Thursday, June 14, 2007


I very much enjoyed this reminiscence of Carl Jung by fellow analysts, former patients, and his family and friends. I particularly enjoyed the footage of his house and tower at Bollingen, and the clips of Carl digging tiny springs in the sand by Lake Zurich.

I spent five years working through Jung's Collected Works, and got a third of the way into his Mysterium Conjunctionis before admitting defeat.

What brought me to Jung? Dreams. Dreams of dismembered horses bleeding in cauldrons. Dreams of Egyptian gardens and the presence of precious stones in my hands and feet. Dreams of black-hooded figures engaged in bloody fights, and of ethereal crystalline palaces against night skies, deep black with stars. Dreams of crabs and goats and twins and archers and bulls...My junior English paper in high school was about Jungian symbolism in the dream fiction of H.P. Lovecraft.

Whether you buy his theories or no, Jung was amongst the greatest of the 20th century's intellectuals, and inspired not only psychoanalysts but artists and musicians and writers and occultists and politicians and even physicists. What I'd give to hear recordings of his dinner chats with Albert Einstein!

Matter of Heart can get a bit cultish now and again, portraying as it does the gushing admiration of Jung's closest associates. But the filmmakers also engage his naughty affair with a patient during transference, a great moral failing that nevertheless resulted in a fecund period of creativity. There's no hint, however, of Jung's brief enthusiasm for German fascism...

I recommend it if you're into old Carl. Otherwise you'd be bored silly. Also included is a remarkable BBC interview from the '50s series Face to Face, and a 20-minute film about Maud Oakes and her individuation work with a stone Jung carved for his 75th birthday.

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