Remember, Jung was a part of a Renaissance of Science inspired by the success of the empirical method, especially, in Physics. A renaissance that had turned its attention to the age old epistemological problem in Philosophy and Metaphysics. How do we Know? How do we Know stuff? How can we be certain? Etcetera. With thinkers before Jung, such as Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, the implication becomes that the Knower is an all important element in the Knowledge relationship, not a mere passive observer. You see this teased out pretty thoroughly in the fields of psychotherapy and psychological analysis.
It was inevitable, of course, that we would take the empirical method into the domain of psychological investigation and that we would expand our scope and look, not just at the proverbial Knower… but the Thinker more generally, and the Feeler… the… Experiencer. The WHO to WHOM Experience, whether Good or Bad… Happens.
So, the long birth of the Science of Psychology reached a new depth of insight when Freud, Jung, Adler, and other theoreticians looking at the odd phenomenon called “The Unconscious” started publishing… and yes… to a large degree… speculating.
This was the beauty of the European pursuit of the Human Sciences in the early Twentieth Century. They weren’t enslaved to Positivism and Materialism like the Americans were. You had some major developments occur in fields like Anthropology, Archaeology, Symbology, Linguistics. The first twenty years of the Twentieth Century not only produced amazing and wise Scholars like C.G. Jung, but also, Geniuses, like Albert Einstein, and Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, and Richard Feynman.
Unfortunately, here in America, these days, you don’t get a whole lot of exposure to the interdisciplinary aspects of this revolution. It had its roots, actually, in the burning desire to understand how Human Emotions and Imagination Work, because, these are the Keys to not only new insight based therapies, to help us treat and possibly even cure the mentally ill, but also, insights into the Zeitgeist in general… into the Mind of our Time… or Times. For there ARE multiple Geists involved in the Zeit… therefore, there ARE multiple Zeits.
Where the world is at, right now, and why… it is complicated… per Design.
And why, in order for American Academia to look forward, and, perhaps, Reopen the American Mind one day, we must go beyond supporting just STEM and bring back the dignity and honor of the Liberal Arts and of Scholarship.
Jung is a shining example of what Scholarship can achieve. He is almost worshipped, now, by his followers and supporters, viewed almost as if he himself were a Shaman. Another Castaneda or L. Ron Hubbard story, I would say. So is Noam Chomsky. Don’t forget HIS Scholarly accomplishments. They tend to get forgotten due to how brightly he Shines as an Activist.
But Jung, in his own way, was also an Activist. Remember. Jung was NOT German. He was Swiss.
He BEGAN as a Scientist. But early on in his career, as is so clearly shown in Symbols of Transformation, he goes BEYOND the empirical and into the Hermeneutic and this is where Jung’s Genius comes forth. Undoubtedly, Jung was a Hermeticist.
He understood Hidden Knowledge, probably, as well as if not better than the greatest Mystics and Occultists in history.