Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Jung's Dark Night of the Soul

"In 1913, at the age of thirty-eight, Jung experienced a horrible "confrontation with the unconscious". He saw visions and heard voices. He worried at times that he was "menaced by a psychosis" or was "doing a schizophrenia". He decided that it was valuable experience and, in private, he induced hallucinations or, in his words, "active imaginations". He recorded everything he felt in small journals. Jung began to transcribe his notes into a large red leather-bound book, on which he worked intermittently for sixteen years.[9] Jung left no posthumous instructions about the final disposition of what he called the "Red Book". His family eventually moved it into a bank vault in 1984. Sonu Shamdasani, a historian from London, for three years tried to persuade Jung's heirs to have it published, to which they declined every hint of inquiry. As of mid-September 2009, fewer than two dozen people had seen it."

"He differentiated between two situations in which the collective unconscious became active. In the first, it became activated through a crisis in an individual's life and the collapse of hopes and expectations. In the second, it becalne activated at times of great social, political, and religious upheaval. At such moments, the factors suppressed by the prevailing attitudes accumulate in the collective unconscious. Strongly intuitive individuals become aware of these and try to translate them into communicable ideas. If they succeeded in translating the unconscious into a communicable language, this had a redeenling effect. The contents of the unconscious had a disturbing effect. In the first situation, the collective unconscious might replace reality; which is pathological. In the second situation, the individual may feel disorientated, but the state is not pathological. This differentiation suggests that Jung viewed his own experience as falling under the second heading-namely; the activation of the collective unconscious due to the general cultural upheaval. Thus his initial fear of impending insanity in 1913 lay in his failure to realize this distinction.
On January 5, 1922, he had a conversation with his soul concerning both his vocation and Liber Novus:
[Jung]: I feel that I must speak to you. Why do you not let me sleep, as I am tired? I feel that the disturbance comes from you. What induces you to keep me awake?
[Soul]: Now is no time to sleep, but you should be awake and prepare important matters in nocturnal work The great work begins.
[Jung]: What great work?
[Soul]: The work that should now be undertaken. It is a great and difficult work There is no time to sleep, if you find no time during the day to relnain in the work
[Jung]: But I had no idea that something of this kind was taking place.
[Soul]: But you could have told by the fact that I have been disturbing your sleep for a long time: You have been too unconscious for a long time. Now you must go to a higher level of consciousness.
[Jung]: I am ready: What is it? Speak.
[Soul:] You should listen: to no longer be a Christian is easy: But what next? For more is yet to come. Everything is waiting for you. And you? You remain silent and have nothing to say: But you should speak. Why have you received the revelation? You should not hide it. You concern yourself with the form? Is the form important, when it is a matter of revelation?
[Jung]: But you are not thinking that I should publish what I have written? That would be a misfortune. And who would understand it?
[Soul:] No, listen! You should not break up a marriage, namely the marriage with me, no person should supplant me ... I want to rule alone.
[Jung]: So you want to rule? From whence do you take the right for such a presumption?
[Soul:] This right comes to me because I serve you and your calling. I could just as well say, you came first, but above all your calling comes first.
[Jung]: But what is my calling?
[Soul:] The new religion and its proclamation.
[Jung]: Oh God, how should I do this?
[Soul:] Do not be of such little faith. No one knows it as you do. There is no one who could say it as well as you could.
[Jung]: But who knows, if you are not lying?
[Soul:] Ask yourself if I am lying. I speak the truth."
- The Red Book (Liber Novus)

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