Man and His Symbols


Man and his Symbols was published in 1964, two years after Jung's death.
This is his legacy to the broad reading public. 

"Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism."
-Carl Jung

   In this holiday season it's good to have  good books to read. It's illuminating to have Philosophy and Psychology as your companion for reflection. Fortunately, I have Man and His Symbols, co-wrote and edited by Carl Jung, which deals with knowing thyself. The work of Carl Jung is quite interesting to study. His contributions were important in shaping the foundations of Psychology. The words "extravert", "introvert", "archetypes" and "unconscious" are all Jungian concepts. His ideas are not only found in Psychology. It can also be seen in visual art, literature, mass media, and pop culture and even in politics.

   "Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) is a Swiss psychiatrist who founded Analytical Psychology. He studied psychiatry at Basel University; his postgraduate studies being of parapsychology. After working with Swiss Eugen Bleuler and Janet, he met Freud (1907), whom he followed for some years. His disagreement with Freud's belief in the purely sexual nature of the libido, however, led to a complete break between the two in 1913. In Psychological Types (1921) he expounded his views on introversion and extroversion. Later he investigated anthropology and the occult, which led to his theory of archetypes, or universal symbols present in the collective unconscious (1)." Among his publications were The Theory of Psychoanalysis, Psychology and Religion, Modern Man in Search for a Soul, Psychological Types and The Undiscovered Self

   Man and His Symbols, the last book he co-wrote before his death in 1961, is a legacy to the broad reading public. "The great psychiatrist dreamed that his work was understood by a wide public, rather than just by psychiatrist, and therefore be agreed to write and edit this fascinating book." This book is the presentation of his work in Psychology to a non-technical public. It is about an examination of unconscious. It is a book related in the most direct terms to the study of human beings and their spiritual problems. His co-writers for this book were four associates whom he considered best equipped to explain his work. 

   The book is divided into five parts. The first part is written by Dr. Jung. His 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. It introduces the reader to the unconscious, to the archetypes and symbols that form its language and to the dreams by which it communicates.

  Part two - Ancient Myths and Modern Man, written by Dr. Joseph L. Henderson. It illustrates the appearance of several archetypal patterns in Ancient Mythology, folk legend, and primitive ritual. Dr. Henderson was one of the most prominent and trusted of American Jungians.

   Part three - The Process of Individuation, written by Dr. MarieLouise von Franz. It describes the process by which the conscious and the unconscious within an individual learn to know, respect, and accommodate one another. In certain sense this chapter contains not only the crux of the whole book, but perhaps the essence of Jung's philosophy of life: Man becomes whole, integrated, calm, fertile, and happy when (and only when) the process of individuation is complete, when the conscious and unconscious have learned to live at peace and to complement one another. Dr. Franz was his closest professional confidante and friend.

   Part four - Symbolism in the Visual Art, written by Mrs. Aniela Jaffé. It is concerned with demonstrating in the familiar fabric of the conscious, man's recurring interest in - almost obsession with - the symbols of the unconscious. Jaffé was an experienced analyst and Jung's confidential private secretary and his biographer.

   Part five - Symbols in an Individual Analysis, written by Dr. Jolande Jacobi. This part is separate from the rest because it presents the abbreviated case history of one interesting and successful analysis. Dr. Jacobi was the most experienced author among Jung's Zurich circle (after himself).

  It is really interesting to read this book because of its enigmatic approach. Jung's interest in philosophy and the occult led many to view him as a mystic. It is no wonder that he deviates with Freud's ideas and form on his own. If you're interested to read his work, this book is good initiation for you.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. 

1. The New American Desk Encyclopedia. Penguin Group. New York. 1993


This is the blog of G.V. Alfasain (or popularly known as Yadu Karu) where he shares his thoughts about current events, sustainable development and pop culture. He also shares success stories of modern day heroes to inspire his readers. The author hopes that this blog may contribute change in the (Philippine) society.

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