Of Old Fools and Jung Fools Two Scholars Will Challenge Our Aging Myths

By Kathryn Rogers Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 22, 1995 | Go to article overview

Of Old Fools and Jung Fools Two Scholars Will Challenge Our Aging Myths


Kathryn Rogers Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


A COUPLE OF aging Jungians are coming to St. Louis to talk about old age, its blessings and its curses, in a public conversation that promises to be iconoclastic, provocative and - before the evening is over - chock-full of contradictions.

At the St. Louis Art Museum on April 4, James Hillman of Connecticut, an influential critic of psychotherapy with a self-proclaimed "dark eye (and) twisted perception," will be here with Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig of Zurich, Switzerland, an author, lecturer and analytical psychology insider, who was for 12 years president of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich.

Guggenbuhl is 72, and Hillman 68. They are very good friends but, in some ways, are each other's opposite, says Jungian analyst Gary Hartman of St. Louis. Hartman is a consultant to the C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis, which is sponsoring the meeting.

Hillman, says Hartman, has a "bad boy" image and likes to stand outside the institution of psychotherapy and point out its blemishes. He is no longer an analyst by profession.

This year, the Utne Reader named Hillman one of its "100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life." He looks at and appreciates the "dark" side of the mind, believing that what many therapists view as pathology that needs curing actually has value in and of itself.

Guggenbuhl, a pragmatist, also criticizes therapy and analysis, and has written and lectured on the unconscious power lust of people in the helping professions.

But he remains an insider. In addition to serving as president of the Jung Institute, Guggenbuhl was president of the International Society for Analytical Psychology. He still trains analysts at the institute in Zurich.

Hartman says the men "are the sort of premier thinkers most likely to look at all sides" of a condition, including old age.

He considers both men likely to change their minds in the middle of the conversation at the Art Museum, and so contradict themselves in the second half of the evening.

"They both have that mercurial quality to them, of being able to see a variety of facets of anything," he said. "Don't be surprised if they reverse themselves." Following Jung

In their analytical work, Hillman and Guggenbuhl both have expanded on the work of Carl G. Jung, a Swiss psychologist who died in 1961 and who was known for his studies of the unconscious and mythology.

Jung believed fairy and folk tales, myths and Biblical stories actually told in metaphor about the spiritual and psychological journeys of men and women through life.

He contended that along with an individual's personal unconscious, there exists also a "collective unconscious," shared by everyone. From it come images and symbols that represent universal human impulses.

Jung believed evolutionary history established certain psychological patterns in the unconscious that influence human actions. …

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