Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jung is, like, OMG, so rad

this one goes out to danator, who gave me a reason to re-visit one of the most influential books in my life.

I had originally planned to review lots of books in this here blog, but upon giving that a few tries I became horribly introverted about the whole effort. My main purpose in doing a review is generally to praise a particular book and convince other people it's worth reading.

The problem is, I'm the one doing the review. Whatever the finished product is, I fear that what I've actually achieved is to put something out there that might cause others who read it to think "Yeah, right. Thanks for the warning. No way in Hell am I going to put myself in your league sister." Kind of a 'tarred with the same brush' thing.

The other reason is, I get overwhelmed by, I guess, hero worship or something. I mean, really...who do I think I am? How am I

qualified to comment on something like 'Man and His Symbols'? I'd probably come off like some kind of a presumptuous, lame, sadass damn jejune American who thinks they can just go around and say stuff like they're all smart when actually they look really really stupid and everyone knows it. (Anyone cringing? Good. You're the person that was aimed at.)

I suppose what I really mean to say is, stick it up your ass if you can't hack it. I'm reviewing 'Man And His Symbols'.


Man And His Symbols is good
by FirstNations
The best way to summarize it is 'Jung from many angles'...a collection of different articles written by Jungian practitioners, detailing their experiences using his theories. This suited the way I learn down to the ground (there are lots of purty pitchers and lots of repetition...the same general subject being approached from many different angles. I'm a little ADD.) I got more useful, relevant information out of that book, page for page, than I was able to glean from the remaining number of other psych texts I've ever read combined. This is not to say that I totally buy into Jungs' theories because he goes rampaging pretty damn far afield; face it-but he nails the structure of the creative unconscious dead. He defines it. He maps it out. It's fucking amazing.

Now, I read this book with my Tabers Encyclopedic Medical Dictionary at one hand and my ancient copy of Van Nostrands open at the other. I took notes. I put bookmarks in so I could go back and check passages, and I shamelessly dogeared the index. This is not a light read. Too bad. It still absolutely belongs in every creative persons' reference collection-no matter what your particular medium might happen to be.

For me, seeing this part of my odd brain defined, studied, explained and taken seriously, was an experience of the most profound awe. To re-use an awkwardly-worded image, this is the clearest view you may ever get of the "map of an underground river of story" that we all carry printed on our minds...and it's an incredible introduction to Jung.

The pictures are cool, too. At least the ones in my edition are.

I always thought it would be a particularly excellent book to own if you're the kind of person who gets wasted and then becomes really, really focused . If you like to get blazed and do mazes, or stare for hours at your M.C. Escher poster of a guys' hand drawing itself drawing a hand drawing itself, this may describe you! It certainly can't hurt, and it will impress more people than the 65 foot bubblegum wrapper chain you made last time.

So, yeah. Man And His Symbols. There ya go. Read it sometime.


  1. Read it.

    Got wasted a lot and stared at Escher's "Reptiles" on my wall.

    Never had me a pair of those crotchless pantyhose though.

    Are they available at The Green Barn?

  2. OMG I LOVE ME SOME JUNG. What a party animal. There is a guy with a droning north English accent who does a podcast about Jungian psychology and I am totally crushed out on him.

    Pick me up a pair of those tights, too,'k?

  3. mj: the tile one or the 'walking around in ink and smoking a pipe' one? (such a nerd)

    W2: he was a wacky guy. and y'all can pick up your own nasty pantyhose. ask that broad. apparently shes waiting at a rest stop someplace in America. like those people who hand out free coffee, but gross.

  4. This one.

    With the little snorty guy.

  5. I wouldn't dream of reading Jung

    Gedddittt ?????

    ***returns to leafing thru Superman Comic ****

    ***Lays newspaper on chairs in case
    MJ visits in her crotchless scanties ****

  6. #1 - i'm horrified by that picture
    #2 - i'm horrified that someone tattooed that lady's crotch.
    #3 - i hope whoever did was drunk b/c that would give me nightmares
    #4 - are we talking carl jung or some other dude? cause i couldn't understand jung in college, and i'd rather not start trying now. it gives me a headache.

  7. I didn't appreciate Eshers hand drawing hand as much as most. For someone like me, who's train of thought rarely kept to the rail tracks, it seemed too easy a concept. His matrix work and illusions were, I thought, much more impressive.

    Contemplates, overcoming my scriptophobia and re- reading Man and his symbols. I say re- reading, I simply took it out the library, realised it was way over my head and put it back.

  8. Well, your review made me want to read it, even though I once went to a Jungian therapist who was a complete fruitloop.

    I also want to go to the Green thing, and possibly live somewhere with windmills. You haven't convinced me to give the crotchless panyhose a whirl, though (although the thoughtful addition of somewhere to let one's belly hang out is ... nah, still not convinced).


  9. mj: i like the snorty guy! fave: guy holding a mirror ball. least fave: the freaky interlocking gnomes. gaaaaah.

    beast: no, ha ha, not THAT jung; i meant the seed catalogue Jung! yeah! really! *orders packet of 'Jungs 'Hi-Noon' Herms (6 pelleted per oz.)*

    pink: 1. me too. 2. i figure she probably did it herself with a pin and a ballpoint during a party at her dads house when she was 13.
    3. no doubt roofies were involved at some point 4. Carl. He's a happening guy!

    tick: that damn staircase one played with my head. the blacklight version with the flocked background was enough to make me frantic. (soooooo dating myself, I know)

  10. Mark your calendars, everyone: Nations finally wrote a post title that MAKES SENSE!

  11. escher and his tesselations rock my ass. you gotta like an old printmaker that can go lecture on crystallograpy.

    jung is awesome, though I prefer "Synchronicity" to "Man and His Symbols".

  12. nakedZ' welcome!! and thank you! my goodness.

    cb: hey, missy. this is all for you that i stopped using the manga titles. dont get smug.:)

    SSA: if you read Synchronicity you'll turn into Sting. really, its true. which i suppose means you'll have a million kids but you'll be richer than God, too, so there ya go. never mind.

  13. books? awe crap.... the last books i read that werent to a five year old going to bed were ayn rands... got a decent brain ache from them too. been reading up on the fuel pump on the 96 dodge today though... good readin there i tell yah...

  14. At least Herbert's girlfriend is drinking a Michelob. Shows a little class.

  15. I can't get past the photo.

    I am.


    For life.

    Why do I feel the need to suckle?




  16. FN you always put a smile on my face...thank you darlin

  17. I went to the Esher exhibition in Amsterdam a few years ago - my favourite is the black birds and the white birds flying into each other.

    *sits down smugly*

  18. "Man uses the spoken or written word to express the meaning of what he wants to convey..."

    I can hardly express anything when I'm wasted, hahaha.

  19. Ja Ja up here in Khanada Grade 2 schtüdents are exzpeckted to read Jung's Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie für Dick und Jane. Even though we find out what those two little horndogs were really up to it was still tough sluggin'.

    Have you ever seen Escher's UNIBROW? He should have started a family with Frida Kahlo!
    Aye Carumba.

  20. voices: good old Ayn is one of the 'love to hate it' authors, isn't she? she's an entertaining read, but she's JUST SO DAMNED WRONG!

    joeVegas: its that golden label! it just shrieks 'KLASS!' kind of like her housecoat does.

    ziggi: oh go be well tanned and rested.

    awa: it obviously has something to do with the unfortunate yet powerful mixture of archetypes present in the image...and the tattooed cooter.

    daisy: well thank you!

    frobi: LUCKY RAT! OOOooo I'd have loved to see that! X!

    mone: hey you! i was gonna ask where you been, but i think you just gave me a hint, huh?

    Ratso: exkoosed.

    Whoever the hell you are with your outrrrrrrageous acksent which is frrrrreaking me out you know: Tell you what, it would have given Jung a hell of a lot to write about, and it sure would have been better for Frida in the long run to get away from creepy, abusive Diego Rivera.

  21. Now see ol' Jung was into synchronicity and all that wasn't he? So I read this post and tootle off to work ne'er giving it a 2nds more thought. During the course of the morning First Born (college psych student)rings to say she must write a dissertation on a Jung paper can I recommend any reading.

    Is this not spooky?????


  22. ma, I believe the outrageous accent man is Mr Escapeons. Goof.

  23. ziggi: you see what you can learn here at Paul? I do this as a public service, folks. You're welcome.

    SSa: I knew that, smelly.

  24. Yay! I am happy that you dedicated a post to me!

    Does this mean I have to read the book now? Because I'm up to my eyeballs in action potential diagrams and critter poop around here...

  25. I am now officailly blind. I watched Kathy Bates in 'About Schmidt' and went on a diet. After seeing the lovely lady in the hill billy lingerie, I am now back on my diet. thank you for that little motivation. You Rock!!!