Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jung and the right side of the brain

Carl Jung, was one of the first to attempt to relate psychology to religion. Jung was raised as a Protestant but rejected that in favour of the older forms of Christianity based more on symbolism, metaphor, and myth. In Jung's opinion, the Protestant reformation was a mistake because it got rid of the most valuable part of Christianity and over emphasized the theological approach. To be fair, though, it also got rid of the bad part of the symbolic side of things - the superstitious misunderstanding of the symbolic meaning. But Jung's point is that they threw out the baby with the bath water. One way to understand this is that the symbolic practices engaged parts of the brain that are not engaged by practices based on logical and linguistics. Often people talk about right brain and left brain activities. In this case leaving out the symbolic would meaning leaving out the right side of your brain. In actuality it is more complex than simply dividing the brain in half, but the point is well taken. If we look at the different types of spiritual practices we can see that they engage different parts of the brain, but subjectively they produce states that are in some way similar. In my opinion, spirituality can be experienced through different brain areas and therefore engaging more of the brain will lead to a more complete spirituality, for Buddhists, Christians, or any other spiritual tradition
Answer to Job: (From Vol. 11, Collected Works) (Jung Extracts) (v. 11)
Man and His SymbolsThe Earth Has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern LifePsychology and Religion (The Terry Lectures Series)Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 9, Pt. 1)Jung on MythologyModern Man in Search of a Soul (Harvest Book)

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