Saturday, August 17, 2013
Dreams and their meaning (Part II)
dreams and their meaning, Carl.G. Jung's "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" will mesmerize you. This book had a profound impact on my inner life. (I even had an epiphany close to the end of it).
It is hard to describe this book because everything I say will undermine the depth of his thoughts, and I believe thoughts encompass energy that is connected to personal experiences.
I will complete this post with Jung's reflections in an attempt to communicate some of his insights without distorting them.
This book is a trip into the recesses of the mind, an introspective account of human experiences and reflections. Jung invites us to go beyond the realm of rational thinking and the boundaries of our reality.
Jung starts narrating episodes of his childhood that reveal how he was at odds with his surroundings. He also wrote about his youth and how he decided to study medicine. Throughout the book he shares dreams and analyzes them. (If you have an interest in precognitive dreams and synchronicity, you will enjoy reading about his dreams).
He also takes us to Africa, where he lived with different tribes and tried to plumb into the psyche of those people, struggling to capture their views, perspectives and dreams. The experience of being in touch with these people helped him to see his own culture with refreshed eyes. (He visited North Africa, Kenya, Uganda and India).
Carl Jung was impelled to express his own ideas, and his boldness triggered some conflicts. His close relationship with Freud came to an end because of their different views and behaviors. As a result of this, many of his colleagues shunned Carl Jung.
At one of their discussions, when they were analyzing their dreams, Freud refused to give details of a dream he'd had because he thought he would lose Jung's respect. Jung thought this was not an honest way of dealing with the matter.
Last year I wrote a post about Carl Jung's Red Book and his confrontation with the unconscious. In "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" he gives us some information on some of the characters that appear in the Red Book.
Another interesting aspect of "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" is the set of analytical reflections on different religions, but my favorite parts are in the last two chapters:
Chapter 11: On Life after Death
Chapter 12: Late thoughts.
After his writing, there is an appendix of letters. Some of them were written by Freud. Others were written by Carl Jung to Emma, his wife.
I've selected some of his quotes from the book because I think they deserve to be shared.
"I have realized that one must accept the thoughts that go on within oneself of their own accord as part of one's reality. The categories of true and false are, of course, always present, but because they are not binding they take second place. The presence of thoughts is more important than our subjective judgment of them. But neither must these judgments be suppressed for they also are existent, thoughts which are part of our wholeness."
"Rationalism and doctrinairism are the disease of our time; they pretend to have all the answers."
"The unconscious helps by communicating things to us or making figurative allusions. It has other ways, too, of informing us of things which by all logic we could not possibly know. Consider synchronistic phenomena, premonitions and dreams that come true.
"When one follows the path of individuation, when one lives one's own life, one must take mistakes into the bargain; life would not be complete without them. There is no guarantee-- not for a single moment-- that we will not fall into error or stumble into deadly peril. We may think there is a sure road. But that would be the road of death. Then nothing happens any longer-- at any rate, not the right things. Anyone who takes the sure road is as good as dead."
"A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. They then dwell in the house next door, and at any moment a flame may dart out and set fire to his house. Whenever we give up, leave behind and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force."
"In my medical experience as well as in my own life I have again and again been faced with the mystery of love, and have never been able to explain what it is. I had to lay my hand on my mouth. Whatever one can say, no words express the whole. To speak of partial aspects is always too much or too little for only the whole is meaningful. We are in the deepest sense the victims and the instruments of cosmogonic 'love'. Being a part, man cannot grasp the whole. He is at its mercy. He may assent to it, or rebel against it, but he is always caught up by it and enclosed within it. He is dependent upon it and is sustained by it. Love is his light and his darkness, whose end he cannot see."
"Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views that others find inadmissible."
"It is important to have a secret, a premonition of things unknown. A man who has never experienced that has missed something important. He must sense that he lives in a world which in some respect is mysterious; that things happen and can be experienced which remain inexplicable; that not everything which happens can be anticipated. The unexpected and the incredible belong in this world. Only then life is whole."
"A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his demon."