The Wisdom of the Dream

Ratings: 7.62/10 from 21 users.


The Wisdom of the DreamFirst in a three-part series of films produced by PBS, on the life and works of the great thinker and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Part one provides an overview of the major contributions made by Jung in his long career. Born on July 26, 1875, in Switzerland, Jung became interested in psychiatry during his medical studies.

He saw that the minds of mentally deranged persons had similar contents, much of which he recognized from his own interior life, described in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections. His lifelong quest to understand the workings of the psyche led him to develop the analytical method of psychiatry.

He proceeded by looking at the role in his patients' lives of what he termed the personal and collective unconscious, as expressed through dreams, myths, and outer events. With film clips, photographs, and interviews with some of his colleagues, as well as with Jung himself, the story of one of the most important figures of the 20th century is told.

Inheritance of Dreams looks at the collective myths that are shared by different cultures and races throughout the world. Jung saw these as evidence of an underlying unifying principle in the human psyche, which he termed archetypes. These archetypes are present in the collective unconscious and express themselves to the individual in dreams and synchronistic events.

The film surveys some of the archetypal symbolism in world myths. Jungian analyst John Beebe uses the science fiction film Star Wars to illustrate the presence of the ancient myths in today's symbolic expressions. There is rare footage of Jung's travels to Africa, England, and New Mexico, in search of archetypal motifs.

The third episode examines some interesting archetypal images expressed in modern imagery. The film takes the viewer through a diverse range of sources, from Alcoholics Anonymous and science fiction films, to modern architecture and the stock market.

There are interviews with Jungian analysts including Aniela Jaffe, Jane Wheelwright, James Hillman, and Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig. Dr. Harry Wilmer shares his work with the dreams and "healing nightmares" of Vietnam veterans. New Age philosophy and Alfred Hitchcock's film Notorious are discussed as they relate to Jungian psychology.

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13 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Paul

    The documentary is wonderful, It's sad that you don't see that many documentaries on psychoanalysis, functionalism, behaviorism, etc. However I would like to point out that some of the links of google video is missing out. The second part barely finished, and the third part is half incomplete.

  2. just brousing

    I liked it too. But it got cut off at the end. I am wondering where it went to. I think Jung looked at us saying we have free will, but sometimes we act in directions we are not aware of, because of the way our subconscious is operating. Very fascinating. It is true about love that we often go forsomeone who says all the right things, but the overall character is important. That is what makes a better decision, however,according to Jung, the adamus and adama,make our decisions and if we were aware of it, we might not push away the best ones.

  3. simon

    Awesome that I came across this, great documentary for the most part. Only thing I wondered about were the claim that "ofcourse you get psychological breakdowns" from working in a skyscraper. I think that it's all dependent on the person really. If he's good at countering stress, and as long as he lives a healthy life, both spiritual and physical, outside of work I don't think he's prone to have a breakdown in a busy environment that a big city can be.

  4. chickenpants

    i Love this website.

  5. Maria A. Aristidou

    hello paul i dont know if this will help you but i found some very interesting documentaries from BBC-Horizon! look it up!

  6. Kathleen

    so do I

  7. Kathleen Lopes

    So i had e wierd dream (just woke up)
    and disided to look someting up about realistic dreams and what thay might be.
    i find this video and wanned to see the reviews before watching it
    the first thing i see is MY first Name Saying so do i in the firts comment That like freaking me out right now
    Make-king this day even more inexplainable Wierd!!!


  8. Isabelle

    Jung was quite right to say that he failed and knew very little. He was just trying to find a language to explain how the human soul works and what it actually is. That was his first false premise. There is no human soul, just the cosmos energy flowing through our body at certain frequencies located in each of our chakras. CJ knew nothing about that because he was too limited in his religious and cultural views. The truth is that each and every conflict we go through during our life's journey, consciously or not, have an impact of the energy flowing through our body. This has genetic implications and can be easily observed in behavior as we try to cope, endlessly reprocessing in order to release its negative effects. As far as I can tell, the most effective "cures" are shamanic in origin. These rituals can propel the release of trauma energies with the use of plant medicines (Ayahuasca and Ibogaine are the most common) but unfortunately, they are considered illegal in US and Canada because of the hallucogenic properties. The symbolism that Jung is so fond of is intimately linked to the visions of the conflicts being re-visited and offer great insight of what needed to be addressed. Each chakra has a specific function attached to a specific conflict and if not resolved, a distortion will arise and will be gnawing at the person's spirit until it is addressed. It gets very complicated when many chakras are out of tune and the patterns can get pretty messy. A conflict is actually an overactivation or underactivation of one of the chakra. When energy flows freely, without fear guilt shame and the likes, we have a body that is in perfect harmony with the cosmic energy. Sorry for being so long...

  9. James Sterling

    Hmmm..."there is no human soul" is a pretty big claim. I have been a meditator for over 15 years. And in those years I have had the ego death experience of becoming the universe, and also have had Natural DMT (the psychedelic compound in ayahuasca) releases during meditation and visited the "dmt dome" as some would call it. And according to amazonian shamans, the "beings" you meet in the "dimension or bardo", are claimed to be ancestor spirits. These are all my personal subjective experiences, so none can really be used as factual data. But on what basis or experience do you hold that there is no human soul?

  10. John Doe

    May be the "soul" is an ambigous word that cannot fulfill the objective fact behind it. So, as ambigous it is, is correct that "there is no human soul" as well as claiming that "the soul is a fact". For many philosophical mainstreams the soul is just the bioenergetic field or "aura" in its complete sense. There is no bioenergetic field once you die, the soul is material and it could be proven. The soul is related to the personality on life. Spirituality is something else. Is the spirit the "thing" that will never be proven, as a metaphysical ontological element.

  11. Krines

    Soul can be defined in a number of ways, all equally valid. A stream of consciousness can be termed soul at the frequency it represents. Language can be limiting. Carl Jung was exploring an idea based within the parameters of his understanding and experience at the time.
    We learn by identification and association. Our minds process the data in the reference of associations already present , or by creating new associations, that is what gives rise to a personality , which is the framework that we function in. There are different manifestations of the conflicts, the physical manifestation may the last one. So there are no hard and fast rules for any of this. The paradigm of consciousness is infinite and we have only begun to explore it. There are various ways to approach the matter, Carl Jung's theories were one of them.

  12. Teodor

    Carl Jung was one of the founding fathers of western psychology. Many of the notions that we use today, like introvert, extravert, Self, libido, synchronicity, archetype or collective unconscious were introduced by him.

    However his biggest contribution is laying the foundation for a framework of thought that allowed him and his followers to successfully heal and guide countless patients.

    By scientifically observing the spontaneous manifestations of the psyche, the dreams, fantasies and visions of his patients he was able to build his analytical theory that could be accepted and embraced by the western mind.

    Quite early he realized that in the unconscious part of every psyche there is a natural process of development toward wholeness and maturity he called the Individuation Process. By working on the dreams and fantasies of a person, this natural process can be consciously assisted for healing or for personal development.

    Working with dreams was essential for Jung. His theory of dreams stood the test of time and many of his conclusions were confirmed by modern biology. The accounts of modern lucid dreamers like Robert Waggoner confirm the amazing structure of the unconscious described by Jung 70 years ago. The presence of universal elements like the Shadow, Anima or Self in modern lucid dream experiences provide an independent validation of the elements he so carefully studied and described.

    Because of his scientific attitude, that relied on observation and empirical evidence, his analytical theory is as valid today as was in his lifetime and provides the guidance for those who want to become more human, mature and integrated persons.

  13. Name

    A famous professor said something about language, something like language is great for thought, but miserably bad for communicating such thoughts. Lol.

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