Make an Appointment: 905-337-3946 |

  • A Video Portrait of Jung

    Here is a video which I re-tweeted recently on Twitter. I decided to post it on my blog because I think that it gives a particularly revealing portrait of the psychiatrist CG Jung in his latter years.  The video is taken from “Face to Face”, an excellent interview program hosted by John Freeman of the BBC in 1959.

    In this interview, with the stage artfully set by Freeman, Jung describes something remarkable that he would later write about in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections .  This was a sudden experience that came upon him in his 11th year, when he suddenly came to a simple, but remarkable awareness: “I exist“.

    …and then I found that I had been in a mist, and I stepped out of it, and I knew that Iam.  I am what I am.… Before I had been in a mist, not knowing to differentiate myself from things…  As far as I can tell, nothing had happened beforehand that would explain this sudden coming to consciousness….

    I find this remarkable.  In relating this incident, Jung describes a very fateful moment in his life.  Jung would spend the rest of his life, effectively caught up in the mysteries of consciousness, self-awareness and individual identity.

    There is a great mystery here, something about which we take so much for granted.  What is it to exist, as a person, as an “I”?  What is it to be aware?  Just who is this I, who is aware, and how is this I to relate to the rest of the universe, both externally, and in our boundless inner being?

    It seems to me that this little snip of video, a fine example of the art of the interviewer, does exactly what a portrait should do.  It opens up a window on the mystery and intricacy of the person portrayed.  And it leads us on, to reflect on the nature of the unique mystery that is our own unique identity.

    I’d welcome your comments and reflections on either Carl Jung or the whole subject of being aware of our own existence.  Did you ever have a similar moment yourself, when you were suddenly aware that “I exist”?

    Good wishes to all of you on your own personal journey to wholeness,

    Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst


    PHOTO CREDIT: © Biletskiy |

    VIDEO CREDIT: © British Broadcasting Corporation, 1959  These images are the property of the BBC and are used here in the fair use context of critical discussion.

    © 2010 Brian Collinson

    1. jamenta


      October 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm -

      A fascinating video. Thanks for posting it Brian. The interview reminds me of Jung’s powerful auto-biography “Memories, Dreams and Reflections”.

      1. Brian C
        October 4, 2010 at 8:26 pm -

        Thanks for your comment, John. I agree: this video does somehow convey the spirit of MDR. I find it especially powerful where Jung says, “I am what I am.” and “I exist”. It seems to me that he brings you right back to the awareness your own existence in a very palpable way.

    Leave a reply:

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*