Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Readings: Of Carl G. Jung and Inspiration

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.