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Religion and the Spiritual in Carl Jung Ann Belford Ulanov

Religion and the Spiritual in Carl Jung

Ann Belford Ulanov

Published January 1st 2000
ISBN : 9780809139071
Paperback
269 pages
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 About the Book 

Religion and PsychologyCarl Jung, the eminent Swiss psychoanalyst, referred to the Bible more often than any other bibliographical source. This makes his work a natural wellspring for those interested in the intersection of religion and psychology.MoreReligion and PsychologyCarl Jung, the eminent Swiss psychoanalyst, referred to the Bible more often than any other bibliographical source. This makes his work a natural wellspring for those interested in the intersection of religion and psychology. Religion and the Spiritual in Carl Jung confirms and further develops what supporters and critics of Jung already know: His psychology positions the human being within a religious realm in which we experience a psychic reality constructed within a mysterious web of archetypal patterns that arise out of the hypothesized collective unconscious.Jung saw the absence of a religious attitude as problematic, contributing to neurotic tendencies in the individual and society. Through the 13 lectures and articles collected here, Ann Ulanov -- chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary, faculty member of the C. G. Jung Institute of New York, and psychoanalyst in private practice -- offers a distinguished and helpful contribution to the study of Jungs ideas in one of the most distinctive areas of his psychological worldview.The authors far-reaching research and practical, multifaceted insight contribute to a thoughtful presentation of many of the ideas that encompass Jungs psychology and their relation to religious themes, peppered with illustrative anecdotal accounts. In true Jungian fashion, we circumambulate many of Jungs basic concepts throughout the three sections that make up this collection: 1. Biographical: Jungs life and experiences that influenced the development of his personality and theoretical constructions- 2. Pedagogical: The experience of teaching Jungs psychology in a seminary and graduate school of religion- 3. Theoretical: Extending and applying Jungs principles to daily life. Along the way, general themes from other contributors to depth psychology become markers, while the everyday world, with its questions of meaning and sense of fragmentation, is called upon to keep things grounded in lived experience.Through this collection, we are listening to a story in 13 parts that, while not a narrative, has much for us to learn from. To accomplish this -- while incorporating some of the towering figures in contemporary philosophy, psychology, theology, culture, and religious studies into one tale -- is no simple task, but it is achieved here. There is also clear evidence of the authors contributions to scholarship in the field of the psychology of the feminine and feminist studies as they pertain to depth psychology. The overriding style of presentation is that of a seasoned educator who aims for various types of listeners, corresponding to the basic ways we navigate the world as described in Jungs typology. Sometimes we think. Or, we act like Caesar: thumbs up or down, simply good or bad, often without knowing why- were just in a mood -- what Jung means when he talks about the feeling function. Other times, we use our senses or find we have an intuition. The underlying premise is that we are already attuned with these qualities, and Ulanov relies upon it. She holds our attention by referencing the cultural warehouses of music, painting, and other art forms readily available at the flick of a switch. There are also some well-founded criticisms and questions that establish the authors voice as one of reason in the ongoing debates concerning some of Jungs political practices and shortsighted behaviors.One comes away from these essays with a sense of who the author is and where she stands on a variety of issues. Her attitude toward religion and the spiritual is on the front lines. This is not a polemic meant to convince- it probes as much as it looks to supply answers, while providing confirmations of experiences of something that cannot be completely described. We hear questions that must be asked of religion in our time, while we receive answers to the question, Why Jung? We want a life with value, Ulanov asserts. It is clear that she finds prayer, religious ritual, and Jungs model of the psyche to be pillars of strength for herself. Providing additional context for her views through theological tracts and 20th-century continental philosophy, we hear something like an exhortation, maybe a dare: Why not apply Jungs model, with its psychology of difference? Ulanov encourages her listeners to learn to make room for possibilities of being. For her, a life lived in faith and religion at its best, with its tradition of imagery and ritual, provides an appropriate atmosphere for our shared fantasies and wishes for a better world.Carl Jung believed in the healing power of religion and the spiritual, and the more we engage these aspects of our inner world, the more we transform in relation to the outer world. That contact can be made with the numinous, but at no small cost -- this is the gist of the warning by Jung that opens Ann Ulanovs book. By the time you finish this book, you may, along with her, feel that the price is worth it.—Royce Froehlich