Dreams of the Paranoic: Late Night Thoughts on Jung

When I started reading C.G. Jung in my undergrad as part of a reading course on late medieval and early Renaissance alchemy, I started keeping a dream journal. This turned into a blog on my dreams that I updated constantly. I was immediately taken by Jung, beginning with his Memories, Dreams, Reflections, up through reading through a large number of his Collected Works. It seemed to me then that psychoanalysis was the contemporary iteration of Augustine’s Confessions, that I was continuing this long tradition of studying the self that began in Ancient Greece and was continued by the mapping of my dreamscapes. I’m perhaps not as fond of Jung as I was years ago when I eagerly devoured his writings; there’s a certain naive quality that permeates his writing, which in a less cynical mood I could easily call an innocence and count as a positive attribute.

The reason I bring this up is that I haven’t been sleeping well lately. This started of course when my grandmother passed away and has continued since then. I’ve had issues with sleep since childhood, beginning with long periods of insomnia. The latest problem began as one of feeling rested. I would sleep a healthy amount and still feel exhausted upon waking. I’ve tried simply sleeping more, same result. Then the problem turned into one of waking up in the night, first once, then several times. Last night this escalated to frequent paranoid nightmares: feelings of being watched, being followed, waking up and feeling like someone is in the hallway. Anyway, when I began my dream journal years ago, it helped with nightmares, so I’m thinking of starting one again. I still haven’t decided if it will be a paper or online journal, and if online, if it will be private or public, and if public if it will be anonymous or not.


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One response to “Dreams of the Paranoic: Late Night Thoughts on Jung

  1. I’m relieved to see someone’s written about Jung, I think his idiom, with its innocence, is very important and more challenging than most people realize. The innocence that gets rejected is very demanding and tends to make clowns of us all.

    I recently started drawing and painting my dreams, most likely influenced by the publishing of the Red Book, which I hope to see at the Rubin Museum soon. I like drawing dreams, the way the dream imagery gets channeled through the body, the arm, the hand, the shoulder, pencil, pencil point, scratched onto paper, driven through the body’s mysterious intelligence, (Milarepa called the body the tutelary deity) perhaps more deeply integrating whatever it is the the more subtle parts of self want to communicate. I think it takes courage though, and of course, people are so hard on themselves when their drawings look naive, we like to be so suave and all…even with ourselves, the intimacy can be too much. Hope I didn’t just give you the creeps.

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