The Red Book has been described as Jung’s creative response to the threat of madness, yet it has also been seen as a deliberate exercise in self-analysis. I believe it’s likely both. When creating The Red Book, Jung knew he was on the verge of madness, and he also knew his analytical skills and expertise as a psychiatrist were his best chance at alleviating suffering, if not creating the conditions for transformation.
In many regards, The Red Book reads like a healing journey — a phrase often used to describe the reclaiming of self after a history of abuse — which is a transformative period that happens for many people committed to overcoming early life trauma. On the way to an authentic self there is first the need to step away from the person one became to survive abuse. Those confronted with this journey often experience a period of ‘going crazy’ on their way to establishing an authentic sense of self.
As The Red Book shows, individuation is a blessed curse. It opens the way to becoming one’s authentic self, and yet also the risk of alienation from the ‘tribe’. Childhood trauma survivors often know this conundrum intimately. Transformation requires a significant reorienting away from the beliefs, feelings, fantasies, and body states that made possible living in traumatizing conditions. Invariably, there is a part of the self that has gone unacknowledged or rejected, and aches to be reclaimed.
In The Red Book Jung found a process for continually rediscovering authenticity. As he often remarked, individuation is an ongoing journey and not an endpoint reached. Jung also intimated the need for what I called in an earlier post leaps of faith: turning away from the larger world’s expectations and towards one’s inner world of wisdom with acceptance and curiosity.
This quote from The Red Book inspires the impulse to creatively go forth into all that you are:
“Woe betide those who live by way of examples! Life is not with them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself? So live yourselves.
“The signposts have fallen, unblazed trails lie before us. Do not be greedy to gobble up the fruits of foreign fields. Do you not know that you yourselves are the fertile acre which bears everything that avails you?”
Jung knew such a ‘leap of faith’ is not easy. He also wrote:
“To live oneself means: to be one’s own task. Never say that it is a pleasure to live oneself. It will be no joy but a long suffering since you must become your own creator.”
But he gives helpful advice for the journey, particularly how to live if the world feels contrary to whom you are becoming. Then you must learn to be your own guide:
“To certain things of the world I must say: you should not be thus, but you should be different. Yet first I look carefully at their nature, otherwise I cannot change it. I proceed in the same way with certain thoughts. You change those things of the world that, not being useful in themselves, endanger your welfare. Proceed likewise with your thoughts. Nothing is complete, and much is in dispute. The way of life is transformation, not exclusion. Well-being is a better judge than the law.”
Reprinted in full with permission by the original author Laura K. Kerr, Ph.D, who moderates the blog, Trauma’s Labyrinth: Finding Ways Out Of Trauma. Laura K. Kerr is a mental health scholar, blogger and trauma-focused psychotherapist. [Her] focus is on healing, with special attention to trauma, modernity, and mental health systems of care.
- Lament of the Dead: Psychology after Jung’s Red Book – A Discussion, Part 1 (margaretmikkelborg.com)
- Shopping Our Way To Extinction (laurakkerr.wordpress.com)
- The Red Book and Psychological Types (carljungdepthpsychology.blogspot.com)
Living with persisting trauma memories is tough. Involuntarily triggered by events, or people, or places, or thoughts, or feelings . . . well, anything can be a trigger, actually . . . these intrusive, searing memories will turn one’s life inside out. Recovery from traumatic experience is tough as well, and achieving a sense of safety is essential to successful recovery. Rothschild’s brief, personable, and accessible book directly targets safe, successful recovery in a way that compels and convinces the reader. If trauma memories impact your life or that of someone you know or treat in a healthcare setting, you need this book. Because of the importance of this material, and because I want this to be a bit more than a mere review, I will be discussing this book in a two-part post…
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The philosophy of Dharma is a beautiful one; one that describes a grasp of Love for all beings, in whatever form they take in the world. That Love is not conditional, that it does not come with guarantees and that promise to pay is not a part of the Great Love. But Love can become a parody, as well. For instance, I Love Stephen and allways will, but I do not Love every one, but nor do I hate, nor would I wish upon anyone any harm or ill well, nor would I deny someone a hand should they ask. The reason being for that philosophy is that most people are not willing/able to accept Love, and it would be a kind of idiot compassion to project Great Love to someone who would reject or become scared by it, as you can place yourself in a vicious circle of victim consciousness (see videos below). To other people, I can become an instrument to be used and then discarded (as they view all other people). It is possible to live amicably in the world without loving on all planes of consciousness in the world. It is possible to be kind without loving all of humanity. I do not love all of humanity, yet I do not hate them, because not all humans can accept Love or feel that they are deserving of Love. Would that humanity were different, that we could all be as Powder speaks, and yet, we (as a whole) are not. At least, not at this time.
Would I speak to someone who hated me, who wanted to harm me? No, that would be idiot compassion. Would I help someone who was only manipulating me? No, that would be idiot compassion. These are lessons that I have learnt. I do not hate humanity either. I used to. I used to be very misanthropic and self-deprecating, but I have let that go. There is no one to blame, in order to do so; I would have to blame us all. There is no great monster upon whose shoulders stones can be cast….so, hatred is not necessary. But neither can every one alive be trusted or Loved fully. Does that mean it is not possible to live fully in the world, no I do not think so. I think were I to make believe that everyone loves everyone totally and completely and unconditionally or that Love can be on all planes of consciousness/existence would make it so that I could not live fully in the world. Love to me, is like a deep friendship, a bond that cannot be broken save by those in the friendship. On this matter, I agree with Alan Watts and the others. I just do not punish those whom I do not love, because I do not think punishment is a very good learning tool. But I do think to love all of humanity in its current state is a parody of love.
It is possible to engage and to achieve Dharma without that kind of depth of Love for all of humankind, because understanding, honoring, and accepting are a great part of living fully. It is possible to be kind without it being known to the party receiving that kindness, it is possible to be kind without love. Kindness comes from understanding/ comprehension/perception as well
Liberation will come, but will it come from Love? I do not know. Liberation arises out of kindness, empathy, sympathy, compassion, understanding, comprehension, acceptance, help, generosity, example, sharing, caring, etc. as well as a Love (on a higher plane of consciousness). This is what I have learnt, what I see in the world. I hope humans one day in some time will be All Love. I hope I am around in some form to witness. In the meantime, I ride the wave and see what I can see, and explore, and embark upon adventures, and find pleasure in finding these things out…following scents on the wind.
Yes, I am speaking of Love in its profound sense, rather than its sentimental/emotional sense. Love can be expressed emotionally, yes, but I do not see it as an emotion. I see Love as a state of being, same as many of the states of being usually attributed to “mere” emotion. I see emotions as much more complex than feeling sad or angry (the idea that sadness is expressed with tears or that anger is expressed with loud voices). Emotions are far more subtle, and are included in the state of being known as Love. I think it is why sometimes when we are happy we may cry, or we can be extremely calm and quiet when we are angry, or we can be even more kind when we hate. Emotions are not so black and white. So, I speak of Love from the state of being (the profound sense). In this way, although it is a parody of Love to speak to all people we encounter with Love (i.e., would you tell the person you just met in the café and had a wonderful conversation that you love them? Yet you may do this to the person with whom you are most intimate, your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/significant other, yes? You would not hesitate to spontaneously say to that person “I Love you” should they do something that you find yourself suddenly filled with the compulsion to say so? But you would not do this with the “stranger” seated next to you, even though they may do something as profound? This is what I mean in the difference between love as a parody and Love on a different plane). So, it is possible to have the heart open all the time (or as much as possible) to have Love, and yet, not project in this realm, where it is parodied.
- Daily Inspiration: Something About Love And Compassion (awakenedlifenow.com)
- Love as Therapy (sorendreier.com)
- A Shift: Emotions vs. Feelings (jennylvoe.com)
- When Empathy Hurts, Compassion Can Heal (freshwaddabrooks.com)
More than a century ago, scientists discovered something usual about how people with schizophrenia move their eyes. The men, psychologist and inventor Raymond Dodge and psychiatrist Allen Diefendorf, were trying out one of Dodge’s inventions: an early incarnation of the modern eye tracker. When they used it on psychiatric patients, they found that most of their subjects with schizophrenia had a funny way of following a moving object with their eyes.
When a healthy person watches a smoothly moving object (say, an airplane crossing the sky), she tracks the plane with a smooth, continuous eye movement to match its displacement. This action is called smooth pursuit. But smooth pursuit isn’t smooth for most patients with schizophrenia. Their eyes often fall behind and they make a series of quick, tiny jerks to catch up or even dart ahead of their target. For the better part of a century, this…
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Our society likes to portray obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as a cute quirk, a goofy, if irritating, eccentricity. It is not. For the person undergoing OCD experience, it is a form of mental terrorism.
This terrorism takes the form of what psychologists call ‘intrusive thoughts’ — unwanted, painful thoughts or images that invade one’s consciousness, triggering profound fear and anxiety. This is the ‘obsessive’ part of OCD, and it can arise in even the most mundane circumstances. Sitting here typing, for example, I sometimes feel modest pain in my fingers, and my mind kicks into gear: You’re typing too much and causing permanent damage to your hands. Feel those little irritations at the second knuckle of your left ring finger? Those are the harbingers of arthritis. This is how it starts.
read the rest of the article by Matt Bieber here at Aeon.
“Naturally I compensated my inner insecurity by an outward show of security, or — to put it better — the defect compensated itself without the intervention of my will. That is, I found myself being guilty and at the same time wishing to be innocent. Somewhere deep in the background I always knew that I was two persons. One was the son of my parents who went to school and was less intelligent, attentive, hard-working, decent, and clean than many other boys. The other was grown up — old, in fact — skeptical, mistrustful, remote from the world of men, but close to nature, the earth, the sun, the moon, the weather, all living creatures, and above all close to the night, to dreams, and to whatever “God” worked directly in him.” (p. 44, The Red Book by Carl Jung)
“On the contrary, it is played out in every individual. In my life No. 2 has been of prime importance, and I have always tried to make room for anything that wanted to come from within. He is a typical figure, but he is perceived only by the very few. Most people’s conscious understanding is not sufficient to realize that he is also what they are.” (p. 45, The Red Book by Carl Jung)
- CG Jung And The ‘Leap Of Faith’ Into Individuation (beyondmeds.com)
- CG Jung And The ‘Leap Of Faith’ Into Individuation (scottfree2b.wordpress.com)
- Fantasy [the basis of Active Imagination] in Psychological Types and The Red Book: (carljungdepthpsychology.blogspot.com)
- Madness (minnieeve.wordpress.com)
I’d like to go home
but I have to go to the bathroom
and they won’t let me see the stars
I’ll give you a doughnut
because I haven’t got anymore
I want to go to Disneyhome
but Mickey’s dead
God looks at me from the sky
I can see the eyes of
Shut up! she said
I told her somebody stole
the walls are missing
where did my feet go
I can smell your armpits, Mister
The hallway’s flooded with blood
because somebody farted
now the toilet smells like
When I comb my hair pieces
of wood fall out
My brother eats maggots with
his bare feet
My feet went home
Can I go too
I hear dogs calling my name
They don’t know the TV’s on
Oprah’s interviewing Justin Bieber’s
My mom’s in the audience
with her pet home on a leash
Jim Morrison is singing in my
But I can’t hear the water
Was that the doorbell
Someone let the table out
I want to go home
but the silverware left without me
Is it my fault the bed’s on fire
oh, it is
I don’t sleep in a cloud full
Want to go outside and play
in the weeds
the roaches won’t care
They’re too busy picking curtains
at the supermarket
Go away but I lost 10 pounds
*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC lisence)–
“cognitive-symptoms-of-schizophrenia-03″ by Life Mental Health
“catatonic-schizophrenia-symptoms-01″ by Life Mental Health
“Thousand Plateaus Drawing” by Magda Wojtyra
“diaptych(left) :: mess-up 1/1 mess-age” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois
“diaptych(right) :: mess-up N/N mess-age” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois
- Terence Mckenna – Schizophrenic or Shamanic? (nikotheorb.wordpress.com)
- Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego) (nikotheorb.wordpress.com)
- Schizophrenia: ‘I felt like I’d been given a life sentence’ | Mary O’Hara (theguardian.com)
- Why drugging all schizophrenics for life is not the answer (sott.net)
- Dani Garavelli: A victory for mental illness awareness (scotsman.com)
- Childhood Schizophrenia (simoncoxall.wordpress.com)
- Egolessness/schizophrenia (nikotheorb.wordpress.com)
- the schizophrenic us. (contemporarycrap.wordpress.com)
- The voices in your head are culturally specific (boingboing.net)
I’ve just found one of the best discussions on the importance and limits of the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder on a programme from the Why Factor on BBC World Service.
It’s a brief programme, only 18 minutes long, but packs in a remarkably incisive look at PTSD that tackles its causes, its cultural limits and its increasing use as an all-purpose folk description for painful reactions to difficult events.
Both compassionate and critical, it’s one of the best discussions of post-trauma and its diagnosis I have heard for a while.
It is this hard wiring that must be reprogrammed, not so much in individual persons, but in the DNA of humanity itself. The gene must be turned back on. Like reversing the damage done by centuries of the civilized life, well, reversing it without returning to the original point, so a new point to begin evolving. In the civilized life, we forget that we are animals and start believing that we are superior. We start believing that the abilities of mental acuity makes us formidable and beyond reproach. We start thinking it makes us immortal. Although, we can possess mental acuity and we are (as energy) immortal, we are not as humans immortal, we are not untouchable, we are not an ALL KNOWING BEING. Humanity is but a scale, a dimension of existence, a level of magnification. As is consciousness.
There are such apprehensions as infinite finitudes and finite infinities. There is limited unlimits and unlimited limits. It’s more like a spiral, and by spiral, that is to say a gradient (or levels of degrees). A growing, an expansion….not some vertical all powerful CEO. Nature knows this, the Earth knows this. Take, for instance, a spider building its web above the rapids. To put what the spider did into human terminology, he will yield the most return because he built an efficient economy. Bugs gather above the water because it is a source of food for them as well, some will inevitability be trapped in the web. Spiders build webs all over sporadically it seems. But that’s on one level of magnification. There is an intelligence here, it could be on the quantum level or on the macro level [that is should we say if the earth is conscious] which protrudes from motion as a spider that builds a web above the water. The spider knows. And humans are a scale of knowing, a way of explaining the world.
And this deep knowledge (by deep, I allude to volume of Time) is projected as instinct and awareness.
“My rule is, when you are unhappy, think about it. But when you’re happy, don’t. Why spoil it? You’re probably happy for some ridiculous reason and you’d just spoil it to know it.” ~Richard Feynman
- Lisa Gawlas – The Tree Of Life And The Spark Of Life – 3 September 2013 (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- The agency of life, the universe and everything (colinon.wordpress.com)
- The World in a Pipette: Two Studies Look at Human DNA Diversity (23andme.com)
- Glial Cells, Junk DNA, Dark Matter, and Autism (davisbrotherlylove.wordpress.com)
- Where Do We Go From Here? (pensivepremises.wordpress.com)
- How DNA Is Reprogrammed By Words and Frequencies (wakingtimes.com)
- Reprogramming the Human Biocomputer (dna-rejuvenation.com)