Red Book, Middle Way: How Jung Parallels the Buddha’s Method for Human Integration

Robert M. Ellis. Equinox, $32 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-80050-009-9
In this dense yet insightful analysis, philosopher Ellis (Migglism) delivers an intricate, jargon-heavy commentary on Carl Jung’s Red Book that draws parallels between its “visions, reflections, and paintings” purportedly drawn from Jung’s subconscious and a Buddhist-inspired avoidance of extremes. Ellis defines the Buddhist concept of the Middle Way as a method of integrating experience into “beliefs about facts and values”—as opposed to adhering to unchanging, absolute positions. He traces how Jung’s stories from Red Book embody and defend this approach and usefully explains Jungian archetypes: the hero represents what one has and expends energy on, the anima represents what one does not have and seeks, and the shadow represents what one does not have and tries to avoid. Ellis concludes by pointing out how the flexible ethical component of Jung’s ideas, which “avoids a simple representational view about the overriding nature of a particular principle,” is consistent with the Middle Way. Summaries of Jung’s visions and representative quotes give a decent sense of the philosopher’s writing, and citations to the three most common versions of Red Book are helpful, but readers will benefit from familiarity with Jungian philosophy. This articulate theoretical work is best suited for academics and other specialists looking for fresh ways to approach Jung. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Religion
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-80050-008-2
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