Memories, Dreams, and Reflections is the life story of Carl G. Jung as told by him at age eighty-one. It was recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffé. The writing is very compelling and revealing about his life, thought processes, how he came to develop his studies and theories about archetypes, the unconscious, and conscious. He talks about how his life experiences and academic influences shaped him and helped him to formulate a general way of looking at, observing, and characterizing people’s thought processes and dreams. I find it very interesting and quite telling that he didn’t want his autobiography/biography published during his life, because he expected much of his experiences, deductions, thoughts, and theories would be largely misunderstood or ridiculed. He also had the compulsion and wisdom to include very personal reflections, memories, and unedited dreams, believing that these aspects of his life and work are integral to understanding his theories, deductions, and leanings.
I found myself often thinking that each person has different hang-ups, biases, triggers, prejudices, areas of denial and blindness which prevent them from seeing the whole picture clearly. No one person has all of the answers, perspectives, experiences, and sympathies that another person has. We might be able to go a step or two farther than those who have come before us, because of our different experiences and perspectives, but even then others can build upon our ideas and accomplishments far beyond what we could have come up with on our own. A great example of this in this book is his research and relationship with Freud, who he greatly admired and learned a lot from, but who he ultimately broke away from because Jung’s vision and way of seeing things outgrew Freud’s in some ways. Jung realized that Freud’s personal experiences and biases were dramatically affecting his research, theories, and the conclusions he came to about human nature and what motivates and influences the majority of our thoughts and actions.
The following questions came to me to reflect on: who do we look up to, listen to, and tend to believe without much question? Who has a strong influence in our lives? How? Why? To what greater effect? How are our words, thoughts, choices, and actions, beliefs, and motivations influencing others either positively or negatively? What is the best way to become a more sound, reliable source of wisdom, vessel of love, model of mercy, and distributor of peace? A closer walk with Christ, who has no darkness or biases in Him at all. Will we allow ourselves to be conformed to this world, or are we willing to let God transform us into His image and likeness to become the saints He has created and called us to be?
(This is one of the books I selected to read and report on as part of the two-year spiritual direction class that Kevin and I are taking.)