Friday, June 02, 2006

C.G. Jung on Art

I've been reading Psychological Reflections: Selections by Jung, a book of quotations arranged thematically, and gathered from his Collected Works. I ran across a few comments by Jung that I think are relevant to my work, which I am quoting below. Jung had a lot to say about art and artists, and was himself a visionary artist—it's one reason I find his psychological work so interesting, in that he sought to include the numinous and transpersonal, and rebelled against reductionism and the tyranny of rationalism über alles.

One insight I find very useful is the recognition that everybody's experience and awareness of the universe is valid, for them. This is not solipsism—there are many overlaps between all our experiences, and we all have to deal with some very similar human experiences: death, love, grief, joy, suffering, eros, pain, etc. Where I think we get stuck is when any of us says: my way is more real than anyone else's.

The artist is the mouthpiece of the secrets of the psyche of his time—involuntarily, like every true prophet, and unconsciously, like a sleep-walker. He believes himself to be speaking out of himself; but the spirit of the age speaks through him, and what it says is so, for it works.

Whether the poet knows that his work is generated in him and grows and ripens there, or whether he imagines that he creates out of his own will and from nothingness, it changes in no way the curious fact that his work grows beyond him. It is, in relation to him, like a child to its mother.

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Blogger Rus Bowden said...

Hi Art,

You get me getting into Jung again, and I'll get nothing else done in my life. One time, I even did a word association experiment based on his writings about it, for a psych class.

As to his psychodynamics, his ideas are still jumping-off points and bases for discussions on, for instance, poetry and poets. We reference him whether we know it or not. He is forever in our collective unconsciousness. Thanks for bringing him up.


10:26 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Amen to all of that, Rus.

I keep going back to him, for inspiration and guidance, in exactly the way you describe. I'm currently re-reading my way through the Collected Works, having fisrt done so some 20 years ago. It's even better reading now, now that I have more experience under my belt.

1:07 PM  

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