Carl Jung Explains His Groundbreaking Theories About Psychology in a Rare Interview (1957)

Here’s an extra­or­di­nary film of the great Swiss psy­chol­o­gist Carl Gus­tav Jung speak­ing at length about some of his key con­tri­bu­tions to psy­chol­o­gy. Jung on Film (above) is a 77-minute col­lec­tion of high­lights from four one-hour inter­views Jung gave to psy­chol­o­gist Richard I. Evans of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton in August of 1957. In “Sit­ting Across From Carl Jung,” an arti­cle for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence, Evans explains how the inter­views came about:

I was teach­ing a grad­u­ate sem­i­nar called Approach­es to Per­son­al­i­ty when it seemed like an inter­est­ing idea to have the grad­u­ate stu­dents in the sem­i­nar role-play in front of the class and pre­tend to inter­view the var­i­ous per­son­al­i­ty the­o­rists that I was pre­sent­ing. Carl Jung was one of those the­o­rists, and dur­ing the sem­i­nar, I learned that he had nev­er agreed to an exten­sive record­ed inter­view except for a brief exchange on the BBC. I wrote a let­ter to Dr. Jung to request an inter­view because I believed that filmed inter­views of emi­nent psy­chol­o­gists would encour­age stu­dents to read their work.

Jung, who was 82 years old at the time, agreed to the inter­view and set aside an hour a day over a four-day peri­od. Evans met with Jung in Zurich at the Fed­er­al Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, or ETH. In the excerpts above, Jung talks about his ear­ly asso­ci­a­tion with Sig­mund Freud and how he came to dis­agree with Freud’s fix­a­tion on the sex dri­ve as the pri­ma­ry influ­ence in men­tal life. He talks about his the­o­ry of per­son­al­i­ty types and about uni­ver­sal arche­types, includ­ing the ani­ma and ani­mus. He talks about the inter­play between instinct and envi­ron­ment, and about dreams as man­i­fes­ta­tions of the uncon­scious. At one point he stress­es the urgency of under­stand­ing psy­chol­o­gy in a world where man-made threats, like the threat of the hydro­gen bomb, are greater than those posed by nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. “The world hangs on a thin thread,” says Jung, “and that is the psy­che of man.”

Note: You can down­load sem­i­nal works by Carl Jung as free audio­books if you sign up for a 30-Day Free Tri­al with Find more infor­ma­tion on that pro­gram here.

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Relat­ed con­tent:

Carl Gus­tav Jung Pon­ders Death

Face to Face with Carl Jung: ‘Man Can­not Stand a Mean­ing­less Life’

Sig­mund Freud Speaks: The Only Known Record­ing of His Voice, 1938

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  • izabel says:

    Hap­py to know about this,great con­tri­bu­tion to human­i­ty!

  • Russell Scott Day says:

    Since anoth­er study of Beats I believe the recog­ni­tion of the atom bomb as chang­ing every­thing is what they were most right about. If Jung influ­enced the per­cep­tion more than the news or some­one else I can’t say now. Still it is sig­nif­i­cant to see Jung report­ed at that time to say it is the greater threat. Nor­mal­cy bias implies mankind is doomed to ignore the new threat because it is new and sub­ter­ranean. Poets who “feel” it’s threat as most impor­tant are seen by nor­mal peo­ple as insane and deviant for cry­ing of the dan­ger.

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