The book I chose to read is called “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” by Carl Jung. This book was written in the year of 1961. It is an autobiography. An autobiography is a nonfiction piece of literature about an individual that is written by the individual. Carl Jung was eighty four years of age when he wrote this book. He was a psychoanalyst. A psychoanalyst is an individual who has a degree in practicing mental health treatment techniques that does not require medication. This book is based on several conversations he and his friend Aniela Jaffe had. She was also Jung’s colleague. This book is not about Jungian psychology, but it is a piece of literature that describes the evolution of the thoughts of Carl Jung. When one thinks of autobiographies, they think about a book describing the events of an individual’s life. However, this book is about Jung’s intellectual and spiritual awakenings. This book is full his visions, dreams, and fantasies. He believed those things to be very valuable. They were valuable to him because he believed they were the way of seeing and understanding the human mind. The book’s goal is to expose the idea that one’s personality and mind is controlled by spiritual and unconscious forces.
The reflections of Carl Jung cover a variety of things, such as having to work in order to survive, the hard facts about living as a human being, and the spirituality of a higher power. These aspects of human life that he discusses allow individuals to interpret and reflect upon their own lives. It opens up one’s mind to living their lives in a conscious matter. It will make one become more aware of themselves and the individuals around them. The book begins with an expedition through the childhood of Carl Jung. It talks about the patterns that remained with him as he went about his daily life. What stuck with him the most was the fact that he discovered what a neurosis is, was infatuated with nature, continued to have dreams that occured over and over again over a long period of time, discovered that he and his mother both had two sets of personalities, and his perception of destiny.
When Jung begins to talk about his dreams, he lets his readers know how important it is to take a moment to interpret those dreams. He explains that interpreting our dreams and applying them to our lives will allow us to get a better understanding of them. It will also allow us to reflect on how we function in the world and teach us how to utilize our dreams in order to access and reach our full potential. For example, according to Carl Jung (1961), “The years… when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then” (p.21). This means that Jung believed that the dreams he had while sleeping, controlled everything that happened to him in the physical world. He had begun to devote his life to examining the images of the unconscious. He believed they were vital to understanding human existence.
In this book, Jung also discusses his relationship with Sigmund Freud. Freud was a neurologist who founded the idea of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is the idea that unconscious patterns in the mind control how an individual behaves. Jung also speaks on the fact that he and freud parted ways. This incident put Jung in a very dark place mentally. During his healing process he found peace in the memories of his childhood. Parting ways from Freud greatly impacted Jung, but he was able to dig deep within his own consciousness to heal his pain. This may be the reason why Jung became the great healer he is known as being.
“Memories, Dreams, Reflections” by Carl Jung, allows its readers to enter the realm of Jungian Psychoanalytic theory. While describing his psychoanalytic theory, he speaks about the persona, which is the personality an individual expresses to others. He speaks about the shadow, which encompasses all things that are outside of the perspective of consciousness. He also examines anima and animus in relation to the self. Anima is the unconscious feminine side of a man. Animus is the unconscious masculine side of a woman.