"The art of life is the most distinguished and rarest of all the arts."
-C.G. Jung, CW 8, par. 789.
The Cycle of Life explores the patterns that unfold over the course of our lives, as we set out to find our place in the world, in our efforts to live authentically, and in our search for home-that place within ourselves that can so easily be neglected or disregarded in this fast-paced modern world.
In the first half of life, the task of the young traveler is to depart from home, to adventure out into the world to find his or her own individual path. However, in the second half, we find ourselves on what often amounts to a very long journey in search of home. In many a tale, the hero, for instance Gilgamesh, sets off on his road to find life's elixir, while other stories, such as the Odyssey, revolve around the hero's long and arduous journey home. Many are also familiar with the journey of Dante, who at the very beginning of his Divine Comedy finds himself "Midway along the journey of our life."
The archetypal journey of life is constantly reenacted in the never-ending process of individuation. We find ourselves returning to this venture repeatedly, every night, as we set out on our voyage into the landscape of our unconscious. Many dreams begin by being on the way, for instance: I am on my way to ... I am driving on a road that leads into the desert ... I am walking through one room after the other in a long corridor-like building ... I am walking towards my office, but it looks different than in reality ... I walk on the pavement and on the opposite side of the street someone seems to be following me ... I go down into an underground parking ... I am in my car, but someone I don't know is driving ... I have to go to the place from where I came ...
Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Ra'anana, Israel. He is the author of several publications, including Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero's Path, The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel, The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego, and Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return. Dr. Shalit lectures at professional institutes, universities, and cultural forums in Israel, Europe, and the United States.
|Publisher:||Fisher King Enterprises LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Writing a review of the writings of Erel Shalit is daunting. How can anyone quickly distill the expansive and loving knowledge of this brilliant thinker and writer? The pleasure of reading Shalit's books (eg, ENEMY, CRIPPLE, BEGGAR: SHADOWS IN THE HERO'S PATH) is the absorbing of his manner of drawing us into his thoughts and speculations of Jungian individuation. He is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Israel but lectures throughout the world and the increasing acknowledgement of his many books indicates his level of importance in the community of psychology. In THE CYCLE OF LIFE Shalit encourages the reader to reflect on all aspects of their time here on the earth, absorbing each of the stages of development of growing, but not dismissing the fountain of growth at the end of life. He early on gently shakes his finger at our contemporary thoughts of wanting to hide age: 'When cosmetics and plastic surgery mold a stiff and unyielding mask of youth, or rather of fictitious youthful appearance, old age cannot wear its true face of wisdom. By flattening our the valleys of our wrinkles, we erase the imprints of our character. Fixation in a narcissistic condition of an outworn mask silences the inner voice of meaning in our life.' He divides his book into the stages of life and, of course, emphasizes the Jungian exploration of the second half of life (he reminds us that Jung is considered the father of the modern study of adult development). One of the selfless manners in which Shalit writes is his sharing of quotations by other writers - including Shakespeare's excerpt from 'As You Like It' - the 'All the world's a stage/ And all the men and women merely players etc'. He honors the words of colleagues alive and passed on, making sure that we the reader receive an expansive exposure to the interpretations of others. But where Shalit blooms is in his compassion and this comes forward in the most needed spaces. He closes his book with the following: 'As much as we in old age reflect back upon what has been satisfactory in our lives, we need, as well, to bear our failures and foregone opportunities. Even if we have managed to walk our own individual path, having been fortunate to follow the road less traveled and found our way home to a sense of meaning in our personal quest, we need to carry the unanswered questions and unknown possibilities of the road not taken.' This is the soothing message he offers at the end of his insistence that we examine our lives as a whole. He is brilliant, he is warm, and we are the better for reading him. Grady Harp