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Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul 
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Post Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
In preparation for my talk on this book by Carl Jung next Friday 2 August, I will share my notes here.

Modern Man in Search of A Soul is a collection of eleven essays by Carl Jung, published in 1933. The provocative theme is the clash between modern scientific rationality and the understandings of human identity that emerge from religious and spiritual traditions. Jung explores the need for soul in psychology, through topics including his break with Freud, his approach to dream analysis, psychological types, archaic man, and the spiritual problems of modern man. This talk will explore implications of Jung’s analysis of the soul for philosophy, psychology, politics and religion.

The overall theme, perhaps most strongly expressed in the essay on Spiritual Problems of Modern Man, is that rational science by itself provides no meaning for life, so a renewal of religious sentiment, reconciled with reason, is the way to overcome this deep neurosis, even psychosis, of prevailing modern life.

Published in March 1933 just as Hitler came to power, the sense of demonic unconscious forces driving the psychotic mentality of mass politics pervades Jung’s analysis. A starting point is the scale of deception in modern life, with honest confession far harder than deceptive illusion.

And as a result, half formed ideas acquire a popular certainty, with the unconscious power of myth seen most vividly for Jung in the violent opposition to Freud, by those who believe illusions on principle.


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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
In his essay Problems of Modern Psychotherapy, Jung explains catharsis as essential, calling for meditative mystery practice to regain contact with true identity as soul.

Finding out what we have repressed enables us to gain self-awareness and freedom, both for accomplishment and from neurosis.

True confessors bridge the abyss covered by deceptive illusion. Scale of ideology is a key element of loss of soul in modern world. Who we really are is hidden and forgotten as a festering unconscious secret.

The Freudian method uncovers shadow side of systemic psychological concealment, so provokes violent reaction from those who believe illusions on principle.

Uncovering information does not explain the radiant power of myth but only shows causal aspects. Freud’s mistake was to assume reduction was adequate explanation without recognising the whole.

Exposing pettiness of prevailing culture forces cultural relativism, recognition of validity of other ways to see how our ideas mould us unawares.

Creative transformation is needed to overcome boredom and the hopeless sterility of normal life through psychology as means of healthy self-development.


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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
The Aims of Pyschotherapy argues that the chaotic status of psychology as a science shows the lack of consensus on method, and especially in the range of views about imagination and will, and on the principle of therapy for neurosis.

We should not exclude divergent opinions as they only arise in response to a prevalent experience. For example Freud’s sexual reduction is itself a spiritual current in modern life, a manifestation of the collective psyche, showing how contradictory opinions can be equally valid in applied psychology.

Human personality displays strong contrasts between spiritual and material attitudes, reflecting ingrained passions.

The ability of the unconscious to resolve psychological obstacles is shown in myth and fairy stories finding a hidden way eg in dreams. Therefore we find priceless analogies in mythology, as a basis to find meaning from fantasy as creative tap root of instinct.

Neurosis often arises from overly rational assumptions that blind us to religion. Symbols can free us by giving form to inner experience, to help overcome confusion between self and ego.

Creativity arises from archaic symbols, seeing how to integrate mind and heart by interpreting and understanding art.

Illusions are actual for the psyche, including in common stories of the real.


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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
Psychology of Types – link to search for soul in the ambiguity of psyche, whole range of possible interpretations, extravert, introvert, intuitive, sensing

Seeing character as fixed but enigmatic, durable form of personality, traits as descriptors of soul, intimate intermingling of mind and body in enigmatic oneness, renders soul obscured by conscious deception, arbitrary opinion, immediate awareness of privacy, with others often knowing us better than we know ourselves.

The extravert/introvert spectrum is like the grouping of elements in chemistry or biology, but not amenable to such exact measurement.

Autonomous complexes of the psyche resist our conscious intentions, relating to the weak spots of conflict and unresolved problems that have not been assimilated by our public face, but with striking variation dependent on personal character, for example in how we react to obstacles.

New vogue of astrology as an objective theory of types.

Psychology needs criteria from average truths observed in individuals, with statistical observation of active and passive personality types linked to reflectiveness, E/I scale, essential basis of character seen in habitual reactions.

Problem of chaos of arbitrary opinion makes development of criteria to measure the soul difficult, requiring subtle analysis of instinct, as basis for assessment of thinking versus feeling types.

Similarly, differing personality types tend either to rely on conscious sense perception or on intuition using the unconscious, with emphasis on one at the expense of the other.


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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
The Stages of Life. Dilemma: Consciousness consists of the turn away from instinct to control by reason, yet our instinctive habits form the durable stable base of character that we identify with soul.

Character cannot be replaced by Promethean conquest. Christianity involves necessary symbols of spirit over nature. Standing against the fall of man places reason as the sun, creating a taboo against obscurity in favour of clarity.

Psychology of the soul must penetrate dark secrets of denied problems, the fateful fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Growth of personality sees subjective ego confront limits through stages – anarchy, monarchy, duality – inner psychic disturbance when we dig to illusions that contradict reality – aim to create higher vision of social being.

Utility is lode star with roots in world that fails to develop culture, renouncing unattainable ideals.

Achievement which society rewards are won at the cost of diminution of personality, creating depression, neurosis and rigid intolerance.

Religion can serve as school for older people, enabling us to look within in order to make longevity worthwhile, must have evolutionary purpose to cultivate culture as guardians of mystery.

US culture worships youth, a wrong conclusion. Must seek art of life to find soul. Science rejects belief and interiority. A directed life is always more rich and fulfilling and healthy than an aimless life. Teaching of the hereafter is part of psychic hygiene, as necessary as salt even though we do not know why.

Using primordial images older than history, give fullest life in harmony with symbols as basis of wisdom – conditions of imagination incommensurable with science. Groundwork of psyche.

Archetypes of collective unconscious as psychic organs, mean our metabolism atrophies when our idea of God is discordant.


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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
Link to video recording and text of my talk on Modern Man in Search of a Soul at Canberra Jung Society, 2 August 2019


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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
Quote:
so a renewal of religious sentiment, reconciled with reason, is the way to overcome this deep neurosis, even psychosis, of prevailing modern life.

But is "reconciled with reason" from Jung himself, or from you? I only ask because on its face it seems that it can't be both ways if one is going to sense the world with one's whole brain, instead of intellectualize it through the cerebrum. Thus, I wonder if Jung actually insisted upon reason.

Carl Jung has to my mind an antique flavor, originating in a previous era of psychology before biology and data analysis had taken over the field, which includes psychiatry. His focus on "neurosis" is an example of this bygone aspect of psychiatry. To "recover" him, to put him in more modern terms, would be a good idea--if this can be done at all given his bases. I think of his affinity for "as above, so below," (i.e., astrology) and the related belief in synchronicity, deterministic personality types, and the collective unconscious as possible obstacles to acceptance from most contemporaries. If scientific rationalism indeed reduces spiritual health, it might be that Jung's mix of psychology and religion is not the prescription that will work. But this isn't to say that Jung lacks all relevance, any more than Freud does. There is probably a distillation that would show how Jung advanced understanding of the mind or curbed the excesses of behaviorism.

The Jungian-based Myers-Briggs Personality inventory has little validity despite its popularity. Jung can't be held responsible for every application of his theories, though.



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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
DWill wrote:
Quote:
so a renewal of religious sentiment, reconciled with reason, is the way to overcome this deep neurosis, even psychosis, of prevailing modern life.

But is "reconciled with reason" from Jung himself, or from you?
The emphasis on reason is from Jung, who entirely rejects any irrational supernatural metaphysics in his approach to psychology. He equally rejects the modern rational argument, celebrated in Wittgenstein’s famous dictum that “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”.

Instead Jung insists that all seemingly miraculous claims in religion must be interpreted as symbolic parables, not actual events, and that this imaginal reading supplies deep meaning. Such symbolic interpretation involves a level of respect for mythology that Jung argues is not shown by the ideology of modern science. A good illustration of this problem is Jung’s argument that the nature of the soul is intrinsically obscure, but rather than allowing this to frame analysis, the rationalistic method prefers to say that a topic that cannot be made clear cannot even be discussed.
DWill wrote:
I only ask because on its face it seems that it can't be both ways if one is going to sense the world with one's whole brain, instead of intellectualize it through the cerebrum. Thus, I wonder if Jung actually insisted upon reason.
Jung did insist upon reason, recognising the validity of what is often called left brain thinking, while arguing that reason must be balanced by religion, drawing heavily on symbol and emotion, what we call right brain thinking. The two methods of thinking must be balanced with each other. Jung’s emphasis on the process of individuation, coming to an understanding of our personal identity in an integrated way, requires the reconciliation of these often opposing elements of psychology.
DWill wrote:

Carl Jung has to my mind an antique flavor, originating in a previous era of psychology before biology and data analysis had taken over the field, which includes psychiatry. His focus on "neurosis" is an example of this bygone aspect of psychiatry.
The removal of neurosis from the American psychological lexicon of DSM4 in 1980 was a controversial step. Modern Man In Search of a Soul has a number of essays that challenge the medical thinking in modern science with its exclusion of spiritual ideas and imagery. Jung objects that much about the psyche is inherently unclear, but the modern restriction of interest to topics that are clearly amenable to scientific reduction involves a loss of therapeutic accuracy and healing insight.
DWill wrote:
To "recover" him, to put him in more modern terms, would be a good idea--if this can be done at all given his bases. I think of his affinity for "as above, so below," (i.e., astrology) and the related belief in synchronicity, deterministic personality types, and the collective unconscious as possible obstacles to acceptance from most contemporaries.
I recently gave a talk on the As Above So Below idea. Obviously this idea can be lampooned as astrological magic, but equally it provides the intellectual underpinning for the scientific principle of universal consistency, the assumption that the same laws of physics apply throughout the universe, 'on earth as in heaven'. With synchronicity, I disagree with Jung’s postulation of an 'acausal' principle, but rather wonder how seemingly unconnected events may actually be connected by deeper causal processes than have as yet been explained by our level of knowledge. I regard the collective unconscious as a particularly important idea linking faith and reason, as describing the overall direction of culture discussed by Jung against the speculative religious idea of a world soul. While that may sound supernatural to some critics, it seems entirely plausible that culture obeys deeply embedded patterns that operate at a collective unconscious level.
DWill wrote:
If scientific rationalism indeed reduces spiritual health, it might be that Jung's mix of psychology and religion is not the prescription that will work. But this isn't to say that Jung lacks all relevance, any more than Freud does. There is probably a distillation that would show how Jung advanced understanding of the mind or curbed the excesses of behaviorism.
I personally like Jung’s mix. For example in my recent talk I offered the following comments: “Here Jung investigates the gulf between neuroscience and psychotherapy due to the division between medical and psychic methods of treatment. Psyche is a neglected causal factor in disease, against the scientific medical focus on material causation, with its assumption that psyche did not exist. Jung sees mind as the crux of neurosis as a pathogenic factor, with the psychological challenge to construct a wholistic vision, in contrast to the reductive effort of Freud and Adler to explain neurosis by instinct.

Modern scientific method with its sole focus on material causation ignores the fictional and imaginative processes that give meaning in life, disregarding the religious view that only spiritual meaning sets us free. Science provides excellent common sense, but has no answer to spiritual suffering and inner meaning. The therapeutic challenge is to provide a patient with meaning and form to answer the confusion of the neurotic mind. At this point, the doctor must hand over to the clergy or the philosopher, or abandon the patient to unsolvable perplexity. The deep message Jung suggests for the treatment of neurosis is that illness arises from lack of love, faith, hope and insight, problems that can only be solved by great and wise teachers who grasp the meaning of life and the world. Such high achievements are gifts of grace, requiring total commitment of our whole being to liberating experience and self knowledge, but how?

The collapse of religion means clergy are incapable of providing psychological therapy, but instead in Jung’s view can provide only empty words rather than conversation about the ultimate questions of the soul. Jung sees the popular exodus from church as proof that admonitions to believe are inadequate. Meanwhile he finds it astonishing that clergy seek help in Freud and Adler theories that are hostile to spiritual values, hindering realization of meaningful experience. The majority stand in spiritual alienation, looking to psychology rather than the church, seeing theology as irrelevant to treatment of human problems. Indifference to religion grows side by side with growth of neuroses. The modern world has an ineradicable aversion for inherited truths. Jung’s outlook is that spiritual standards have lost validity, leading to the broad need to experiment in face of feeling that dogma has grown empty. He says modern people no longer feel redeemed by the death of Christ, as the story has lost its meaning and promise. This pervasive meaningless mood causes disturbance of unconscious, generating neurosis.”


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Post Re: Jung: Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
Quote:
The emphasis on reason is from Jung, who entirely rejects any irrational supernatural metaphysics in his approach to psychology. He equally rejects the modern rational argument, celebrated in Wittgenstein’s famous dictum that “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”.

Instead Jung insists that all seemingly miraculous claims in religion must be interpreted as symbolic parables, not actual events, and that this imaginal reading supplies deep meaning. Such symbolic interpretation involves a level of respect for mythology that Jung argues is not shown by the ideology of modern science. A good illustration of this problem is Jung’s argument that the nature of the soul is intrinsically obscure, but rather than allowing this to frame analysis, the rationalistic method prefers to say that a topic that cannot be made clear cannot even be discussed.

To start with, I appreciate the unstinting responses you make to all who comment. You must have one of the busiest intellectual lives going, so, again, your careful and thorough replies are appreciated--I'm sure not just by me.

My question about reason might not be a good one. Reason is undefined, flexible. It was once undisputed that reason must have at its center belief in an almighty God. So it can be reasonable to believe anything that is not too obviously beyond the limits of what experience and science have revealed. It isn't reasonable to believe in a flat earth. But where experience and science have not been able to litigate the truth, as in those topics "that cannot be made clear," there is a wide range of reasonable discussion. But in those cases, it must be true that some faculty other than reasoning, narrowly defined, is being employed. Call the faculty sensing or intuition if you want. The point I would make is that if scientific rationalism fails to capture the essence of being, there should be a name for what does succeed better, and that would not involve reason, again narrowly defined. Religion and myth have always issued from this other quality of mind. The problem for some is that, being loosed from naturalism and reason, the supernatural comes into view, and not just in the specific form of Bible miracles. There is a reluctance, though, on the part of progressive, educated people to be seen as trafficking in anything supernatural.
Quote:
Jung did insist upon reason, recognising the validity of what is often called left brain thinking, while arguing that reason must be balanced by religion, drawing heavily on symbol and emotion, what we call right brain thinking. The two methods of thinking must be balanced with each other. Jung’s emphasis on the process of individuation, coming to an understanding of our personal identity in an integrated way, requires the reconciliation of these often opposing elements of psychology.

The entire argument seems to be, for you, that this right-brain thinking employing myth and emotion needs always to be metaphorical. So the content is not belief as much as it is experience, mental or spiritual. There are not necessarily any propositions to be deduced. That would make sense for a program of therapy.
Quote:
The removal of neurosis from the American psychological lexicon of DSM4 in 1980 was a controversial step. Modern Man In Search of a Soul has a number of essays that challenge the medical thinking in modern science with its exclusion of spiritual ideas and imagery. Jung objects that much about the psyche is inherently unclear, but the modern restriction of interest to topics that are clearly amenable to scientific reduction involves a loss of therapeutic accuracy and healing insight.

I'm not sure accuracy was any greater in the heyday of psychoanalysis. With the branching of classifications that has come with successive editions of the DSM, some would say accuracy has been served. Others might say the accuracy is false, because still the "psyche is inherently unclear" despite science. Where I would come probably down on the question is that therapeutic dyad of psychiatry is flawed as a method of delivering relief or insight. Change happens as a result of richer, more immediate experience with other people. I think most psychiatrists and psychologists today would acknowledge that. Most of them don't think the medications they dispense are more than an aid to efforts the patient needs to make outside of the office. It's good that the power-trip age of psychiatry is over.
Quote:
I recently gave a talk on the As Above So Below idea.[/url] Obviously this idea can be lampooned as astrological magic, but equally it provides the intellectual underpinning for the scientific principle of universal consistency, the assumption that the same laws of physics apply throughout the universe, 'on earth as in heaven'.

The metaphor doesn't seem quite right for me if what we have is not top-down--the heavens above providing forces that operate below--but rather an immanence of these forces, in every cell of our bodies. Whirling planets don't have priority over whirling electrons around a nucleus. The cosmology seems outdated.
Quote:
With synchronicity, I disagree with Jung’s postulation of an 'acausal' principle, but rather wonder how seemingly unconnected events may actually be connected by deeper causal processes than have as yet been explained by our level of knowledge.

That would be what I'd call a reasonable speculation that the tools of reasoning have not so far been able to address. Reasoning has, however, been applied to disputing synchronicity (convincingly, for me), and I wonder whether it is disappointment that makes people still resist the laws of coincidence.
Quote:
I regard the collective unconscious as a particularly important idea linking faith and reason, as describing the overall direction of culture discussed by Jung against the speculative religious idea of a world soul. While that may sound supernatural to some critics, it seems entirely plausible that culture obeys deeply embedded patterns that operate at a collective unconscious level.

Sounding supernatural wouldn't be a flaw in itself. Probably, a few accepted scientific ideas sounded supernatural at one time. But there may be some limit science will always face with some "things that cannot be made clear."
Quote:
I personally like Jung’s mix. For example in my recent talk I offered the following comments: “Here Jung investigates the gulf between neuroscience and psychotherapy due to the division between medical and psychic methods of treatment. Psyche is a neglected causal factor in disease, against the scientific medical focus on material causation, with its assumption that psyche did not exist. Jung sees mind as the crux of neurosis as a pathogenic factor, with the psychological challenge to construct a wholistic vision, in contrast to the reductive effort of Freud and Adler to explain neurosis by instinct.

Modern scientific method with its sole focus on material causation ignores the fictional and imaginative processes that give meaning in life, disregarding the religious view that only spiritual meaning sets us free. Science provides excellent common sense, but has no answer to spiritual suffering and inner meaning. The therapeutic challenge is to provide a patient with meaning and form to answer the confusion of the neurotic mind. At this point, the doctor must hand over to the clergy or the philosopher, or abandon the patient to unsolvable perplexity. The deep message Jung suggests for the treatment of neurosis is that illness arises from lack of love, faith, hope and insight, problems that can only be solved by great and wise teachers who grasp the meaning of life and the world. Such high achievements are gifts of grace, requiring total commitment of our whole being to liberating experience and self knowledge, but how?

The collapse of religion means clergy are incapable of providing psychological therapy, but instead in Jung’s view can provide only empty words rather than conversation about the ultimate questions of the soul. Jung sees the popular exodus from church as proof that admonitions to believe are inadequate. Meanwhile he finds it astonishing that clergy seek help in Freud and Adler theories that are hostile to spiritual values, hindering realization of meaningful experience. The majority stand in spiritual alienation, looking to psychology rather than the church, seeing theology as irrelevant to treatment of human problems. Indifference to religion grows side by side with growth of neuroses. The modern world has an ineradicable aversion for inherited truths. Jung’s outlook is that spiritual standards have lost validity, leading to the broad need to experiment in face of feeling that dogma has grown empty. He says modern people no longer feel redeemed by the death of Christ, as the story has lost its meaning and promise. This pervasive meaningless mood causes disturbance of unconscious, generating neurosis.”

That is compelling and eloquent.



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Robert Tulip
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