While never losing sight of the rational, cultured mind, Jung speaks for the natural mind, source of the evolutionary experience and accumulated wisdom of our species. Through his own example, Jung shows how healing our own living connection with Nature contributes to the whole.
Most practical book on Jung I've read! Read it if you are restless sometimes or most times.
We want simplicity. We are suffering, in our cities, from a need of simple things. We would like to see our great... terminals deserted, the streets deserted, a great peace descend upon us.
Dreams are pure nature to which must be added human reflection and discernment. We now know that the dreaming function in mammals is approximately 140,000,000 years old and does have a survival function.
Jung's advice for remedying the loss of contact with Nature, within or without: - live in small communities - work a shorter day and week - have a plot of land to cultivate so the instincts come back to life - to make the sparest use of radio, TV, newspapers and technological gadgetry The purpose of doing these things, however, is not to repair Nature, but rather to let Nature affect us
I chop the wood and cook the food. These simple acts make man simple; and how difficult it is to be simple!
All time saving devices, amongst which we must count easier means of communications and other conveniences, do not, paradoxically enough, save us time but merely cram our time so full that we have not time for anything. Hence, the breathless haste, superficial-craving for stimulation, impatience, irritability, vacillation, etc. Such a state may lead to all sorts of other things, but never to any increased culture of the mind and heart.
I detest noise and flee it whenever and wherever possible, because it not only disturbs the concentration needed for my work but forces me to make the additional psychic effort of shutting it out. You may get habituated to it as to over-indulgence in alcohol, but just as you pay for this with a cirrhosis of the liver, so in the end you pay for nervous stress with a premature depletion of your vital substance. [...] Noise protects us from painful reflection, it scatters our anxious dreams, it assures us that we are all in the same boat and creating such a racket that nobody will dare to attack us. [...] The real fear is what might come up from one's own depths - all the things that have been held at bay by noise. [...] Modern noise is an integral component of modern "civilization," which is predominantly extroverted and abhors all inwardness.
Jung's list of how civilization makes Modern Man sick (causes and symtoms): - effort to set records - urge towards conformity - desire for material possessions - we keep forgetting we are primates - atrophy of instinct, age-old forgotten wisdom stored up inus - hypermasculine, linear, causal, goal-oriented orientation toward the visible outer world - condescension toward whatever seems "irrational" - overstrained from boundless activity - the disease of knowing everything - extraverted as hell - lack of introspection - greed, restlessness, uneasiness, superficiality, nervous exhaustion - craving stimulation, impatience, irritability - usual remedies such as diets, exercise, studying inspirational literature - can't seem to find a way to live meaningful life - ridiculous clothes, meanness, vanity, mendacity, egotism - always seeking something - too much head, too much will, too much walking about, and nothing rooted - objective existence and meaning - exaggerrated self-esteem - inferiority complex - intellect, rationalism - loss of moral and spiritual values - despiritualization of nature through objective knowledge of matter - learned to control ourselves, disciplined, organized - for all his outward succes, modern man stays the same inwardly - time-saving devices cram our time so full that we have no time for anyting - loss of soul - social welfare - constant noise thatprotects us from painful reflection, scatters our anxious dreams and the fear of what might come up from one's own depths - thinking we are not nature - people will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls - modern education is too one-sided and only enables a young person to adapt himself outwardly to the world but gives no thought to the necessity of adapting to the self - domination of nature - define convention, not ethics
Jung's list of solutions to prevent disease/diminish effect: - turn back too simple things - rest - realize that things being sought are irrelevant to a happy life - listen to and analyze your dreams - live in small communities - work a shorter day and week - have a plot of land to cultivate - make spare use of radio, TV, newspaper, technological gadgets - high mountains, rivers, lakes, trees, flowers, animals - mystery, symbols, belief, age-old customs and convictions - spirit - living here and now - spiritual welfare - compensate intellectual work with philosophical interest - self-expression and seeing the fruit of your own labour to nourish psyche - ask yourself whether by any chance your unconscious might know something to help you - look deeply into the eyes of an animal - healing contact with Nature from the outside and from the inside (through experiences of the unconscious and dreams) - cooperation with nature - make contact with the archetypal functions - "Go to bed. Think on your problem. See what you dream. Perhaps the great man, the 2,000,000 year old man, will speak." - define ethics, convention
Nature is an incomparable guide if you know how to follow her. She is like the needle of the compass pointing to the North, which is most useful when you have a good man-made ship and when you know how to navigate. That's about the position. If you the river, you surely come to the sea finally. But if you take it literally you soon get stuck in an impassable gorge and you complain of being misguided. The unconscious is useless without the human mind. It always seeks its collective purposes and never your individual destiny. Your destiny is the result of the collaboration between the conscious and the unconscious.
Reduction to the natural condition is neither an ideal state nor a panacea. If the natural state were really the ideal, then the primitive would be leading an enviable existence. But that is by no means so for aside from all other sorrows and hardships of human life, the primitive is tormented by superstitions, fears, and compulsions to such a degree that, if he lived in our civilization, he could not be described as other than profoundly neurotic if not mad.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was born in Kesswil, Switzerland, a wee lakeside hamlet that had changed little since the Middle Ages. His rustic upbringing gave him the gift of intimate contact with the natural world, a profound source of meaning for him: “Every stone, every plant, every single thing seemed alive and indescribably marvelous.” Like his mother, Jung had the ability to access his archaic mind. He had an old soul that was intimately connected with all living creatures, and to the world of dreams. This gave him the unusual ability to observe people and events with extreme clarity, as they truly were.
From the sweet pinnacle of a tranquil, wholesome childhood, the rest of his life was a stunning downhill plunge, as the civilized world fell into ever-growing chaos and catastrophe — rapid industrialization, urbanization, population explosion, two world wars, mustard gas, atomic bombs, holocaust, the rise and fall of Hitler and Stalin. It was an excellent time to become a famous psychiatrist, because this new reality was a steaming cauldron of intense insanity.
Jung provided the world with a new model for understanding the mind. For almost the entire human journey, we had obeyed the laws of nature, like all other animals did. But with the emergence of domestication and civilization, we began violating the laws of life, snatching away some of nature’s power — power that did not belong to us. This cosmic offense created a break that shifted us onto a path of suffering. The gods are now punishing us for our immature and disrespectful impulses.
Jung left behind a huge body of writings, most of which are of little interest to general readers. Meredith Sabini heroically combed through the mountain of words, extracted passages about our relationship with nature, and published them as The Earth Has a Soul. It stitched together snippets from many sources, from different phases of his life, so it’s not as flowing and focused as a discourse written from scratch, but it’s an important collection of provocative ideas.
In recent decades, thinkers have tried to explain why the roots of the Earth Crisis emerged several thousand years ago. Most have diagnosed the root of today’s problems as rapid, out-of-control cultural evolution — our skills at learning, communication, and tool making evolved far more quickly than our genes did, and this pushed us dangerously out of balance.
Jung would agree with this theory, but his perception of the problem was far more complex. For almost our entire journey, humankind was guided by instinct, a form of intelligence that was magnificently refined by millions of years of continuous improvement. Like other animals, we lacked self-awareness, or consciousness. Like other animals, we could think and strategize, but we remained unconscious, and perfectly functional.
Jung thought that consciousness became apparent in civilized cultures maybe 4,000 years ago, and it has been increasing ever since. The expansion of consciousness went into warp drive when the era of modern scientific thinking arrived, and we plunged into an industrial way of life.
In remote, isolated locations, there are still a few “primitive” cultures which remain largely unconscious, guided by their normal instinctive intelligence. They do not engage in abstract thinking. They do not destroy their ecosystem. They continue to obey nature’s laws. But they are being driven into extinction by you-know-who.
Our conscious mind was new, infantile, incomplete, unstable, and easily injured. Jung saw it as a tiny boat floating in a vast ocean of unconscious knowledge. Like a fish out of water, we were separated from our ancient oceanic home, an unpleasant traumatic shock. In the good old days, we lived in an enchanted world where everything was sacred. But science and technology have dragged us away into a miserable manmade world where nothing is holy, and everyone is restless, anxious, and neurotic.
Consciousness was an extremely powerful two-edged sword, equal parts blessing and curse: “Unfortunately, there is in this world no good thing that does not have to be paid for by an evil at least equally great. People still do not know that the greatest step forward is balanced by an equally great step back.”
On the shore of Lake Zurich, Jung built a summer retreat out of rugged cut stones, a sacred refuge for solitude and contemplation. He cooked on a wood fire, raised food in his garden, and drew water from a well. There was no phone or electricity, because the technology of modernity was certain to frighten away the souls of his ancestors.
Primitive people were “hellishly afraid of anything new” because they feared “unknown powers and indefinite dangers.” This was just as true for modern folks, even if we pretended otherwise. “Nevertheless, we have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future with even wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots.” In 1912 he wrote that America “does not understand that it is facing its most tragic moment: a moment in which it must make a choice to master its machines or to be devoured by them.”
Jung had an intense dislike for modernity. A city dweller was reduced to a tiny, insignificant ant. Humankind was moving toward insectification. Overpopulation was destroying everything. Growing crowds multiplied the stupidity level, whilst sharply decreasing our intelligence and morality. Crowds were incubators for psychic epidemics, which were far more destructive than natural disasters. Excited mobs often created explosions of madness that nothing could stop. “The most dangerous things in the world are immense accumulations of human beings who are manipulated by only a few heads.”
In his psychiatric work, Jung helped patients heal by encouraging them to seek guidance from their dreams. Our unconscious has all the answers we need, but we usually avoid looking there, because we are afraid of it. We overload our lives with distractions to discourage reflection, and to hide from our darkness. We live at a rapid pace, and never leave a moment for looking inward.
Tragically, Jung never came to know a real live hunter-gatherer. He never spent a year or three with the Pygmies or Bushmen, people who lived in the traditional human manner, and lived quite well. If he had, his thinking would certainly have taken quite a different path — and very likely a far more powerful one.
He did take several brief expeditions to New Mexico, Africa, and India, to spend a little time with people who were neither Christian nor European. Contact with these miserable “primitive” people gave him feelings of superiority, because they seemed to be neurotic, “tormented by superstitions, fears, and compulsions.” But they also scared him. He once left Africa because of a powerful dream. He worried that he was in danger of “going black under the skin.” Did he come frighteningly close to breaking free from his civilized cage?
For Jung, returning to simple, primitive, sustainable living was not a possible solution. “The wheel of time cannot be turned back. Things can, however, be destroyed and renewed. This is extremely dangerous, but the signs of our time are dangerous too. If there was ever a truly apocalyptic era, it is ours.” He believed that salvation could be found by training the conscious mind to receive guidance from the unconscious realm, the world of dreams.
His recommendations for healing included: getting closer to nature, living in small communities (not cities), working less, engaging in reflection in quiet solitude, reconnecting with our past, avoiding distractions (newspapers, television, radio, gramophones), paying serious attention to our dreams, and simplifying our lifestyles.
In 1961, the year he died, Jung wrote: “Civilization is a most expensive process and its acquisitions have been paid for by enormous losses, the extent of which we have largely forgotten or have never appreciated.” In his final days in 1961, Jung had visions of massive catastrophes striking in 50 years.
I'm halfway through this book and I love it. Jung believes that we as humans need to hold on to our connection to nature, because even though we may see ourselves as civilized beings, we are still essentially animals and are subject to our basic animal nature. A strong connection to the natural world aroud us helps us to enjoy our lives more and be at peace with our inner selves. (At least, that's an oversimplified take on the first half of the book, I'll revise this when I've read more!)
C.G. Jung on nature Technology and modern life by Meeedith Sabina: well this is a deep thinking book took extra long to read just over two hundred pages because some of the ideals were so interwoven and nested in time culture nature and symbols that it took me three tries or more at reading certain pages before I grasped what the concept was. Deep is the well and difficult is the task but the revelations are sweet and refreshing but I thirst for more and will have to return more than once to this and future books before I can even scratch the surface of the human psychic four stars a bit more difficult than my usual reads but very well worth the time and effort. My first book on Carl Jung.
The Earth Has a Soul is a collection of writings on the subject of nature from Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, taken from various book passages, lectures, and personal correspondences. The thesis running throughout the book is that modern life, increasingly urban and dominated by technology, is unhealthy for the psyche. In the age of science and reason, nature has been stripped of her divine properties, and modern man is more disconnected than ever. Heavily influenced by his travels amongst the indigenous peoples of East Africa and New Mexico, Jung yearns to restore the tendency to live in accordance with the 'primitive' instincts that can make life so joyous.
I found his arguments compelling, and would certainly recommend this to anybody who's interested in the relationship between the natural environment and the human spirit. The only thing that frustrates me slightly about Jung is that his diagnosis seems much more developed than his cure. He realises that a certain form of atheistic materialism can lead to catastrophic nihilism, and I think that lesson is just as important today (if not more so), but also acknowledges that this viewpoint can certainly seem rational to the modern Western mind. However, other than to suggest that a more spiritual outlook is essential to the functioning of a healthy psyche, he doesn't really put forward a convincing philosophical argument against nihilism.
All in all though, I found this one very enjoyable. When I first realised that it was a compilation of his writings put together by someone else, rather than a book which he had purposefully written, I was a little bit disappointed. However, as I made my way through the book I found that I actually appreciated this format quite a lot - it allowed for different passages to be separated by subject matter, with a brief introduction by the editor in each section to give just enough context and information to help the reader with the text. 8/10
‘Go to bed. Think of your problem. See what you dream. Perhaps the Great Man, the 2,000,000-year-old man, will speak. In a cul-de-sac, then only do you hear his voice.’
A very compelling read. What at first seems like a collection of unrelated writings about nature becomes a passionate and urgent case for us look inward. Jung’s case is not simply that man is disconnected from nature; it is that we have become estranged from the primitive man who still lives within our subconscious. Without this harmony, man is unpredictable and dangerous. Technology only amplifies our disconnect. Most of this was written in the first half of the 20th century, but it’s even more relevant today. If Jung were to be around in the age of social media he would be appalled.
I thought that perhaps I’d have to know more about Jung’s theories in order to understand this, but actually it provided a very good way in to learning about a lot of his concepts. There’s talk of the collective unconscious, archetypes and primordial darkness, but it’s fed to you bit by bit so you understand it. There’s also some travelogues at the beginning which are literally amazing.
Jungs' views on what humanity has sacrificed in order to achieve the Logos (the fire of the Gods) are followed by few images that I would not expect to see from one of the influential psychoanalysts of 20th century – sitting with an apron on and chopping some wood – pure difficult simplicity, that will always follow me daily, whenever I go for another pile of wood or remember to heat the water on a stove before I wash the dishes.
I was looking forward to read this book, but it was darn long read.. This is the kind of book which you read in between other books, that you actually finish. Something about the compilation style made it frustrating – cut out paragraphs from Jungs published works, his letters, seminars and speeches – which all were connected as linear collage, but were not coherent to full Satisfaction.
I really enjoyed how this book of Jung's writings, speeches, seminars, interviews and even letters, was put together. It was organized in a chronological manner which allows the reader to see his views either cement themselves or evolve further over his lifetime. I found I relate to a lot of his ideas and teachings. Highly recommended.
If one has the right attitude then the right things happen
The problem is that most of the time or basically all the time we do not know what is right. What one thinks right is quite possible to be taken as wrong by the other. How could you be sure you have the right attitude, or if you doubt that, where could you find it?
I had thought this book was about how human can learn to co-exist with Nature, to respect Nature, to learn to be kind to Nature. I was still thinking human and Nature as two separate entities. I had thought the importance of collective unconscious is that it enables people to appreciate humanity in a broader sense, to expand it to the whole human kind, not just one's own race or nation.
Jung talked about collective unconscious is Nature. It's not a reconciliation of human and non-human, but the conscious mind and the unconscious mind, the natural mind.
More important is that, as Jung made clear, once we understand what this really means, then we do not have to go to woods to return to the embrace of nature, we can just look into our own inner world, let the unconscious speak, let the images emerge. By setting onself right, one heals the world.
It always fascinates me that Jung could read so much from the East stories. I never can understand from that level by myself. The story of rainmaker actually happened in the precinct of my hometown, only that I had never heard about it.
Jung always insisted that West and East have to come together for the salvation of human kind. Guess we can all contribute to that. To set oneself right and bring things into the right order.
"Nature is an incomparable guide if you know how to follow her".
This collection of Jung's writings beautifully presents his thoughts towards mankind and our connection with nature. Passages from Jung explain that we have become disconnected (especially in our cities) from nature, and this is evident in the mental unease that many people face. The most interesting piece in the collection is when explained the rapid increase in technology and noise.. in the 1930's! I feel he would be deeply ashamed to see the state of our world as it is today. However, it's now more than ever that teachings such as his need to be made available. His suggested remedy is for everyone to turn inwards, explore our unconsciousness through our dreams, and to strengthen our connection to nature.
As others have said, this collection is worth re-reading, as there is much to grasp and learn. Anyone who senses that there is something "off" about the world and that we are living an unnatural life in modern society will enjoy this book.
I read this book once with the idea that I would read it again. So far, I have not. This is a compelling book of selections from Jung's published works, seminars, interviews, letters and speeches that demonstrate his affinity for and kinship with the natural world. One of my favorite quotes from Jung is: "Sometimes a tree can tell you more than can be read in a book." This is one of those books that begs to be re-read that one might glean more and more with each visit to its pages.
"The man whose interests are all outside is never satisfied with what is necessary, but is perpetually hankering after something more and better which, true to his bias, he always seeks outside himself."
A wonderful book for everyone who loves Jung's way of thinking. Great excerpts from different sources.
I read ‘The Earth Has a Soul’, which is a compilation of speeches, books, and letters created by Carl Jung and edited by Meredith Sabini. Carl Jung is a world famous psychologist whose work and theory was concerned with reconnecting to nature. Since this material is copyright, some words are used that we would not use today (ref. primitive). We start with Jung’s idea that the people we are now are ‘modern’ and below the surface ‘archaic’. This book shares Jung’s experiences traveling all over the world, and engaging with many communities to understand their point of view. Jung’s argument is that with the advancements in technology, people are losing their connection with nature, which to him is losing a part of one’s soul. I wanted to read this book because in my work as a CTEP I am constantly using technology, and helping people to use technology, but I feel conflicted. I know that for me, I would stay away from screens if I could, but right now, I depend on my computer to do everything. As a result of COVID -19 having technology is becoming a basic human need, and not everyone has access to it. I feel like many of us buy technology because it is the next new item to use. I want to question its necessity while still respecting the value of technology. Jung is concerned with our sense of self, and believes that we find this connection through nature. He documents his visits with different communities, and praises their authenticity. What we would call superstitious, Jung sees people observing nature as powerful. He is concerned about ‘Western man’ and all of the power technology gives to him. With this power is the potential for people with technology to feel limitless. Looking at my service, I do want people to feel limitless potential, and therefore feel that everyone should have a computer. However, I think the industry of technology in our country is the limitless power that Jung feared. If my fellow CTEP is feeling a similar conflict to mine, I will say read this book and look for your answer. Even if you cannot find one, just questioning your beliefs is important. I think it is important to reflect on what people thought the technology age would look like. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but out world is looking like the 80s post-apocalyptic movies.
A very disappointing compilation for me. Portions were so cut-and-paste that often each paragraph came from a different piece and read like sloppy academic writing without any writing to connect the disparate pieces. This disjunction in itself is not unforgivable to me, but without the benefit of seeing Jung build his argument, the portions that were presented felt empty. I felt the description and introduction of the book exaggerated much of the actual content. Also much misogyny and transphobia—though I suppose that’s to be expected. To be fair, I stopped after the first 2/3 of the book. Perhaps that last part was redemptive.
Useful compilation of excerpts for writers, researchers, or historians who want to locate materials Jung wrote that relate to Nature, the state of nature, what is considered "natural," and human interaction with Nature or wildness (and the positive good that comes from integrating the human body with the landscape and with animal/creaturely life).
Not so much a "good read" on its own, but a fascinating series of primary Jungian texts such as letters, lectures, and essays as well as Jung's better-known books.
I liked the photographs of Jung in "natural" environments...his garden, the lake, the tower he built.
The book is short, but is heavy reading. It is simple to understand, but almost every page is full of meaning. Mr. Jung is a deep thinker and his writings make a lot of sense. Mr. Jung also provides good examples for support to his statements.
The big takeaways for me are to get more connected with nature and community, and less connected with technology. Other insights are to listen to your dreams and instincts. Mr. Jung had great foresight on how western culture would become less interested in nature, spirits and our prehistoric culture, and how this would come at a great cost. In summary, I would highly recommend this book to everyone.
An incredible and enlightening gathering of excerpts from Jung’s essays, lectures, letters and more. Jung gives us real food for thought, and asks us to acknowledge, accept and uncover our psyches in order to reconnect to ourselves and nature - that is, Mother Nature and our human nature. He teaches us that there is an abundance of knowledge to be gained from both natures, and that if we do not reconnect to nature, we’re in real danger - and that we are already by ignoring, objectifying and devaluing nature in all forms. This is a book everyone should read, and whose advice everyone can follow.
I never get tired of reading Carl Jung. He is the one person who can talk about the subconscious and our psychological foundations without making it sound like superstition. He especially emphasizes the importance of dreams, and not for simplistic interpretations, but for trying to understand what our subconscious self is trying to tell us. Modern humanity has succeeded (in a way) of conquering nature, but in the process, we have lost our instinct. These excerpts are well-chosen and well-edited, and consist of some very accessible writings of Jung's.
The book tells about relations of modern and primal people's behaviours. Jung visits some tribes with his qurious approach and experience their primal features. Then he interprets and similates their rituals to our daily life routines.
A must read book for the people of millennia. As far as we create assets we will experience the aspects of our new milieu and lean more to forget our broader senses.
This is the best book I have ever read in my whole entire life. The collection that the editor has arranged is so inspiring for reflections of everyday life. She does a fantastic job of pulling out his passages that connect man with the nature he is a part of and organizing it in a way that pulls you into the need to maintain a healthier relationship with nature and ourselves.
I suppose you have to buy into the nonsense that Jung espoused in order to like his writing. I only added this to the "psychology" shelf in my Goodreads because that is where he traditionally is put. I should probably have a separate shelf for "psychological science."
A good book to explore Jung's criticism and understanding of the technological age and how it affects the human mind. Wonderful tips and ideas on mental and spiritual well being that relate to modern day problems.