Last Updated September 5, 2023.
Memories, Dreams, Reflections is an autobiography of Carl Jung’s life. Unlike most autobiographies, this is not a narrative of the events of his life; rather, it is a psychological look at Jung’s revelations. For example, Jung only briefly states that he has a wife and children. However, he in no way explains the value of these people in his life. He is far more concerned the internal workings of his mind than the external realities of his life.
In line with his career, the book is filled with Jung’s recollections and the psychological meanings behind them. In the first several chapters, Jung reflects on his childhood at length and considers how his development brought him to his theories. He explores sexuality, personalities, disorders, anxiety, dreams, and relationships.
The remaining chapters are conversations that Jung had at the ripe age of 81 with his dear friend Aniela Jaffé. Jaffé later edited the conversations and removed herself from them entirely. In his conversations with Jaffé, Jung describes his travels to Africa, India, and Italy. He intended to travel in order to gain a greater understanding of European culture from a different point of view. Through his travels, he came to consider the difference between culture and human nature.
In addition, he shares his many dreams. He is a thorough documentarian of his dreams, and he draws many different conclusions about the past and present from them. In a separate chapter, he dives into this relationship with Freud. He highlights how influential Freud was in his theoretical development. However, he also puts distance between himself and Freud’s theories of sexuality. Jung believes that while sexuality is a central human experience, it is not so central to human consciousness. In Jung’s exploration of consciousness, he balances free will and the abstractness of human thought.