Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Colin Wilson has written fine and entertaining works on the occult (Mysteries and The Occult), as well as popular compilations of crime and serial killers. I found his Jung bio for a few bucks via Alibris.com, and thought: what the hell? I'd just read his protege's bio, after all.
What I get primarily from Wilson's take is that Jung wrote convoluted and punishingly dense works because: A) in his thinking he had already ruptured with Freud but did not want to publicly express that fact yet, and B) he was a mystic and a philosopher of history and a literary critic and anything but a scientist, but his persona as a scientist and doctor had to be carefully shored up in his published works. These two motivations made it difficult for him to honestly and simply express his thinking.
Lord of the Underworld is rather hostile to Jung. Wilson, whose keen psychological insight is that people are robots 90% of the time and that we hand over control of ourselves to a secondary personality which goes through the motions far too often, claims that Jung's system is unnecessarily complex. But Wilson approves of play therapy, and to a degree he likes archetypes, and he thinks active imagination is just peachy.
While I don't disagree that Jung can be overly complex, I think Wilson's idea is underly so. But I admire many of his books nonetheless, including this slim volume.