Posts Tagged ‘The Red Book’

Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung

On February 4, 2011, Dr. Murray Stein will present a conference together with Andreas Jung, in collaboration with the Asheville Jung Center titled “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. Andreas Jung is an architect whose father and great uncle were also architects.  He is a graduate of Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) and currently lives in the home on Seestrasse. C. G. Jung was intimately involved in the design of this home and attended to such things as the cladding upon the walls that provided deeply niched windows and lovely inset glass cabinets in the dining room.  Andreas Jung authors two very personal chapters and serves as the co-editor of the book. Arthur Rüegg, a professor of architecture at ETHZ, opens one of the chapter titled “Living in a Museum?” with the following rendering: The house of Carl Gustav Jung is without a doubt the physical expression of a great mind. In 1906, while still “an impecunious assistant medical director at the Burghölzi mental home in Zürich”, Jung wrote to his cousin, architect Ernst Fietcher, of his plans “… to build a house someday, in the country near Zürich, on the lake”.  It was the untimely death of Emma Jung’s father that allowed the couple to build the home.   The Jungs worked closely with the architect and landscape architects on the design. Three generations of Jung’s have lived in this home that is now owned by a foundation (Stiftung C. G. Jung Küsnacht).  Two of those generations of inhabitants were “…families who could read these traces and respectfully carry on the tradition.” (p 90). The history of the house and it’s renovations is crisply and artfully presented. What emerges from the pages of  The House of C. G. Jung is a portrait of an intentional man who demonstrated an uncanny ability to move between the worlds of the mythopoetic interior life and the tangible, concrete realms.  It should be no surprise that the man who constructed the Tower at Bollingen would have built a home worthy of memorializing.   Jung gave attention to details such as wall hangings, tile selection and placement of the rooms where he conducted analysis so as not to displace Emma from the library and interfere with her work. The chapter “Living in a museum?” reads like a patient’s anamnesis as it reviews the homes history and developmental influences.  The reader is reminded that homes, like organic things, change and adapt to their circumstances and their inhabitants.  Despite several major renovations through the last century, the respect and regard for the original home was preserved.  The home is a testament to what concentrated self-examination and openness to the individuation process can produce.  It is the biography of a house that is no less impressive for what it reveals or the man who built it. Architecture and psychology are first cousins.  Consider a few quotes assembled from several renown architects. “Space and light and order.  Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.”  Le  Corbusier “The home should be the treasure chest of living.”  Le Corbusier “Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.”  Frank Lloyd Wright Form follow function – that has been misunderstood.  Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  Frank Lloyd Wright “Freedom is from within.” Frank Lloyd  Wright “The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.” Frank Lloyd Wright “Architecture is the will of the epoch translated into structure.” Ludwig Miles van der Rohe Invitation:  The house that “you” built Take a moment to consider the space you inhabit, whether it is a home, office, apartment, or just a room.  Examine it for details that reflect aspects of your interior life.  Where do you see function pronouncing itself and where does aesthetic seem to announce itself?  Examine the space for signs and signifiers of your individuated self and for signs of where your individuation is ensnared in its effort to emerge. Compose a work of your own that reflects the house you have built.  If you feel so moved, please share those reflections with others in our community by posting a comment on this blog. If you are planning to attend the seminar on February 4, “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. then this exercise might be a useful preparation, like tilling the soil before the planting. Len Cruz, MD
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Missed It By That Much

Missed It By That Much Len Cruz, MD Those who are familiar with the television show, “Get Smart” recognize the source of the title.  Maxwell Smart, a hapless secret agent would justify his obvious missteps with the phrase, Missed it by that much! During yesterday’s Red Book conference with Dr. Murray Stein, there were too many gold nuggets to even attempt a summary.  Instead, I chose one that Dr. Stein illustrated by recounting one of Jung’s dreams.  I’ll begin with a shortened version Jung’s dream as recounted by Dr. Stein. Jung and his father are in a mosque.  They find themselves kneeling and beginning to bow.  Evidently, Jung’s father bows fully allowing his head to make contact with the floor.  However, Jung stops within a millimeter of the floor.  He will not permit himself to bow completely. (Missed it by that much!) Yesterday Dr. Stein suggested that in Jung’s later years Jung stated that he did not believe but he knew. This may reflect Jung’s integration of the figure of Philemon a sort of prophet with whom he had engaged in fertile relationship for years.  According to Dr. Stein, the famous dream described above reflected Jung having outgrown a childish faith.  Soul had invited Jung to offer obedience to the gods, an exhortation he refused.  He argues with this anima figure and refuses to offer unqualified, blind obedience.   Instead, Jung proposed that if the gods wanted him to obey they must do something for him.  Dr. Stein suggested that this is evidence of Jung’s mature faith, a fully flowering faith founded upon knowing and not believing. At an earlier point in the conference Dr. Stein explained that Jung did not oppose faith but that the German word to which he objected might be better translated as belief, the experience of believing in something because you have been told to do so or because it has been transmitted to you.  Belief, in this context, is the untested, un-lived version of knowing. Dr. Stein connected his ideas about Jung’s mature faith to the modern theological trend known collectively as “Process Theology”.  Anyone interested learning more about Process Theology may find these two books helpful, “Process and Reality (A. N. Whitehead) and “Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition” (John Cobb & David Ray Griffin).  What a brilliant insight Dr. Stein makes in suggesting that Jung’s later writings such as “Answer to Job” presage the movement that has come to be known as “Process Theology”.  An exceptional summary and commentary on “Answer to Job” by J. Marvin Spiegelman can be found online at http://www.junginstitute.org/pdf_files/JungV8N1p1-18.pdf .  It is no surprise that Dr. Stein, who is divinity trained (and possibly divinely trained), should make such a clear connection between Jung’s mature faith perspective and the process theologians.   However, let me propose a different rendering of Jung’s dream.  Jung may have missed it by that much! Dr. Stein discouraged the reader of the Red Book from viewing the material as some channeled work. Jung’s ego not only remained intact, it was actively engaged with the interior figures.  There was no merger, no suspension of ego into some passive vessel, no idle recipient of channeled experiences.   To the contrary, Jung was contentious, argumentative and even rude at times.  While this stance toward his interior figures may have permitted a fuller, deeper exposition of their insights and instruction, it may also have obstructed a different kind of knowing.  That stance also reflects an unyielding, willful, recalcitrant feature in Jung that earlier perhaps contributed to his split with Freud and delayed reconciliation with Father Victor White.  Perhaps the dream and that single millimeter are simultaneously a testament to Jung’s mature faith and his inability to offer a complete surrender into the mystical union.  It was a bridge he could not cross. Jung’s tenacious grip upon the egoic functions that allowed him to record such a rich travel log as the Red Book may have been the ultimate barrier to the experience of the mystic.  We think of Rumi’s poetry as a different sort of travel log from one who became lost in a merged state with the divine. This brings us back to Jung’s dream.  It is at once a testament by a man who has done the arduous work of soul building and one who had not found a way to step willingly into complete surrender.  Jung is a post-Promethean man.  He has received the fire of illumination and steps out fearlessly to claim his rights as an image bearer of God.  He sustains his fortitude when he declines soul’s request for his obedience to the gods.  Earlier, Philemon counseled Jung to always keep his eye on this figure (soul) and never lose sight of her.  But Philemon also advised Jung to beware since she would lead him astray.  Jung’s defiance to yield that last millimeter pays heed to Philemon’s counsel.   I propose that single millimeter of difference between Jung and his father extends in myriad directions.  It suggests an Oedipal defiance that conflates his earthly father and heavenly Father.  The drama of that single millimeter is like an harmonic in music, akin to an integer multiple of an earlier note in Jung’s life when he had his falling out with Freud.  And again, it is as if that millimeter he withholds is an overtone of an earlier conflict with Fr. Victor White. Jung exemplifies the Übermensch  Nietzsche glorifies.  In addition, the endless recurrence of which Nietzsche was so fond, seems confirmed by the harmonic resonance between Jung and his succession of opponents (earthly father, Freud, White, heavenly Father).  Jung claims his place in relation to the gods and will not demure.  He is reminiscent of Camus’ Sisyphus.  Camus imagines this rebellious, miscreant trickster differently as he carries out his sentence of rolling a stone up a hill only to have it roll down the other side and starting over again.  Camus turns away from suicide by rendering this mythopoetic figure as being happily defiant toward the gods who condemned him.  Jung’s refusal to yield that last millimeter conforms to Camus’ Sisyphus.  To parody the title of the 1967 hit Broadway musical, he was a Thoroughly Modern Mensch (not Millie). Sadly, Jung will not allow himself to recover the childlike realms of faith by offering a complete surrender.  It is tempting to wonder what might have occurred if Jung had descended one additional millimeter.  It is in that final millimeter that Jung reveals a profound struggle.  While not disputing Dr. Stein’s proposition that the millimeter reflects Jung’s mature claim upon his own divine attributes, I propose that the fateful millimeter is also an indication of the transcendent function falling short of its mark.  Perhaps it points to the unification of apparent opposites at a meta-level.  Can a person be simultaneously defiant as Jung is when he refuses refuses to descend one last millimeter and knowingly submit by offering himself as a living sacrifice to the gods (or God).  That sacrifice is akin to the one Jesus commits to in the garden in Gethsemane.  He knows his fate, he is fully developed as a Self, and he proceeds to surrender anyway.  Do not think that I am proposing some inflating identification with Jesus the Christ; I am not.  I am using His example to illustrate a point.  It may be the transcendent function failed Jung and in his final moments, he turned away from the mystical, merged state and chose to keep his bearings.  If he had plunged just a millimeter deeper perhaps he might have had nothing to show for his work but an exquisite love poem of the sort Rumi left us.  To Jung, who had faced his demons and realized that he was driven by the pursuit of honor, that might not have seemed enough. In Jung’s personal Twilight of the Idols he refrains from the callous, barren expression that Nietzsche arrives at but he seems unable to unify the rational, willful, fully developed man with the numinous, yielding, childlike man.  And so, it is in that last millimeter, that Jung truly may have Missed It By That Much. From “Thus Spake Zarathustra”-Nietzsche O man, take care! What does the deep midnight declare? “I was asleep— From a deep dream I woke and swear:— The world is deep, Deeper than day had been aware. Deep is its woe— Joy—deeper yet than agony: Woe implores: Go! But all joy wants eternity— Wants deep, wants deep eternity.”

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