The Collected Works of C. G. Jung - Vol. 13

The Collected Works of C. G. Jung - Vol. 13

The Collected Works of C. G. Jung - Vol. 13

The Collected Works of C. G. Jung - Vol. 13

Synopsis


Five long essays that trace Jung's developing interest in alchemy from 1929 onward. An introduction and supplement to his major works on the subject, illustrated with 42 patients' drawings and paintings.

Excerpt

My deceased friend, Richard Wilhelm, co-author o£ this book, sent me the text of The Secret of the Golden Flower at a time that was crucial for my own work. This was in 1928. I had been investigating the processes of the collective unconscious since the year 1913, and had obtained results that seemed to me questionable in more than one respect. They not only lay far beyond everything known to “academic” psychology, but they also overstepped the bounds of any medical, purely personal, psychology. They confronted me with an extensive phenomenology to which hitherto known categories and methods could no longer be applied. My results, based on fifteen years of effort, seemed inconclusive, because no possibility of comparison offered itself. I knew of no realm of human experience with which I might have backed up my findings with some degree of assurance. The only analogies—and these, I must say, were far removed in time —I found scattered among the reports of the heresiologists. This connection did not in any way ease my task; on the contrary, it made it more difficult, because the Gnostic systems consist only in small part of immediate psychic experiences, the greater part being speculative and systematizing recensions. Since we possess only very few complete texts, and since most of what is known comes from the reports of Christian opponents, we have, to say the least, an inadequate knowledge of the history as well as the content of this strange and confused literature, which is so difficult to evaluate. Moreover, considering the fact that a period of not less than seventeen to eighteen hundred years separates us from that age, support from that quarter seemed to me extraordinarily risky. Again, the connections were for the most part of a subsidiary nature and left gaps at just the most important points, so that I found it impossible to make use of the Gnostic material.

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