Tag Archives: Psychology

The Undiscovered Self by C.G. Jung

Even though Jung is a psychologist I decided to place this book under philosophy because Jung shares in these seven chapters his philosophical view about the dilemma of the individual in modern society.

Jung starts by addressing the plight of the individual in chapter one. He explains that most people confuse “self-knowledge” with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities, but that the ego knows only its own contents not the unconscious and it contents, the real psychic facts that are for the most part hidden from them. That causes problems because we are defenselessly open to all kinds of influences. In Jung’s opinion there can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of self-knowledge is an individual – a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon. If we want to understand an individual human being, we must lay aside all scientific knowledge and discard all theories and understand him as a human being because the individual is the true and authentic carrier of reality, the concrete man as opposed to the unreal ideal to whom the scientific statements refer. He warns of the psychological effects of the statistical world picture because it displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up to mass information.

Instead of moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have public welfare and the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life, which is the only real life, no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed and educated as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses. Under these circumstancesCompare with Your Own Identity an Laws of Destiny under Psychology it is small wonder that individual judgment grows increasingly uncertain of itself and that responsibility is collectivized as much as possible.

He addresses the issue of religion in the next two chapters and predicts – correctly – that Communism will collapse from within. He points out that the West has considerable industrial power and defense potential, but that the biggest guns and the heaviest industry with its relatively high living standard are not enough to check the psychic infection spread by religious fanaticism.  The Churches stand in Jung’s opinion for traditional and collective convictions, which are no longer based on inner experiences but on unreflecting belief, which can disappear with time and under certain circumstances. Therefore belief is no adequate substitute for inner experience.

He ends chapter 3 with the conclusion, that common to the materialistic and the collectivist system is, that both lack the very thing that expresses and grips the whole man, namely, an idea which puts the individual human being in the center as the measure of all things. That is because both systems are comprised of hierarchical structures where the individual counts for nothing. Indeed, the self-knowledge or individualization that would produce true men and women capable of standing up to the hierarchy is actively discouraged.

In chapter four he explains that there would be no world without consciousness because the world exists as such only in so far as it is consciously reflected and consciously expressed by a psyche.  Consciousness is a precondition of beingCompare with Quantumphysics under Science. Thus the psyche is endowed with the dignity of a cosmic principle, which philosophically and in fact gives it a position coequal with the principle of physical being. The carrier of this consciousness is the individual, who does not produce the psyche on his own volition but is preformed by it and nourished by the gradual awakening of consciousness. He reiterates that the individual psyche is always an exception to the statistical rule.

Jung points out that the psychic situation of the individual is menaced by advertisement, propaganda and other influences; and that for the individual it is often difficult to act on his own insight instead of simply copying convention that agrees with the collective opinion.  He explains that people go on blithely organizing and believing in the sovereign remedy of mass action, without the least consciousness of the fact that the most powerful organizations can be maintained only by the greatest ruthlessness of their leaders and the cheapest of slogans. In this context he reminds us that Christ never called his disciples to him at a mass meeting and that Jesus and Paul are prototypes of those, who trusting their inner experience, have gone their own individual ways, disregarding public opinion.  The infantile dream state of the mass is so unrealistic that people never think to ask who is paying for everything.  The balancing of accounts is left to a higher political and social authority, which welcomes the task, for its power is thereby increased.

At the same token Jung warns that only the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself can affect resistance to the organized mass.

He further points out that it is not Christianity, but our conception and interpretation of it, that has become antiquated in the face of the present world situation.

In chapter five he addresses the rupture between faith and knowledge and explains that it is a symptom of the split consciousness, which is so characteristic of the mental disorder of our day. It is as if two persons were making statements about the same thing, each from his own point of view, or as if one person in two different frames of mind were sketching a picture of his experience. If for “person” we substitute “modern society”, it is evident that the latter is suffering from a mental dissociation, e.g. a neurotic disturbance. In view of this, it does not help matter at all if one party pulls obstinately to the right and the other to the left.  A relationship with both sides has to be established instead.

In this chapter he also addresses the specific achievement of the Christian epoch: the supremacy of the word, of the Logos, which stands for the central figure of our Christian faith. No one seems to notice the veneration of the word has a perilous shadow side. The moment the word, as a result of centuries of education, attains universal validity; it severs its original link with the divine person. Thus the word, originally announcing the unity of all men and their union in the figure of the one great Man, has in our day become the source of suspicion and distrust of all against all. In this context he also points out that people think they have only to “tell” a person that he “ought” to do something in order to put him on the right track. But whether he can or will do it is another matter.

Separation from his instinctual nature inevitably plunges civilized man into the conflict between conscious and unconscious, spirit and nature, knowledge and faith, a split that becomes pathological the moment his consciousness is no longer able to neglect or suppress his instinctual side. The forlornness of consciousness in our world is due primarily to the loss of instinct, and the reason for this lies in the development of the human mind over the past aeon. The more power man had over nature, the more his knowledge and skill went to his head,  the deeper became his contempt for the merely natural and accidental.

He starts chapter six about self-knowledge by stating that in order to answer the question if we have an immediate relation to God which will keep us from dissolving into the crowd we have to fulfill the demands of rigorous self-examination and self-knowledgeCompare with To Know Yourself under Spiritual Development. He reminds us of all the atrocities that have happened over the last decades and explains that men don’t deny that terrible things have happened and still go on happening, but it is always “the others” who do them.  But none of us stand outside humanity’s black collective shadow and we have to possess some “imagination in evil”, for only the fool can permanently neglect the conditions of his own nature and that this negligence is the best means of making us an instrument of evil. What is even worse, our lack of insight deprives us of the capacity to deal with evil. In Jung’s opinion people are largely unconscious of the fact that every individual is a cell in the structure of various international organisms and is therefore causally implicated in their conflicts.

In the last chapter Jung explains that the very fact that through self-knowledge, i.e. by exploring our own souls, we come upon the instincts and their world of imagery should throw some light on the powers slumbering in the psyche, of which we are seldom aware so long as all goes well. He tells us that the spiritual transformation of mankind follows the slow tread of the centuries and cannot be hurried or held up by any rational process of reflection, let alone brought to fruition by one generation. What does lie in our reach, however, is the change in individuals who have, or create an opportunity to influence others of like mind in their circle of acquaintance. Jung does not meant by persuading or preaching –he is thinking of the well-known fact that anyone who has insight into his own action, and has thus found access to the unconscious, involuntarily exercises an influence on this environment.

He concludes with stating that happiness and contentment, equitability of soul and meaningful of life – these can be experienced only by the individual and not by a State.

 

Depth Psychology

Approaches based on depth psychology focus on the psyche, human development, personality formation, and individuation.  Individuation is a process of bringing our unconscious potential into a concrete living reality.  This process helps to secure a bridge between an individual and the unconscious as well as the individual and his/her wider community. By incorporating both an inner and outer exploration, one discovers a more potent sense of meaning and purpose in life.

In my research I found several articles by Dr. David Johnston, that are relevant for this website. Dr. Johnston is a psychologist who has many years of personal experience with Jungian depth psychology along with knowledge that aids in interpreting and understanding the unconscious. He mentions two of the books I have summarized on this website,  Jean Gebser’s Ever Present Origin and Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections in some of his writings.

In his article Meaning and Jungian Depth, in which he discusses the nature of a meaningful life from the point of view of Jungian depth psychology, he writes that according to Jung a life is meaningful if consciousness is increased. Dr. Johnston continues to describe a life where consciousness is increased as one “where work and relational goals are transcended, becoming increasingly reflective of an inner need for more consciousness and, potentially, a vocation or meaningful expression of being.”

He explains that the “Self, that is the God or Godhead” is a “complex of opposites, including what we experience as good and evil” and that a person with a meaningful life is related to the Self and integrates into consciousness experiences of the opposites.  In other words, the process of individuation involves integrating new aspects of the unconscious into awareness and one’s activities in life, developing one’s character and discovering one’s inner essence.

Dr. Johnston provides in this article examples of how people have been able to enhance the meaning of their lives with the help of depth psychology by recognizing certain aspects of themselves and making the necessary changes but emphasizes that in all cases the individuals concerned had “something of a genuine religious and ethical attitude to life, which is of fundamental importance to leading a meaningful existence.”

He adds that even if one’s life is deeply meaningful, it does not mean that there is no suffering, or times when life seems random and senseless but by intuitively understanding “that life will once again make sense, that darkness will give way to light and that meaninglessness will prove to be contained in a greater meaning.”

In his article Jung, the Self and the Jungian Depth Psychological Worldview he elaborates further on the process of individuation and points out that “this process involves not only the transformation of individuals but also of the community” which implies the need of “a creative engagement of the individual in the life of the community.”

He also addresses the individuation process at the beginning of another one of his articles,  Individuation and the Individuation Process, and interprets individuation simply as the “developmental unfolding of the psyche over the course of a lifetime.”  He discusses in more detail how this process involves becoming more conscious of disparate aspects of one’s being including shadow qualities and the four functions of consciousness, thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation, along with the two attitudes, extroversion and introversion and deduces that this process will consequently lead “to a relative degree of wholeness, at which time the Self, that is to say one’s inner center of being, begins to direct one’s life. “

I found even more overlap with my research in his article Jung in Contemporary Context.  At the beginning he points out that we live in an “Age of ConfusionCompare with A New Earth under Spiritual Development” and refers to Hindu mythology and specifically the Bhagavad Gita which explain that the reason we are living in such confusing times is that people are no longer living according to eternal laws and therefore the Divine/God is preparing the way for a new age.

Dr. Johnston explains that in mystical literature and Hindu thought, the transcendent Self is considered to be “Brahman or God” but that Jung hesitated to make such metaphysical assertions and stayed with empirical experience.  Rather “than insisting that these experiences of the transcendent Self are experiences of God, he referred to them as archetypal experiences of the God-image.  Jung preferred to call it the God-image for the sake of a scientific attitude.”

In the same article Dr. Johnston writes that we are in the early stages of a major transformation in consciousnessCompare with The Ever Present Origin under Philosophy and culture and that Jung has stated once, that there is a transformation of the principalities and powers taking place or “in other words, a transformation of the archetypes, of the basic underlying patterns of life, and the way that we understand and relate to life and the world.” He continues to write, “the old ways are being transformed or destroyed, so the new can live” and states his belief that a more divinely oriented world is “already there in its early stages of manifestation”.

In the conclusion of this article he writes that “a New World is laboring to become manifest” and that “understanding Jungian psychology can be very helpful in gaining self-knowledge and consciousness and in encouraging fulfillment of one’s unique destiny.” He adds, that “there is the need to assimilate qualities of the chthonic spirit, which allows for the instinctive expression of the Divine Will in life and the potential to participate consciously in the New World.”

Websites I have used for this article are:

http://www.goodtherapy.org/Jungian_Psychotherapy.html#Depth%20Psychology

http://home.arcor.de/g.mackenthun/lect/keywords/key11.htm

http://www.pacifica.edu/whatisdepth.aspx

http://www.terrapsych.com/depth.html

http://www.cgjungcenter.org/?page_id=97

http://www3.telus.net/gusbear4/articles.shtm

Heal Thyself by Edward Bach

The main reason for the failure of modern medical science is that it is dealing with results and not causes. For many centuries the real nature of disease has been masked by materialism, and thus disease itself has been given every opportunity of extending its ravages, since it has not been attacked at its origin.

Disease will never be cured or eradicated by present materialistic methods, for the simple reason that disease in its origin is not material. Disease is in essence the result of conflict between Soul and MindSee also Laws of Destiny by H. Meyer under Psychology, and will never be eradicated except by spiritual and mental effort. No effort directed to the body alone can do more than superficially repair damage, and in this there is no cure, since the cause is still operative and may at any moment again demonstrate its presence in another form.

One of the exceptions to materialistic methods in modern science is that of the great Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy, who with his realization of the beneficent love of the Creator and of the Divinity which resides within man, by studying the mental attitude of his patients towards life, environment and their respective diseases, sought to find in the herbs of the field and in the realms of nature the remedy which would not only heal their bodies but would at the same time uplift their mental outlook.

Five hundred years before Christ some physicians of ancient India, working under the influence of the Lord Buddha, advanced the art of healing to so perfect a state that they were able to abolish surgery, although the surgery of their time was as efficient, or more so, than that of the present day. Such men as Hippocrates with his mighty ideals of healing, Paracelsus with his certainty of the divinity in man, and Hahnemann who realized that disease originated in a plane above the physical – all these knew much of the real nature and remedy of suffering.

Let it be briefly stated that disease, though apparently so cruel, is in itself beneficent and for our good and, if rightly interpreted, it will guide us to our essential faults. Suffering is a corrective to point out a lesson which by other means we have failed to grasp, and never can it be eradicated until that lesson is learned.

To understand the nature of disease certain fundamental truths have to be acknowledged.

The first of these is that man has a Soul which is his real self;See also Theosophy by J. Algeo under Philosophy a Divine, Mighty Being, a Son of the Creator of all things, of which the body, although the earthly temple of that Soul, is but the minutest reflection: that our Soul, our Divinity Who resides in and around us, lays down for us our lives as He wishes them to be ordered and, so far as we will allow, ever guides, protects and encourages us, watchful and beneficent to lead us always for our utmost advantage: that He, our Higher Self, being a spark of the Almighty, is thereby invincible and immortal.

The second principle is that we, as we know ourselves in this world, are personalities down here for the purpose of gaining all the knowledge and experience which can be obtained through earthly existence, of developing virtues which we lack and of wiping out all that is wrong within us, thus advancing towards the perfection of our natures. The Soul knows what environment and what circumstances will best enable us to do this, and hence He places us in that branch of life most suited for that object.

Thirdly, we must realise that the short passage on this earth, which we know as life, is but a moment in the course of our evolution. Our Souls, which are really we, are immortal, and the bodies of which we are conscious are temporary, merely as horses we ride to go a journey, or instruments we use to do a piece of work.

Then follows a fourth great principle, that so long as our Souls and personalities are in harmony all is joy and peace, happiness and health. It is when our personalities are led astray from the path laid down by the Soul, either by our own worldly desires or by the persuasion of others, that a conflict arises. This conflict is the root cause of disease and unhappiness. No matter what our work in the world – bootblack or monarch, landlord or peasant, rich or poor – so long as we do that particular work according to the dictates of the Soul, all is well; and we can further rest assured that in whatever station of life we are placed, princely or lowly, it contains the lessons and experiences necessary at the moment for our evolution, and gives us the best advantage for the development of ourselves.

The next great principle is the understanding of the Unity of all things: that the Creator of all things is Love, and that everything of which we are conscious is in all its infinite number of forms a manifestation of that Love. Thus any action against ourselves or against another affects the wholeCompare with Universality of the Golden Rule of Religion under Religion, because by causing imperfection in a part it reflects on the whole, every particle of which must ultimately become perfect.

So we see there are two great possible fundamental errors: dissociation between our Souls and our personalities, and cruelty or wrong to others, for this is a sin against Unity. Either of these brings conflict, which leads to disease.

Disease is in itself beneficent, and has for its object the bringing back of the personality to the Divine will of the Soul; and thus we can see that it is both preventable and avoidable. But It may not be the errors of this life, this day at school, which we are combating; and although we in our physical minds may not be conscious of the reason of our suffering, which may to us appear cruel and without reason, yet our Souls (which are ourselves) know the full purpose and are guiding us to our best advantage.

There are two great errors: first, to fail to honor and obey the dictatesCompare with Laws of Destiny under Psychology of our Soul, and second, to act against Unity. On account of the former, be ever reluctant to judge others, because what is right for one is wrong for another. It is obeying the commands of our Soul, our Higher Self, which we learn through conscience, instinct and intuition, that matters. The very nature of an illness will be a useful guide to assist in discovering the type of action which is being taken against the Divine Law of Love and Unity.

The real primary diseases of man are such defects as pride, cruelty, hate, self-love, ignorance, instability and greed; and each of these, if considered, will be found to be adverse to Unity.

The author continues to explain in more detail weaknesses such as pride, cruelty, hate, self-love, ignorance, instability and indecision; greed and the illnesses caused by these weaknesses. He further points out that the very part of the body affected is no accident, but is in accordance with the law of cause and effect.

In chapter four the author points out that for a complete cure not only must physical means be used, choosing always the best methods which are known to the art of healing, but we ourselves must also endeavor to the utmost of our ability to remove any fault in our nature; because final and complete healing ultimately comes from within, from the Soul itself. If we but sufficiently develop the quality of losing ourselves in the love and care of those around us, enjoying the glorious adventure of gaining knowledge and helping others, our personal grief and sufferings rapidly come to an end.

He reminds us that Love is the foundation of Creation and that in every living soul there is some good, and that in the best of us there is some bad. And he tells the readers that we shall ever have compassion and not offer resistance; for, again, by the law of cause and effect it is resistance, which damages.

In the next paragraph he continues to explain how to overcome weaknesses and after that points out that the materialism and circumstances of our age, and the personalities with whom we associate, lead us away from the voice of our Higher Self and bind us firmly to the commonplace with its lack of ideals, all too evident in this civilization. We must be on guard in the giving of help to other people, no matter whom they be, to be certain that the desire to help comes from the dictates of the Inner Self and is not a false sense of duty imposed by the suggestion or persuasion of a more dominant personality. It is the dictates of our conscience alone which can tell us whether our duty lies with one or many, how and whom we should serve; but whichever it may be, we should obey that command to the utmost of our ability.

In chapter five the author talks in detail about parenthood, which he describes as a sacred duty, temporary in its character and passing from generation to generation. He warns parents to be on guard against any desire to mold the young personality according to their own ideas or wishes. He emphasizes in this chapter again that every soul in incarnation is down here for the specific purpose of gaining experience and understanding, and of perfecting his personality towards those ideals laid down by the soul. For very many their greatest battle will be in their own home, where before gaining their liberty to win victories in the world they will have to free themselves from the adverse domination and control of some very near relative.

Bach believed that the true reason of man’s existence on earth has been overshadowed by his anxiety to obtain from his incarnation nothing but worldly gain. It has been a period when life has been very difficult because of the lack of the real comfort, encouragement and uplift which is brought by a realization of greater things than those of the world.

The real peace of the Soul and mind is with us when we are making spiritual advance, and it cannot be obtained by the accumulation of wealth alone, no matter how great.

The physician of the future will have two great aims. The first will be to assist the patient to knowledge of himself and to point out to him the fundamental mistakes he may be making, the deficiencies in his character, which he should remedy. The second duty of the physician will be to administer such remedies as will help the physical body to gain strength and assist the mind to become calm, widen its outlook and strive towards perfection, thus bringing peace and harmony to the whole personality.

Our spiritual advisers, true physicians and intimate friends should all be able to assist us to obtain a faithful picture of ourselves, but the perfect method of learning this is by calm thought and meditation, and by bringing ourselves to such an atmosphere of peace that our Souls are able to speak to us through our conscience and intuition, and to guide us according to their wishes.

Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of materialism is the development of boredom and the loss of real inner happiness; it teaches people to seek contentment and compensation for troubles in earthly enjoyments and pleasures, and these can never bring anything but temporary oblivion of our difficulties.

It is in the simple things of life – the simple things because they are nearer the great Truth – that real pleasure is to be found. Another fundamental help to us is to put away all fear. Fear in reality holds no place in the natural human kingdom, since the Divinity within us, which is ourself, is unconquerable and immortal, and if we could but realize it we, as Children of God, have nothing of which to be afraid.

He addresses the issue, that science is unable to explain on physical grounds why some people become affected by disease whilst others escape and claims that fear, by its depressing effect on our mentality, thus causing disharmony in our physical and magnetic bodies, paves the way for invasion.  Therefore the real cause of disease lies in our own personality and is within our control.

The authors further recommends that we should treat our body  with respect and  Internal cleanliness depends on diet, and we should choose everything that is clean and wholesome and as fresh as possible, chiefly natural fruits, vegetables and nuts.care, so that it may be healthy and last the longer to do our work but without identifying with the body. Animal flesh should be avoided and sleep should not be excessive.

In all things cheerfulness should be encouraged, and we should refuse to be oppressed by doubt and depression, but remember that such are not of ourselves, for our Souls know only joy and happiness.

In the last chapter he summarizes, that our conquest of disease will mainly depend on the following: Firstly, the realization of the Divinity within our nature and our consequent power to overcome all that is wrong: secondly, the knowledge that the basic cause of disease is due to disharmony between the personality and the Soul; thirdly, our willingness and ability to discover the fault which is causing such a conflict; and fourthly, the removal of any such fault by developing the opposing virtue. For those who are sick, peace of mind and harmony with the Soul is the greatest aid to recovery.

In our Western civilization we have the glorious example, the great standard of perfection and the teachings of the Christ to guide us. He acts for us as Mediator between our personality and our Soul. His mission on earth was to teach us how to obtain harmony and communion with our Higher Self, with Our Father which is in Heaven, and thereby to obtain perfection in accordance with the Will of the Great Creator of all.

Thus also taught the Lord Buddha and other great Masters who have come down from time to time upon the earth to point out to men the way to attain perfection. There is no halfway path for humanity. The Truth must be acknowledged, and man must unite himself with the infinite scheme of Love of his Creator.

You can find a list and description of the Bach flower remedies on this website.

Your Own Identity by Herman Meyer

Herman Meyer maintains in this book, that our identity should be taken as a guide for our own true path and that negative fate only means that we have strayed from this path. He sees fate as a blind alley, that takes us away farther and farther from our own identity, or it indicates a detour.

Almost all people are on these false starts and detours, rarely is anybody succesful in recognizing their own identity and to live accordingly.

Meyer defines the criteria for Good and Bad as identical with the “learned” conscience or with the Ego. He sees the Ego as an aquired psychic authority based on childhood impressions, education, influence, and other environmental factors.

People who are good in the conventional sense (determined by others and society’s rulesCompare with Broken Open under Spiritual Development) are in reality bad to themselves.

He claims, that the unconscious can easily make a distinction between real and unreal and he says that it is our responsibility to develop our abilities and skills.

He believes, that whoever wants to become an individual, must offend, otherwise we will remain a puppet of the norms.

Hi gives a few examples of the true nature of people: Joy in nice conversations, sumptuous food, need in mental warmth and love, safety, cuddling, own area, fun in sport, play, adventure of life, independence, creativity, research, analysis, have his/her own taste, goal and dreams.

He provides concrete example for expressions of identity:

Identity in sports

Identity in feeling

Identity in action

Identity in the creative

Identity in lifestyle

Identity in the representation of outward

Identity in relation to place of residence and neighborhood

Identity in terms of furnishing

Identity in children’s education

Identity in the diet

Identity in flavor

Identity of the erotic

Identity when choosing a partner

Identity in the form of relationship

Identity in sexuality

Identity in the sexual fantasy

Identity on the spiritual

Identity in the philosophy of life

Identity in professional

Identity in the leisure

Identity in the choice of hobbies

Identity in the choice of friends

Identity in wishes and dreams

Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung

Carl Jung sees his life as a story of the self-realization of the unconscious which he describes in this book. He starts out with “First Years” and describes his outward memories on how he became conscious of smelling, when he saw the Alps the first time, how he found pleasure in water and how he became aware of his parents’ troubled marriage. He continues with his inward memories and recalls his very first dream and describes why a number of childhood memories have made a lifelong impression on him.

He continues to describe his “School Years” including a very important event at the age of twelve which made him understand what a neurosis is.  In this chapter he also shares that he was convinced from childhood that he had two personalities — a modern Swiss citizen and a personality more at home in the eighteenth century. “Personality Number 1,” as he termed it, was a typical schoolboy living in the era of the time, while “Personality Number 2” was a dignified, authoritative and influential man from the past.  He further discusses his thoughts about God and said that it seemed to him that it is one’s duty to explore daily the will of God. He shares with the readers that in the course of his life it has often happened to him that he knew suddenly something, which he really could not know at all, and that the knowledge came to him as though it were his own idea.

In the chapter about his “Student Years” he says, “Although we human beings have our own personal life, we are yet in large measure the representatives, the victims and promoters of a collective spirit whose years are counted in centuries”.  Here he also explains how important “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Nietzsche and “Faust” by Goethe were for him and why. He explains when and how it became clear to him that the only possible goal to him was psychiatry and that it was his “fate” even though this area of medicine was looked down upon at that time.

In the chapter about “Psychiatric Activities” he recalls the most interesting and most important cases for him and his realization that he “could not treat latent psychoses if he did not understand their symbolism.” That was why he began to study mythology.  In addition he emphasizes that a psychotherapist has to understand himself and that a doctor will only be able to teach a patient to heal himself if he knows how to cope with himself.  He shares some of his dreams here as well.

He dedicates a whole chapter to “Sigmund Freud” and their relationship and explains in detail why he broke with him.  In the appendix some of the letters Freud wrote to Jung can be found.  In this chapter he recalls a dream that led him for the first time to the concept of the “collective unconscious”.

In the chapter “Confrontations with the Unconscious” he explains the concepts of anima and animus, as well as individuation – a psychological process of integrating the opposites including the conscious with the unconscious while still maintaining their relative autonomy, necessary for a person to become whole. In his opinion, people who have advanced towards individuation tend to be harmonious, mature and responsible. They embody humane values such as freedom and justice and have a good understanding about the workings of human nature and the universe.

In the chapter “The Work” he shares his research and findings about alchemy and his thoughts about Jesus. It is his belief that “it is God who created the world and its sins, and who therefore become Christ in order to suffer the fate of humanity.”

In the next chapters he tells the readers about the “Tower” he built and lived in, his “Travels” to the U.S., India and Africa.  For me the most important statements were “Everything that irritates us about othersCompare with A New Earth under Spiritual Development can lead us to an understanding of ourselves” and that “The longing for light is the longing for consciousness”.

My favorite chapter was “Visions” which starts with a description of an illness and a near death experience. He had visions after that followed by a fruitful period.  At that time he also had an affirmation of things as they are: “an unconditional acceptance of conditions of existence as I see them and understand them, acceptance of my own nature, as I happen to be.”  He also realizes “that when one follows the path of individuationCompare with Depth Psychology, when one lives one’s own life, one must take mistakes into the bargain; life would not be complete without them”. And it was only after the illness that he understood how important it is to affirm one’s own destiny.

In the next chapter he elaborates about “Life after Death”. He sees rationalism and doctrinism as a disease of our time because they pretend to have all the answers and admits that he does not know for what reason the universe has come into being.  He points to the fact that the unconscious helps by communicating things to us and explains that he speaks of inner promptings when it comes to things after death and that he can go no further then to tell us dreams and myths that relate to this subject.  Based on dreams he understands that the souls of the dead “know” only what they knew at the moment of death, and nothing beyond that. He defines myth as the natural and indispensable intermediate stage between unconscious and conscious cognition.  He also discusses the concepts of reincarnation and karma but is not sure if karma is the outcome of past lives or maybe the achievement of ancestors. He is convinced though that it is important that we “do not stand at the end with empty hands.” He sees the purpose of human existence to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

He ends the book with “Late Thoughts” and “Retrospect” and tells us that he led his life by obeying an inner law which was imposed on him and left him no freedom of choice and that he was satisfied with the course his life has taken.

My favorite statements are from the chapter  “Late Thoughts” in which he says that the individual has need, “first and foremost of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness.  He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of.” He adds “such self-knowledge is of prime importance, because through it we approach that fundamental stratum or core of human nature where the instincts dwell. Here are those preexistent dynamic forces, which ultimately govern the ethical decisions of our consciousness” and that deepened self-knowledge requires psychology.

Laws of Destiny by Herman Meyer

These are the main ideas explained by the author:

The unconscious remains mostly unnoticed and rarely influences our decisions. Life as a whole however can only be understood if we include the unconscious. Each of us has the task to develop specific skills such as assertiveness, setting boundaries, communication skills, technical skills, the ability to discover our own identity, independence, analytical skills, ability to develop our own life program and to implement it, and the ability to overcome traditional and established rules that are outdated.

Each skill in the patriarchic culture is divided into two poles – a negative pole and positive pole.

Negative pole: Skills in the negative pole are inhibited; Meyer characterizes people who have their skills in the negative pole as people who play the role of a child. These are people who are constantly attacked, manipulated, exploited, or need a shepherd. People like that repeatedly react to situations and follow rules. Because they react instead of acting they don’t live their own lives and other people determine how they have to live.

Plus pole: Meyer characterizes people, who have most of their skills in the plus pole as people who play the role of a parent. The skills of these people are to a certain extent also inhibited, but they compensate this inhibition by trying to embody these skills as ideal. Those people have not developed their own identity either because they try to develop those skills based on cultural norms.

Adult: Meyer calls people who develop their skills inherent to their own nature as adults. In his opinion these adults can perceive both poles and can grasp the entirety of life. Because these people have an understanding of both poles, they can broaden their perspective and develop their own identity.

He explains further that everybody’s laws of destiny are neutral and cannot be influenced unless we learn to integrate them into our lives.

He continues by going over the development cycles of humanity and pointing out that we are currently in the patriarchic (anal) phase and that this phase is coming to an end (this phase is equivalent to the mental structure of consciousness described by Gebser) . We are developing currently equal rights; women up till now have been oppressed, as well as everything feminine such as nature and wholeness, which has been leading to lifelessness (living without a soul). This can be seen in our current ideology in all areas of life – in academic medicine (the human being is not seen as a whole), in pedagogy (by demanding obedience), in religion, in agriculture (by using pesticides) and in politics (by damaging the environment).

In all areas of life everything concerning our soul, everything that’s lively and natural is devalued. In this respect illness is an attempt to compensateSee also Heal Thyself by E. Bach under spiritual development and depicts a recovery process. Politics preaches constant economic growth and destroys the environment, which in turn endangers our health. Patriarchs think everything is doable and they pay no attention to problems.

We have to change on an individual as well as a collective level. We should not fight and be reactive but instead create something new.

In psychology we have to understand how the soul functions and the “new” person must be concerned on a personal level with every aspect of life, among them nutrition, religion, politics, medicine, economy, ecology, and gardening.

He also addresses in this book the laws of harmony. The “new” people have to find balance between work and leisure. Health means leading a balanced life. He also points out that being good as determined by the moral people means often that one is bad towards the laws of life.

The author believes that everybody who can find his own identity will feel safe. People who are afraid to express themselves through their work will never find fulfillment in what they do.

In his opinion we live in a collective neurosis and must free ourselves from it and the patriarchic system. Patriarchy in the form of divided and pre-determined roles between women and men leads to developing different sets of skills. He explains that partnerships have a crisis if the original positions or roles “played” are changing. In addition, if we try to reach an “ideal” we supress the energies of the physical, mental and spiritual plane and that makes sick and leads to addiction.

If we do not find ourselves and take advantage of the right to live our own lives, we give other people the permission to run our lives. Whoever wants to be “good” by living his live based on the rules established by others, is “bad” against himselfCompare with The Four Agreements by Ruiz and will be punished.

Among the examples he provides are people who develop illnesses or develop a crisis because they play sports that are “in” or part of the countries culture instead of choosing sport activities that fit their personality; people who choose jobs, partners and houses for materialistic reasons; people who only buy designer clothes; people who don’t listen to their inner voice; people who pick furniture from magazines instead of developing their own taste.

An Introduction To Astropsychology by Glen Perry

The Zodiac is the foundation of the astrological language. The signs are symbols of life processes reflected in nature. Similar to Plato’s forms, Carl Jung’s concept of archetypes also applies to zodiacal signs. Archetypes are structural elements of consciousness; they are not limited to human consciousness.

Planets are described as psychological processes geared toward satisfying the needs of the signs they rule. The context, or setting, within which these processes play out are the houses.

As Jung points out, at root our consciousness is collective, at our deepest strata we are all composed f the same fundamental energies.

The first six signs are where the days are longer; they are about the individual, the emergence of the self from the whole.

The second six signs are where the nights are longer; they are about the participation toward a larger network.

These two groups are related through the interplay of complementary opposites.

He describes the four elements Fire, Earth, Air and Water and points out that they parallel Jung’s Intuition, Sensation, Thinking and Feeling. Fire gives faith in oneself, in others, and in the Universe. Earth represents our capacity to be practical, realistic, and productive. Air gives us objectivity t make distinction, separate ourselves from our experience, and make the compromise necessary to live harmoniously with others. Water is the unifying element that binds us all together on a “gut” level. It is the urge to love and the need to be loved.

After talking about the modalities (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable) and the polarities (Yang, Yin) he points out the relation to Jung’s belief that the constant interplay and tension between opposite poles of conscious and unconscious makes for the integration of the psyche – individuation.

He explains that every individual is a replica in miniature of the entire Universe. He sees the task of evolution to integrate the parts into a balanced and functional whole, and in so doing become one with the whole.

After explaining the conjunctions in detail he describes the planetary aspects as core beliefs that relate to the individual’s convictions about the relative likelihood of meeting basic needs. In other words, they are dialogues between the different needs and drives that make up the whole of the human being.

The goal of the psyche, as symbolized in the zodiac, is the ever more effective and balanced integration of these energies into an dynamic and unified whole. In other words, the goal of the psyche is to integrate the self with others, the individual with the collective, in order to achieve psychic balance and wholeness

He also talks about Buddhism and explains in this context the Conscious as the relation between subject and object or self and not-self. The subject cannot exist without object and vice versa. The ego exists because it accepts this polarity. Buddhism holds that liberation from duality is contingent upon the ability to recognize that such opposites are ultimately a trick of the mind, a self-created illusion (maya), the reconciliation of which allows for unitive consciousness an liberation. By neutralizing opposites through awareness, the illusion of duality is extinguished and the individual attains nirvana.

Perry writes about Jung’s discovery that much of the content of individual consciousness such as dreams, fantasies, and thoughts see rooted in a collective consciousness shared by all human beings. In addition he explains Jung’s concept of synchronicity – simultaneous occurrences of a certain psychic state with one or more external events that appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state.

Perry says that as an integrated totality, the zodiac symbolizes the potential for wholeness.

An archetype can manifest externally as a character in three different ways – as a personality type, a role or an occupation.

A core principle of astrology is that character produces events consistent with itself. This is supported by Jung’s concept of synchronicity, which implies that any idea held long enough will attract whatever conditions it needs for its expression.

A planet’s sign position not only tells us how the planet is doing its thing, it also tells us what the outcome might be.

Five criteria for interpretation:

1) Psychological function of the planet

2) Motivation behind the behavior

3) The behavior itself should be described

4) A planetary affect state should be related to the domain of its sign position

5) Empirical consequences of a planet’s action

Jung’s theory about marriage as a psychological relationship emphasized how each person’s unconscious image of the opposite sex is projected onto the partner for purposes of bringing the unconscious into view. Marriage was a vehicle for healing and transformation.

The ideal of wholeness is something that one approaches gradually, possibly even over a succession of lifetimes.

While each archetype has its part to play in the life story, it is the task of every human being t integrate these parts into a unified whole. The ego initially thinks it is separate from its parts, yet it must incorporate them to become the Self – a complete, balanced integrated human being capable of expressing all the archetypes (Hero’s journey).

The Zodiac can be thought of as the archetypical structure of the psyche.

Therapeutic intervention should help the client to integrate repressed needs, develop more constructive beliefs and behave in a more positive and successful manner.