About “Reading Jung”

I just read my post about reading Jung again, and realized it’s a bit lengthy, so consider it a “public beta”. (; Those who don’t care to read the whole thing can read just the second paragraph and still get the gist of it. In short it’s about Jung’s concept of a “collective unconscious” and how it brings us all together as human beings. It can be seen as a state of mind on a universal level (although I’d say Jung meant it as a theoretical construct rather than an actual state of mind). One important thing I like to take from this concept is that by destroying others we also destroy ourselves.

Jung studied myths from all over the world, thought up by people with no contact whatsoever with each other, and he noticed many similarities in these myths […], so he wondered how that could be. He then constructed the concept of the collective unconscious out of the similarities that he had found, and meant that they could be explained by saying that there is something on the most basic, deepest level in us that is shared by each and every human being […]. So, according to Jung, we have both an individual self and a universal self, with the latter shared by everyone and uniting us as a species […].

The whole concept also lends itself very well to fiction, which is partly why I’m interested in his writings, and Jung as a poet is a fascinating read, even if he, as a scientist, does get more than a little esoteric from time to time. At the same time, I’ve noticed that he tends a little towards mysticism, which isn’t really my thing (except as fiction), but I guess the concept of the collective unconscious — or, for that matter, the intangible nature of the human psyche as a whole — lends itself very well to that too.