A 6 part series on Jung the man – introduction. Please see links below this content to access each essay.
“Jung was such an extraordinary man, surely one of our time’s great geniuses.” Charles Lindbergh, 1959
The focus of most of the previous essays on this blog site has been on Jung’s ideas. Now the focus shifts to Jung himself. Why the shift? As with so many of the earlier postings, the subject for this multi-part essay arose from interactions with students. I was talking with a student and discovered that she had an attitude toward Jung that could only be termed “veneration.” As Charles Lindbergh recognized, when he met Jung in 1959, Jung was a genius, one of the stellar figures of the 20th century, whose reputation is likely to be burnished as we move into the future. But for all his genius, Jung was still a human being, and a fairly flawed one at that. Jung could have been speaking of himself when he wrote
“Great gifts are the fairest, and often the most dangerous, fruits on the tree of humanity. In most cases… the gift develops in inverse ratio to the maturation of the personality as a whole, and often one has the impression that a creative personality grows at the expense of the human being.”
Sometimes, indeed, there is such a discrepancy between the genius and his human qualities that one has to ask oneself whether a little less talent might not have been better. In this set of essays we will consider Jung’s “human qualities,” so as to put some flesh on the bones of the ideas and concepts we have dealt with in earlier essays. To paint a portrait of this “iconic figure,” we will consider the basics: first, the key events in his life; then, in Part II, his appearance, tastes, interests and his ensouled reality. Part III takes up Jung’s type, personality and character, as described by the wide array of individuals who knew, met, worked or crossed swords with him. Part IV turns the lens of analysis on to Jung’s own psyche, to examine his complexes, shadow side and personal history, in so far as it informed his personality. In Part V we will examine his closest personal relationships, his marriage and family life and his activities (or lack thereof) as a parent. In the final section, one of the most debated topics will be considered: Jung’s behavior and attitudes toward women.