The Red Book

Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life…If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature…Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.

― C.G. Jung, The Red Book

I purchased this book recently, for about $150. It sits large, and red, with gold lettering. I have not read through the book yet, only thumbed through the pages, examining the illustrations, eyeing the occasional page in an attempt to scrape some quick insights from its desultory story line.

Jung gave himself permission to let go of his stable self, the protracted ego carefully balancing the scaffolding of reason and knowledge against the ever changing world, and embrace the spiritual realm of his inner mind, the unconscious pools of varying depth and darkness, swirling with latent impulse and imagination, coalescing in his dreams, and put to paper in the hours afforded between him work and home life. He labored for roughly fifteen years to construct this portal of the soul, this raw incarnation of what he believes contains the timeless collective consciousness of mankind. After his death, it sat in a lock cupboard at his estate until the 1980’s when it was transferring to a bank vault in Zurich. In 2007, with the help of his Jungian devotees, and the passing of his son, the primary proprietor of his legacy, it was scanned and printed and published.

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