This book review was written by Eugene Kernes
“During my first years at the university I made the discovery that while science opened the door to enormous quantities of knowledge, it provided genuine insights very sparingly, and these in the main were of a specialized nature. I knew from my philosophical reading that the existence of the psyche was responsible for this situation. Without the psyche there would be neither knowledge nor insight. Yet nothing was ever said about the psyche.” – Carl G. Jung, Chapter III: Student Years, Page 107
“I began with the preface, intending to find out how a psychiatrist introduced his subject or, indeed, justified his reason for existing at all. By way of excuse for this high and mighty attitude I must make it clear that in the medical world at that time psychiatry was quite generally held in contempt. No one really knew anything about it, and there was no psychology which regarded man as a whole and included his pathological variations in the total picture.” – Carl G. Jung, Chapter III: Student Years, Page 116
“In actual fact she was responsible for my local fame as a wizard, and since the story soon got around, I was indebted to her for my first private patients. My psychotherapeutic practice began with a mother’s putting me in the place of her mentally ill son! Naturally I explained the whole matter to her, in all its ramifications. She took it very well, and did not again suffer a relapse.” – Carl G. Jung, Chapter IV: Psychiatric Activities, Page 126
Is This An Overview?
A life devoted to understanding the unconscious. How the unconscious becomes manifest. Jung recognized that the psyche was required for knowledge and insight, but not much was understood about the psyche. Jung recounts many details of Jung’s life, and how they inspired what Jung did. From personal childhood experience with neurosis, crisis of faith, what lead to fame, and profession conflicts. Jung has been a doubtful, critical, and keen observer of events. Jung was not willing to sacrifice intellectual independence. Did not want to hide different interpretations or references even if it meant challenging a group of colleagues, or even highly regarded friends. For Jung, therapy was about the whole person, not just the symptoms. To enable the patient to change themselves and reach their own conclusions rather than to convert them.
This is an autobiography, but a detached autobiography which enabled Jung to relate personal details that otherwise Jung would not have wanted to share. Jung was resistant to having a biography, especially an autobiography done. Jung thought that autobiographies tended to be self-deceptive, that there was no standard by which to judge the person, and no basis for comparison.
This book included many interesting observations and experiences. Jung referenced the poor understanding of psychology that influenced Jung to improve psychology. But, psychology has further changed and improved since Jung. Making many interpretations and methodologies used in the book, no longer appropriate.