In Commemoration of the 50th anniversary
of the death of C. G. Jung (6th June 1961)
Joe Cambray, IAAP President (October 2011)
2011 is proving to be an auspicious year for the Jungian community as IAAP Group Members from around the world have had or will hold events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of C. G. Jung on 6th June 1961. This is providing opportunities for us to directly reflect upon Jung's legacy and deepen our appreciation for its value. On the actual date, there were multiple events at various centers in the Jungian community. As current president of the IAAP, I was privileged to briefly address a Memorial for Jung held on June 6 at the Kunsthaus in Zurich, which was organized by the Psychology Club of Zürich, the C.G. Jung-Institut Zürich/Küsnacht, the International School for Analytical Psychology Zürich (ISAPZURICH) and the Schweizerische Stiftung Museum für Analytische Psychologie nach Carl Gustav Jung (SMAP). This event was also co-sponsored by the Stiftung der Werke von C.G. Jung (WCGI), the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP), the Association of Graduate Analytical Psychologists (AGAP), the Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Analytische Psychologie (SGAP), the Philemon Foundation and the Pacifica Graduate Institute. Thus, it was a remarkably collaborative event that we in the IAAP hope augers well for the future of our community.
Exploring Jung’s legacy as actualized through the IAAP and its members is of course not the entire picture of his impact on contemporary culture but does point to the vibrancy of his analytic approach as his theories and practices retain their enormous value for analysts worldwide as well as for many psychotherapists. In term of numbers of analysts there is strong evidence of the worldwide growth in the psychology developed by Jung. At the time of his death, there were less than 200 registered Jungian analysts/analytical psychologists in the world, though centers of training had been formed and are thriving. In the past 50 years a steady stream of analysts have been trained, so that by now we have had a fifteen-fold increase in our numbers since 1961, with 2989 registered analysts at last count, and thousands more people profoundly influenced by the works of Jung.
The IAAP has at present 53 Group Member societies and 61 Individual Members, as well as 22 Developing Groups; in total 47 countries have a significant, official IAAP presence and there is no indication that this interest has peaked. The expansion of the IAAP community over the past 50 years has not only helped to bring analytical psychology to new generations of clinicians and theorists but has also enriched the way analytical psychology is envisioned including as it is practiced in different cultures. For example, recently we have seen the increasing application of Jungian principles to work with traumatized communities, as well as individuals, who have suffered from natural disasters (as observed recently in Japan and China).
The remarkable success of the recent publication of Jung’s Red Book gives further testimony to the aliveness of Jung’s approach to the psyche. To date The Red Book has been translated from its native German into at least 6 languages, i.e., English, Portuguese, Japanese, French, Czech, Italian with more on the way including Spanish, Chinese and Russian. Top art museums in various parts of the world have pursued programs based on The Red Book; similarly there was a notable exhibition at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC which also hosted a daylong conference centered on The Red Book in June 2010. The combination of extraordinary images and experiences from Jung’s inner world, together with his ability to work through these powerful and at times disturbing internal experiences, seems to have captivated the contemporary imagination. I believe that this current interest reflects the deep potential relevance of his words and images as we move into the twenty-first century. Perhaps we are witnessing a transition in which Jung is becoming a spiritual ancestor for the many people drawn to his oeuvre.
So far, twenty-first century psychology seems to be dominated by the study of the brain. With new technologies allowing more complex systems to be explored there has been an explosion of interest in the neurosciences and consciousness studies. While there may be dangers in creating a “brain mythology” if results are taken too reductively, to ignore these studies risks allowing our theories to become obsolete. Modern research often transcends and transgresses previous disciplinary lines in ways that seem congruent with Jung’s own attitude and approach to the psyche. Such work gives rise to the surprising interconnectedness found amongst so many fields and points towards a new holism—perhaps also reflective of a shift in the collective unconscious.
For example, the centrality of image and imagination in forming the self is being actively pursued and verified in neuroscientific studies. Similarly, the nature of memory is undergoing serious reconsideration. Multiple forms of memory have been differentiated, such as explicit, implicit, procedural, emotional, semantic, working, declarative and non-declarative, in addition to the more commonly held notion of episodic or autobiographical memory. Varying brain mechanisms are being correlated with these different aspects of memory. Further, the prospective function of the “memory” system is now being viewed by the best researchers to be more primary than its reconstructive aspects. In turn these studies and other explorations, as on the epigenetic transmission of memory, are impacting the way dreams are conceived including their adaptive function. Even the role of collective or socio-cultural aspects of memory and their contributions to the dynamics of unconscious processes are undergoing investigation and reconsideration, certainly areas to which analytical psychologists could contribute.
Through the arts the importance of “visual culture or literacy” in all fields is being recognized; how information is presented, the aesthetics of communication, is now being acknowledged and given importance. We might say the feeling function is gaining cultural relevancy. The key role of imagery in the formation of thought, the cognitive and affective work done by images, is finally being embraced by significant segments of the scholarly community, something I imagine Jung would have found validating. Thus I feel there is genuine hope for a profound renewal of the psychology of C. G. Jung in the decades to come if we can transform and develop it into forms appropriate to our own era. It is indeed an exciting time to bring this approach to the depths of the human psyche into dialogue with what is emerging in so many areas of research in our world. Please join us in this celebration of Jung’s legacy.
Joe Cambray, Ph.D.