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Reply To: My story ..


I fully understand the plight of too many books and not enough time. The Japanese term for buying more books than you can read is tsundoku – an incurable condition for me.

I credit Campbell for turning me on to Carl Jung. I purchased The Portable Jung primarily for Campbell’s foreword (still one of the most succinct accounts of Jung’s intellectual development and the trajectory of the Freud-Jung relationship until recent years; I find Deirdre Bair’s  2008 Jung: A Biography  the most thorough and comprehensive – and am disappointed to learn she just passed away in April at the age of 84), but then I started reading the selections from Jung, and from there had no choice but to start collecting the Collected Works – absolutely mind-blowing!

Carl Jung, like Campbell, is one of the rare nonfiction authors I can read and re-read. Every time I read a passage I’ve read before, it’s like peeling an onion – layer after layer after layer of new and deeper insights. Outside the Collected Works, I can’t recommend highly enough Dream Analysis: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928 – 1930 by C.G. Jung, (ed. William McGuire), thicker than most volumes in the CW and conducted in English by Jung, and Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936 – 1940 by C.G. Jung. (Though Jung often mentions using active imagination, he never fully describes this technique – but in these seminars he delves more fully into that with examples galore).

I suspect the piece on dilettantes you reference might be A Dilettante Among Symbols, the foreword from Heinrich Zimmer’s The King and the Corpse (edited by Campbell), a sweet essay – especially for those of us eschew academic specialization. I’m reminded of Campbell’s discussion re specialization:

A specialist can come up and say, in all seriousness⁠, ‘The people in the Congo have five fingers on their right hand.’ If I say, ‘Well, the people in Alaska have five fingers on their right hand,’ I’m called a generalist. And if I say that the people in the caves in 30,000 B.C. had five fingers on their right hand, I’m a mystic⁠!”

As for science fiction and fantasy, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ursula K. LeGuin populate my personal pantheon (authors who create an incredibly detailed universe that is a setting for multiple novels).

You might consider starting a discussion on Jung, Mark, or on science  fiction authors, in The Conversation with a Thousand Faces forum (your first post needn’t be too detailed – you could pretty much cut-and-paste what you said about Jung above), rather than burying it in the Meet & Greet forum (I suspect a lot of people would love to weigh in on Jung, or on sci-fi, but are unlikely to stumble across it here).