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am 7. Dezember 1999
These writings come straight from Jung's own inner experience and it is his last book before his death in 1961. I have read and re-read this work because at different times in my life I needed to re-evaluate where I was and where I was going. Other books by Jung are more intellectual and scientific, whereas, this autobiography has the wisdom of a person in the later part of life and it was written not so much to teach but to leave with us his legacy. Having myself had a near death experience, I was especially re-affirmed by Jung's own near death experience and his dealings with this phenomenon. His acceptance of his own humanity and his returning from this state to share with us his knowledge and vision is a gift to all of us. It is not easy to return to our humanity and deal with the sufferings we encounter but growth is the only evidence of life. We have to come down from the mountain top and work in the valley. This brings to mind two books written by Hannah Hurnard called Mountains of Spices and Hinds Feet in High Places. Allegories about living our lives with others and not in solitude. Solitude is a wonderful place but if we stay too long we become self-centered, afraid to reach out to others. Another author who gives a good perspective on life is Henri Nouwen and his books Out of Solitude and Reaching Out.
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am 8. Mai 1998
"called or uncalled, the gods are present." -C.G. Jung
Arguably the greatest autobiography of the century, Memories, Dreams, Reflections is a man's attempt to reconcile his own inner life with the inadequate rubrics of his time: intellectual, philosophical, and psychological. Jung had the courage to disown Freud's idea that the unconscious was merely a cause of mayhem for the ego. Rather the self, the archetype of wholeness, both guides the ego to its highest fulfillment and presents it with demons in the form of dreams and fantasies. Ideas we take for granted today originate here: The idea that there is a symbolic language that connects all minds which he dubbed the collective unconscious. That men have an inner feminine life and vice versa. The valuation of all religions and philosophies, east and west, as food for the soul. Yet Jung is no dreamer. He was able to draw on Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, as well as non traditional sources, to make his points. His intellectual achievement is gargantuan, being that he is a 19th century character trained by traditional medicine, and bred by Swiss Christianity.
I urge anyone who is unsatisfied with popular psychology, religion, and culture to read this book. It is a common inclusion in philosophy of religion classes and is still read in psychology schools. It is especially good for young people just coming to grips with their spirituality, and for the elderly searching for a sense of meaning in their lives. For those attempting to reconcile their intellectual and spiritual lives, Jung provides a way of looking at things, not a dogma or philosophy, that adds luster to both.
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am 14. Februar 2000
I usually read fiction and autobiographies are not my favorite subject. I'm not into psycology or the human mind, but as a human being I always wonder... Why I'm reading this book? Somebody recommended it as one of the best books written last century. And I think it's one of those books that could change your life. This book opens the door to all of us not familiar with Jung teories and psycoanalisis. Usually we read master pieces but have little clue under what circunstances they were created or what was in the writer's mind at the moment. Jung give us the key to his work. If you decide to open the door, fastern your seatbelt. It's a bumpy but amaizing jorney.
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am 24. Dezember 1999
Contrary to more voluminous magna opera like "Mysterium Coniunctionis" or "Psychology and Alchemy", this is a more accessible and, at the same time, central book of Jungian myth. Having seen various elements of this popular hagiography dismantled by mordant & unrelenting Jungophobes like Richard Noll, I would only stress what I consider the lasting value & glowing inspiration for modern ( Western ) (wo)man in search of her/his soul. I'll post my review in a half-humorous form of a fragment of a dialogue, the now extinct form venerated by Plato, Galileo or Bruno.
Q. What, then, is the message of Jung's life, that,what William James had described as ordeal of consciousness ?
A. The goal of Jungian individuation is expansion & integration of the psychic contents ("soul") within the field of awareness, the ego being the center of conscious life. The grand finale would be fusion, coniunctio, of the "soul" ( psyche ) and "Spirit" ( pneuma/Self ), with ego retaining its "privileged" position as the center of the conscious life.
Q. So is this expansion and integration something one is aware of when it is happening or when it has happened ?
A. Well, that's a tricky subject. I'll try to give some hints a few outspoken Jungians like Marie Louise von Franz, and Jung himself have adumbrated. Of course, the entire spiritual "enterprise" is based on the Western Hermetic/Gnostic tradition, from Corpus Hermeticum to alchemists's "opera". In short, you got a growth of inner ( and outer life ) on various levels of consciousness ( altered states, dreams, hypnagogic dreams, guided imagination, prayer, conscious ponderings, listening your inner daemon/voice, ordeals of emotional & family life,....). The goal is "individuated" man/woman: that is, someone who lives an authentic life ( Shakespearean "to thine own self be true" ), not an onedimensional spiritual saintly prototype nor a conformistic ego- centered mediocre. I suppose the ultimate ideal would be someone like Goethe or Plato- a multidimensional, creative individuum with strong sense of "I", yet in deep contact/fusion with the divine wellspring within- in sum, ideal of the "Renaissance man".
Q. Was Jung able to achieve the "fusion" in his own life?
A. From what is described in his spiritual autobiography- yes. Yet, I suspect he went even a step beyond: his final stage was that of a deified psyche ( with ego/ I-sense still present, but somehow subdued & the eternal/divine life perpetually glowing in the background of waking consciousness.)
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am 5. Mai 1999
Since 1964, when I first read this book, I have covered lots of "territory" in religion, psychology, philosophy, and natural science. This book stands out as the most important. It formed the foundation for my deepest and most rewarding insights into human existence. "By their fruits ye shall know them" truly applies here, for this is the "pick of the crop".
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am 17. Juni 1997
Read along exploring the mind and spirit of this century's (and possibly the next) deepest thinker as he takes you on a reflective journey through his inner and outer lives. A wonderful book to bring us back to our grounding in the spirit. Jung not only speaks of but lives out the archetypal truths of mankind. His description and recounting of his discovery of the Biblical "stone the builders left untaken" which he had his builders use as the cornerstone of his castle is an inspiring revelation of a turning point in his life and beliefs from this most eastern of western philosophers. One comes away from the book with a fulfilling sense of wholeness that remains a part of the heart. It is a book to buy, read, and reread at different times throughout life
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am 20. Juli 1999
"Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections" helped me to establish a contextual framework for understanding the life of this truly seminal thinker and his work. It is an excellent place to start before diving into some of Jung's often esoteric and abstract essays, transcribed lectures, and books.
One of Jung's greatest achievements has been his ability to produce a new vocabulary for modern man to deal with the processes that occur where the personal psyche meets objective reality. His genius lies in his blend of deep intuitive thinking and strict scientific empiricism. Jung's contributions are still slowly trickling down into the collective understanding of modern culture.
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am 11. September 1996
To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone talks about Jung
(especially since the New Age laid claim to him) but no one
ever reads him. If you want to know what the fuss is about
without slogging through the 20-volume collected works, read
this lovely, short, simple and important book. Jung talks
about his astonishing life and experiences (including
dreams, visions, hauntings and other aspects usually
talked about obscurely and mystically if at all) as simply
and honestly as if he were sitting in your living room
smoking his pipe.
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...my only complaint is that his family hacked out all the "controversial" stuff. Should be considered an autobiographical myth (as Jung himself implies) rather than precisely factual. The first sentence is one of my favorites: "My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious." -- Craig Chalquist, M.S., creator of the Thineownself self-exploration site.
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am 19. Februar 2000
If I really cared for someone, and wanted to give that someone a great gift, something that would help them understand many of the most confusing variables in life, I'd surely give them this book.
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