Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Aimless Reading: The J's, Part 14 (C.G. Jung)

The Archetypes...
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Jung, C.G.
The Archetypes and
the Collective Unconscious

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

I went to therapy for about 18 months starting in late 1999 and ending in mid-2001. This was the period I spoke about earlier that began with a disastrous relationship after my time in Ecuador, continued on through the death of my father and my move to Buffalo and finally bottomed out after a relationship of less importance whose breakup stirred up the whole bloody stew once again.

I reached a point where I was "treating myself" by watching TV and movies or playing video games 12 hours a day and then staying up all night driving around town in my car listening to really sad music. Kind of pathetic.

So I decided to go to therapy. I must have been a pain in the ass to my therapist. I tried to play the role of the guy who was so smart and special that his therapist couldn't possible keep up with him -- she would be so wowed by my grasp of psychoanalysis that she would learn from me.

One symptom of this began to appear after she mentioned, "the shadow," during one of our sessions. She asked if I had ever heard of Jung's concept of the shadow. I was forced to admit I had not. I asked her what I might read in order to better understand what she was talking about. She told me she would bring in a xerox of an article explaining the concept.

Well, that wasn't good enough for me.

I went to the bookstore and bought the whole book, and then another and another. I think I read three or four full volumes from the complete works. I also started reading Freud and decided that I preferred him to Jung. At our next session, I showed up armed to the teeth and began to explain why I thought Freud's theories were more accurate and that I thought Jung's thought was a bunch of pseudo-religious bullshit.

She patiently explained that she was more of a cognitive-behaviorist and was really agnostic about the Freud/Jung split, especially about the pedantic academic arguments regarding the truth of either of the arguments. In her opinion, one used what one found useful for the patient through a process of trial and error. When something clicked, she tried to used it to go deeper with the patient. I found this shockingly unintellectual. But I went back the following week for another session.

from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

The first of the five aspects of rebirth to which I should like to draw attention is that of metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls. According to this view, one's life is prolonged in time by passing through different bodily existences; or from another point of view, is is a life-sequence interrupted by different reincarnations.Even in Buddhism, where the doctrine is of particular importance--the Buddha himself experienced a very long sequence of rebirths--it is by no means certain whether continuity of personality is guaranteed or not: there may be only a continuity of karma. The Buddha's disciples put this question to him during his lifetime, but he never made any definite statement as to whether there is or is not a continuity of personality.

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