In October of 2018, I was graciously asked to deliver the 1st Robert Johnson memorial lecture for the Pittsburgh Jung Group.
Preparation is something I take very seriously when I’m invited to talk.
Time is a valuable resource and I’m always grateful when anyone takes the time to come listen to my thoughts and participate in discussion.
However, something felt different about this one. In fact, when I first sat down to start preparing I came across a video of Dr. Johnson speaking at the 1981 Journey into Wholeness from the Jung society of Houston.
I must admit that I can’t speak to the content of the video itself apart from the introduction.
Dr. Johnson admits he’s feeling slightly nervous about facing the sold-out crowd because for the first time in his career he’d felt compelled to allow the conference to unfold spontaneously with no preparation.
It became clear to me that this was the path forward for the lecture and what started as the 1st annual Robert Johnson memorial was transformed into our 1st spontaneous group discussion.
The results were frankly astounding.
It was an incredibly productive and edyfying two hours. The discussion while ranging started to take the shape of a quilt.
Digressions were easily integrated and connected into a beautiful tapestry as our collective intelligence played that part of an expert weaver.
I facilitated the discussion and took notes, and I wanted to share some of what we achieved.
The feedback from the talk was instructive as quite a few people approached me after the discussion telling me how much they got out of it.
I think it has a lot to do with the bottom-up nature of the afternoon.
We were able to create a space where curious people could put a voice to their interesting ideas on how to live. According to a few people, this helped solidify thoughts that had been percolating within their psyche.
Ultimately, what crystalized was a collective work of spontaneous creation that will live onward within all that participated.
On behalf of all involved, I’d like to offer sincere gratitude and appreciation for the insight Robert Johnson helped us cultivate with his wonderful text.
After the talk, I connected with some folks who wanted to dive further into the works of Carl Jung.
What sprung from that engagement was a brain dump that included quite a few texts and resources to explore his ideas. The texts seemed to break into two categories the first includes some broad overviews of Jung’s work and the second includes his actual texts.
- Jung’s Map of the Soul by Murray Stein
- A Guided Tour of the Collected Works by Robert Hopcke
- A Man and his Symbols by Carl Jung and associates
- Re-Visioning Psychology by James Hillman
- Lament of the Dead: Psychology after Jung’s Red Book by James Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani
As for diving into Jung’s work when someone is so prolific it’s hard to know what to add and what to leave off.
Nevertheless, here are four books that really opened my mind and persuaded me to explore depth psychology intently.
- Memories, Dreams and Reflections (his autobiography)
- Modern Man in Search of a Soul
- Symbols of Transformation (especially interesting if you’re into the Freud / Jung schism)
Also, there’s an awesome site that hosts all the abstracts of the entire Collected Works. You can scan through those by clicking here.
Lastly, I’m really into podcasts and watching/listening to lectures on Youtube.
If you’re into that here are some of my favorite resources in that form.
If you’re interested in the notes I took during the discussion you can access them by clicking here.
I intend to continue unpacking these ideas in subsequent blogs. Thanks for reading!