Moment for Mind Work

He was forty years old when he wrote these words. I’ve read them once and I’m about to read them again: two paragraphs and two hundred seventy-two words in total. They appear at the beginning of a text written over one hundred years ago, and published in 2009, nearly fifty years after the author’s death. The book itself is close to six hundred pages long. Eight years ago, I bought it as soon as it was published, and I tried to forget how much it had cost. An image of myself, seated at a table, reading this red leather-bound book, saddens me. This image could’ve become reality eight years ago. Only now do I see the obvious: this text is not meant to be read. It’s meant to be studied. I’m meant to study it. I’ve read the nearly three hundred words a few more times. I imagine the author, Carl Jung, writing them in his study late at night. This doesn’t seem like scholarly writing. He was listening directly to the unconscious. I imagine that he might’ve felt sometimes as if he was writing in a foreign language. It seems like experimental writing. The word experimental helps me realize what I’m doing while I reread words he originally wrote over a hundred years ago late at night: I’m experimenting with my own mind, or maybe it’s experimenting with me. The nearly three hundred words come at the very beginning of Jung’s The Red Book. I’m studying fantasy material. And I’m studying the images and thoughts in Jung’s sentences. After rereading the two paragraphs several times, I’ve identified two of what I call Jung’s writing voices. One is his personal voice, in the first person, while the other is in the third person, a he who seems to have the power to control Jung’s mind. I need a break from this work. Studying minds, both my own and that of the dead author, is difficult.

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