March 2, 2009

Man and his Symbols by Carl Gustav Jung [and others]

1 Comment

I read the book Man and his Symbols by Carl Gustav Jung, Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz, Dr. Joseph L. Henderson, Mrs. Aniela Jaffé and Dr. Jolande Jacobi. And John Freeman did the introduction.

After much discussion, the comprehensive subject of the book was agreed to be Man and his Symbols; and Jung himself selected as his collaborators in the work Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz of Zurich, perhaps his closest professional confidante and friend; Dr. Joseph L. Henderson of San Francisco, one of the most prominent and trusted of American Jungians; Mrs. Aniela Jaffé of Zurich, who, in addition to being an experienced analyst, was Jung’s confidential private secretary and his biographer; and Dr. Jolande Jacobi, who after Jung himself is the most experienced author among Jung’s Zurich circle. These four people were chosen partly because of their skill and experience in the particular subjects allocated to them and partly because all of them were completely trusted by Jung to work unselfishly to his instructions as members of a team. Jung’s personal responsibility was to plan the structure of the whole book, to supervise and direct the work of his collaborators, and himself to write the keynote chapter, “Approaching the Unconscious.” [1]

This book, Man and his Symbols, is a general outline of Jung’s work written for the general public.

Carl Gustav Jung was one of the great doctors of all time and one of the great thinkers of this century. His object always was to help men and women to know themselves, so that by self-knowledge and thoughtful self-use they could lead full, rich, and happy lives. At the very end of his own life, which was as full, rich, and happy as any I have every encountered, he decided to use the strength that was left to him to address his message to a wider public than he had ever tried to reach before. He completed his task and his life in the same month. This book is his legacy to the broad reading public. [2]

Creative ideas, in my opinion, show their value in that, like keys, they help to “unlock” hitherto unintelligible connections of facts and thus enable man to penetrate deeper into the mystery of life. I am convinced that Jung’s ideas can serve in this way to find and interpret new facts in many fields of science (and also of everyday life), simultaneously leading the individual to a more balanced, more ethical, and wider conscious outlook. If the reader should feel stimulated to work further on the investigation and assimilation of the unconscious—which always begins by working on oneself—the purpose of this introductory book would be fulfilled. [3]

I read two other Carl Gustav Jung books. Those books were Memories, Dreams, Reflections and The Undiscovered Self.

Carl Gustav Jung was a psychiatrist and his grandfather was a Freemason and Grand Master of the Swiss Lodge. Carl Gustav Jung collaborated with Sigmund Freud, but one of the reasons why Carl Gustav Jung went his own way was cause Freud wanted to make dogma out of sexual theory.

Jung regarded himself primarily as a doctor, a psychiatrist. [4]

My grandfather changed the elements of the arms, probably out of a spirit of resistance toward his father. He was an ardent Freemason and Grand Master of the Swiss lodge. [5]

I can still recall vividly how Freud said to me, “My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark. [6]

When, then, Freud announced his intention of identifying theory and method and making them into some kind of dogma, I could no longer collaborate with him; there remained no choice for me but to withdraw. [7]

I’ll talk about stuff that I thought was cool and interesting in Man and his Symbols.

On page 202 it talks about inner psychic reality and man’s main purpose:

The whole inner psychic reality of each individual is ultimately oriented toward this archetypal symbol of the Self.
In practical terms this means that the existence of human beings will never be satisfactorily explained in terms of isolated instincts or purposive mechanism such as hunger, power, sex, survival, perpetuation of the species, and so on. That is, man’s main purpose is not to eat, drink, etc., but to be human. [8]

On page 215 it talks about the emergence of the Self:

. . . whenever a human being genuinely turns to the inner world and tries to know himself—not by ruminating about his subjective thoughts and feelings, but by following the expressions of his own objective nature such as dreams and genuine fantasies—then sooner or later the Self emerges. [9]

Page 217 talks about living your own life:

Time and again in all countries people have tried to copy in “outer” or ritualistic behavior the original religious experience of their great religious teachers—Christ or Buddha or some other master—and have therefore become “petrified.” To follow in the steps of a great spiritual leader does not mean that one should copy and act out the pattern of the individuation process made by his life. It means that we should try with a sincerity and devotion equal to his to live our own lives. [10]

The process of individuation is talked about on page 14:

Man becomes whole, integrated, calm, fertile, and happy when (and only when) the process of individuation is complete, when the conscious and the unconscious have learned to live at peace and to complement one another. [11]

Page 224 talks about finding the inner meaning of life:

Only if he can use his freedom to create something meaningful is it relevant that he should be free. That is why finding the inner meaning of life is more important to the individual than anything else, and why the process of individuation must be given priority. [12]

Also on page 224 it talks about statistics not doing justice to the individual:

Attempts to influence public opinion by means of newspapers, radio, television, and advertising are based on two factors. On the one hand, they rely on sampling techniques that revel the trend of “opinion” or “wants”—that is, of collective attitudes. On the other, they express the prejudices, projections, and unconscious complexes (mainly the power complex) of those who manipulate public opinion. But statistics do no justice to the individual. [13]

Something I thought was cool is on page 224:

But if a single individual devotes himself to individuation, he frequently has a positive contagious effect on the people around him. It is as if a spark leaps from one to another. And this usually occurs when one has no intention of influencing others and often when one uses no words. [14]

Something else that I thought was cool is on page 227:

To take the unconscious seriously is ultimately a matter of personal courage and integrity. [15]

The last thing I’ll read is on page 85. On page 85 it talks about how it’s childish to want a Golden Age (or Paradise), where everything is given in abundance and a wise person watches over a human kindergarten:

The communist world, it may be noted, has one big myth (which we call an illusion, in the vain hope that our superior judgment will make it disappear). It is the time-hallowed archetypal dream of a Golden Age (or Paradise), where everything is provided in abundance for everyone, and a great, just, and wise chief rules over a human kindergarten. This powerful archetype in its infantile form has gripped them, but it will never disappear from the world at the mere sight of our superior point of view. We even support it by our own childishness, for our Western civilization is in the grip of the same mythology. Unconsciously, we cherish the same prejudices, hopes, and expectations. We too believe in the welfare state, in universal peace, in the equality of man, in his eternal human rights, in justice, truth, and (do not say it too loudly) in the Kingdom of God on Earth.
The sad truth is that man’s real life consists of a complex of inexorable opposites—day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil. We are not even sure that one will prevail against the other, that good will overcome evil, or joy defeat pain. Life is a battleground. It always has been, and always will be; and if it were not so, existence would come to an end. [16]

That’s it.

Daniel Kemp


1. Carl Gustav Jung, et al. Man and his Symbols. (New York : Doubleday & Company Inc., c1964), 11

2. Ibid., 15

3. Ibid., 310

4. Carl Gustav Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Recorded and Edited by Aniela Jaffé. Translated from the German by Richard and Clara Winston. (New York : Pantheon Books, c1963), x

5. Ibid., 232

6. Ibid., 150

7. Ibid., 167

8. Carl Gustav Jung, et al. Man and his Symbols. (New York : Doubleday & Company Inc., c1964), 202

9. Ibid., 215

10. Ibid., 217

11. Ibid., 14

12. Ibid., 224

13. Ibid., 224

14. Ibid., 224

15. Ibid., 227

16. Ibid., 85

Put in Books
  • ganbat

    hello i really interested in carl jung’s books and what do you think about the idea of man is the great danger he said. i want to blog with you in any ideas in psychiology and carl jung especially. give me your mail thanks