Monday, December 7, 2009

Diary of A Mad Man? Carl Jung's "Red Book" Finally Published

Everyone’s crazy. I’m crazy, you’re crazy, the most influential person in your life is crazy. However, seldom do we ever get an honest glimpse of someone else’s craziness…until now.

I’ve been a big fan of Carl Jung for most of my adult life. I believe his psychological theories most accurately describe the inner workings of the human psyche. Luckily for me and all the other Jung fans out there, Dr. Jung’s personal journal, which documents a severe mid-life crisis, has just been published. The Red Book, as it’s called, is recorded accounts of Jung’s waking visions and encounters with the darkest figures of his unconscious. His experiences border on occult fantasy and utter psychosis however it’s hard to deny that we have all dealt with similar issues - there are just few of us who have the nerve and audacity to document it. Luckily Jung did and despite some resistant from his heirs to publish this work, we now have insight into one of the most fascinating minds of the 20th century.

Beware though, this book isn’t light reading or even comprehensible reading. It is an honest account of the darkest inner workings of a person, which makes it difficult to find any type of logical story line. I personally know one of the founders of the organization that published The Red Book and he said to me in regards to the book, “Let me know if you understand it.” As of now, I don’t and I probably never will. However, there are passages that have been utterly inspiring and moving. This book isn’t a story it’s a series of accounts, if you approach it with this idea in mind you won’t be disappointed.

Here is a great New York Times article about the arduous process of getting this work published. And also a wonderful review from The Economist. Lastly, here is a link to buy The Red Book at Amazon.

Why would you be interested in reading about someone else’s psychosis? Is there comfort in viewing the craziness of another person?

Tom Murtaugh

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