Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Origins and History of Consciousness” as Want to Read:
The Origins and History of Consciousness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Origins and History of Consciousness

by
4.34  ·  Rating details ·  661 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The first of Erich Neumann's works to be translated into English, this eloquent book draws on a full range of world mythology to show that individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as has human consciousness as a whole. Neumann, one of Jung's most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right, sho ...more
Paperback, 552 pages
Published October 8th 1995 by Princeton University Press (first published 1949)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Origins and History of Consciousness, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Origins and History of Consciousness

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Erik Graff
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jungians
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
As was commonly believed when Jung and Neumann were being educated, "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." This book reverses that equation as an exposition of pscho-phylogeny recapitulating psycho-ontogeny. In other words, Neumann takes Jung's individuation schema, then assembles exemplary myths, lots of them, which are interpreted in terms of the development of ego consciousness in the species. However dubious, the project was ambitious, the result impressive. Few of Jung's followers had the brea ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Freud and Jung had little knowledge of the mechanisms of neuroanatomy (although Freud did study what was known at the turn of the 20th century). They were flying blind so to speak about the nature of the mind and had no more real knowledge than say Aristotle did in his day. They did however have great literary talents and storytelling abilities. That is why their visions so seduced psychologists in the early twentieth century and made schools of thought that lasted a long time. I am a sucker for ...more
Nicholas
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
I remember an episode of the Simpsons,where the repressed "Intellectual Homer" is shown unconscious and prostrate, wearing a top hat and monocle,laying by a scroll of paper that reads "Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny". This obtuse maxim is the main thesis of this excellent work by Erich Neumann, that individual evolution in consciousness mirrors that of humanities'.
The history of consciousness, its birth from the undifferentiated unconsciousness and the later reintegration of it on a higher pl
...more
Sean Murray
Oct 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Painful.
I read this book as it is part of the standard required reading of anyone seriously interested in consciousness. An historical piece only, unfortunately, at this point.

Neumann gives a theory of his own regarding the development of consciousness somewhat in the " ontogeny reflects phylogeny" genre. Alas, his time periods understanding of the Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures was rudimentary.

Neumann is an apologist for Jung ( as if he needed one), indeed, much of the book reads like a t
...more
Jules
Jul 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Joseph Campbell owes a great deal to Erich Neumann, apparently. Though it can be quite dense at times, the overall thesis that our collective myths tell the story of growth and development of the individual consciousness is compelling. One of the few books I can say has fundamentally altered my perspective in a major way.
William John Meegan
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. All of Erich Neumann's works are well written. They are not so much entertaining as they allow the reader the freedom of thoughtful meditative expression beyond what was thought possible.
David
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been interested in reading more on psychology and the hero's journey, so before diving into any Jung I heard this one, by one of his students, came on my radar. It is brilliant and deep. Part 1, which is a straightforward telling of the hero's journey from the creation myth unity with the Great Mother to the separation and fighting the dragon (hero myth, then transformation myth), was much easier to follow than part 2, which is an evaluation of the various stages. As someone not well versed ...more
Scriptor Ignotus
Until about half a century ago, it was common among evolutionary biologists to believe in a phenomenon called recapitulation, according to which the entire evolutionary history of a species replayed itself during the gestation of each individual. So when a human was conceived, for example, the zygote would pass through stages representing the phylogenetic history of humanity, from the earliest microbial origins of life to humanity's more recent primate ancestors, before finally becoming a human ...more
Tiago Faleiro
An absolutely delightful book, and a true masterpiece of Jungian psychology. Neumann brilliantly captures the stages in the evolution of consciousness expressed mythology, reflecting the basic archetypes. It's based on a fundamental triad, with the creation myth, the hero myth, and the transformation myth. Explaining the origin and interpretation of the "Ouroboros", following the birth of the Ego, and eventually the anima and animus.

I'm slightly disappointed that his theory rests on a surprisin
...more
Empty
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
...and a half. Lots of eyebrow raising, but I found myself thinking about the core concepts daily and applying them to almost everything.
Jack Drake
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm conflicted. I wish this book was double the length it is, but the idea of putting myself through twice the amount of pain and suffering I already experienced while completing it makes me physically ill.

As much as I think this book deserves 5 stars, the sheer effort required to push through and finish it justifies removing half a star. Whether difficulties in translation or just an aspect Neuman's writing style, I found myself consistently lost. While I'm used to this happening in books of a
...more
Alford Wayman
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of the Origins of Consciousness in a Jungian perspective from one of his students. The hero's journey is clearly mapped out from a psychological perspective and has brought to light some major issues in the mind of modern man. It also discusses the battles of the formation of ego, the conscience and unconscious struggles, and the impact of archetypes, and the battle with the dragons. It has opened many new possibilities for me personally as I read mythology and religious li ...more
Jovan Hudson
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ascend
Best read that describes the evolution of human or even more simply pure consciousnesses from the dawn of time, until now and where it is taking us. Must read if you want a jump in your ascension process or Obligatory Apotheosis.
Guy
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess the most interesting thing learned from this book was that it is possible to objectively view the development of consciousness as a kind of evolution. I believe that Neumann made an excellent argument in this very, very difficult to read book.
Mark
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. The clearest explanation of the relationship between the conscious and unconscious I have read. Neumann was one of Jung's most gifted students and I found him at times more profound than his teacher. Highly recommended.
Sandy
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Over 5 years in the reading. . .deep, profound, at times exacerbating, but worth every page.
Bernard
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mine
Grossly speculative and imaginary
Stephanie
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this book is incredibly enlightning in the struggle and story of man's quest to be conscious.
Jimmy Jr
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recognizes the role consciousness has played in our evolution, how it emerged in our ancestors and how the unconscious would have reacted side by side. The opposition of conscious and unconscious.
Wesley Schantz
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much as his teacher Carl Jung assimilated medieval alchemy into fodder for depth psychology, so in The Origins and History of Consciousness Erich Neumann consolidates and clarifies the massive and slightly kooky early 20th C psychology, mythology, and anthropology produced by the likes of Jung, Freud, Mead, Frazer, and many, many others into a coherent and compelling picture. The bibliography of The Origins and History of Consciousness, like McGilchrist's in The Master and His Emissary, is an ed ...more
Jeff Northrup
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book which elaborates on Jung's ideas by showing connections between new perspectives and new roles for individuals in the evolution of civilization. If you are familiar with Joseph Campbell or Jung or Jordan Peterson's Maps of Meaning, then this will probably not add much to your understanding but it is still worth reading in my opinion because the little it does add is depth and perspective worth having.

I see these views as a bridge between naivete and awareness, built one step
...more
Masa Nishimura
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, psychology
I am a complete beginner in symbolic literature. It just wasn't part of my family history of educational experience. I did read a book from Carl Jung (Unconscious Self), but this book was more comprehensive and easier to follow. I particularly liked his approach to look at history from a symbolic literature. I didn't even know what Ouroboros was.

Eric Neumann also explains the concept of Nietzschean superman concept really well, from the perspective of symbolic representation. You need to become
...more
Adomas
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sometimes gets really thick, especially in the second part of the book. Some parts (especially the thick ones) make bold claims, which under thorough examination are based on shaky grounds. Nonetheless, an invigorating and absorbing book, providing a thesis on how the human and collective mind develops and works, which is startlingly predictive in analysing various modern cultural and political phenomena.
Kyle R
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good introduction to archetypal thinking and Jungian psychology. I tried to read a few books by Jung before but was unable to understand the ideas. Neumann walks you through the archetypal stages and the process of individuation and gives a good overview of mythological thinking and action by giving examples from primitive to modern culture.
David
Densely written and historically interesting, but it was published back in 1949...so its value today may be limited. But if you are looking at the history of analytical psychology it remains a valuable text.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.
Arthur Hawkins
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
It is not for the average person. To fully grasp everything in the book you'd have to have a PhD in psychology but didnt stop me! Its good, but couldve been shorter & concise for more general audiences
Cody Cummings
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most profound book I’ve ever read. An encapsulation of Jungian depth psychology that seems to underlie all the other ideas I’ve ever come across. A framework to think about everything else.
Alicja Walters
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Xoxo
Michela Derry
a true masterpiece
Vincent Kennedy
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yet again one finds a book that literary flips reality on its head. Essential reading for any one interested in 'truth' or if you have ever watched "The Matrix" and had a funny feeling there was some 'truth ' in the movie. Get ready to take the 'red pill' with this one!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche
  • Alchemical Studies (Collected Works 13)
  • The Dream and the Underworld
  • Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales
  • Cosmosapiens: Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe
  • Jung: A Biography
  • A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
  • The Space Book: From the Beginning to the End of Time, 250 Milestones in the History of Space  Astronomy
  • Death and the Afterlife: A Chronological Journey, from Cremation to Quantum Resurrection
  • What are the Seven Wonders of the World?: And 100 Other Great Cultural Lists--Fully Explicated
  • The Things That Nobody Knows: 501 Mysteries of Life, the Universe and Everything
118 followers
Erich Neumann was a psychologist, writer, and one of Carl Jung's most gifted students.
Neumann received his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1927. He practiced analytical psychology in Tel Aviv from 1934 until his death in 1960. For many years, he regularly returned to Zürich, Switzerland to give lectures at the C. G. Jung Institute. He also lectured frequently in England, France and the Neth
...more
“Personality is built up largely by acts of introjection: contents that were before experienced outside are taken inside.” 6 likes
“The average ego, the average individual, remains fixed in the group, although in the course of development he is compelled to give up the original security of the unconscious, to evolve a conscious system, and to take upon himself all the complications and sufferings which such development entails.” 3 likes
More quotes…