Friday, September 18, 2009

Jung's HGA Diary


Wow... The Red Book, Carl Jung's account of protracted wrestling with his Holy Guardian Angel, is about to see the light of day. There's a meticulously detailed and dryly funny New York Times article about the twisted history of this document, and it couldn't have a better title: "The Holy Grail of the Unconscious."

Apparently Jung's family feared that the old man comes off like a nutjob in the pages of The Red Book, so they hid it in a safe deposit box for decades. I guess I can see their point, but I'd wager that most people who'd be weirded out by the diary are already weirded out by Jung's work on dreams, UFOs, synchronicity, Eastern mysticism, the collective unconscious, and alchemy.

Jung's autobiography has a pretty fair account of what went on 'twixt him and Philemon, the wing├Ęd Gnostic sage, but apparently the story is woolier and wilder than we knew. Also, Jung drew and painted dozens of images of his inner journey, whose painstaking reproduction explains the book's near-$200 price tag. New York's Rubin Museum is presenting an exhibition based on The Red Book, and you can see several of Jung's paintings here.

This post is in danger of turning into a miscellany, so I may as well throw something else out there and sign off. (I'm working on my department's spring schedule today and so I have about the brain capacity of a European hedgehog.) But... maybe you knew this, but I didn't: Jung hung out with the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who apparently was into major woo himself. They wrote a book together, and now a book has been written about their friendship (interview with author here).

Sample quote: "The two sat for hours on end in Jung's gothic-like mansion on the shores of Lake Zurich, dining on fine foods, drinking vintage wine and smoking the finest cigars while discussing topics from physics and whether there is a cosmic number at the root of the universe to psychology, ESP, UFOs, Armageddon, Jesus, Yahweh and Pauli's dreams."

How do you say "Awesome, dude!" in German????



Update: Crunchy Con gets all Jungian. I jest not.

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