The Wisdom of the Dream
First 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.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 150 minutes)