The following is a summary of the concepts from the book FLYING SAUCERS, A MODERN MYTH OF

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

The following is a summary of the concepts from the book FLYING SAUCERS, A MODERN MYTH OF THINGS SEEN IN THE SKY by C.G. JUNG. (1978, Princeton University press ISBN 0-691-01822-7, written in 1958), and is part of the Collected works of C.G. Jung. All I could hope to do here is pick out major points of the book and relate them as best I can. All quotes from the book will start with /and end with \ and include the paragraph number. Please forgive a word or two left out here and there. I would strongly recommend a study of the works of Jung but for those unfamiliar I will try a brief description to avoid some confusion. Jung says the individual unconcious is as real and as important as the concious and that the collective unconcious is one shared by everyone, built up and passed on somewhat like instincts in the animal kingdom. He names the major influences of the unconcious archetypes. One he calls the shadow, which is the 'bad' in us, another the anima or animus which describes the traits of the opposite sex which we can all sometimes display. His philosophy is that the more we are aware of these traits the easier we can achieve individuation, or becoming a whole person. Mandalas, circular objects (often found as art, the Aztec calendar might be an example), are important because they often reveal much about ourselves. That is a very rough summary of some of his major ideas.( I am not an authority, hence the following has turned out to be more of a "best of" quotes from the book. Hopefully his overall opinion of the subject can be deciphered.) In the introduction. Jung relates that there are manifstations of psychic changes which occur at the beginning and end of Platonic months,/589 .changes in the constellation of psychic dominants, of the archetypes, or "gods" as they used to be called, which bring about, or accompany, long lasting transfor- mations of the collective psyche... This transformation started in the historical era and left its traces first in the passing of the aeon of Taurus into Aries, and then Aires into Pisces, whose beginning coincides with the rise of Christianity. We are now nearing that great change which may be expected when the spring- point enters Aquarius.\ Jung tackles the UFOs, 594/ only with their undoubted psychic aspect, and in what follow shall deal almost exclusively with their psychic comcomitants.\ In part 1 Jung cites several cases of spiritual seances in which several attendees witnessed a visual phenomenon but others present (including himself) saw nothing. 608/But if it (UFOs) is a case of psychological 'projection', there must be a psychic cause for it. One can hardly suppose that anything of such world- wide incidence as the UFO legend is purely fortuitous and of no importance whatever...in this case a psychological situation common to all mankind. The basis for this kind of rumour is an emotional tension having its cause in a situation of collective distress or danger...This condition undoubtedly exists today, in so far as the whole world is suffering under the strain of Russian policies and their still unpredictable consequences. In the individual, too, such phenomena ..only occur when he is suffering from a psychic dissociation, when there is a split between the conscious attitude and the unconcious contents opposed to it. Precisely because the conscious mind does not know about them and is therefore confronted with a situtation from which there seems to be no way out, these strange contents cannot be integrated directly but seek to express themselves indirectly, thus giving rise to unexpected and apparently inexplicable opinions, beliefs, illusions, visions, and so forth.\ He says that oftens this happens just to those who are least inclined to believe in them, which then gives them an air of particular credibility. /614 UFOs..have become a 'living myth'. We have here a golden opportunity of seeing how a legend is formed, and how in a difficult and dark time for humanity a miraculous tale grows up of an attempted intervention by extra terrestrial "heavenly" powers, and this at the very time when human fantasy is seriously considering the possibility of space travel... We at least are concious of our space conquering aspirations, but that a corresponding extra terrestrial tendency exists is a purely mythological conjecture, i.e., a projection.\ /622. If the round shining objects that appear in the sky be regarded as visions, we can hardly avoid interpreting them as archetypal images. They would then be involuntary, automatic projections based on istinct, and as little as any other psychic manifestations or symptoms can they be dismissed as meaningless. Anyone with the requisite historical and psychological knowledge knows that circular symbols have played an improtant role in every age.. There is an old saying that "God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere."\ /623. The present world situation is calculated as never before to arouse expectations of a redeeming, supernatural event. If these expectations have not dared to show themselves in the open, this is simply because no one is deeply rooted enough in the tradition of earlier centuries to consider an intervention from heaven as a matter of course. We have indeed strayed far from the metaphysical certainties of the Middle Ages, but not so far that our historical and psychological background is empty of all metaphysical hope.\ /625. Nuclear physics has begotten in the laymans head an uncertainty of judgment that far esxceeds that of the physicists and makes things appear possible which but a short while ago would have been declared nonsensical. Consequently the UFOs can easily be regarded and believed in as a physicists miracle.\ In part 2, a major portion of the book, Jungs examines dreams that involve UFOs and then comments on their particular 'meaning', too lengthy to repeat here. Some points he makes are; /636. It must be emphasized however that there is also the possibility of a natural or absolute knowledge, when the unconcious psyche coincides with objective facts. This is a problem that has been raised by the discoveries of parapsychology. Absolute knowledge occurs not only in telepathy and precognition, but also in biology, for instance in the attunement of the virus of hydrophobia to the anatomy of dog and man as described by Portmann, the wasps apparent knowledge of where the motor ganglia are located in the caterpillar that is to nourish the wasps progeny, the emission of light by certain fishes and insects with almost 100% efficiency, the directional sense of carrier pigeons, the warning of earthquakes given by chickens and cats, and the amazing cooperation given in symbiotic relationships.\ (I could not help to think of the the recent Lear.txt when I read the following paragraph) /648. Today, as never before, men pay an extraordinary amount of attention to the skies, for technological reasons. This is especially true of the airman, whose field of vision is occupied on the one hand by the complicated control apparatus before him, and on the other by the empty vastness of cosmic space. His consciousness is concentrated one sidedly on details requiring the most careful observation, while at his back, so to speak, his unconcious strives to fill the illimitable emptiness of space. His training and his common sense both preclude him from observing all the things that might rise up from within and become visible in order to compensate for the emptiness and solitude of flight high above the earth. Such a situation provides the ideal conditions for spontaneous psychic phenomena, as everyone knows who has lived sufficiently long in the solitude, silence and emptiness of deserts, seas, mountains or in primeval forests. Rationalism and boredom are essentially products of the over induged craving for stimulation so characteristic of urban populations. The city dweller seeks artificial sensations to escape his boredom; the hermit does not seek them, but is plagued by them against his will.\ He continues by discussing how isolation, hunger, etc. can cause visions, hallucinations, in all men. /655. .. Either these are hard and fast facts, or else it is nothing but illusion begotten by repressed sexuality or an over compensated inferiourity complex. As against this I haved urged that the psyche be recognized as having its own peculiar reality... Whatever the reality of the psyche may be, it seems to coincide with the reality of life and at the same time to have a connection with the formal laws governing the inorganic world. For the psyche has yet another property which most of us would rather not admit, namely, that pecuiar factor which relativizes space and time, and is now the object of intensive parapsychological research.\ /667. Everything in our experience is subject to the law of gravity with one great exception:the psyche, which, as we experience it, is weightlessness itself.\ /678. Modern man still does not realize that he is entirely dependent on the cooperation of the unconscious, which can actually cut short the very next sentence he proposes to speak. He is unaware that he is continuously sustained by something, while all the time he regards himself exclusively as the doer.\ He then discusses the unconcious eloquently. /681. The only certain thing is our profound ignorance, which cannot even know whether we have come nearer to the solution of the great riddle or not. Nothing can carry us beyond an "It seems as if" except the perilous leap of faith, which we must leave to those who are gifted or graced for it.\ In one dream a male is confronted by a female EBE and Jung discusses the neccesity of realizing the anima in order to achieve full realization of the self. A tally of those reporting contact with EBE's to see how many have encountered those of the opposite sex would be of interest as Jung relates the anima-animus realization is a difficult one, as compared to other aspects to it. (Although there could be other reasons for the sex encountered.) After again discussing the stressfull, destructive age in which we live, he says /719. Anxiously we look round for collective measures, thereby reinforcing the very mass mindedness we want to fight against. There is only one remedy for the levelling effect of all collective measures, and that is to emphasize and increase the value of the individual. A fundamental change of attitude is required, a real recognition of the whole man. This can only be the business of the individual and it must begin with the individual in order to be real.. Large political and social organizations must not be ends in themselves, but merely temporary expedients. Just as it was felt neccessary in America to break up the great trusts, so the destruction of huge organizations will eventually prove to be a necessity because, like a cancerous growth, they eat away mans nature as soon as they become ends in themselves and attain autonomy.\ He talks about attaining individuation and the experiences which make it difficult. /721. There is another reason why such experiences \(those found while attempting individuation)/are shunned, indeed feared as pathological, and why the very idea of the unconscious and any preoccupation with it is unwelcome. It was not so long ago that we were living in a primitive state of mind with its "perils of the soul"-loss of soul, states of possession, etc., which threatened the unity of the personality, that is the ego these dangers are still a long way from having been overcome in our civilized society. Though they no longer afflict the individual to the same degree, this is certainly not true of social or national groups on a large scale, as contemporary history shows only too clearly. They are psychic epidemics that destroy the individual.\ Perhaps this is the reason why talking about UFO's to the average person is looked upon as "whacko". /722. To the constantly reiterated question "What can I do ?" I know no other answer except "Become what you have always been,", namely, the wholeness which we have lost in the midst of our civilized, conscious existence, a wholeness which we always were without knowing it... "What on earth can I do in the present threatening world situation, with my feeble powers?"... To worship collective ideals and work with the big organizations is spectacularly meritorious, but they nevertheless dig the grave for the individual. A group is always of less value than the average run of its members, and when the group consists in the main of shirkers and good for nothings, what then? Then the ideals it preaches count for nothing too. Also, the right means in the hands of the wrong man work the wrong way, as a Chinese proverb informs us.\ In part 3 titled UFOs and Modern painting Jung discusses the image of the UFO as a product of the unconcious brought to light with several (unknown) paintings, again stressing the similarity of the UFO and the mandala. Referring to the hypothesis that UFOs are psychic projections of the unconcious, in order to compensate for a lacking in the concious mind, he answers the question " What is the use of them if we dont understand them? " /732. The language of the unconcious does not have the intentional clarity of concious language; it is a condensation of numerous data, many of them subliminal, whose connection with conscious contents is not known. These data do not take the form of a directed judgement, but follow an instinctinve, archaic, "pattern" which, because of its mythological character, is not recognized by the reasoning mind. The reaction of the uncouncious is a natural phenomenon that is not concerned to benefit or guide the personal human being, but is regulated exclusively by the demands of psychic equilibrium.\ In summary Jung relates his findings are based on /771...not the product of unbridled fantasy, as is often supposed, but .. on thorough researchs into the history of symbols.\ and says he spared us with the details (symbols are a major part of his work, found in other text). He explains with an example of the concept of numbers and how they can be considered "discovered" and there- fore Godlike, or invented by man, as an instrument for counting. Part 4 is a summary of the history of UFO phenomenon which discusses the Basel Broadsheet, 1566, the Nuremburg Broadsheet, 1561, and a couple of other old prints depicting UFO type objects, though his thoughts continue in the same vain, that they are concious representations of the individual or collective unconcious Part 5, UFOs considered in a non-psychological light, sums what he has said up to this point, although I dont see where he treats them as other than psychological. I interpret it as UFOs are psychic projections, and just because they are a product of our collective unconcious does not mean they can't show up on a radar screen. In the epilogue he relates the particulars of an EBE contact as published by Orfeo M. Angelucci, "The Secret of the Saucers" (1955), and Orfeo's story to shreds of a first year psychology analysis paper, picking out almost everything he reports and showing what psychological hypothesis it represents. He then prints the letter he wrote to the APRO bulletin in July 1958, and discusses the controversy that followed (they reported that he believed in UFOs, to which he objected. It is not as simple as believing or not.) He also answers a couple of questions from the publisher of the APRO magazine and discusses ball lightning. The book ends with a copy of a letter to Donald Keyhoe on his views. I consider this book an excellent addition to my library and might consider it to be more on the right track than anything else I have read on the subject, although it was written 30 years ago. Even if all of what he conjectures about the stuff UFOs are made of is wrong, there is still a wealth of material for individuation on every page. Quantum physics says you cant measure it unless your a part of it. Abductions, implants, deals with the government, maybe these are all real to the people who see and experience them, and maybe if they are real to them, they are real to all of us. I think we would be remiss if the answer to the UFO phenomenon was written 30 years ago and we have not taken the time to delve deeper into considering this aspect of the explaination. It seems to be a real answer to a real phenomenon, and as one who thinks he saw a flying disc, I would be most interested in knowing not quite what it was, but why a few friends and I saw it, I'm not about to dismiss the possibility that "it was all in our minds". Thomas Rhone May, 1988

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank