Jung, The Red Book

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
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Benemal
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Benemal » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:56 pm

I'm just starting the book. Obviously, it's not a book I can read 200 pages a day, like usual, so I'll pace myself with others. July is fine, but I'll say a little disclaimer: I'm really bad at analyzing writing of any kind (or music), I just read it and then read the next one.
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby obnoxion » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:58 pm

Benemal wrote:I'm just starting the book. Obviously, it's not a book I can read 200 pages a day, like usual, so I'll pace myself with others. July is fine, but I'll say a little disclaimer: I'm really bad at analyzing writing of any kind (or music), I just read it and then read the next one.
Jusr relax, and do it your own way. The only structure you need to follow is the schedule. I suppose we all aim to read the book as we go, so if there is something in the chapter that we think needed to come up but didn't, then we should draw attention to it in our comments. Let's try to make this project a pleasure. Just do your chapters on time and nothing more is asked for. And that goes for all of us.
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.
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Jiva » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:20 am

Sorry, I thought I’d replied to your (obnoxion’s) comments, obviously not…
obnoxion wrote: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.
Yeah, you could be right. Although for much of the Red Book, I think Jung struggles to see the difference between claiming the messianic spirit and becoming the Christ and partaking of the messianic spirit and becoming a Christ. With this in mind, there seems to me to be a clear overlap between WWI as an external expression of the Spirit of the Depths and Jung’s internal psychological process. In other words: claiming the messianic spirit and violently enforcing one’s will on others is an unconscious embrace of the Spirit of the Depths (which is then put to the service of the Spirit of this Time, e.g. nationalism, empire building etc.), whereas partaking of the messianic spirit is a conscious embrace (which can be utilised for mutually inclusive, beneficial purposes). In some of his writings from around this time, Jung vaguely emphasises experiencing the other in dreams and visions as providing an ethical base for 'real life', where everyone else could be considered to be an other. Typically, Jung doesn't really explain this, but - by importing some Simmel and Levinas - I get the feeling he is suggesting the development of personal laws based on an unconditional respect of the other, in whichever form it takes.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Benemal » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:46 pm

I started the book over, because it had been over a month and I wanted to try a better approach. Instead of "this is bullshit", to try to think: "this is interesting". The first often happens, with things that I think are intellectual and humanistic, which this book is. More positive attitude to the beginning of studying it made it immediately more understandable.
Nobody said anything about the introduction. I guess others decided to skip it as well. I'll read it when and if I reread The Red Book.
Also I've managed to be mostly away from the town where I live, during this summer, which means also away from internet, mostly. I'll try to make notes about chapter two, maybe tomorrow night, because I'm going to summer cabin and then it's near end of month, when I come back to this "civilization", that's sinking into hell.

p.129
He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul. If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world

So many people have said these things, but now it's really most real, again.
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Benemal » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:56 pm

As a crime against summer, I brought my laptop, to the cabin. As an incident of natural irony, I forgot the cord. My forgetfulness is a reminder. First instinct is correct. Leave the internet at home. There would be more, but the battery...
It's was far superior though, reading The Red Book surrounded by dragonflies, than reading it on my dirty, shitty, depressing and apocalyptic couch at home.
I've read chapter two´God and Soul` a few times and that may not be enough. Normally I don't study anything, so that kind of patience is what perhaps can be learned, from a reading group like this.
I'm not entirely certain who is speaking/writing. There seems to be some kind of dissociation. Is this desperate voice Jung, or some imagined prophetlike seeker? This is writing that I don't understand. Partly, because of the bible, which I haven't read, and in part because of the European humanistic tradition, which I'm very skeptical about. But that's not the fault of the geniuses, but their worshippers.
It's an almost synchronicity, that I read Dune, here at cabin and the words of the prophet Muad'Dib, sound somehow similar, to Jung. I wouldn't be surprised, if Herbert had studied Jung, though I guess the Red Book was not available then.
Maybe I'll get back to this. Now battery life won't allow me to go through the chapter, with browser open.
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Smaragd » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:37 pm

Benemal wrote:I'm not entirely certain who is speaking/writing. There seems to be some kind of dissociation. Is this desperate voice Jung, or some imagined prophetlike seeker?
I've interpreted it to be enviously clear conversation between Satan (the spirit of the depths), Zeitgeist and the lower self trying to keep the weight in the middlepoint of a pentagram. Similar conversations, although with quite stupid topics, have occurred to me from time to time when doing the dishes: Satan takes a form of some friction causing person from my life and digging the truth out from between polarities may start.

One may even speculate the spirit of the depths to have the black aspect emphasis here, because it's stripping Jung naked and showing that the thing he thought was his soul was a "dead system", laying the darkness over out of love for the misguided Jung.

The depths, a dead system with it's horror inducing emptiness is seeing the Mother God bleeding her monthlies to waste. A sight which asks us to find the other half, the seed, the son from the Father, and the Mother births blossoms of the living flower — the image. This concept of the image is quite intruiging. Sunk in to the deceptive forms of the Mother it asks trust in the fatherly "construction". Hard, or rather, soft but jovian work is needed to dig it out from the dirt like a sculptor does finding the forms, in mind, out of clay.
Benemal wrote:I've read chapter two´God and Soul` a few times
I read your message again and found out I've been reading a different chapter 'Refinding the Soul'. I may have err'd for I've read it from badly organized photos taken out of a library copy. Will get a real copy of the book soon.
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Benemal » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:50 pm

In the table of contents, it says chapter two is 'Soul and God'. Words were reversed in my post.
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby RPSTOVAL » Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:35 am

I dislike Jung as a psychologist but The Red Book is an exceptional spiritual work that I have much respect for. The "Seven Sermons" contained later in the book really had a massive impact on my initially, although I am familiar with Gnosticism.
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Jiva » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:55 pm

Benemal wrote:In the table of contents, it says chapter two is 'Soul and God'. Words were reversed in my post.
Apologies. Chapter two is indeed ' Soul and God', but the first passage I started with was the prologue, which takes place before the chapter one.


‘Refinding the Soul’

A little late, but for me ‘Refinding the Soul’ primarily concerns Platonism. Jung seems to be linking the spirit of this time to physical reality and the spirit of the depths to the Platonic idea/form. Interestingly though, Jung gives them equal importance – and here, again, I see the influence of Nietzsche.

As Nietzsche states in The Will to Power (1061): “The two most extreme modes of thought – the mechanistic and the Platonic – are reconciled in the eternal recurrence: both as ideals.” However, due to Nietzsche’s typical lack of clarity, the eternal recurrence is often interpreted in one of two ways: either as a material repetition or as a symbolic thought experiment. Yet my favourite commentator on the subject, Lawrence Hatab, suggests that these apparently contradictory interpretations are not mutually exclusive. For example, in The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche describes tragic Greek drama as combining Apollonian poetry and Dionysian music to induce the audience into a mimetic state. If done correctly, Nietzsche states that this mimesis will cause audience members to feel as if they’ve literally entered into the body of another character – a “magnificent illusion” – and, by doing so, will gain insights they would otherwise be incapable of attaining. Hatab updates this by describing the eternal recurrence as a virtual reality. (In Jung’s terms, I would argue that his “transcendent function” is quite similar to Hatab’s understanding of virtual reality).

Hatab does not go this far, but it seems to me that The Matrix is a good example of such a virtual reality. On some level the matrix is not real, yet it is real enough that people can be injured – and even die – within its basically limitless confines. Yet the risk must be taken to repeatedly return to it, as particular sorts of wisdom can only be found within it. Obviously, Jung is not at risk of being killed by the machines, but rather by over-identifying with the characters he embodies and subsequently becoming intoxicated by the illusion – i.e. becoming the Christ and not a Christ. Indeed, one could argue – as Jung would later do – that Nietzsche had a similar problem of over-identification with Zarathustra.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Jung, The Red Book

Postby Insanus » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:28 pm

Jiva wrote: Obviously, Jung is not at risk of being killed by the machines, but rather by over-identifying with the characters he embodies and subsequently becoming intoxicated by the illusion – i.e. becoming the Christ and not a Christ. Indeed, one could argue – as Jung would later do – that Nietzsche had a similar problem of over-identification with Zarathustra.
And Crowley with Antichrist. This poses an interesting problem which can be seen in the next chapter clearly.

Chapter three is called On the Service of the Soul.

Jung mentions dreams he had to write down and in the footnote it says that they led him to natural sciences and that they are to be found in "Memories", p.105f. Then he starts to whine to his soul that he apparently can sense, but not yet trust. "My foot hesitates to follow you: into what darkness does your path lead?" It is clear that Jung has to follow, but he can't follow, perhaps because this life without the soul is meaningless, but on the other hand it's precisely the soul that makes it so. Jung asks for a sign, for a meaning, but can't get it from the outside. His attitude is one of resignation and sort of divinatory passivity. "Must I also learn to do without meaning? If this is what you demand, then so be it. This hour belongs to you." There is a sense of sacrifice - Jung wants to give himself to his soul, but the price is too great, because he has to give himself without the guarantee that there actually is a meaning for it. "What is there when there is no meaning? Only nonsense, or madness, it seems to me. Is there also a supreme meaning? Is that your meaning, my soul? I limp after you on crutches of understanding, I am a man and you stride like a God." Here Jung starts to accept that his intelligence cannot grasp it's own meaning, but defining the problem doesn't make it go away.
"I understand, I must not think either, should thought, too, no longer be? I should give myself completely into your hands - but who are you? I do not trust you." Next, Jung seems to finally find trust in his soul by recognizing it at one of his friends... "I know it is ignoble to doubt you. You know how difficult it is for me to set aside the beggar's pride I take in my own thought. I forgot you are also one of my friends and have the first right to my trust." But after this part... "My joy at finding you again was not genuine. I also recognize that the scornful laughter in me was right. I must learn to love you." ...the footnote mentions that in Black Book Jung noted that "here, someone stands beside me and whispers terrible things into my ear: You write to be printed and circulated among people. You want to cause a stir through the unusual. Nietzsche did this better than you. You are imitating Saint Augustine." Also, the soul answers to Jung: "This fear testifies against me!" and Jung admits that it does, and "kills the holy trust between you and me". It seems that Jung is rushing things with his soul. His scared mind wants to be done with the surrendering business and tries to bluff it's way through by faking the holy peace. At the same time he well knows that he's doing just that. It seems that he has an idea what the union of higher and lower should be like, perhaps peaceful, loving, kind, something like that, and is not willing to take the risk of it not being the case. Also the whispering voice suggests that there might be a need to fit in society that's still setting limitations for his unconditional surrender. I get the feeling that the soul should be like something in Jung's mind and this is holding him back.
Now some sort of third person starts to speak. This reminds me of the magical formula where 1.You exalt yourself in prayer. 2.You let the God answer. 3.You are one with God. 4.God is in you. Like fire-water-air-earth. This third person would be step three:

"How hard is fate! If you take a step towards your soul, you will at first miss the meaning. You will believe that you have sunk into meaninglessness, into eternal disorder." We've been there, haven't we? "You will be right! Nothing will deliver you from disorder and meaninglessness since this is the other half of the world." I think it's interesting that here Jung seems to think in dualistic terms, like half the world is evil stuff and the other half is good stuff.
"Your God is child so long you are not childlike. Is the child order, meaning? Or disorder, caprice? Disorder and meaninglessness are the mother of order and meaning. Order and meaning are things that have become and are no longer becoming. You open the gates of the soul to let the dark flood of chaos flow into your order and meaning. If you marry the ordered to the chaos, you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning beyond meaning and meaninglessness." This kind of language disorder and meaninglessness are the mother of order and meaning" and "supreme meaning beyond meaning" is one hell of a swamp to drown in especially when discussing things in text as we can see in the Chaos-topic. This notion might be actual revelation, or it might still be part of the earlier bluff that doesn't want to let go. I get the feeling that the former might be true.

"You are afraid to open the door? I too was afraid, since we had forgotten that God is terrible. Christ taught: God is love. But you should know that love is also terrible."
"I spoke to a loving soul and as I drew nearer to her, I was overcome by horror and I heaped up a wall of doubt, and I did not anticipate that I thus wanted to protect myself from my fearful soul."
Here it's God who is terrible and soul who is fearful, like a violent angry man and a kind small girl, but Jung is somewhere else. It's not clear who is this "I" he refers to.

Later this soul-entity -or Jung's subconscious- claims that Christ did not overcome the temptation to good and reason and thus succumbed to cursing. He insists that he shouldn't succumb to any temptation but to do everything of his own will: "then you will be free and beyond Christianity." This "beyond Christianity" is interesting. The way this third person talks through Jung here reminds me a lot of Liber al vel Legis and it seems that in both cases Nietzsche and going beyond Christianity are important forces in play. Here Jung's soul definitely shows some satanic qualities.

Then he finds out that he must love what horrifies him. Here it seems that it is actually lower Jung speaking again and not this third person higher entity. He finally finds the reasoning to resignation in "in everything regarding your salvation and the attainment of mercy, you are dependent on your soul. Thus no sacrifice can be too great for you." But still he has to reassure that it's not virtues but his soul he is after: "The slave to virtue finds the way as little as the slave to vices". Then he is finally ready to come back from the channeler-mode and closes the ritual with: "If you believe that you are the master of your soul, then become her servant. If you were her servant, make yourself her master, since she needs to be ruled. These should be your first steps."

Then for six days Jung could not hear the spirit of depths, did not want to. But on the seventh day it spoke to him: "look into your depths, pray to your depths, waken the dead". But Jung "stood helpless and did not know what I could do. I looked into myself, and the only thing I found within was the memory of earlier dreams, all of which I wrote down without knowing what good this would do. I wanted to throw everything away and return to the light of day. But the spirit stopped me and forced me back into myself."

The question of over-identification perhaps comes to play here. Once these gates are open it's not clear who is over-identifying with what since the neutrality of observer is itself neutralized. Maybe apollonian forces are those that rule the soul and dionysian those who submit to soul, but the soul is never clearly in-between, but always pulling the strings or letting the strings be pulled.
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