C. G. JUNG: The Haunted Prophet by Paul J. Stern

C. G. JUNG: The Haunted Prophet

Email this review


This brief, clear-eyed study is a welcome antidote to the fervent but clumsy hagiography of Laurens van der Post's Jung and the Story of Our Time (1975). Stem's approach--mildly debunking but not unsympathetic--reflects an ambivalent conviction that Jung fathered both a great deal of self-indulgent pseudo-scientific nonsense and an urgently necessary ""cultural process of the redefinition of reality."" Perhaps too glibly, he interprets the break with Freud as the decisive psychic event of Jung's career, a precipitating trauma which thrust the younger man into violent confrontation with his own near-psychotic energies. He distrusts Jung's theoretical embodiments of the resultant hard-won perceptions (notably the introvert-extrovert typologies), and has little use for the supplementary work of Jung's disciples or the sage-of-Bollingen image. Yet he is moved by the man's search for principles of intellectual and pre-conscious unity between primitive and sophisticated societies, and does not dismiss his quest for a metaphor of suprapersonal dynamics in the symbolic language of alchemy. Above all he honors Jung's courageous personal voyage toward recognition of the vast realms beyond conscious rational experience, and his refusal to write off those regions in terms of slippery and over-codified pathologies. He believes that, like it or not, any attempt to confront the aberrations of this age will lead us into territories mapped out however naively by Jung. A lucid and judicious survey.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Braziller