Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Review of Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl G. Jung

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Genre = Psychology
Book Club Event = Book List (03/02/2024)

Watch Short Review


“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.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•What is the unconscious?
•Why seek to understand the psyche?
•What are myths?
•What did Jung think of religion and how did Jung interact with religion? 
•Where were Jung’s experiences with the dead? 
•How did Faust influence Jung? 
•How did Jung’s sister effect Jung?
•How did Jung behave in school? 
•What did Jung think about math?
•Why dd Jung become a serious child?  
•What were Jung’s two different personas as a child? 
•What happened in school?
•How did psychiatry teachers treat their patients? 
•What did Jung think about autobiographies? 
•What were Jung’s early personal experiences with neurosis? 
•How to be a helpful therapist? 
•How did Jung gain local fame? 
•Why do people become neurotic? 
•How did Freud influence Jung?
•Who was Freud to Jung? 
•What did Jung think of Freud’s interpretations? 
•What is the Tower?
•What did Jung think of rationalism? 
•What did Jung think of evil?

Book Details
Recorded and Edited by:   Aniela Jaffé
Translator:              Richard and Clara Winston
Original Language: German
Translated Into:       English
Edition:                   Vintage Books Edition
Publisher:                Vintage Books [Random House]
Edition ISBN:         9780307772718
Pages to read:          381
Publication:             1989
1st Edition:              1961
Format:                    eBook 

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    3
Content          2
Overall          1