, so I don't think there will be too much art discussion involved. The reader's edition doesn't even have the illustrations, so the illustration cannot be a major concern in this group. It wouldn't be fair to those who don't have the expensive illustrated tome, wouldn't it.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
User avatar
Jiva
Frater
Posts: 515
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:13 am

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Jiva » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:42 am

Hmmm... so this is quite long. Sorry about that. Just be glad I only have the reader version available at the moment, or this could well have been longer :P.


The Red Book

I’ll start with an introduction regarding the background conditions of the Red Book that will lead into the first chapter.

Beginning in 1912, four factors caused Jung a great deal of stress:
  • Jung’s break with Freud – basically confirmed and made irreversible by Jung’s publication of The Psychology of the Unconscious in 1912 – essentially broke the Swiss psychological community into two camps. Their issues were complex, but two important academic points concern their differing conceptualisations of the libido – purely sexual energy for Freud, general energy for Jung – and Jung’s increasing emphasis on mythology to the detriment of Freud’s focus on childhood development.
  • Jung’s affair with Toni Wolff. Jung’s wife, Emma Jung, was well aware of the affair – it was not Jung’s first – and seems to have grudgingly tolerated it. However, it was an embarrassing situation for her; she, therefore, had less friends and family over as there was a high likelihood that Wolff would be at the Jung residence. Emma had previously enjoyed a rapport with Freud, yet due to his split with Jung, confiding in Freud was now impossible. Furthermore, Emma was pregnant with the Jungs’ fifth child. In short: an incredibly tense circumstance, to say the least.
  • After a decade or so of practicing psychology during the days and conducting academic research in the evenings, Jung was basically suffering from a burnout.
  • Finally, Jung’s extreme apprehension of WWI, to which he basically assigned a psychological cause – a sort of collective European madness. I won’t go further, because this is one of the main themes of Liber Primus, which begins with the following chapter...

‘The Way of What Is to Come’

As I’ve previously mentioned, the Red Book is based on dreams and visions Jung recorded in the Black Books between 1913 and 1916. From the footnotes in the Red Book, it’s easy to see the date of the dream or vision that Jung is drawing from as recorded in the Black Books. As such, it’s also easy to see that while Jung writes this opening chapter of the Red Book in 1915, the recordings for this year in the Black Books provide the source material for parts of Scrutines, the last section of the Red Book. Because of this, I think Jung – consciously or unconsciously – transposes the conclusions from some of his later experiences onto his earlier experiences, with the result that he exaggerates any mistakes or mis-steps that he makes. In other words: he mentions the solution to a mistake, commits the mistake, and then finds a solution to the mistake – i.e., the narrative seems to me to be out of order in places. Based on some of the details Jung goes into, I think this is an intentional choice – for example, the detail highlighted in footnote 9 – and that he, as the primary audience for the Red Book, is emphasising to himself the ease with which his ego can assume control and dominate.

I mentioned this exaggeration earlier in the thread, but I think this opening chapter contains an example that sets ‘the way of what is to come’, albeit not an especially explicit one. The chapter concerns the relationship of the spirit of this time and the spirit of the depths – the former is clearly the conscious, rational, scientific mind that replaced god when Nietzsche declared his death; whereas the latter is clearly the unconscious and irrational mind lurking beneath the surface. The spirit of this time attempts to persuade Jung that he is the supreme image of god and to ignore the everyday inferiority of the spirit of the depths. Jung initially complies by hiding behind the highest star (of conscious reason) yet comes to consider the spirit of the depths as the true ruler of world affairs after his visions and dreams regarding WWI.* Sufficiently impressed, Jung’s faith in the spirit of this time is lessened.

No longer fully aligned with the spirit of this time, Jung concludes the chapter by stating that he is largely ignorant, that there is no single way, and that he “will be no saviour, no lawgiver, no master teacher”. Indeed, Jung quite obviously references Nietzsche to emphasise the overman as an endless journey and not a single final destination. Yet the chapter begins with selected passages from the Bible that herald the coming of the messiah and draws to an end with Jung attempting to singlehandedly provide a remedy for WWI. For me, the contradiction is so jarring that I think it must be deliberately ironic, especially as Jung either forgets or hasn’t learned this wisdom later in ‘The Magician’ when he declares himself to be a god of absolute knowledge.

It’s mentioned in the footnotes that, anticipating the war, Jung returns to Switzerland in parallel with a friend whom Jung considers foolish and lacking insight. Yet, despite Jung picking the rational route, the friend returns to Switzerland quicker; ergo, Jung is still prioritising his conscious mind to the detriment of the unconscious, thereby missing any insights it might have. In some ways, as Jung’s friend precedes his predominantly conscious mind in returning to Switzerland, he could be interpreted as having caused the war itself – i.e., Jung’s friend is the spirit of the depths. In any case, despite the intelligence of his conscious mind, Jung has no idea what his supposed remedy for WWI actually is – after all, he has little insight into the cause – and, of course, it doesn’t remedy the outbreak of war, neither in his dream nor in reality.



* Jung had previously assigned a great importance to his dreams, but only on a personal level. For example, both his split with Freud and his affair with Wolff were preceded by dreams that contributed towards Jung's decisions on these matters.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
obnoxion
Sodalis
Posts: 1705
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby obnoxion » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:34 am

Thank you, fra Jiva, for your excellent post! I will post my thoughts in a few days. Befote that, here are the first two rotations for the reading group:

2018
Benemal (July)
Insanus (August)
obnoxion (September)
Nefastos (October)
Wyrmfang (November)
Astraya (December)

2019
Jiva (January)
Benemal (February)
Insanus (March)
obnoxion (April)
Nefastos (May)
Wyrmfang (June)
Astraya (July)
Jiva (August)
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
obnoxion
Sodalis
Posts: 1705
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby obnoxion » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:01 pm

Jiva wrote:I mentioned this exaggeration earlier in the thread, but I think this opening chapter contains an example that sets ‘the way of what is to come’, albeit not an especially explicit one. The chapter concerns the relationship of the spirit of this time and the spirit of the depths – the former is clearly the conscious, rational, scientific mind that replaced god when Nietzsche declared his death; whereas the latter is clearly the unconscious and irrational mind lurking beneath the surface. The spirit of this time attempts to persuade Jung that he is the supreme image of god and to ignore the everyday inferiority of the spirit of the depths. Jung initially complies by hiding behind the highest star (of conscious reason) yet comes to consider the spirit of the depths as the true ruler of world affairs after his visions and dreams regarding WWI.* Sufficiently impressed, Jung’s faith in the spirit of this time is lessened.

No longer fully aligned with the spirit of this time, Jung concludes the chapter by stating that he is largely ignorant, that there is no single way, and that he “will be no saviour, no lawgiver, no master teacher”. Indeed, Jung quite obviously references Nietzsche to emphasise the overman as an endless journey and not a single final destination. Yet the chapter begins with selected passages from the Bible that herald the coming of the messiah and draws to an end with Jung attempting to singlehandedly provide a remedy for WWI. For me, the contradiction is so jarring that I think it must be deliberately ironic, especially as Jung either forgets or hasn’t learned this wisdom later in ‘The Magician’ when he declares himself to be a god of absolute knowledge.

It’s mentioned in the footnotes that, anticipating the war, Jung returns to Switzerland in parallel with a friend whom Jung considers foolish and lacking insight. Yet, despite Jung picking the rational route, the friend returns to Switzerland quicker; ergo, Jung is still prioritising his conscious mind to the detriment of the unconscious, thereby missing any insights it might have. In some ways, as Jung’s friend precedes his predominantly conscious mind in returning to Switzerland, he could be interpreted as having caused the war itself – i.e., Jung’s friend is the spirit of the depths. In any case, despite the intelligence of his conscious mind, Jung has no idea what his supposed remedy for WWI actually is – after all, he has little insight into the cause – and, of course, it doesn’t remedy the outbreak of war, neither in his dream nor in reality.
The long quotes from Isaiah, with which the first chapter begins, do set a messianic mood. The major theme of the quotes (Isaiah 53: 1 – 4; 9:6; 35: 1 - 8) seems to be the quintessential unexpectedness of the Messianic spirit. (The word “unexpected”, I feel, might be exchanged to “antinomian”, but I would hesitate to use it because the word has well-nigh lost its meaning from over-use by modern Western LHP). The Book of Isaiah is quite full of such descriptions of unexpectedness, and they have been highlighted in the Jewish Sabatean movements (see, for example, Gershom Scholem’s “The Messianic Idea in Judaism” (Scocken, 1995), the chapter “Redemption through Sin”, pages 78 – 141). The verses quoted by Jung from Isaiah describe it as an unnoticeable plant growing right in front of us, but not seen or appreciated, or even actively rejected. The more antinomian quote would be the strange deed and alien worship attached to the messianic spirit in Isaiah (28:21).

Could Jung be here formulating a new understanding of messianism, one in which the savior must be found from inside? The Sabatean idea of the Messiah is (as far as I have grasped it) that the fundamental field of his/her mission is in the Depths, where a state of brokenness must be restored, an idea that resonates well with Jungian thought. On an individual level it could be taken to mean, that one who takes the leap of faith and embraces the Spirit of the Depths, partakes of the messianic spirit. But the time of the law-givers has been left behind to the childhood of men, and the "savior" is now a state of being that is oriented towards the depths.

So I was thinking, could Jung not be putting off his personal messianic mission, but the whole idea of an outer law-giver savior?

Anyway, why Jung is such an important thinker for me is not because his persuasive argument, but the shared experience. I, too, have embraced the Spirit of the Depth, and found this Spirit more reliable and effective guide than the Spirit of the Times. And I don’t mean it has been a guide into extravagance and marginal, but into quite normal (in contemporary terms), serene and satisfying life – to Switzerland, only faster. Now, such things can be very futile topics of discussion, unless all parties have the experience of the Spirit of the Depths, don’t you think? Otherwise much of Jung must sound like "ghost stories", as I have once read them being described.

EDIT: Corrected my hasty grammar and (hopefully( clarified a few points...
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest