Sunday, July 11, 2021

Jung's Red Book - summary and review

Called The Red Book because the original manuscript consists of folios bound under a red leather cover, Carl Jung's book is an elaborate, meticulously calligraphed and artistically illustrated transcription of material from the notebooks where Jung had initially noted his encounters. and nocturnal traverses (a set of six bound volumes called "the black book"  whose publication is in progress 8 ). Adopting the style of calligraphic manuscripts XV th and XVI th centuries, Jung gave this work done for more than 13 years the formal title of Liber Novus.  “Between calligraphy texts, images, paintings, mandalas and an astonishing wealth of characters from the imagination, mythology and culture, Liber Novus, New Book in Latin, tells the story of a man who lost his soul and goes looking for him. "   proven by events, feeling disoriented and assailed by dark moods, he led these nocturnal explorations by adopting a dramatic plot, that of a man who must find his myth 10, who goes in search of his lost soul. However, the quest proved to be much more profound and universal than a way of healing from one's own personal troubles. Indeed, dreams, visions and fantasies in the form of characters, and his confrontation with them, had to do with all that the Western Christian man of the time rejected for centuries .

Jung qualifies his period of deep introspection and confrontation with visions and images from the unconscious as crucial; his entire work flows from it. “The years that I was listening to the inner images were the most important time of my life, in which all the essential things were decided. Because it is there that these took their rise and the details which followed were only complements, illustrations and clarifications. All my subsequent activity consisted in working out what had sprung from the unconscious over the years and which first inundated me. This was the raw material for the work of a lifetime  . " According to Jungian author James Hillman andSonu Shamdasani , the Liber Novus: "It's Jung without the concepts .... In this text he tries to get rid of as much as possible in order to face the immediacy of his own experience  . " " He indeed uses the language of literature, dramaturgy or poetry. He is using words that are descriptive and concrete to talk about what is going on in the psyche  ... ” In other words, the Red Book contains an elaborate material, a work which had enabled him to appease strong emotional states ("To the extent that I succeeded in translating the emotions that stirred me into images, that is, finding the images that were hidden in the emotions, inner peace set in.  Jung thus traced a path through which he managed to overcome a deep crisis, to avoid collapse, to find his bearings and to give back a meaning to his life. But later this task, difficult and deeply personal, would prove to him of collective importance and relevance. . ”Because, by reflecting on oneself it does not fall, at the deepest level, on its own biography but it becomes indeed an attempt to discover what is quintessential to the human being. 

Thus, his own inner experience, transcribed and imaged in the Red Book, constitutes the starting point from which Jung will develop his concepts and build his theoretical corpus. "His concepts have been of use to others, and part of it was his task as a man of medicine - to provide something for others to guide them through their dark nights in their own hells.  ".