forever jung


The great modern doctors of the mind have made men realize as never before the strangeness of their own psyches, and no psychologist has uncovered, or invented, stranger psychic marvels than did Carl Jung (1875-1961). Although his name still lingers on in pop-psychology circles, the substance of Jung’s ideas and his analytical psychology techniques is fading from memory. Perhaps he is now most remembered as a favored disciple of Sigmund Freud who later became Freud’s most reviled apostate. The split between Freud and Jung presaged today’s division in how we think about the mind: we are fixated on the notion that our inner lives can be investigated through methods of rational inquiry like those so successfully applied to physics and chemistry, but we cannot shake the lurking feeling that our psyches are in reality beasts hidden in shadow — that they can never be fully brought out of the woods into the full light of day. Freud’s ideas were once taboo, then conventional wisdom, and now largely in disrepute. But since Freud’s approach still largely comports with our rationalist shibboleths, we have found a comfortable niche for him as a father of modern psychology. By contrast, Jung remains a more inscrutable, potentially subversive figure: the self-avowed scientist who seemed to embrace all that science defined itself in opposition to — religion, mysticism, even parts of pseudoscience, but most significantly the depths of the human soul. In embracing the strangeness of the human psyche from within itself, he remains that father of psychology who still threatens to upend our view of ourselves.

more from Algis Valiunas at The New Atlantis here.