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Allenby, A.I. (1967). M. Esther Harding: The ‘I’ and the ‘Not-I’: a study in the development of consciousness. Bollingen Series LXXIX. New York, Pantheon, 1965. pp. x + 244. Six diagrams.. J. Anal. Psychol., 12(1):78-79.

(1967). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 12(1):78-79

M. Esther Harding: The ‘I’ and the ‘Not-I’: a study in the development of consciousness. Bollingen Series LXXIX. New York, Pantheon, 1965. pp. x + 244. Six diagrams.

Review by:
A. I. Allenby

This book is based on lectures given to American audiences to introduce the basic ideas of analytical psychology, and is addressed to the general reader who may not be familiar with Jung's work. It deals with typical phases in the development of the personality, but excludes problems of therapy concerning the sick and severely disturbed. One may welcome a study that sets out to expound Jung's ideas in the simplest possible way. The author says that, in doing so, she is discharging an obligation to Jung who wished that his pupils would interpret his material and thought to the general public, since his own writings are chiefly intended for the specialist (p. 113, note 8).

The book is written from a rich store of knowledge and experience, and can claim a distinctive place among its several predecessors. The author's main objective in marshalling her material is a plea for the development of consciousness, not only for the purpose of achieving a fuller life but also as an ethical task. ‘The psychological advancement of mankind’, she writes, ‘and the progress of civilization can be achieved only by an increase in consciousness and in individual responsibility’ (p. 218).

The descriptive sections are well done and eminently readable. The author is at her best when representing human situations in which the underlying psychological factors can be seen at work and brought to the notice of the reader. Such are, for example, the condition of autoeroticism, based on non-distinction between the person and his environment (the ‘I’ and the ‘Not-I’ in outer reality); the effect of family patterns on the individual; the distortion of heterosexual relationships by animus and anima projections.

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