Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Jung and Old

I've been rereading Carl Jung for the first time in many years, and probably for the first time after I (consider myself to) have learned a decent amount of modern psychology. I'mn trying to understand the relationship between things that are pretty clearly science and things that might be in his school of thought. A number of my friends are very dismissive of Jung (and Freud), but as few of them have read much philosophy of science, I'm not sure how seriously to take their objections (not a status thing - rather many of their arguments are based off of an inadequately simple understanding of what science is and how it works). I can't say that at the end of my exploration of this matter, I won't be similarly dismissive, but hopefully I'll have better reason than they do for being so if I am. The most interesting area to explore is whether Analytical Psychology can/should be viewed as a useful abstraction over the materialist framework of mind. By useful abstraction, depending on what school of philosophy of science (I'll call this PhilSci) we come from, this could imply that it is true in some sense or highly predictive in a useful way (think Newtonian physics, which we might say is wrong-but-useful). Is analytic philosophy productive beyond placebo levels? Placebo is actually a pretty strong force in the realm of therapy, I think - one of my intuitions about therapy is that a lot of the good it does is just giving the subject someone to talk to about their problems that they can be honest with. One part of me suggests that most things beyond that are bunk, but I've learned to be wary of "peasant intuitions" like that. I'm not sure I'm actually going to be in a place to look at this simply by rereading his book, even if I really pay attention, but this is a difficult thing to study.

One of the more interesting things I've read so far is his comparison of analytic psychology (his baby) with psychoanalysis (Freud's baby) - Freud takes what the subject is speaking of and tries to tie it into one of a set of experiences inherent in the human condition, while Jung tries to stay very close to what the subject is talking about in the hopes of finding something unique to them. Which is more productive? Which reveals more about what's really going on in the mind of the subject? He does talk about successes of his type of therapy in finding what's going on in the subject's mind, but doesn't offer much in the way of how he came to the conclusion that he was right. Given how suggestable subjects are, I don't imagine it'd be easy to come to trustworthy conclusions on this matter, and yet there they are laid out liberally through the text. Hmm. Maybe some more ideas on this will follow.

While I'm at it, I thought I might share an interesting assertion I read recently from Mao (from his collected works which I'm working through) - the degree to which someone is a communist is their willingness and practice in becoming one with the workers and peasants and their welfare - professed belief in the people's principles and membership in the party is not enough. It's a bold assertion, and one which poses a certain practical challenge for me personally.

I am pleased that we are very near the solstice - although we've been fortunate to have warm weather, this darkening is not fun at all. On the downside, we're at the point where stores close. At least I live in SqHill - I suspect all the kosher places will stay open. W00t. I will also likely eat at the French place on Murray tonight - I'm going to partake of meat - specifically duck. Mmm.


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