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Tilander, A. (1991). Why Did C. G. Jung Write His Autobiography?. J. Anal. Psychol., 36(1):111-124.

(1991). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 36(1):111-124

Why Did C. G. Jung Write His Autobiography?

A. Tilander

Introduction

Is The Autobiography of Jung a reliable and valid source of information? What does it tell us about the man himself? Is it possible to use it in order to understand the origin and development of Jung's Jesuit complex? If one does not accept that the autobiography is based on truth it cannot throw much light on the psychological development of Jung and his life. It is obvious that an autobiography cannot provide the whole truth and nothing but the truth since it is never possible to gain access to the whole truth, even concerning our own lives. This is a problem that has to be tackled in every psychological analysis. It is never possible to have access to more than a small part of the psychological reality and that part is distorted in many ways. Even if thoughts and feelings have been described most intimately in a personal diary, which was not meant to be read by anyone except the writer himself, these distortions have to be taken into account. The issue becomes even more complicated when the material was intended for publication, as in Jung's case.

It is possible to analyse these distortions in many different ways. One can focus on the different defence mechanisms of the person, for example. The discussion would then concern how, and to what extent, these mechanisms have influenced a person's presentation of his life in his autobiography. Another approach is to use a historiccritical method. Here the trustworthiness and interrelation of different sources and the period of time between the occasion and the description become of focal interest. In this paper I have chosen another approach, and concentrate on the motive for writing an autobiography.

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