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Record Type: Review   ID: 477

Spiritualism and the Foundations of C.G. Jung's Psychology

Charet, F.X.

 Charet documents the religious influence spiritualism had in the early life of Carl Jung. He defines Spiritualism as "a belief in the communication between the living and the dead" and "the various experiences and ideas that became attached to this belief" (p. xv). Charet does not peg Jung as a spiritualist; rather, he attempts to show how early experiences with it contributed significantly to the foundation of Jung's philosophy. There are eight chapters. The first sets the stage with a description of the status of mesmerism, hypnotism, and Spiritualism when Jung was a student. A chapter is devoted to his parents, who represented two opposites, with spiritualistic experiences prominent on his mother's side and scientific rationality as the mainstay of his father's side. In his life Jung tried to use both in the development of a third approach, which in effect was his psychology. Charet devotes a chapter to the influence on Jung of the philosophy of spiritualism espoused by Kant and Schopenhauer. He describes Jung's student lectures, which contained a strong spiritualistic element and his study of multiple personality and mediumship in his dissertation, which was about his observation of a young female medium. He describes Jung's relation to Freud and their conflict over spiritualistic phenomena in the longest chapter of the book. He describes the emergence of Jung's own psychology after a rift developed between himself and Freud, which entailed his becoming conscious of the role of unconscious fantasy in his own personality and works as revealed in his study of a young woman, Frank Miller. Charet describes the development of Jung's own visions and fantasies that he described in Seven Sermons to the Dead. He also points out the important role the medium Toni Wolff, who was Jung's mistress, played in the development of Jung's consciousness, which was then reflected in his work. In the concluding chapter, he recapitulates his argument about the influence of Spiritualism on Jung's work and offers some suggestions about "the significance of these data for an understanding of Jung's concept of the 'archetype'" and some observations "on the role of religious influences in Jung's understanding of religion" (p. 285).
Publisher Information:Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993. 329p. Bibl: 303-326; Chap. notes; Index: 327-329
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