This paper explores the genesis and significance of Jung’s recently-published Black Books. It considers the nature of the inspiration behind them, and it suggests that the Black Books reveal the textual nature of Jung’s experience of the process of ‘ordering’ in several different ways. The paper examines the minor and more significant changes between the version of the text found in the Black Books and the Red Book, and it considers whether it is helpful to think of the Black Books in the categories of ‘science’, ‘nature’, or ‘art’. It is argued that one of the key insights into the creative process behind the Black Books can be gained from examining their textual status (reflected, for example, in Jung’s handwriting), which gives a sense of the linguistic, stylistic, conceptual, and emotional struggle out of which they emerged. Finally, the paper discusses Jung’s encounter with the Dionysos-like figure of Wotan, which is linked with Jung’s memory of an ‘unforgettable night in the desert’ when he ‘saw the Χ for the first time’ and ‘understood the Platonic myth’ (BB7, p. 227), and it explores Jung’s longstanding interest in interpreting the myth of the creation in Plato’s Timaeus.
Taking as its starting-point an aphorism in The gay science, this paper examines Nietzsche's distinction between the (chaotic) ‘total character of the world’ and the (cosmic) ‘astral order in which we live’. It relates this distinction, not only to Nietzsche's earlier claim in The birth of tragedy that ‘it is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified’, but also, via Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, to Jung's concept of archetypal structures. Finally, it examines the case of one of Jung's patients, a young labourer suffering from schizophrenia; Jung's interest in Hölderlin; and his discussion of the Stoic concept of heimarmene.
Taking its cue from David Holt's discussion of Jung and Marx in relation to alchemy, Christianity, and the work against Nature, this paper discusses Goethe, Nietzsche, and Jung in relation to alchemy and the work on the self. It focuses on the idea of transformation as central to Jung's understanding of both Goethe's Faust and Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra. And it argues that, in alchemical terms, the Superman becomes the salamander – while suggesting, in the hidden and unspoken part of its title, that the Superman does not just become a salamander, he becomes the philosophers’ stone.