At university, it wasn’t until I got a holiday job as a scarecrow that I got some serious reading done.
For thirteen hours a day, I had to walk up and down between endless rows of cherry trees wielding a rattle to frighten away flocks of starlings. So I learned how to walk and read, and went through Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and even one or two of the books I was supposed to be studying.
Today, of the plot and story of Ana Karenin, Crime & Punishment and The Magic Mountain, all of which I enjoyed very much at the time, I remember nothing. Either they didn’t make that essential connection with me or my memory is shot to pieces. One way or another, they don’t spark my interest when I recall them so they join the shelf of the many books that don’t get featured here.
One cherry orchard book that did make a lasting impression was Jung’s autobiography. On the one hand, his account was unusually reassuring in the way he transmitted a belief in the sense and meaning of unconscious phenomena and their outward manifestations. On the other, I remember finding it almost annoying how every time he came up against a major impasse, a dream would come along to enlighten him and show the way forward. It certainly hadn’t been my experience — but then we can’t all be Carl Gustav Jung.
He was particularly sensitive to a primal living magic and his great gift was articulating and joining this to his inner life by means of symbolic interpretation. With Jung came a great union of inner with outer, east with west, so-called primitive with modern, and an impetus to find meaning through them in individual integration.
Nice work if you can get it :-D
A fascinating read enriched by reflections from the latter years of one of the world’s great thinkers and pipe smokers.