Sunday, July 11, 2021

Memories, dreams, reflections / Carl Jung - Summary

Memories, dreams, reflections (original German title Erinnerungen, Träume, Gedanken ) is a work by Carl Jung in collaboration with Aniela Jaffé . The work is partly an autobiography of Jung, and partly derived from rare documents and conversations with Aniela Jaffé.The book chronicles Jung's childhood, his personal life and his exploration of the human psyche. Jung himself defines it in its most difficult parts as a form of self - analysis .

In the introduction Jaffé explains the origin of the work, a proposal by Kurt Wolff to the psychoanalyst in the summer of 1956 . Even though she was in her eighties, Jung accepted calmly, knowing the help that Jaffé would give; beginning to find his childhood memories, little by little he became very passionate about this autobiographical work.

Jung thinks that each of his books "is the work of fate": "Writing down my earliest memories has become a need, and if I neglect to do so even for a single day, immediately unpleasant physical symptoms ensue, which disappear as soon as I get to work."

Thus came the first chapters and the last thoughts , the most intimate and profound chapter of inner experiences. The problem of the "religious nature" of the soul also takes on importance from a psychiatric point of view .

Ancient memories 
According to Jung , one's life is to tell "a self-realization of the unconscious ": an " individual myth " that represents us "with greater precision than science ". Dreams and imaginations, even from early childhood, are part of the inner experiences that represent us in the world, and their memory is part of the general meaning of all human life.

The first memory of Jung's life dates back to 2-3 years: he is in the pram under a tree, the sun in the leaves under the summer sky:
"I see the sun shining through the leaves and flowers of the bushes, and everything seems wonderful to me, full of color."

He also remembers to keep his head on the maid's shoulder, her dark neck and ear, and all of this gave him a sense of stranger / familiar at the same time: this kind of "stranger / known" woman is destined to become a member of his. soul , and to symbolize "the essence of femininity". Still around the age of 4-5, J. has his first "conscious trauma": while playing in front of the house, all of a sudden he sees a man dressed in black approaching the street; Carl escapes into the house and hides for a long time in the attic, without imagining that he was "a harmless Catholic priest".
The first dream that Carl remembers is at the age of 4: a meadow, a stone staircase in the subsoil, which led to a golden throne, and above it stands a "strange mysterious body" with only one eye; the mother cries: "Yes, look at him! That is the devourer of men!". After decades Carl will interpret the erect body as a ritual phallus .

Jung dwells in chapter V on Sigmund Freud, and is a "completion" to the many works on him. At the age of 25 he reads Traumdeutung and considers it very important for the concept of "mechanism of repression"; however, he does not agree on the contents of the repression, which in his opinion do not depend solely on sexual trauma. Jung admits that he defended Freud at the beginning, because, even if he said some very important news, then he was "persona non grata in the academic world" and this was not right; however, he did not agree with him that all neuroses "were caused by sexual repression."