No doubt you’ve heard of Carl Jung (1875–1961), the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who was the father of analytical psychology. Yung wrote prolifically, and his writings have been hugely influential in many different areas, from philosophy to archeology, psychiatry to literature.
In my novel The Echoes of Love, Paolo quote Jung to Venetia as follows:
‘Most of the time, people only see what they want to see. I’ve learnt that the power of visualising is very important in life, that is, if you want to survive. Carl Jung said that, “it all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are themselves”. I think he has a point.’
I find Jung’s work insightful and powerful. In fact, had I the room, I could have woven in much more Jungian wisdom which at times Paolo and Venetia sorely lack:
- The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. So it is for Paolo and Venetia –their very first meeting transforms each irrevocably.
- Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. Oh how fiery Venetia can be! But whatever Paolo does that pushes her button is really not about him: her emotional reaction is about herself.
- Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Can Venetia find the wisdom and the courage to put herself under scrutiny?
- Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. There is something dark in Paolo – a man haunted by a past he has forgotten. But how can Venetia understand him unless she’s prepared to come to terms with pain from her own past: the loss of a lover, the loss of a baby.
- Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. A telling point for Paolo, who is suffering from amnesia and is drawn to Venetia by what he thinks of as fate.
- There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.What love story is without pain? Both characters have to be willing to feel it, hard as it is. But as Yung also tells us: Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. The pain they go through can only make the heights of their love higher still.
- Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling. For so much of the book, Venetia is locked into a battle with heart, which aches for Paolo, and mind, which finds flaw with him. Can she reach that point where the two are in harmony?
- I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. My absolute favourite, and really the crux of the book. Don’t be a victim of circumstance, of acts perpetuated by others. Take charge. Grasp hold of love: it’s yours for the taking!
What do you think? Does the Jungian perspective strike a chord with you, open a door to a new way of understanding, being? I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re new to Jung, I recommend the following book, published by Oxford University Press, as a starting point.