My wife and I (also a PhD in Depth Psychology) often lament the elitism surrounding Jungian therapy. The people of old who could afford to take a year off, travel to, and live in Switzerland while paying for therapy were the elite: this was not in the grasp of the person of ordinary means. Today, the typical Jungian analyst charges $225+ per hour. When the Red Book came out, it was priced at $125–which, all considering it’s size and the amount of detailed color prints in it was, if not inexpensive, not so out of reach of interested parties. However, at that price it was out of the reach of the typical person. Now, the Black Book is coming out…and it is $300. All of the above is really just a prelude to what follows because lately, in Jungian discussion groups, a new school of thought has emerged: Forget the Collected Works, the Red & Black books are all you need.
This engendered an image, or more correctly, an insight stimulated by an image. For those of you who are Catholic, you are aware that the officiant of the Mass leads the procession to and from the altar with the Bible held up reverently overhead as he passes the congregants. This is intended to show the hierarchy: God’s knowledge is raised above the priest’s whilst the priest is the receiver of God’s wisdom, who will then deliver His message to the congregation. I reached an epiphany when I realized that this movement towards only needing the Red & Black Books was a substitution of the Red Book for the Bible, to be held high in reverence by those elite enough to interpret to the masses the arcane knowledge of St. C. G. Jung. Which, as the tagline of my blog suggests, made some random synapses fire… hmm, if the Red Book is the Jungian Bible and the Bible is to the Catholic priest… well, isn’t that an enantiodromia of the Gutenberg Bible?
This is what I mean by this: Gutenberg specifically printed two versions of his Bible to serve two very distinct audiences. On vellum, he printed Bibles for use in churches and cloisters with extremely beautiful, illustrated pages. These versions are what, for the most part, survive today. As an aside, a visit to the Gutenberg museum in Mainz, Germany is a must for bibliophiles. However, in the spirit of Luther to come, Gutenberg also produced a version of the Bible for the masses printed on paper, thus anticipating Luther’s entreaty that the priest was not a necessary gatekeeper to knowing God: with a copy of the Bible everyperson (tm, hahaha) could have their own arcane knowledge of God without it being filtered (well, other than by those who put the Bible together in the first place) through an approved priest. Thus, the enantiodromia: the Red & Black books have once again become accessible only by the privileged priests and priestesses of Jung, who stride down the aisles of the masses with their Books held high, interceding on the commoners behalf.
Can we just make Jung accessible again, like Joseph Campbell’s paperback atlas works?