Pathways into the Jungian World: Phenomenology and Analytical Psychology
Edited by Roger Brooke
Roger Brooke has gathered together a fine collection of essays for the edited volume, Pathways into the Jungian World. The volume is a rare treat for those with a mutual interest in Jung and phenomenological psychology, but also proves to be an entry point for analytical psychologists into phenomenological perspectives of Jung's legacy. For Brooke, Pathways into the Jungian World is a natural progression from his 1991 work, Jung and Phenomenology, which developed from his doctoral dissertation at Rhodes University, South Africa. Brooke is Professor of Psychology and Director of Training in Clinical Psychology at Duquesne University, as well as an Adjunct Faculty at The C.G. Jung Institute Analyst Training Program in Pittsburgh.
It is clear, from the beginning, that Brooke has taken pains to make the volume "user-friendly." His introduction provides newcomers to phenomenology and analytical psychology a hospitable "pathway" into the intersection of these two worlds. While the introduction is rather brief at seven pages, it gives the reader just enough background information to confidently situate the essays in the volume. Brooke makes a point of showing how analytic psychology and phenomenology have had "an uneasy relationship" (p. 1). On the one hand, Jung himself considered his work phenomenological in nature, part of the Geisteswissenschaften (human sciences) as opposed to the Natuurwissenschaften (natural sciences), though at times he attempted to straddle this rather ambiguous line. On the other hand, Jung has been relatively ignored by phenomenologists until fairly recently. Brooke locates part of the tension in the conflicts between Jung and Medard Boss, who developed a psychotherapy based on Martin Heidegger's Being and Time. The good news is that both analytic psychology and phenomenology share a desire to "describe the phenomena of psychological life without violating the integrity of experience" (p. 1). As Brooke tells the story, analytic psychology and phenomenology are no longer merely rigid systems of thought, but rather movements that can be mutually enriched through dialogue with one another. Clearly, Pathways is a huge leap forward in fostering such a promising collaboration between these two traditions.
The volume is thoughtfully organized into three sections: "The Jungian World," "The Jungian Imagination," and "Therapeutic Issues." The first section, "The Jungian World," as Brooke writes, "is an attempt to stress what is perhaps the essential issue in the meeting between Jungian psychology and phenomenology: that, for the phenomenologist, Jungian psychology can contribute to our understanding of human being only if its insights can be situated in an ontology that understands the world as the network of those meaningful relations that is psychological life" (p. 7). In this section, five essays explore from slightly different angles how Jungian psychology can be ontological, thus situated.
Brooke's essay, "Jung's Recollection of the Life-World," is an introduction to the lessons taught by Robert Romanyshyn in his ground-breaking Technology as Symptom and Dream. Brooke describes how the modern period involves a shift toward an outer and inner split between the objective and subjective categories of experience, and, in the process, how this movement manifests as "the evaporation of the world into dream." By taking this approach, Brooke makes the case that Jung fails to conduct an adequate phenomenological epoche by continuing to view psychological life as "encapsulated within the head." Meanwhile, the world is "drained of human habitation" (pp. 20-21). Thus, even while attempting to break out of a Cartesian metaphysics, Jung often uncritically adopts certain Cartesian categories. For Brooke, it is in Jung's analytic language, particularly in his adoption of alchemical and mythical imagery, that allows him to speak the language of soul. By grounding Jungian thought in the language of life-world experience, Jung's work can be freed from the weight of Cartesian metaphysics to be more truly what it wants to be.
The next three essays which comprise the first part of the book are written by three scholars who are connected by their roots at the University of Dallas psychology department. Robert Romanyshyn's essay, "Alchemy and the Subtle Body of Metaphor: Soul and Cosmos" is an continuation of the theoretical work exemplied in his early work at University of Dallas. Michael Sipiora and Eva-Maria Simms, former students of Romanyshyn, both hold Associate Professor positions at Duquesne University with Brooke. Simms' essay, "In Destitute Times: Archetype and existence in Rilke's Duino Elegies ," is an extension and elaboration of her dissertation on Rilke which was supervised by Romanyshyn at University of Dallas. Sipiora's paper, "The Anima Mundi and the Fourfold: Hillman and Heidegger on the 'idea' of the world" is a challenging and truly original contribution to this volume. By combining his expertise in the work of Heidegger and Hillman, Sipiora develops a theoretically sophisticated constructive critique of Hillman's work. In each case, the reader discovers highly innovative and rich perspectives on the Jungian tradition which critically evaluates analytic psychology in light of phenomenology while also managing to preserve the soul and telos of Jung's original writing.
The final paper in the first part of the book is written by Robert Schenk, a Jungian analyst and Senior Training Analyst in the Interregional Society of Jungian Analysts. His "Spirit in the Tube: The life of television" is an enjoyable read which most readers will find accessible and enlightening. Schenck intends to develop "an imagination of television that reveals its concealed life (phenomenology), its myth (Jung), or its 'ready-to-hand' essence (Heidegger) as an attempt to transcend subjectivity" (p. 87). He infinitely succeeds in his task by showing the soul of television as a social-historical appearance in the "clearing" of 20th century human existence. Yet far from disparaging television, he dwells with the phenomenon to discover that the world of television, as it "watches us," is the world's attempt to unite spirit and material life by way of the psychological "image."
The second and third portions of Pathways are more and more concrete elaborations of analytic psychology as ontological resituated in the above essays. In "Jung's approach to the phenomenology of religious experience," Lionel Corbett clarifies Jung's attempt to resist the tendency to reduce religious experience to intrapsychic dimensions. Mark Wellman's "Towards a Jungian phenomenology of the death instinct" is an exceptional contribution to the tradition of "poetic thanatology," which, as Wellman writes: "regards death as a fundamental dimension of Being and a vital correlate of the attempt to establish existence as meaningful in a world which increasingly seems to mitigate against this" (p. 124).
As always, Charles E. Scott's work is a pleasure to read and prods the reader to reconsider and reflect upon phenomena which are all-too-often taken for granted by psychologists. His essay, "Mnemosyne and Lethe: Memory, Jung and phenomenology," takes the reader into deep and surprisingly rich descriptions of the phenomenon of "the appearing of memories." Like Scott, David Michael Levin is a philosopher both situated in the phenomenological tradition but very much in dialogue with depth psychology. In "Eros and Psyche: A Reading of Neumann and Merleau-Ponty," Levin's faith in the wisdom of the body's love drives his effort to clarify Neumann's work on the union of Psyche and Eros through the lens of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of embodiment. Stanton Marlon's "The Metaphor of Light and Its Deconstruction in Jung's Alchemical Vision" closes section two of the book by drawing from the French post-structuralist tradition as much as phenomenology.
The final section of the book deals exclusively with therapeutic issues. The contributors include Veronica Good-child, Mary Watkins, Bertha Mook and John Ryan Haule. For those who are particularly interested in the clinical applications of the marriage of Jung and phenomenology, this section will not disappoint.
While there has certainly been a tension between analytic psychology and phenomenology, it is hoped that this volume will stimulate more scholars to take up the challenge of charting the deep waters where these two traditions intersect.
Brent Dean Robbins