The Origins and History of Consciousness

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Overview

The first of Erich Neumann's works to be translated into English, this eloquent book draws on a full range of world mythology to explain how the individual consciousness passes through the same archetypal stages of development as has human consciousness as a whole. Neumann, one of Jung's most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right, shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, or tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, the Great Mother, the Separation of the World Parents, the Birth of the Hero, the Slaying of the Dragon, the Rescue of the Captive, and the Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
A welcome source of information for all those who are touched by the relationship between man and his myths.
The Times Literary Supplement
There can be no doubt that [Neumann] has brought to his task a remarkable . . . knowledge of classical mythology, some considerable acquaintance with the comparative study of religion, and a deep understanding of those psychological views and theories evolved by C. G. Jung.
The Personalist
No better exposition has come to us of the two Jungian themes: the evolution of consciousness in the history of mankind and the development of personality in the individual.
From the Publisher
"There can be no doubt that [Neumann] has brought to his task a remarkable . . . knowledge of classical mythology, some considerable acquaintance with the comparative study of religion, and a deep understanding of those psychological views and theories evolved by C. G. Jung."—The Times Literary Supplement

"A welcome source of information for all those who are touched by the relationship between man and his myths."—The New York Times

"No better exposition has come to us of the two Jungian themes: the evolution of consciousness in the history of mankind and the development of personality in the individual."—The Personalist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691017617
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/18/1995
  • Series: Works by Erich Neumann Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 520
  • Sales rank: 598,487
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Erich Neumann (1905-1960), a psychologist and philosopher, was born in Berlin and lived in Tel Aviv from 1934 until his death. His books include "The Fear of the Feminine", "Amor and Psyche", and "The Great Mother" (all Princeton).

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Table of Contents

Translator's Note
Note of Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Foreword
Introduction
Pt. I The Mythological Stages in the Evolution of Consciousness
A The Creation Myth
I The Uroboros 5
II The Great Mother 39
III The Separation of the World Parents: The Principle of Opposites 102
B The Hero Myth
I The Birth of the Hero 131
II The Slaying of the Mother 152
III The Slaying of the Father 170
C The Transformation Myth
I The Captive and the Treasure 195
II Transformation, or Osiris 220
Pt. II The Psychological Stages in the Development of Personality
A The Original Unity
Centroversion and Ego Formation 261
The Ego Germ in the Original Uroboric Situation 266
Development of the Ego out of the Uroboros 275
Centroversion in Organisms on the Uroboric Level 286
Centroversion, Ego, and Consciousness 293
Further Phases of Ego Development 306
B The Separation of the Systems
Centroversion and Differentiation 315
The Fragmentation of Archetypes 320
Exhaustion of Emotional Components: Rationalization 321
Secondary Personalization 335
The Transformation of Pleasure-Pain Components 342
The Formation of Authorities within the Personality 349
The Synthetic Function of the Ego 356
C The Balance and Crisis of Consciousness
Compensation of the Separated Systems: Culture in Balance 363
The Schism of the Systems: Culture in Crisis 381
D Centroversion and the Stages of Life
Prolongation of Childhood and Differentiation of Consciousness 397
Activation of Collective Unconscious and Ego Changes in Puberty 407
Self-Realization of Centroversion in the Second Half of Life 409
App. I The Group and the Great Individual 421
App. II Mass Man and the Phenomena of Recollectivization 436
Bibliography 445
Index 461
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