Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reactiongs CG Jung's “Liber Novus"

Last night I stumbled onto news about CG Jung's "Liber Novus" or The Red Book and got weirded out.

First there's the title, "The Red Book," which sounds like what I call my "Book of Art." Granted, using medieval-esque titles for self-produced works like computer manuals started out as a joke.

Then I started looking at Jung's drawings and the calligraphy and it looked kind of familiar. The dream-like quality of Jung's illuminations reminded me of some of my own dreams, and some of my drawing in my own little Books of Art remind me of his (much higher quality) works.

But the clincher were the conversations he had with the characters in his book. For a while in the mid 1990's, I was experimenting with a story character who I would imagine spoke to me while I wrote things down.

The whole thing felt like a -- wait for it -- huge synchronicity. Or a déjà vu.

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, since I'm familiar with guided meditation or ritualized day dreams and it sounds like Jung used his "active imaginations" in the same way. Still... on one hand it sounds like Jung was a little crazy when he was in the thick of his book. On the other hand, it seems like the hype around the book fuels the romantic notion of the "insane creative type."

Ultimately, what does The Red Book mean: is it just a famous person's personal journal; is it indicative of a particular psychological or cognitive process; or does it hold some kind of cosmic road-map that could help folks navigate their lives?

And I should be honest. I sometimes daydream about my collection of journals someday being mass-produced while interesting pages are on display in a museum. Maybe my freak-out is a form of hero-identification.

Still... the images are compelling and familiar.

On the shoulder front: my shoulder seems slightly more stiff than when I last visited my physical therapist. He's given me a new stretch to do.
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