Philemon and the Liber Novus

Giving a dream to a Jungian analyst is a little bit like feeding a complex quadratic equation to someone who really enjoys math. It takes time. The process itself is to be savored. The solution is not always immediately evident.The Holy Grail of the Unconscious

The conclusion of the whole matter is just this,—that until a man knows the truth, and the manner of adapting the truth to the natures of other men, he cannot be a good orator; also, that the living is better than the written word, and that the principles of justice and truth when delivered by word of mouth are the legitimate offspring of a man’s own bosom, and their lawful descendants take up their abode in others. Such an orator as he is who is possessed of them, you and I would fain become. And to all composers in the world, poets, orators, legislators, we hereby announce that if their compositions are based upon these principles, then they are not only poets, orators, legislators, but philosophers.

Plato, The Dialogues of Plato, vol. 1 [387 AD] PHAEDRUS.

As Socrates travel through the citizenry of the time the question of what was to issue forth from, was always held in the bated breath of Socrates, that he would hear the wisdom of the Over-soul?

How many “degrees of freedom” to see that the chance always exists that what will come forth, is the illumination of something that resides within one’s own self and completely accessible.

 The upcoming publication of Carl Jung’s Red Book — a record of his fantasies and hallucinations during a sort of breakdown — has excited Jungians the world over. But is Jung still relevant today?

According to a New York Times Magazine article by Sara Corbett, the psychoanalyst Jung “got lost in the soup of his own psyche” when he was 38. He said he was “menaced by a psychosis” and that visions were coming at him in an “incessant stream.” “In order to grasp the fantasies which were stirring in me ‘underground,'” he wrote, “I knew that I had to let myself plummet down into them.” His method of “plummeting” was to write these fantasies down in what is now called his Red Book, a volume full of cramped text and intricate paintings that his family has guarded closely until recently. Now it has been translated into English, and will be published in October. See: Does Carl Jung Matter

Some might find some faint relevance to Robert Pirsig’s journey,  to find that such compulsion to materialize in figurative speech, something that arose within Pirsig himself, also arose in Carl Jung?

This is a photograph of author and philosopher Robert M. Pirsigtaken by Ian Glendinning on the eve of the Liverpool conference of 7th July 2005.

What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua…that’s the only name I can think of for it…like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Part 1 Chapter 1.(Bold added by me for emphasis)

While being presented Pirsig’s book for reading,  and the subsequent work that arose from that time,  also pointed toward something  real and potential within any of us in my mind, that we might considered in one context as delusional, could be an aspect of our own self as we learn to see this aspect as the higher self “manifest within our own dreams,”  to know what can exist “both delusively and real, subjectively as an imagery of creative recognition is an access to that collective unconscious. The key here is a fishing line, hook and sinker to know that the fisherman has really got “an idea on his mind” as he castes his line.

If one is to understand the “wisdom of illumination,” under this context,  then it will ring more true to those who have familiarity in seeking to understand the makeup of the person we are. Some might even recognize an aspect cognitively arising in familiarity with what they observe in the real world.  For them to know that subjectively the imagination is strong and very capable in merging with the areas of  continued research in discoveries in science at the microscopic level.

It seems that anomaly by it’s discovery takes keen observation and not just luck. It’s a kind of observation that connects many things and not having taken the time to look, will have past the time of as an aspect of probability, and life circumstance, that really holds no meaning? It was just a “moment in time,” gone unnoticed until someone close to the path of realization came  along and discovered it for them self.

That’s the realization,  that in this opportunity as always existing, it was just waiting for you.

The Red Book, also known as Liber Novus (The New Book), is a 205-page manuscript written and illustrated by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung between approximately 1914 and 1930, which was not published or shown to the public until 2009. Until 2001, his heirs denied scholars access to the book, which he began after a falling-out with Sigmund Freud in 1913. The book is written in calligraphic text and contains many illuminations.

I was excited when I heard news of this book.

As some will know I am a fan of Carl Jung because of what he represented to me in terms of self discovery and understanding of what one finds when one takes  a look at what they are capable of finding inside. You will pass this off very quickly as a subjective adventure, and relevant only to what can pass off as some supernatural event within the context of science’s requirements.

But what I want people to know, regardless of their background in science, that such a pursuant to understand the greater complexity of what they can find inside does not relegate them to quackery and crack pottery. It’s basically learning something about them self now having taken time.

The Red Book was a product of a technique developed by Jung which he termed active imagination. As Jung described it, he was visited by two figures, an old man and a young woman, who identified themselves as Elijah and Salome. They were accompanied by a large black snake. In time, the Elijah figure developed into a guiding spirit that Jung called Philemon (ΦΙΛΗΜΩΝ, as originally written with Greek letters). Salome was identified by Jung as an anima figure. The figures, according to Jung, “brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life.”[3]

The Philemon figure represented superior insight, and communicated through mythic imagery. The images did not appear to come from Jung’s own experience, and Jung interpreted them as products of the collective unconscious.

This entry was posted in Carl Jung, John Nash, PHAEDRUS, Robert Pirsig, Self Evident, Socrates. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Philemon and the Liber Novus

  1. Phil Warnell says:

    Hi Plato,It’s been some time since I have left a comment here. However I couldn’t help but notice this post which announces the upcoming publishing of a book I never to have known existed. I must say although it interests me greatly I’m not sure if I’m up to reading it. That stemming from the fact that my habit in reading is while doing so to attempt to surrender my mind to the author’s thoughts and suppress my own. In as like the Pirsig book you mention, it is written by a person relating to altered state of mind that would not be considered the normal one. My experience with Pirsig’s book was not only did I come to understand his points of thought yet also his tortured state of mind at the time. I will however look forward to your own review when you have read it and may thus decide if it something I should do for myself. There are times when I wished my own Jung profile didn’t have me pegged correctly as a introvert.Best,Phil

  2. Plato says:

    Hi Phil,In as like the Pirsig book you mention, it is written by a person relating to altered state of mind that would not be considered the normal one.Yes I am aware. Why I grouped him under labels with John Nash and Phaedrus, as well as Carl Jung.I have always contended that "figurative speaking" such a creation by the mind to assume, "an image of wisdom," is about part of our makeup "to receive wise and illuminating counsel." Our selves being creative.So to say, that what Socrates was listening for could have happened at any moment, yet, it was fettered away on the happening and politico of the day, when it was a connection, drafted to open the soul's door to the collective unconscious readily available for invention, as well as, what Plato said "could exist" and was just waiting to be recognized or discovered. So it is this "potential" that exists in each of us. What would ring more true to you had you known this relevance could border on the delusional, as well as creatively capable of bringing that wise counsel forward, had always existed within your reach. Yes we can surrender in such written prose, but this is more the recognition of things within self( awareness of) that will help point the way to a understanding of what I am relaying here now. I have yet to read the red book, yet, I am excited in anticipation. I could be wrong.I understood at a early age I was able to correlate "what happened" to help me recognize this potential existed within, and then later, within reach of all of us.When one saids "to listen," it is a deep and insightful to what resides within that we see and are able to recognize aspects of that higher self. This isn't about egoism, but something about which the grossness of the material world intertwines with the spiritual. Entering with this opportunity is as if someone placed a cloak over our head to cover our eyes to our memory. Working our way back allowing us "to remember" in face of this materiality. Materiality, is the cloak put on.So what "universal language" shall we call this that such transition of understanding shall be so couched metaphorical and seemingly chaotic, when after a time, a truth bearing, is more the warning for the future, not just about the events in that future, but also about what we are doing now.Best,

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