Mats Winther's Guestbook (Gästbok)

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01:40 10-29-2022
I just came across your meanderings; great, thought provoking stuff. I am a trans*man who, through psychoanalisys, has come to accept that my transition was more out of a palpable sense of danger within a female body due to ongoing childhood and young adult trauma as a female, as opposed to "being born in the wrong body".

The subjects of masculine and feminine, the anima and animus are of great interest to me...which is how I came across your work, through the "Critique of Feminism" piece.

I look forward to reading more of your work.

Thank you,

16:29 08-03-2022
Yeshua Abeles
Hi Mats,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my last message. I've recently just finished your article evaluating Jung's theology and the one arguing that, to a degree, Jungian psychology is neurotic. From the second article I have also been introduced to Jung's Red Book which was apparently described as the source material for much the thetheology he later expresses in Answer the Job (which you, I think rightly, criticize as being based partly in confusions and partly on misreadings or misunderstandings of both the Christian tradition and the Book of Job). As a sort of follow up to those articles I've recently started reading a book by Alfred Ribi which studies Jung's relationship to gnosticism alongside Jung's Red Book. And in both books it is pointed out that the Red Book was essentially the source of Jung's psychotheology, thus I found it rather interesting that you do not refer to either to the Red Book in your article on his theology nor spend much time in general commenting on his debts to gnosticism. Furthermore, I actually recall you stating in one of your articles that much of Jungian psychology actually runs counter gnosticism and Jung therefore later abandoned it for alchemy. I find this point rather interesting for two reasons: firstly, you do point out that Jung's system was essentially artificially made and many of his ideas had conscious sources either in German Idealism or Swedenborg and as such what is more psychologically interesting are his dreams which at times do seem to subvert his conscious standpoint (the paradigm case being the dream of being lectured about biblical matters by his father); next the seven sermons to the dead, which is the material Ribi largely works with in his book, does seem to have several common elements with gnostic mythology (such as allusions to a fallen Sophia and an evil demiurge alongside a more transcendent God of goodness, ideas which do not seem to square well with Jungian thought of integration and immanence). Given all of this, I was thus wondering if the Red Book, parts of it at least, can be seen as a saga of the unconscious essentially sneaking in various themes counter to Jung's opinions. As such, I was wondering if you might be inclined to produce a commentary an interpretation of the Red Book as a follow-up to your recent article on Jung's theology. This is because the Red Book does seem to me to have an independence of its own beyond what Jung or his followers project back onto it (a point emphasized by Hanegraaff in his 2007 article on the volume) thus I think juxtaposing the ideas found in it against the exposition of Jung's thought you provide in your article would be rather interesting.

Aside from that, the Book of Job more generally has left me rather perplexed for a while now. I have read your article which comments on it and while I certainly think your reading is novel, I feel like there is a more obvious way to interpret its events which, to my knowledge, is not a position held by anyone who has written about it. Essentially, my reading involves taking serious Satan's claim that Job was not fully righteous and assuming that God was well-aware of that (given his omniscience). Furthermore, we know that God's greatest hope for us is to have true faith in him irrespective of the benefits or harm that faith might have upon us. As such, it does not seem unreasonable to suppose that the Book of Job can be read an God's attempt to foster the growth of unconditional faith onto Job first by having him undergo intense suffering under the hands of Satan and then refuse to provide any reasonable explanation for why he had to undergo said suffering (a point made in Jung's Answer to Job). In my reading, God did it not because he was evil but to deprive Job of any reason to have faith in him: for Satan's actions annihilated any material reason he might have for worshipping God whereas God's refusal to provide an explanation for the events that happened prevents Job from citing any rational explanation to justify his suffering. Thus the only way he could uphold the reality of God's goodness in spite of both material and rational ruin was to simply believe that it was the case regardless of what the "facts" were. Thus in the end of his ordeal, I understand Job to have emerged from the ordeal as a truly righteous man whose faith is no longer dependent upon his fortunes or misfortunes nor on any reasons that might be marshalled for or against his faith. In a nutshell, therefore, the message of the Book of Job is to "trust God" in my reading. I would be very much interested in hearing your thoughts on my reading of the Book of Job.
07:55 07-13-2022
Jeff Adams
Good afternoon, I am a reader who has recently decided to finally engage seriously with Jungian psychology and philosophy after several years of casual skimming. I stumbled upon your website from the amazon review you did of von Franz's "Number and Time" which was recommended as an introduction to the more metaphysical and philosophical aspects of Jungianism.

Reading through your articles have been enlightening in that they are a refreshing critical take on Jungian psychology, something you can hardly find on the internet or even in published material!

As such, I have discovered that a lot of the things I assumed I knew about Jung have either been only partially true, somewhat confused, or false from popular presentations (by this I mean presentations done by non-psychologists) and some hariographical accounts I have read (such as Anthony Steven's Jung). And given your very obvious familiarity with Jung and his work, I would like to obtain a comprehensive reading list on the subject of Jungian thought from you (preferably including critical material so I can obtain a more balanced view of his psychology and metaphysics). Thanks!
Replied on: 11:46 07-13-2022

Hello Jeff!
Thanks for the message. (You forgot to leave your email.) I can't offer an entire reading list, but maybe you ought to read Ann Conrad Lammers: "In God's Shadow: The Collaboration of Victor White and C.G. Jung" (1994). It is a conscientious and rather objective work, I think. I also recommend Sue Mehrtens' six articles about "Jung the Man":
On YouTube channel "Center of the Cross" there are eight excellent interviews, in the series "Secular Christ", with Jungian analyst and former Christian monk Sean J. McGrath. His views align rather well with mine, I think:

10:56 03-22-2022
Yeshua Abeles
Hi Mats,

I've been an avid reader of your articles for a while now and I'm quite impressed and grateful for your work. I've had an interest in analytical psychology for about two years now and in that period read a fair bit about Jung (primarily secondary material) and more or less adopted his outlook wholesale. But as I began to immerse myself in philosophy (particularly contemporary analytical philosophy of religion and theology) I began to become more and more critical of Jung in both his teachings and general approach. I felt that his hostility to traditional religion and (especially) metaphysics were unfounded and hypocritical (since he himself essentially created a new religion around the Self and the unconscious while postulating a transempirical metaphysics to support it) but I was disturbed to find a shocking lack of any sort of philosophical or theological critiques of his ideas. Even for volumes such as Answer to Job, which the theological community apparently reacted harshly against, I was unable to find anything published criticizing it. All I found were articles, websites, and comments praising it for its "depth" instead, which felt wrong to me when I eventually read it myself. Eventually, however, I came across your article about the nature of evil and Jung's repudiation of privitio boni which is what introduced me to your work while your critical attitude towards Jungianism and other philosophical/psychological trends is what kept my interest.

Now, after having read most of your articles, I can strongly say that the discovery of this site has been a great intellectual boon for me given its multi-dimensional philosophical, theological, and psychological treatments of issues without reducing any of the three to one. I also find it interesting that you manage to end up with a rather orthodox conception of the Christian faith in spite of engaging with various psychoanalytical or esoteric schools of thought which are notoriously known for spawning strange and bizarre theologies (such as New Age religions which you come across occasionally on the internet).

Aside from that, despite having read many of your articles I do still have some queries which have not really been resolved from my reading. Some are derived from reading your work, others are more general questions I haven't been able to find answers to. So, I will list them out in question form below:

1) When you were proposing the idea of a complementarity ethics you note that we should avoid extremes or single monist ethical principles and rather embrace two incompatible models (specifically theoretical and experiential) in our moral judgement and switch between them as required (for example, knowing when to switch between the Augustinian view of reducing evil and the modern view of increasing good). My question is how do we know when to make the switch? That is, how do we know which moral ideal to adopt in a given situation?

2) I recall reading a comment from you on reddit where you said that we shouldn't understand the Bible literally but instead read it as a sort of collection of legends or myths as the last-gen myth theorists had been proposing. But I also recall reading you writing that you fully believe in the existence of Christ. My question then is what grounds do you have for accepting the existence of Christ as being fully God and fully man if all evidence we have regarding the matter derives from the Bible which you interpret as being fully legendary?

3) Regarding active imagination, I was intrigued by your notion that it should be seen more as a form of spiritual healing rather than any sort of process to radically alter one's personality through archetypal integration. This has given me inspiration to try the process again anew after I abandoned it several months prior due to lack of success (or so I think). I have read Robert A Johnson's book Inner Work which is a guide to active imagination, however that book and all other guides I have read on the matter all seem to presuppose the ability to visualize or call up an image. That is precisely what I lack since I suffer from aphantasia which prevents me outright from generating mental images for visualization. Initially I tried to go ahead with the process anyways and simply record thoughts that came to my mind before recording them later on. In those thoughts I got into communication with several entities ranging from old men speaking Chinese to a disfigured young girl resembling the kind you would see in a horror movie. However, as bizarre as those experiences sound (which perhaps can be taken as a sign of their authenticity), they never felt authentic to me as I always had the suspicion that my conscious mind was interfering with the process in some way. So, my question is, do you think its possible for me to engage in active imagination despite my condition? If not, are there any other ways or techniques you would recommend that would yield a similar result?

4) I've just finished an article of yours on creativity where you recommend to maintain friendly ties with the unconscious in order to succeed spiritually. How would you recommend someone go about befriending the unconscious, if you will? The notion of active imagination was the first thing that popped into my mind when I considered the matter but I am doubtful of its usefulness for me for the reasons above. Is there any other way you could open up a friendly channel of communication with the unconscious? And how would you know if you are on friendly terms with it?

Thanks for reading, I will eagerly await your reply (if you give any).
21:24 12-23-2021
Ian Norris
Good Afternoon!

I wanted to thank you for these diligent expositions you have provided to the general public. They have proven to be of invaluable assistance in comprehending some dark and difficult conceptions which are utterly necessary in our day and age in order to rightly apprehend how we ought to contend with the issues of our day and age. Your article concerning the mystery of iniquity proved to be a significant mercy to me in articulating a host of different considerations which have been constellating in my mind since having begun the perilous journey of going down the rabbit hole of existential philosophical inquiry as a Christian. I would be greatly interested in ascertaining whether you have any interest in conversing with those who have found your articles online, as your work would seem to be an invaluable asset in contending with the forces which would seek to plunge this world into a darkness that hasn’t been seen in ages.
18:24 11-29-2021
Love your work ❤️
16:22 11-18-2021
Peter O'Connor
Dear Sir

What do you think about Rudolf Steiner?

Thank you.
20:00 10-31-2021
Joshua W French
Great essays. Haven't found Jung related stuff this good in a long time. Thanks for taking aim at the current political and cultural insanity.

We're in for strange times
08:42 10-06-2021
Fred Burniston
I have just read your critique of Individuation. Yes too many Jungians have had too many good dinners but beyond that I'm not convinced by this critique and it's not clearto me what you're proposing to put in its place.

Get back to me if the spirit moves you.
08:40 10-06-2021
Fred Burniston
Just read your Spirit and Psyche. Great stuff -I found myself thinking "I wish I had thought of that!" more than once.
Needless to say I have my disagreements with you. If you would like some conversation along these lines - now or some time in the future - don't hesitate to get back to me.
Fred Burniston
14:25 08-06-2021
I am very impressed with "The Dark Shadow Of The Quaternity", since it again constitutes a convincing re-interpretation of Jung's dreams and visualisations, supporting your original idea of complementation. A latent misinterpretation of the feminine; Jung as a stagnant Merlin figure, unconsciously dominated by his one-eyed worldly focus. Very balanced and clear-headed analysis! Thank you.
13:40 07-18-2021
Uffe Haugsted
Hi Mats
Thank you for your wonderful piece "Critique of Individuation". It has really clarified some doubts I have had about the the problematic ego-strengthening nature of jungian psychology - your original analyses of Jung's own dreams and imagery just hit the nail on the head. That we must ultimately let go of our conscious intellectual striving as a sort of scaffolding and travel alone into the dark mysterious. (Maybe Jung the jokester really wanted us to rebel in this way?).
And your little piece on Dora and your reinterpretation of her dreams painfully exposes (initial) limitations in Freudian analysis! Look forward to reading more of your work.
18:34 04-13-2021
Greetings wandering soul, thanks for your contribution, what came in to my mind after reading one of the comments is.
So we have Psychology.
Now we need Pneumology aswell.
Best regards,
18:22 03-14-2021
nance harding
This reluctant pilgrim has searched long for someone like you to read. Thank you so much for your contribution to my process. Take care.
22:44 03-09-2021
Hi Mats!

I have a question for you if you don't mind contacting me through my email!

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