A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies

C. G. Jung

London, 1959.

Leaving open the possibility that UFO sightings may actually be of real objects, Jung focusses on how the modern rumour of UFOs can be construed in mythic terms:

"If the round shining objects that appear in the sky be regarded as visions, we can hardly avoid interpreting them as archetypal images. They would then be involuntary, automatic projections based on instinct, and as little as any other psychic manifestations or symptoms can they be dismissed as meaningless and merely fortuitous." (p.20)
"They are impressive manifestations of totality whose simple, round form portrays the archetype of the self..." (p.21)

The odd thing is that Jung might be expected to side with believers in alien visitation, given his welcome to parapsychological claims. An example is this little muddle (my italics):

"The psychic 'object' and gravity are, to the best of our knowledge, incommensurable. The psyche represents the only opposite of gravity known to us. It is 'anti-gravity' in the truest sense of the word. In corroboration of this we could cite the parapsychological experience of levitation and other psychic phenomena, denied only by the ignorant, which relativize time and space." (p.58)

Jung even credited that long-lost marvel, ectoplasm:

"Parapsychology is, of course, acquainted with the fact of materialization. But this phenomenon depends on the presence of one or more mediums who exude a weighable substance, and it occurs only in their immediate environment." (p.151)

Like much of Jung's writing, this was a tedious read, speckled with baffling oddities, like the specimen we now end with:

"Ten is the perfect unfolding of unity, and the numbers one to ten have the significance of a completed cycle. 10 + 1 = 11 therefore denotes the beginning of a new cycle. Since dream interpretation follows the principle post hoc ergo propter hoc, eleven leads to eight, the ogdoad, a totality symbol, and hence to a realization of wholeness, as already suggested by the appearance of the Ufos." (p.78)



Paul Taylor 2002