Sunday, July 14, 2013

Flying Saucers By Jung: Ineffective Sleep Aid

During the course of a day I take a handful of meds.  I don't want to add another pill to the list and so refuse to use any sleep-inducing pharmaceuticals.

One way to knock myself out is to read a boring book, usually something academic and turgid involving considerable concentration to figure out what the fug the author is talking about.  Someone like Noam Chomsky does the trick.

I have a copy of Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies by the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl G. Jung, translated by R.F.C. Hull.  With all due respect to the memory of Jung (he died in 1961) his writing does get to be Dense.  In Flying Saucers — a collection of Jung's writings dealing with UFOs — the author delves deeply into the symbology and psychological underpinnings of the subject.  

Because he made his observations in the early days of Ufology, he usually referred to the mysterious skyborne objects as flying saucers, the popular term back then.  Jung didn't know what the objective reality was of saucers; he never believed nor disbelieved in all of the reported sightings.  He speculated such objects might be "psychic projections" but never made any outright claims or explanations.

I had glanced at his book before and decided it would be the perfect sleep aid.  And since with most such works the turgidity is the thickest towards the end, I decided to read the epilogue.

That was a mistake.  In this section Jung explained how a "little book" feel into his hands that he couldn't leave unmentioned after finishing his manuscript.  The work was The Secret of the Saucers by Orfeo M. Angelucci (1955).  

Referring to Mr. Angelucci Jung wrote: "The author is self-taught and describes himself as a nervous individual suffering from 'constitutional inadequacy.'" 

Angelucci was one of the first contactees, individuals who said they were receiving messages from benevolent aliens (Space Brothers).  Jung talked about Angelucci's career as a prophet who "makes his living by preaching the gospel revealed to him by the Saucers."

Jung did a bang-up job of highlighting Angelucci's unusual life.  He dropped into some dense symbology related to the matter but — damn! — he then went on with concise and interesting reviews of two SF novels: The Black Cloud (1957) by Fred Hoyle and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957) by John Wyndham.  I started thinking about the concepts presented in those novels.

Guess who's wide awake by this point?  Next time I'm taking a dose of Chomsky.

1 comment:

X. Dell said...

You know, I can always send you a copy of my dissertation; or for that matter any of my novels.

Jung believed that mythology drove civilization, and that the current mythologies of the western world were inadequate. That was his big attraction to alchemy--as he said, alchemy was never about changing lead into gold, but rather changing the alchemist.

He viewed UFOs, especially since he saw in them the possibility that ufology as a whole was a religion in the making.

(I wrote that last paragraph, because it's info more towards the beginning of the book--and you started at the end.)