Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Readings: Of Carl G. Jung and Inspiration

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This post presents a brief excerpt from psychologist Carl Gustave Jung’s book, Answer to Job. More specifically, it is an except from the “Lectori Benevolo” preceding the main text, the purpose of which is to prepare the reader for the circumstance that, although he is about to begin reading a book written by a scientist and physician, he will be reading a book which takes ideas of transcendent metaphysics seriously:

The statements of the conscious mind may easily be snares and delusions, lies, or arbitrary opinions, but this is certainly not true of the statements of the soul: to begin with they always go over our heads because they point to realities that transcend consciousness. These entia are the archetypes of the collective unconscious, and they precipitate complexes of ideas in the form of mythological motifs. Ideas of this kind are never invented, but enter the field of inner perception as finished products, for instance in dreams. They are spontaneous phenomena which are not subject to our will, and we are therefore justified in ascribing to them a certain autonomy. They are to be regarded not only as objects but as subjects with laws of their own.

My reason for posting this particular excerpt is that it very much speaks to what I experience in the composition of poetry, the central ideas of which most frequently “enter the field of inner perception as finished products.” The transcendent is the source of all true creativity. It is the distinction between “creating” and “making,” between artist and artisan.
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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a poem is incubated in the mind and then is 'given birth' to. After which it should be left as is. I do understand this. It is possible that sometimes with ambition, poets will try to craft a poem, but it is not the genuine article. I know I have been guilty of this on occasion. I also believe that the 'natural poem' comes not from our ego but from a higher source, the place which is transcended to.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above is Fiocle
in case you were wondering :-)

Rodak said...

Yes. That shows an excellent understanding of what I'm aiming at in posting this excerpt. Thank you for putting it into so succinct a descriptive account of actual composition.

Anonymous said...

What I like about Jung is it really slows me down. None of it is easily accessible. You have to work at it. I really like that aspect, and also that after the work is done there are real rewards.

Rodak said...

I agree. I've been reading Jung since my college days. I don't stick with many thinkers that long.

Ron King said...

Rodak, This just triggered a memory of grad school in '76. I too am an introvert and had a public speaking phobia. In one class we were required to attend a value clarifications workshop. My classmates thought I was an extrovert and they volunteered me to be a subject in a role play in front of 300 people. I did in spite of panic. I was asked to speak to someone close to me and say something I had been afraid to be open about. When I started to speak I began to cry and the words just flowed without thinking about what was next. I lost the sense of being in front of people and all that was real was what was coming from my mouth. One friend wrote what I had stated and said it was poetic. She offered to give me a copy and I declined. I remember the general theme and nothing more. As I look back it seems that the structures within the right brain associated with creativity, empathy and a holistic perspective directed the linear and verbal aspects of the left brain in order to express in words what had been only unmet needs and desires which had been repressed for who knows how long.
It was a moment of freedom that I charish and miss.

Rodak said...

Thank you very much for sharing that Ron! What a superb illustration of Jung's point!