Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011.08.09 — Conversations with Carl Jung and Reactions from Ernest Jones Finished 2011.08.02 & a Fushigi*

When I read the back cover, it struck me that this book is the transcript of a snippet of Jung I saw interviewed on a documentary I saw on Jung and dreams called, I think, The Wisdom of the Dream. (Google confirmed it.) I remember the clip clearly because Jung, who looked old, had a giant old-style microphone hanging from his neck like a giant pendant.

Paraphrased, I remember Jung saying with great emphasis: "The unconscious really is unconscious, and so you can't know. The best that can be done is to infer it by its effects on consciousness."

Well, it turns out that this is indeed the book of that interview, and here is the passage:
Dr. Jung: As soon as research comes to a question of the unconscious, things becomes necessarily blurred, because the unconscious is something which is really unconscious! So you have no object—nothing. You only can make inferences because you can't see it; and so you have to create a model of this possible structure of the unconscious(38).

But on to the grist.

Conversations with Carl Jung & Reactions from Ernest Jones.
by Richard Isadore Evans. D. Van Nostrand Company (Canada) Ltd. (Reinhold), 1964.

Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University. Front row: Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung;
Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi.

Began 2011.07.15; Finished 2011.08.02.

☆☆☆☆ out of ☆☆☆☆☆.

This blog is not my review of why this book just barely eked four stars, but because of a bizarre fushigi that arose on the last day I read it. And, to add a bit of irony to the synchronicity-petite, it arose from Sigmund Freud's biographer, Ernest Jones, citing Freud cautioning about man's place in the natural environment:
Dr. Evans: Now another important problem, articulated not so long ago by Julian Huxley, deals with the conflict between the extreme advances in man's technological development and his very limited socio-psychological development. For example, means have been created technologically that could destroy all mankind, while our socio-psychological development, our ability in human relations, has not come far enough to insure us against such an event.

Dr. Jones: Yes, I've written something on that very matter. As a matter of fact, the third volume of my Freud biography finishes on that note, so please allow me to read the final paragraphs. They deal with those two fundamental instincts that Freud worked on so much — the sexual and the aggressive:
When we consider the breath-taking achievements of man in art and in science, we must judge there are no limits foreseeable to his power to attain happiness and security. But this vision is offset by one as somber as that is glowing. In it are three main strands. The advances in medical science, which are now bound to continue rapidly, combined with the increase in general prosperity, have diminished the natural selection of quality. They have also brought about such an enormous increase in quantity of population that the time cannot be far distant when the resources of the earth to sustain it will be seriously strained. Moreover, greed and lack of foresight have not only failed to nourish those resources, ultimately the soil and the minerals of the earth's crust, but are ruining them at a truly alarming pace. Still graver is the consideration that man's destructive powers have been so fortified by the recently acquired knowledge of new weapons that it is now within his reach to achieve devastation beside which the efforts of an Attila, a Timurlane or a Genghis Khan are but the puny gestures of an infant. It is now no longer massacre that is threatened, but the possible extinction of all life on this planet. There needs only a madman in the seat of authority of the kind we have just witnessed to set this holocaust ablaze, nor can we be sure that someone less mad may not bring it about.

Amid the turmoil of conflicting ideas in which we live, in the spheres of art, of science, and above all of politics where statesmen of towering importance can display in their savagery, fear and unreasonableness, all the worst features of an undisciplined nursery, there seems to be one proposition commanding nearly universal assent. The control man has secured over nature has far outrun his control over himself. Man's unhappiness and the threats of doom overhanging him proceed from this unassailable truth. Man's chief enemy and danger is his own unruly nature and the dark forces pent up within him (p140-1).

So, now comes the fushigi: later that afternoon I saw on the TV-News a story about something called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which if you haven't heard of it, is where man's plastic waste collects because of the natural tidal patterns, in the North Pacific Gyre. The mass of garbage is reported to be about the size of Texas! Here's one small image:
Photo Courtesy of treehugger.com. Go to link to see other interesting photos.