Friday, November 6, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - POCKET JUNG


Pocket Jung by Daryl Sharp
Jung’s work has for many years provided me with rich wisdom, insight and personal growth. In many ways my reading journey has been a lonely one and as I read Jung’s work I have longed to discuss individual paragraphs with a Jungian Analyst; I have wondered how they would interpret a particular piece, what insights they would add to my understanding and how their technical knowledge would add to my appreciation of Jung’s work.  I have longed for a collection of Jung’s quotes, chosen by someone who has made Jung’s work their life study and then I imagined how great it would be if each quote were followed by an explanation of the meaning of the quote.  Well it seems day dreams do come true - POCKET JUNG : Pithy Excerpts from the work of C.G. Jung, with informed Commentaries by Daryl Sharp will be released soon!  Imagine my surprise when I read Sharp saying in Chapter 1:  

“No one is waiting for my take on this essay or on any others in Jung’s Collected Works. But I continue to grapple with them, ponder and lose sleep…“

Well, Daryl Sharp I, for one, have been waiting.

POCKET JUNG is filled with thought provoking quotes from Jung’s Collected Works. Each quote is followed by Sharp’s insights, thoughts and personal musings – an interweaving of Logos and Sharp’s own whimsical Eros commentaries.  This transforms the intellectual understanding of Jung’s work into an intimate journey with a close friend, the difference between understanding what Jung meant and a lived journey.

While this book is a great introduction to Jung’s key concepts, it is also a great store house of Jung quotations:

The book begins with a quote from The Undiscovered Self, Sharp’s first encounter with Jung’s work and what he describes as:

 “a wake-up call, an epiphany of sorts, for its essential message was that the visible, everyday world is not all there is, and the hidden side of ourselves, the unconscious of which we know very little, has a greater say in our attitudes and behaviour patterns than most of us realize.”  

The undiscovered self, what a wonderful place to begin a Jungian journey! In this chapter Sharp shares with the reader his own journey towards discovery of the self, towards individuation – a journey that is highly entertaining to read whilst clearly showing the value of following one’s own path.  I laughed when reading that Sharp’s astrological birth-mates include Richard Nixon and Marie-Louise von Franz and Sharp does come across in this book as both the trickster and the sage. This chapter gave me pause for reflection about my own life, about my own courage or lack thereof in following my desires and the consequences of these actions but then my astrological birth-mates are the Dali Lama and George Bush.

Aptly, since Sharp is a gifted writer, chapter two’s quote is from On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry and Sharp and Jung take us into the creative world of writer and artists. While Jung and Sharp were musing about James Joyce, I was musing about Sharp  -  as he says:

“Don’t forget there are compensatory forces at work in the unconscious.” 

And for me the greatest value of sharing in Sharp’s personal journey through the work of Jung was the warmth and honesty with which Sharp shares his inner world.

Chapter three takes a look at the realm of relationship problems - and who among us has not experienced these? This chapter offers much of Jung’s sage advice which if truth be told my inner romantic squirms against.

Chapter four deals with my favourite subject, the symbolic life and I was immediately captivated by the opening paragraph:

“What is the “symbolic life”? What is meant by “symbolic thinking”? Why is it important and how do you do it? These are momentous questions with no simple answers. Daily life is permeated with symbolic happenings that most of us tend to take literally because we know no better. How are we to learn and who is there to teach us, the difference?”

I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter and found myself laughing out loud, enchanted and rereading bits over and over again. Ah, the art of soul-making! Transcending the mundane, finding the meaning and magic of our own individual journey, living the symbolic life, for me this is the greatest gift of Jung’s work.

Chapter five deals with Jung’s concept of Typology, the four functions of feeling, thinking, sensation and intuition - concepts which can be dry and difficult to understand but which Sharp brings alive. If you haven’t already read Sharp’s Personality Types : Jung’s Model of Typology then do yourself a favour and download this free eBook now. It will change your relationships with yourself and others forever. http://www.innercitybooks.net/pdf/books/personalitytypes.pdf

Chapter six unpacks projections, which naturally leads to the next chapter, Jung’s concept of the shadow – the inferior being in us all, our uncivilized desires and emotions, our dark side, the unconscious aspects of our personality which are usually hidden and repressed.

Chapter eight takes us into the world of alchemy which Jung saw as providing a metaphor for the process of individuation. Here Sharp provides an easy to understand overview of the alchemical process and the stages we must travel in transformation of the personality and the search for wholeness.

Chapter nine takes us into Jung’s thoughts on Yoga and then chapter ten explores two types of thinking – direct thinking and fantasy thinking and Jung’s Symbols of Transformation leading us into Jung’s concept of anima/animus, the inner feminine and masculine and into the final chapter in the book Jung’s concept of the transcendent function.

This is a book to linger over, to savour, to enjoy and now has a home on my night stand as every night I dip into a passage and slowly discover myself.

POCKET JUNG will be released for sale mid-December 2015 but if you are as impatient as I am and just need to have this book for the Christmas holidays, you can buy the eBook from the Inner City Books webpage today!


I leave you with Sharp’s own words:  “Now read on and savor some of the best of C.G. Jung.”

No comments: