Aubrey's Reviews > Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung's Life & Teachings

Jung the Mystic by Gary Lachman
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's review
Jun 12, 2012

liked it

As far as biographies go, this was quick-moving, informative and engaging. The subtitle and alleged focus, though, are misleading. Yes, Jung's 'esoteric' teachings are addressed, but Lachman explains them in light of his personal history & psychology. Whether or not Jung actually experienced paranormal phenomena is almost beside the point. The book would have been much better if Lachman stuck with this contextual examination - exploring the Why of how Jung came to have the personality theories he did. Lachman is free to write another book talking up Jung's Mystic status, but he definitely hasn't done it here. And that would be just fine, except that he seems to think he has, only the extent to which he does this is the occasional unqualified, fleeting comment, like he makes here:

"Critics argue that once again Jung was making grandiose statements based on his pathology. Perhaps. But the experience had a palpable effect on Jung. It changed him, and in that sense, if no other, it was real."


But, no. Lachman continues just a little more: "I for one will go further and accept that Jung did enter some extraordinary state of consciousness and that, like mystics and sages before and after him, he had broken through to the real world."

And then he moves on to the next topic, with no elucidation. This happens a lot.

Jung the Mystic has the potential to be a great phenomenological biography, but instead reads like a first draft. Before publishing, Lachman should have clarified for himself what kind of book he wanted it to be.

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