Carl Jung’s books lead us into a sphere that goes far beyond the simple analysis of human behavior. He was a pioneer of deep psychology and his prolific work contains a wonderful alchemy between psychoanalysis, spirituality, religion, philosophy and the world of dreams. Few personalities arouse as much interest as this great analyst of the psyche.
They tell of Jung that it took him just over five minutes to impress anyone. This is explained by Graham Collier, RAF pilot in World War II and professor of philosophy at the University of Georgia, who had the opportunity to meet the famous Swiss psychoanalyst when he was 75 years old. He was impressed by his ironic, almost mischievous look and the respectful silences that he always kept waiting for the answer of his interlocutor.
“Life not lived is a disease from which you can die”
-Carl Gustav Jung-
Dr. Collier also explains that during a part of his life Jung experienced a certain sense of rejection by the scientific community after publishing more than one book on the study of consciousness and delving into concepts that were more in spiritual fields than analytical. In spite of everything, the interest aroused by his theories was such that the BBC wanted to attract the audience of the time by putting a critical Labor politician in front of Jung for the two to debate on a program called “Face to Face.”
The result of that television meeting was something simply amazing. Jung’s poise, naturalness, conviction and charm was such that more than an interview it became an impromptu lecture. That politician, John Freeman, who had initially come to give a critical version of his theories, was so captivated that he established a lasting friendship with him. In fact, it was he who encouraged Carl Jung to write one of his best-known books: “The Man and His Symbols.”
We could undoubtedly explain many more anecdotes, such as his infinite travels, his complex relationship with Freud or his wide influence on our literature, our cinema and our culture in general. However, one way of reaching Jung is through his books and through that vast legacy in which it is worth immersing himself from time to time, navigating his theories, his symbols, his personal reflections and that personality that undoubtedly forever marked the history of psychology.
Carl Jung’s best books
Jung’s work is quite extensive and includes both his own autobiography, as well as books of essays and personal reflections. Likewise, we can even find the correspondence exchanged between Jung and Freud between 1906 and 1913, there where we can delve into the development of the psychoanalytic movement itself and the relationship between these two personalities mentioned above.
Now, in our article on Carl Jung’s best books, we seek above all to cite those works that are most representative of his work, with which both “Jungian” neophytes and the most expert will delight in each of his lines, concepts and theories. .
1. The man and his symbols
Right at the beginning we have explained the origin of this book. After his interview on the BBC, a well-known politician asked Jung to bring part of his theoretical conceptions to the general public in the simplest and most didactic way possible. He did so, and this was in fact the last of Carl Jung’s books, the posthumous work he wrote before his death in 1961.
Thus, in “The man and the symbols” the first thing that will catch our attention are his more than 500 illustrations. Through them we fully immerse ourselves in the theory of symbolism and in the importance that these have in our dreams, in art and even in our daily behavior.
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I chose to be “
-Carl Gustav Jung-
2. Archetypes and the collective unconscious
Essential. This is one of Carl Jung’s most interesting books and one that undoubtedly defines one of his most controversial topics: archetypes.
This is a collection of essays where, on the one hand, we delve into the collective unconscious as such and, on the other, the nature of the archetype: that psychic expression of the structures inherited from our fellow men that undoubtedly forms the cornerstone of much of the work. Jungian.
3. The relationships between the Self and the Unconscious
As we already know, Carl Jung was the founder of the analytic psychological school and this book is undoubtedly the best representation of this approach and in essence, the reflection of a small part of the history of psychology.
In its pages Jung will guide us through a much more novel conception than the one Freud had offered us until then about the psyche. His continuous studies and reviews on the subject provide us with, for example, a richer vision of the unconscious, establishing, for example, that duality between the collective unconscious and its influence on the individual unconscious.
4. Synchronicity as a principle of causal connections
“Synchronicity as a principle of acausal connections” is a little gem that Carl Gustav Jung wrote with Wolfgang Pauli, a Nobel laureate in physics and one of the fathers of quantum mechanics. In this book we can delve into one of the most interesting and well-known Jungian concepts. We talk, of course, about synchronicity.
Jung spoke of this idea for the first time in those “Eranos” meetings that were organized every year in Ascona and from which an article, essay or book always came out later. It was the 50s, and the Swiss psychiatrist exposed to his colleagues and the rest of the academic community something that was both controversial and attractive at the same time: part of what we understand by chance, should not really be by chance but rather something he called synchronicity. ..
The book delves into this idea where Jung relates this concept to another equally important in his work: intuition.
5. Complexes and the unconscious
This is one of Carl Jung’s books that best represents his work and which in turn will serve as a fabulous excursion into the world of the unconscious. Although much of the essay is dedicated to dreams, this is where we can “trace” part of our complexes and those limiting behaviors that we often show in our conscious lives.
Jung sought to interpret dreams not with the same Freudian objective, that is, to identify the classic sexual fixations inherited from childhood. On the contrary, what he wanted was to draw a “map of the present” and the context in which his patients lived in order to understand the reasons for these behaviors and emotional suffering.
We are without a doubt one of Carl Jung’s most essential books to understand his legacy.
6. Conflicts of the infant soul
Some of our readers may be surprised that the term “soul” appears in a psychology book. It is necessary to remember that in Carl Jung’s work this idea, this concept is very present.
In fact, as Jung himself explained in his own autobiography, no doctor would be able to cure his patient if he did not first manage to approach and make contact with his soul.
This idea already gives us a clue of that integral approach that Jung had on the human being, there where he also conceived childhood and youth as the most important period of the human being and to which much more attention should be paid. Thus, the possible conflicts, deficiencies and damages experienced in the family context of a child and the parents’ own personality, undoubtedly determine the well-being or possible psychological problems of that little one tomorrow.
Interestingly, the daughter of Sigmund Freud dedicated her life to this very purpose, to provide psychological assistance to all those children who presented childhood trauma. An area that Freud himself neglected and never fully developed.