Ahmed Hamad's Reviews > Four Archetypes

Four Archetypes by Carl Jung
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it was amazing

This book, like the other writings of Carl G. Jung, is a great gift to mankind. It can provide insight to any reader who wishes to explore the realm of the commonly unseen, yet still exists, and can be felt at a time or another somewhere deep inside your soul. I think I have read this book three or four times now, but every time I open it, the impact it has on me is again immense. There is an infinite number of reflective "ideas" that can arise based on the contents of the book, perhaps because of the overwhelming nature of the archetypes he attempts to describe here specifically.

Four Archetypes might have a stronger spiritual sense to it than a scientific one, but it, nonetheless, is one of the greatest collection of intellectual ideas I have read. This is perhaps because of the intense connection between the two concepts as Jung himself describes and calls for.
If you've read other books he's written, this is going to be an even more exhilarating read. If this is your first, however, it might be difficult to go through these pages. Though it will probably still leave its "imprint" on you.

A recommendation: Keep going back to the illustrations on the cover of this book as you go through it. That has helped me grasp more of it, or perhaps connect more.

Carl G. Jung has for long been my favorite author. Whenever I open any of his books, I can feel an intense connection, not only to the content but to the image of that individual that came up with these thoughts. I am sure I'll end up reading it again soon enough.

Now, seeing as I don't think my words will suffice in describing this great work of art (and yes, it is indeed as well a work of art), here are some -among many- of my favorite quotes:

"From what has been said it should be clear that in the last analysis all the statements of mythology on this subject as well as the observed effects of the mother-complex, when stripped of their confusing detail, point to the unconscious as their place of origin. How else could it have occurred to man to divide the cosmos, on the analogy of day and night, summer and winter, into a bright day-world and a dark night-world peopled with fabulous monsters, unless he had the prototype of such a division in himself, in the polarity between the conscious and the invisible and unknowable unconscious? Primitive man's perception of objects is conditioned only partly by the objective behavior of the things themselves, whereas a much greater part is often played by intrapsychic facts which are not related to the external objects except by way of projection."

"The alchemist saw the union of opposites under the symbol of the tree, and it is therefore not surprising that the unconscious of present-day man, who no longer feels at home in his world and can base his existence neither on the past that is no more nor on the future that is yet to be, should hark back to the symbol of the cosmic tree rooted in this world and growing up to heaven-the tree that is also man. In the history of symbols this tree is described as the way of life itself, a growing into that which eternally is and does not change; which springs from the union of opposites and, by its eternal presence, also makes that union possible. It seems as if it were only through an experience of symbolic reality that man, vainly seeking his own "existence" and making a philosophy out of it, can find his way back to a world in which he is no longer a stranger"

“When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges, then, as Nietzsche says, ‘one becomes two,’ and the greater figure, which one always was but which remained invisible, appears to the lesser personality with the force of a revelation. He who is truly and hopelessly little will always drag the revelation of the greater down to the level of his littleness, and will never understand that the day of judgement for his littleness has dawned. But the man who is inwardly great will know that the long expected friend of his soul, the immortal one, has now really come, ‘to lead captivity captive’; that is, to seize hold of him by whom this immortal had always been confined and held prisoner, and to make his life flow into that greater life- a moment of deadliest peril!”

"It is the relationship between the self and the ‘other being’ that is the other person in ourselves- that larger and greater personality maturing within us, whom we have already met as the inner friend of the soul. That is why we take comfort whenever we find the friend and companion depicted in a ritual. It is the representation of a friendship between two men which is simply the outer reflection of an inner fact: it reveals our relationship to that inner friend of the soul into whom nature herself would to change us- that other person we also are and yet can never attain to completely. We are that pair of Dioscuri (a twin that is mortal, and the other that is immortal. It is better to look them up) and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. The transformation processes strive to approximate them to one another, but our consciousness is aware of resistances, because the other person seems strange and uncanny, and because we cannot get accustomed to the idea that we are not absolute master in our own house. We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else. But we are confronted with that inner friend or foe, and whether he is our friend or our foe depends on ourselves."

"The disastrous idea that everything comes to the human psyche from outside and that it is born a tabula rasa is responsible for the erroneous belief that under normal circumstances the individual is in perfect order. He then looks to the state for salvation, and makes society pay for his inefficiency. He thinks the meaning of existence would be discovered if food and clothing were delivered to him gratis on his own doorstep, or if everybody possessed an automobile. Such are the puerilities that rise up in place of an unconscious shadow and keep it unsconscious. As a result of these prejudices, the individual feels totally dependent on his environment and loses all capacity for introspection. In this way his codes of ethics is replaced by a knowledge of what is permitted or forbidden or ordered. How, under these circumstances, can one expect a soldier to subject an order received from a superior to ethical scrutiny? He has not yet made the discovery that he might be capable of spontaneous ethical impulses, and of performing them-even when no one is looking."

And finally:

"When we consider the spirit in its archetypal form as it appears to us in fairytales and dreams, it presents a picture that differs strangely from the conscious idea of spirit, which is split up into so many meanings. Spirit was originally a spirit in human or animal form, a daimonion that came upon man from without. But our material already shows traces of an expansion of consciousness which has gradually begun to occupy that originally unconscious territory and to transform those daimonia, at least partially, into voluntary acts. Man conquers not only nature, but spirit also, without realizing what he is doing. To the man of enlightened intellect it seems like the correction of a fallacy when he recognizes that what he took to be spirits is simply the human spirit and ultimately his own spirit. All the superhuman things, whether good or bad, that former ages predicated of the daimonia, are reduced to “reasonable” proportions as though they were pure exaggeration, and everything seems to be in the best possible order. But were the unanimous convictions of the past really and truly only exaggerations? If they were not, then the integration of the spirit means nothing less than its demonization, since the superhuman spiritual agencies that were formerly tied up in nature are introjected into human nature, thus endowing it with a power which extends the bounds of personality ad infinitum, in the most perilous way. I put it to the enlightened rationalist: has his rational reduction led to the beneficial control of matter and spirit? He will point proudly to the advances in physics and medicine, to the freeing of the mind from medieval stupidity and –as a well-meaning Christian- to our deliverance from the fear of demons. But we continue to ask: what have all our other cultural achievements led to? The fearful answer is there before our eyes: man has been delivered from no fear, a hideous nightmare lies upon the world. So far reason has failed lamentably, and the very thing that everybody wanted to avoid rolls on in ghastly progression. Man has achieved wealth of useful gadgets, but, to offset that, he has torn open the abyss, and what will become of him now- where can he make a halt? After the last World War we hoped for reason: we go on hoping. But already we are fascinated by the possibilities of atomic fission and promise ourselves a Golden Age – the surest guarantee that the abomination of desolation will grow to limitless dimensions. And who or what is it that causes all this? It is none other than that harmless, ingenious, inventive, and sweetly reasonable human spirit who unfortunately is abysmally unconscious of the demonism that still clings to him. Worse, this spirit does everything to avoid looking himself in the face, and we all help him like mad. Only, heaven preserve us from psychology –that depravity might lead to self-knowledge! Rather let us have wars, for which somebody else is always to blame, nobody seeing that all the world is driven to do just what all the world flees from in terror.

It seems to me, frankly, that former ages did not exaggerate, that the spirit has not sloughed off its demonisms, and that mankind, because of its scientific and technological development, has in increasing measure delivered itself over to the danger of possession. True, the archetype of the spirit is capable of working for good as well as for evil, but it depends upon man’s free- i.e. conscious- decision whether the good will be perverted into something satanic. Man’s worst sin is unconsciousness, but it is indulged in with the greatest piety even by those who should serve mankind as teachers and examples. When shall we stop taking man for granted in this barbarous manner and in all seriousness seek ways and means to exorcize him, to rescue him from possession and unconsciousness, and make this the most vital task of civilization? Can we not understand that all the outward tinkerings and improvements do not touch man’s inner nature, and that everything ultimately depends upon whether the man who wields the science and the technics is capable of responsibility or not? Christianity has shown us the way, but, as the facts bear witness, it has not penetrated deeply enough below the surface. What depths of despair are still needed to open the eyes of the world’s responsible leaders, so that at least they can refrain from leading themselves into temptation?"
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Reading Progress

July 24, 2015 – Started Reading
July 24, 2015 – Shelved
August 1, 2015 – Finished Reading

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