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The Essential Jung: Selected Writings

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This volume presents the essentials of Jung's thought in his own words. To familiarize readers with the ideas for which Jung is best known, the British psychiatrist and writer Anthony Storr has selected extracts from Jung's writings that pinpoint his many original contributions and relate the development of his thought to his biography. Dr. Storr has prefaced each extract with explanatory notes. These notes link the extracts, and with Dr. Storr's introduction, they show the progress and coherence of Jung's ideas, including such concepts as the collective unconscious, the archetypes, introversion and extroversion, individuation, and Jung's view of integration as the goal of the development of the personality.

448 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1983

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About the author

C.G. Jung

981 books8,766 followers
Carl Gustav Jung (/jʊŋ/; German: [ˈkarl ˈɡʊstaf jʊŋ]), often referred to as C. G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of extraversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, philosophy, archeology, anthropology, literature, and related fields. He was a prolific writer, many of whose works were not published until after his death.

The central concept of analytical psychology is individuation—the psychological process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious with the unconscious, while still maintaining their relative autonomy. Jung considered individuation to be the central process of human development.

Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts, including the archetype, the collective unconscious, the complex, and synchronicity. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a popular psychometric instrument, has been developed from Jung's theory of psychological types.

Though he was a practising clinician and considered himself to be a scientist, much of his life's work was spent exploring tangential areas such as Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, and sociology, as well as literature and the arts. Jung's interest in philosophy and the occult led many to view him as a mystic, although his ambition was to be seen as a man of science. His influence on popular psychology, the "psychologization of religion", spirituality and the New Age movement has been immense.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 72 reviews
Profile Image for Owen Spencer.
128 reviews24 followers
August 31, 2010
Carl Jung's writings in this book (and in Man and His Symbols) have greatly increased and improved my understanding of psychology. This is the kind of stuff that attracted me to the field of psychology in the first place. I can't believe that I completed all coursework for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology without reading Jung! Better late than never. The best was saved for last, I guess. This is deep, advanced psychology that may go over the heads of many readers (including those in the field). It is far from inaccessible, however, as long as you are willing to spend the time and energy necessary to carefully study and ponder what Jung has written. After reading this book I am convinced that Jung is not only the greatest psychologist of all time, but may be the greatest mind of the 20th century. My entire perspective has changed for the better as a result of reading Jung. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to receive greater enlightenment regarding personality, the soul, art, history, religion, philosophy, etc. READ JUNG NOW! {Note: I don't agree with all of Jung's perspectives, especially those found in his writings about the Biblical Job. Nevertheless, overall, Jung's insights and perspectives are extremely valuable}.
Profile Image for Nikki.
354 reviews14 followers
June 9, 2011
This was assigned reading for my Jungian Psychology class. We split the large book into three sections, one for each class session. I've enjoyed this reading the most since it's actually Jung's writing, and not writing about Jung (though those materials are valuable as well). I like this collection because it includes material from throughout Jung's career and is carefully selected and highlighted by Anthony Storr. It's really a walk-through of all of Jung's concepts (archetypes, Self, shadow, etc) as well as an over-view of his early-late works. Storr's commentary makes the material even more accessible and places Jung's writing in context. I do enjoy Jung's writing style as well. I do find his work very accessible. Since I've been reading this 400 page book for the last two months though, I find I've already "forgotten" the start of the book. Glad to have all my highlights and notes to flip through!
Profile Image for Nicholas.
207 reviews20 followers
November 28, 2011
This is a successful attempt at distilling a huge intellectual output into one volume.Inevitably it is challenging in places, especially the section on Alchemy,and the vocabulary used can sometimes have you reaching for the big dictionary but the insights come along frequently enough to keep you motivated.
Profile Image for Cheryl .
9,271 reviews398 followers
Shelved as 'xx-dnf-skim-reference'
April 7, 2021
Came up in a discussion of how there are Cinderella tales all around the world... and is the Snow Queen actually original to Andersen (not Narnia) or is it universal among ppls whose ancestors experienced the advancing Ice Ages, is it racial memory/ collective unconscious? Consider also Joseph Campbell.

Any of you read any of this stuff? Please comment!!
I skimmed enough, mainly by looking through the index for keywords of interest and reading from there, to know that I want a lot more. But my eyes... this book is killing them with the small font and the need to move around... and I cannot be comfortable with ebooks either. Well anyway.

I did read some of his own words on introversion/extroversion and the definitions of intuition, feeling, sensation, and thinking. I recommend you do the same if you are interested. It was in a 60 p. section that the index refers to be about "the psyche is self-regulating." Still ever so relevant.

I also learned that the man was into mandalas. In such a way that I was immediately reminded of the meditation practice of walking a labyrinth. There's a labyrinth (not a maze; don't get confused) in Reno, NV, near where I used to live, that I walked a few times and thoroughly appreciated.

I'm still not convinced that he's got anything convincing to say about archetypes. I think I need to read something with more editorial guidance, or find a Great Course, or something, for that.

Still would love advice from any of you!
skimmed April 2021
Profile Image for Alan.
419 reviews181 followers
December 5, 2018
Finally. 2 months later, I finish this. I am giving it three stars because it is truly a great selection of Jung's work - and that means, inevitably, that I will come across a decent amount of material that I do not vibe with. During certain parts I was soaring, and during others, it felt as though I was working my way through Tolkien's Dead Marshes. But it's done.
Profile Image for Evan Micheals.
511 reviews10 followers
August 4, 2020
Two of my favourite giants on whose shoulders I stand, Carl Jung is the subject of this book and Anthony Storr whose work and writing I am increasingly adoring. I found myself seeing that Jordan Peterson draws extensively and repackages the ideas of Carl Jung to a new generation.

Jung discusses Alchemy from a mythological perspective, “the early alchemists ‘sought not only to make gold, but to perfect everything in it’s own nature’” p 17. This changes my reading of the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho which I recommend to everyone. It makes me think that I am an Alchemist in that I am obsessed in my clinical work and personal life in trying to be the catalyst for people (including myself) being the best version of themselves.

Jung denotes the great rejector that is the female archetype. “Because she is his greatest danger she demands from man his greatest, and if he has it in him she will receive it” (p 97). Jordan Peterson talks a lot of the feminine archetypical role of the rejector. The role of feminine rejection explains why humans evolved so far. It is the feminine role to demand the best of men, and only carry the best men forward. This archetypical quality explains misogyny. Who likes to be judged and rejected?

Jung could have been describing me when he wrote about introverts. “Introversion, on the other hand, being directed not to the object but the subject, and not being oriented by the object, is not so easy to put into perspective. The introvert is not forthcoming, he is as though in continual retreat before the object. He holds aloof from external happenings, does not join in, has a distinct dislike of society as soon as he find himself among too many people. In a larger gathering he feels lonely and lost. The more crowded it is, the greater becomes his resistance. He is not in the least ‘with it,’ and has no love of enthusiastic get togethers. He is not a good mixer” (p 124). I don’t like parties. I would prefer an hour alone with an individual I find interesting, over six hours with the most beautiful people.

“To the man in the second half of life the development of the function of opposites lying dormant in the unconscious means a renewal; but this development no longer proceeds via the solution of infantile ties, the destruction of infantile illusions and the transference of old imagos to new figures: it proceeds via the problem of opposites” (p146). This has been a theme of a lot of Jungian inspired work I have been consuming. The problems of the second half of life. We must cast aside the stories of what we needed to do as youth (study hard so you can get a good job, so you can buy a nice house, so you can care for your nice children, and have a nice retirement, before having a nice funeral). In the second half of life you realise the stories you were told do not bring satisfaction or fulfilment. You must orientate yourself to your calling. Resist it at your peril.

“I make it a heuristic rule, in interpreting a dream, to ask myself: What conscious attitude does it compensate?” (p 160). This is a beautiful question I will carry forward. “Assimilation is never a question of ‘this or that,’ but always of ‘this and that’” (p 162). Two opposites living together in harmony

I found it worth reading the entire book for the essay "The Development of Personality" alone. This was amazingly profound. “One of the most shining examples of the meaning of personality that history has preserved for us is the life of Christ (p 179). He argues that Christ remained steadfastly committed to his inner voice and also mentions the Buddha as another example. He talks of daemons, which is something I have resolved to do is listen to my own daemon. It is difficult and challenged me to do uncomfortable things and have difficult conversations. It is working out OK so far, but I feel always one step from catastrophe as I try to maintain an authentic personality.

“Once the revolutionary, unhistorical, and therefore uneducated inclinations of the rising generation have had their fill of tearing down tradition, new heroes will be sought and found. Even the Bolsheviks, whose radicalism leaves nothing to be desired, have embalmed Lenin, and made a saviour of Karl Marx” (p 180). I see this happening with our rising generation destroying the establishment and I ask myself who are their new gods of environmentalism and social justice going to be? Are they going to replace a bad tyranny with a worse one? It is clear from Jung’s work he was no lover of communism, seeing the destruction it reeks on the psyche.

Jung quotes Meister Eckhart “God is not good, or else he could be better” (p 184). I thought about this for about two days. The devil tempts us, not with evil, but with the thought we could do better. Sometimes we are correct and subjecting ourselves to a chaos that leads to better, as we risk what we have hoping of better. Sometimes seeking better ends in tragedy. We cannot know, because better is a quality of the unknown, not the good as I reflected on my own temptations of better. Sometimes I have opened the door and it ended well, other times not so well. At other times I have not walked through the sliding door and what lies beyond remains a mystery. When we knowingly sacrifice what we know is good, for something that might be better. We gamble with the catastrophe that could just as easily result.

“In order to hide this undeniable but exceedingly unpleasant fact from ourselves and at the same time pay lip service to freedom, we have got accustomed to saying apotropaically ‘I have such and such a desire or habit or feeling of resentment,’ instead of the more veracious ‘such and such a desire or habit or feeling of resentment has me’. – “The truth is that we do not enjoy masterless freedom; we are continually threatened by psychic factors which, in the guise of ‘natural phenomena,’ may take possession of us at any moment. We do not create Good, we choose him. We have no control over its inner life. But because his inner life is intrinsically free and not subject to our will and intentions, it may easily happen that the living thing chosen and defined by us will drop out of its setting, the man-made image, even against our will” (p 213). I cannot improve on this. A dangerous idea that we can be possessed by idea. We are not in as much control of our selves as we would like to admit. Rationality does not help us with this. We need to maintain a scepticism about ourselves if we are any chance of avoiding possession by the spirit of dangerous ideas.

“Evil needs to be pondered just as much as good, for good and evil are ultimately nothing but ideal extensions and abstractions of doing, and both belong to the chiaroscuro of life”. There is no good that cannot produce evil and no evil that cannot produce good” (p 243). This reminded me of the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn quote about the battle between good and evil occurring in the heart of every man. I try and ponder when am I being evil. Acting solely for myself and manipulating others to my desires. These days I try and tell them I am doing so. I will tell them of my vested interest. I am sure I produce evil that I am blind too (such is the shadow). I am more aware that I can be evil, and try not to be. “Evil lies in man” (p 351) The development of the atomic bomb was inspired by the honest acknowledgement of the evil of the other (in this case Nazi Germany). We can more easily see and fear evil in the other, than we do in ourselves. We would do well to balance this.

“The Pharisee in us will never allow himself to be caught talking to publicans and whores” (p 244). Who are the publicans and whores in your life? The untouchables and people beneath you. Are they Nazi’s, Racists, Sexists? Do they not love the Earth? I think the point of this is when the publicans and whores are found, it is incumbent on you to them, or at least respect the divinity within them. No one is beneath you.

“If, for instance, I determine the weight of each pebble stone in a bed of pebbles and get an average weight of five ounces, this tell me very little about the real nature of the pebbles” – “The statistical method shows the facts in the light of the ideal average but does not give us a picture of empirical reality” (p 310). This spoke to me of focusing on the individual in my practice. See the person in front of me, and not what identity groups that they might belong. You only find out about someone by speaking to them, not by making assumptions based in identity markers.

“The State in particular is turned into a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected. In reality it is only a camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it” (p 315). In society we treat our Government in the religious manner we used to treat God. We blame when things are unjust or not to our likely. We expect divine protection of our rights from this sky father. In the end Governments are not Gods, only a collection of people. Some of these people are good at manipulating the levers for there desired outcome. I don’t know what we do about it. I expect a level of corruption within this system it is not divine.

“Even today psychology is still, for the most part, the science of conscious contents, measured as far as possible by collective standards” (p 356). Psychology suffer from a belief in the logos at the expense of the mythos. We believe ourselves and others to be rationale actors, in spite of compelling evidence that we are not. Where does that leave us? Vulnerable to worship our own good and fear the evil of the other. Our species requires a “momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science” (p 356). This was Jung’s last warning and seems relevant today as when he wrote it.

Jung remains the Master I am most drawn too. Storr’s work has deepened this. This gave me a lot to ponder. I will keep reading Jung or books inspired by him.
13 reviews2 followers
July 12, 2020
Very well selected and assembled book about Jung's most important writings.
Profile Image for Nabeel Naqvi.
15 reviews4 followers
April 13, 2021
"I am neither spurred on by excessive optimism nor in love with high ideals, but am merely concerned with the fate of the individual human being- that infinitesimal unit on whom a world depends, and in whom, if we read the meaning of the Christian message aright, even God seeks his goal."

There are good books, then there are great books and then there are some that leave a mark on your thinking that, in the last analysis, appears to be permanent. I place Jung's writings in this final category. Carl Gustav Jung has been a controversial figure, mainly due to the epistemology of his assertions, which, I think rightly, people view with scepticism when it is mentioned as science. Certainly, the central ideas of Jung; archetypes, the shadow and the collective unconcious are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to falsify, this makes it difficult to place them in scientific vocabulary. But, I think, if one reads his works with a philosophical attitude such as one would adopt when reading Nietzsche or Schopenhauer, then I believe there is much of value in his writings.
Jung stressed on the importance of the uniqueness of the individual and the human capacity for creativity, independent moral judgement and vocation, this, he believed was the only salvation of man from the horrors of 'fate'. Anthony Storr does a remarkable job of compilation and provides excellent insight on all excerpts, this fine blend of Jung's writing and Storr's commentary makes this volume a remarkable treatise, which, even though I found it difficult at many places, is worth a thorough study, no matter how exhausting it may be, for it provides valuable insights into understanding ourselves which I believe is an integral task in modern times.
Profile Image for Timothy Hicks.
76 reviews19 followers
June 26, 2019
I was introduced to Jung by watching many random Jordan Peterson podcasts and YouTube lectures and I’m glad I finally took the time to read some of his actual material.

This is very deep reading and goes through a wide range of topics. At one long talking about schizophrenia and dream interpretations ... the next about alchemy, communism, art and biblical commentary. It’s all kind of a whirlwind in my head, but I enjoyed the ride and feel that my knowledge on psychology has been greatly enhanced.

Some of the highlights of this book (which is really more of an anthology of his lifeworks, rather than one singular text) for me was his section on dream interpretations. I’ve had a lot of bizarre dreams over the years and have puzzled over what they could mean ... is it all just nonsense, or does it have some deeper meaning hidden within?

Jung discusses about one of his patients who had a dream where his father was drunk and making a buffoon of himself. This perplexed him because his father was an ideal one: loving, caring and never prone to alcohol or making a spectacle of himself. I’ve had a similar dream (though much darker) where I was a walking ghost through out my house and I overheard my father confessing to my mother about how he killed me. He was even laughing about it.

This didn’t make any sense to me because I’ve never had a problem with my dad. I idolized him in fact and visa-versa.

Jung’s explanation for the dream was that there were two parts to a person: the conscious mind and the unconscious one. The conscious mind is your ego, your sense of self, while the unconscious are thoughts and feelings that are difficult or impossible to access. They are a hidden part of you yet deeply connected, and this unconscious reveals itself through the medium of dreams. The unconscious, he explains, will often have opposing viewpoints of the conscious, but paradoxically, it can also compliment the conscious mind.

In the dream about the father acting uncharacteristic, indeed intensely negatively as opposed to his normal self, was a way of the unconscious mind saying that you idolize your father too much and this is the psyche’s way of bringing him down a notch by means of contrast.

This explanation comforted me in its parallels to my own situation and clarified why it is the real people in my dreams always act so unlike themselves in real life.

Some of Jung’s other big ideas are archetypes: the motifs one finds everywhere in world literature. Stuff like the Hero’s Journey, the jealous brother, the hermit in the woods, etc., Jung argues that there instincts, or proclivities, to certain images and ideas are inherited and passed down from generation.

Secondly, the idea of synchronicity: the interconnectedness of nearly everything in existence. This is the idea that the material world: aka, the stuff you can feel, taste, hear, and so forth, and the psyche: the intimate ideas in your head, personality, shapes, concepts, etc., are not so entirely independent of one another as most people think, but are actually related to each other. There is some striking evidence of this in modern physics where people have discovered that certain subatomic particles will actually behave differently depending on whether or not one is observing them.

Pretty fascinating stuff.

I also liked Jung’s stress on the importance of individuality versus the collective. People will often talk of things like “the needs of society”in a way that personifies it, as if it something you can actually go out and touch and see for yourself. But society is an abstract concept, and in its true sense a group of individuals. It would be kind of like stressing the important of a forest while at the same time degrading the individual trees themselves as being insignificant. The forest doesn’t exist ... the trees do.

This book has made me stop to ponder the difficulty of understanding what is truly deep down YOUR opinion or just the opinion/viewpoint you’ve inherited or absorbed through your environment.

The sad truth is that a very small tiny amount of people are individuals ... the majority is the mob.

“Our personality develops in the course of our life that are hard or impossible to discern, and it is only our deeds that reveal who we are. We are like the sun, which nourishes the life of the earth and brings forth every kind of strange, wonderful, and evil thing; we are like the mothers who bear in their wombs untold happiness and suffering. At first we do not know what deeds or misdeeds, what destiny, what good and evil we have in us, and only the autumn can show what the spring has engendered, only in the evening will it be seen what the morning began.” -Carl Jung
4 reviews
June 20, 2017
From the first few pages, I knew this work would likely be my favourite for a long time. I had this book sitting in dust for a long time because of its title; "The Essential Jung: Selected Writings." For some strange reason, I just saw the word Jung and believed it to be something about Eastern meditation methods, but then I saw it later and thought how dumb that was; Jung was a psychoanalyst!

This non-fiction brings pieces and excerpts from the essential ideas of Jung together into a single book, and they're brought together so smoothly in order to get a good grasp on the concepts of psychoanalysis. Being knew to this topic, yet knowing of the complexity of other psychoanalytic writers (Lacan being one), I was quite stunned by how perfectly combined Jung's writings were, which made me indulge.

It can be considered an introductory work to psychoanalysis, as it covers in discrete sections many aspects of it; word association, complexes, the soul & psyche, Jung's anima & animus, repression (which is prime), as well as other known topics in psychology that Jung breaks down.

Not only are Jung's topics covered, but it is also described his history in working in the field of analytic psychology. His association with Freud is detailed, as well as the reasons that he and Jung began to separate. In Freud's view, the unconscious factors of the sexual libido (sex drive) were the main causes of repression and regression. In his idea of sexual libido was also the Oedipus complex and the Electra complex (sexual desire for one's parents). His view was that when sexual impulses were forbidden from being expressed (repression), one would regress to an almost infantile state concerning that area of mind.

In the book, Jung states that Freud overemphasizes the role of sex in psychoanalysis, and he does so by explaining so after. Jung's encounters with patients and examples are documented to prove his points, while the reader is able to understand exactly what Jung is saying because of the simplicity of his style.

Leaving this book, psychoanalysis is of great interest to me. For such a subject, I was intrigued. I most certainly think that the next reader will be too.

Profile Image for Bharath.
594 reviews449 followers
September 23, 2016
If you like Jung's theories on Collective Unconscious, Synchronicity and personality types you will like this book. He makes a genuine and good attempt at aligning religious and scientific thought.

This book is a collection of the most significant writings of Carl Jung with some introductory notes by Anthory Storr. This has turned out to be very satisfying read where all of Jung’s popular theories are discussed in detail in his own words.

There are descriptions of personality types – basic ones including intraverts and extraverts. There are further interesting descriptions on the properties of the soul/psyche. In the case of men, the soul has many properties one would consider feminine (since that is what is suppressed), while it is the reverse in women. Men inwardly feel while women inwardly reason – this he offers as a reason why men are driven to total hopelessness at times than women.

There are long and fascinating passages on the origin of evil. Another very good discussion item is on looking outward and inward - while there are many who look outward to seek God, there are others who see looking inward as a higher priority. A number of conceptual similarities and differences between Western and Eastern civilization is also discussed.

Expectedly, a good amount of space is devoted to his theories of the “Collective unconscious” and “Synchronicity” with examples from his life. While Freud’s diagnosis of personality (and also possibly Adler) is more simplistic, Jung’s approach takes a wide range of factors into play including personality, upbringing, surroundings, beliefs, etc.

Overall through much of his writing Jung seeks to establish a most needed link between religion and science. If Jung’s theories appeal to you, you will find this book to be a good read.
204 reviews18 followers
September 21, 2013
I have since read several books written by Jung and this is an excellent introduction. Was pleased to discover that jung has been resonating through my life for a decade, without proper credit. His ideas are very interesting - like me, he applies psychology at an individual level and at a societal level. and freud has never worked for me, I am not sure how anyone takes him seriously.

This book excerpts and breaks down many key ideas and provides footnotes and details to flesh out, clarify and expand upon jung's points. Jung was a very interesting man and his process for himself would be looked at with scorn and concern right now - at the same time, the world we live in reflects very accurately his concerns about the human psyche and the collective societal consciousness - and the challenges he viewed as pressing concerns, which man has yet to meet.

Profile Image for Brianna.
44 reviews14 followers
December 10, 2018
Well-organized anthology. Second attempt at reading Jung. (First attempt: weird obsession with alchemy leads my middle schooler self to a collection of Jung’s writings on alchemy) I believe Jung was on the precipice of anti-psychiatry after he split from Freud. The reduction of an individual’s psyche to childhood is a popular generalization, from therapy sessions to artwork. Western culture has an odd fixation on the primacy of childhood, but Jung’s middle-aged patients led him to alter their treatment. An immersion in childhood memory was ineffective. When Jung super slams this fallacy, he also enters a neurosis. The ethos of psychiatry takes the authority of a psychiatrist for granted; doc and patient can’t both be cracked. But a project of self is effective when it benefits the individual and their loved ones. It’s collective psychic debt, baby.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
191 reviews9 followers
October 2, 2009
I'm a psychology major and I like Carl Jung, but what is he talking about? I need a translator!
Profile Image for Holly LeCraw.
Author 2 books35 followers
March 28, 2011
Still plugging away...editing and commentary by Storr is excellent.
Profile Image for Lauryi Knowles.
39 reviews24 followers
March 1, 2022
This book didn't make the actual Jung writings much more understandable for me. I did come to the surprising conclusion, however, that Jung no doubt had psychotic breaks with reality.
Profile Image for Alex Petkus.
30 reviews7 followers
September 15, 2019
Mostly very interesting.
If the "supernatural" stuff was left out, this would probably be 5 stars.

To a certain degree, I feel Jung was writing more about himself with the sections related to religious dogma, but with regard to common myths and alchemy, these things were not as much a part of his upbringing and these sections seemed less of a reach.

I do feel this book has increased my understanding of other people who appear to me as neurotic when they fail to adapt to particular situations [people with stubborn attitudes].

I dove into this looking for more information about individuation, which may lead to self actualization. I'm not sure if I found it. But that makes sense per this book that I would not know immediatly and that it will take time and a lot of self reflection per the methods prescribed inside the text. Certainly, the idea of archetypes makes sense to me, it helps answer why I feel such joy in my heart when my daughter hugs me. I am in the camp of what Nietzsche and Deleuze may have referred to as an "Active Nihilist," most stuff is meaningless, maybe everything is meaningless, but I'm going to continue searching how to find meaning and maybe walk with Nietzche among mountains.

Some stuff in this book influenced my personal metaphysical philosophy, which leans heavily toward continental metaphysics.

I do wish Jung would have referred to the "self" as "self" rather than as "God." Jung's way of writing made sense for a portion of the dogma and religion sections, but it did not seem necessary for the rest. In a portion of the writings, Jung did emphasize some of his writings were for those that realized "God is dead," but sometimes it did not seem like it.

Overall, worth the read.
August 20, 2020
As a reader of psychology books,,I felt it was finally time to get into Carl Jung's works. Alongside Freud he is essentially one of the forefathers of modern psychology. What's fascinating from the off is just how applicable his writings are today, especially in his ending where he makes his predictions for the future. Overall, I found this a greatly insightful and fascinating read, reading into his perspective's into philosophy, the use for mythology in creating our current conscious, as well as his views on alchemy, the subconscious and how we look at mental issues such as mental illness. Overall, I do throughly recommend this book for those interested in psychology. It even helped me see past a problem which has plagued my mind these past few months. However, it does share a problem which I mentioned in my Maps of Meaning Review by Jordan Peterson. It is a very technical and at times a difficult book to read and understand. When I recommend this I recommend this to those who are well-read in the subject of psychology in some capacity. Do not buy this as your first book into the topic. I advocate it for more advanced readers who have extensively looked into this subject. Otherwise, a great read.
Profile Image for Brendan.
42 reviews20 followers
January 20, 2021
Jung's writings are very interesting, if a wee bit rambling. Therefore, if I was to rate this book on my interest in it, I would rate it highly. However, I will admit that it eventually became so difficult to read it that I had to drop it two sections from the end - the reason being that 'essential' is really a kind word for some of the included texts.

The meat is within the first 40% of the book. This is where you will find enlightening discussion of the anima and animus, shadows, personae and so on; all interesting stuff, regardless of how valid it is to psychology today. However, at some point these topics are mostly dropped in favour of elaborating on Jung's basic worldview, and we get long segments on quite uninteresting, sometimes seemingly irrelevant things (like a discussion of how certain Catholic theologians claimed that evil did not exist and how that was illogical).

While I can understand that such excerpts do help one to understand Jung on some level, they really seem mislabelled as 'essential'. If anything, they are 'comprehensive' in the sense that the editor apparently wanted to include bits and pieces from most topics that Jung ever wrote on. More elaboration on what were apparently his core psychological ideas would have been appreciated.

Ultimately, I would recommend it for a slightly shallow primer on Jung, but if you are interested at the start do not expect to be interested at the end.
Profile Image for Dan.
330 reviews43 followers
September 9, 2021
From this Swiss psychiatrist, a wealth of insights into the mind and personality, some extended much too far. And about their operation in society as well. Jung built on the ideas of Freud and others but wisely departed from them as he gained insight. He explains his disagreements with some of their theories and quickly moves on. He is persuasive on archetypes, perhaps his most famous concept. He worked nine years at a psychiatric hospital, whereas Freud worked a few weeks in one. Of course both did much independent work as well.

I had not read any of Jung's writing; only about it. This selection appears an excellent way to learn about Jung's thinking. It is not a fast read. It might be a rather long read for one not much interested in psychology, and from these selections I would suspect that reading a collection of Jung's unabridged works would be a slog for anyone not in the field.

Archiv.org provides this book free online.
Profile Image for Larry.
564 reviews1 follower
March 31, 2022
A pretty good one-volume survey of Jung's thought and work. This is something of a weighty tome in its own right, though it pales in comparison to, say, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious or most volumes of the Collected Works.

I liked this better than The Portable Jung. The editor does a good job of concisely introducing each major topic and then stepping out of the way.

A good education, like, say, a Masters in Anthropology, and perhaps a good thesaurus are helpful when trying to puzzle through Jung's frequent references to myths and legends. Knowledge of a bunch of foreign languages including Biblical Greek will also come in handy.
14 reviews
September 2, 2022
A fascinating read for anyone interested in psychology or philosophy! Jung had a unique understanding of the human mind and spirit which has continued to influence psychological thought to this day.

Bear in mind, however, that this book will probably take multiple readings to understand fully. Jung wrote with an old-fashioned style of prose that takes some getting used to for a modern reader. Most difficult of all is the heavy use of Latin and Greek phrases, the latter of which are always written in the Cyrillic alphabet. These are often key phrases that need to be translated for the text to be fully understood.

Overall, I recommend this book as an excellent starting point for anyone who is interested in studying Jungian thought or other psychological approaches it influenced, such as humanistic psychology.
Profile Image for Margaret.
100 reviews
May 15, 2018
I have read many books about Jung and his ideas, but never a selection of Jung's writings. Reading his thoughts about personality types, religion, the unconscious, etc. in his own words was powerful. I was surprised by his humor, the biting wit, the way he could bring complex issues to light in the most succinct way. Anthony Storr's introductions to passages gave pertinent background to set the stage for better understanding. As I was reading, I was struck by Jung's passion, his insight, and his genius.
Profile Image for Brian Pan.
14 reviews1 follower
July 4, 2022
A good primer on learning about one of our great forefathers of modern psychology. Jung brought forward many new concepts that we use every day like introversion/extroversion and concepts like personality types. Although this is a collection of excerpts and brief commentaries on Jung, it did it's duty on introducing me to this person.

A good thing to know was that Jung was an avid reader and prolific writer, heavily influenced by mythology. As such he was partly an inspiration for me in returning to reading literature as a facet of learning psychology.
15 reviews
November 7, 2022
About as good an introduction to Jung's vast body of work that you are going to get. Storr does an excellent job at laying out and ordering Jung's complex ideas. The book is all in Jung's own words, with an occasional statement by Storr to provide some helpful context. If you do not have a background in social science I would recommend against reading the book as it requires at the very least knowledge within the fields of: religion, comparative mythology, 20th century history, psychoanalysis and biology (basic evolutionary theory), not to mention philosophy.
641 reviews12 followers
March 4, 2020
An interesting, if overlong and repetitive collection of Jung's thought. Worth a read if you've ever realised how much you know about Freud but precious little about Jung.

I now know that Roy Porter had read Jung, as his explanation of UFOs, as the latest in the series of ways to express neuroses. Less interesting is the religiosity and Jung's views on LGBT issues, neither of which have aged well.
Profile Image for Jack.
27 reviews
April 17, 2023
This book is a well ordered and digestible introduction to the ideas of Carl Jung. Concepts like the collective unconscious, archetypes, integration and the self are all here. It briefly touches on some of the more esoteric topics like the significance of mandalas and synchronicity but nothing too complex. Recommended if, like me, you are relatively new to Jung.
Profile Image for Lisong Yang.
4 reviews
May 9, 2020
Jung's ideas on human mind was original, broad and profoundly insightful. Storr's selection of Jung's work was comprehensive and helpful for those who would like to catch essence of this giant's thoughts and gain wisdom of humanity.
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