The Undiscovered Self: With Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams

The Undiscovered Self: With Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams

The Undiscovered Self: With Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams

The Undiscovered Self: With Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams

Synopsis

These two essays, written late in Jung's life, reflect his responses to the shattering experience of World War II and the dawn of mass society. Among his most influential works, "The Undiscovered Self" is a plea for his generation--and those to come--to continue the individual work of self-discovery and not abandon needed psychological reflection for the easy ephemera of mass culture. Only individual awareness of both the conscious and unconscious aspects of the human psyche, Jung tells us, will allow the great work of human culture to continue and thrive.


Jung's reflections on self-knowledge and the exploration of the unconscious carry over into the second essay, "Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams," completed shortly before his death in 1961. Describing dreams as communications from the unconscious, Jung explains how the symbols that occur in dreams compensate for repressed emotions and intuitions. This essay brings together Jung's fully evolved thoughts on the analysis of dreams and the healing of the rift between consciousness and the unconscious, ideas that are central to his system of psychology.


This paperback edition of Jung's classic work includes a new foreword by Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Professor of Jung History at University College London.

Excerpt

READING JUNG AFTER THE RED BOOK

With the publication of Liber Novus—Jung’s Red Book —a new chapter opens in the reading of Jung’s works. For the first time, one is in a position to grasp the constitution of Jung’s work from 1914 onward, and to trace the intimate connections between his selfexperimentation and his attempts to determine the typical features of this process through his work with his patients and translate his insights into a language acceptable to a medical and scientific public. Thus, reading Liber Novus brings with it the task of rereading Jung’s Collected Works—much of which appears in a wholly new light.

In the winter of 1913, Jung embarked on a process of selfexperimentation. He deliberately gave free rein to his fantasy thinking and carefully noted what ensued. He later called this process “active imagination.” He wrote down these fantasies in the Black Books. These are not personal diaries, but rather the records of a selfexperimentation. The dialogues that form these active imaginations can be regarded as a type of thinking in a dramatic form.

When World War I broke out, Jung considered that a number of his fantasies were precognitions of this event. This led him to compose the first draft of Liber Novus, which consisted of a transcription of the main fantasies from the Black Books, together with a layer of interpretive commentaries and lyrical elaboration. Here Jung attempted to derive general psychological principles from the fantasies, as well as to understand to what extent the events portrayed in the fantasies presented, in a symbolic form, developments that were to occur in the world.

Jung recopied the manuscript in an ornate Gothic script into a large red leather folio volume, which he illustrated with his own paintings.

C. G. Jung, The Red Book, edited and introduced by Sonu Shamdasani and translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Series (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009).

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