chapter  1
8 Pages

The past and future of Jung

This book emerges from equal measures of pessimism and optimism over the future of Analytical Psychology, the “Zurich School” of psychoanalysis that C. G. Jung started a century ago and that I have practiced more than three decades. On the one hand, pessimism: psychoanalysis was a major cultural force in the twentieth century but has waned signifi cantly in recent decades. Its standing as a “science”—once loudly proclaimed but always somewhat questionable-has become precarious with recent advances in brain research.1 Worse, within the world of psychoanalysis, Jung has generally been marginalized as a “mystic” who dispensed with science in favor of dubious superstitions. Despite such good reasons for pessimism, however, I am also optimistic. Recent developments in evolutionary biology show that the basic tenets of Analytical Psychology are amazingly “consilient” with the most recent scientifi c theories and the evidence that supports them. The word consilience has been given prominence by Harvard sociobiologist E. O. Wilson, to mean that when facts and theories from different disciplines all point in the same direction, they implicitly support one another and jointly contribute to their mutual likelihood of being proven correct. They “create a common groundwork of explanation” (E. O. Wilson 1998: 8).2