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Flying saucers: A modern myth of things seen in the skies Hardcover – 1959


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge & K.Paul; First U.K. Edition edition (1959)
  • ASIN: B0000CK6KD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,560,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
THE BASIS FOR UFOs PSYCHO-SOCIOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION 24 Aug 1999
By mbcarbone@hotmail.com - Marco Benoit Carbone (centro ufologico nazionale) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What Jung did with this book is, fundamentally, setting the honest basis for UFO intereptation from a psychological point of view. That's why the open postulates he gained from this inquiry have generated many controversies and strumentalization among the ufologists' field. UFOs - says Jung - may be psycho-sociological phenomena which come from both the inner symbolic human subconscious AND from our technological era's imaginism. However, those hardly conventionally explainable episode may even - in Jung's own opinion - be a HARD and MATERIAL phenomenon, which may be explained with extraterrestrial visits. From this point of view, the sociological redutionism slips towards a postume status, leaving the question as open as ever. Definitely, the book you should be starting with if you like the subject.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Even stranger than the actual UFO's 28 Nov 2010
By Ashtar Command - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Flying Saucers" is controversial psychoanalyst C.G. Jung's attempt to tackle the UFO phenomenon. The first English edition was published in 1959. In many ways, Jung's explanation is weirder than the actual phenomenon being explained!

Jung believes that the UFO's are a projection of our collective unconscious. Secularized Western man has lost his belief in the God of Christianity. However, the human psyche has a religious, myth-making function which simply cannot be turned off. At bottom, even "rational" and modern men have a religious longing. Since the conscious mind has rejected God, the collective unconscious compensates for this by projecting UFOs. The UFOs become a psychological substitute for God. Jung connects the UFO phenomenon with the universal anxieties created by World War II and the Cold War. Somehow, human fears are transformed (and lessened?) into projections of flying saucers, "a modern myth of things seen in the sky".

Had Jung meant all this figuratively, he would obviously have been on to something. While most UFO observations are non-religious in character, the "spiritual" or quasi-religious dimension has been part of the phenomenon from the start, as can be seen in the phenomenon of "contactees", purported prophets who bring messages of occult truth and salvation from the aliens, who in effect become like gods. There is an obvious connection between the ideas of many "contactees" and those of Theosophy and its off-shoots. Today, there is also a connection between "abductees" and ancient notions such as shamanism, demon possession, etc.

However, Jung goes much further, connecting the UFOs to his (contentious, to say the least) ideas about a (literal) collective unconscious, its "projections" and its "archetypes". Apparently, the flying saucer is also an archetype. Jung compares it to the mandala, and claims that its round shape is a universal symbol of wholeness, etc. As usual in the case of Jung, it's also unclear whether he regards the psychic projections as in some sense real, or whether they are sheer illusions. Are UFOs simply hallucinations, or do they in some sense exist as physical entities? I always get the impression when reading Jung that he really did believe in the supernatural in the literal sense, but never said so explicitly, due to his "scientific" pretensions. I think Carl himself was at bottom a prophet of occult salvation!

The rest of the book is even more far-fetched, containing Jung's highly subjective and idiosyncratic analysis of a number of dreams and paintings. Some of the dreams are rather trivial and do indeed deal with UFOs. Jung manages to squeeze all kinds of "mythological" symbolism out of them, nevertheless. The paintings don't seem to depict UFOs at all, and it's unclear why they've been included. Jung also reviews the quasi-religious musings of a contactee named Orfeo Angelucci, a person he constantly calls "naïve". The similarities between the messages received by Orfeo from the aliens, and certain religious notions, are indeed striking. The collective unconscious? Perhaps a more trivial explanation is that "naïve" Orfeo had been reading Theosophical literature...

I'm not sure how to rate "Flying Saucers". I can't say I was convinced by the contents. But then, works by Jung are Jungian as a matter of course, so a low rating seems somewhat unfair. "Flying Saucers" does give a good glimpse of how Jung approached paranormal and quasi-religious phenomena, warts and all. In the end, I'll give it three stars.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Another skeptic turned believer 21 April 2011
By Average Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What do Carl Jung and Allen Hynek have in common? Both were very skeptical men of science, that turned their professional knowledge and attention to the (Then very hot) topic of UFO's, and in the end they both became believers and spent most of the rest of their lives studying this incredible phenomena.

Jung was probably sick to death of hearing all the buzz in the early 50's about flying saucers and decided to discover the psychological underpinnings of what he saw as a form of mass hysteria.

He began his research, as Hynek and any good scientist would, by examining the cases first hand. As Jung was skeptical that the average man on the street could not provide accurate eyewitness accounts, he reserved his interviews to "Professional observers", pilots, military personnel, police and radar operators.

Over time he became unnerved, as he realized that these people were not only credible witness's, but were clearly quite sane. So just as Hynek eventually changed his view on the UFO phenomena, so to did Jung.

The big difference was that Jung still feared ridicule from his peers, so he never came out and said he was a believer, but it is very poignant that at the end of this short book, he leaves the topic open, by stating that either humanity is suffering some kind of mass hallucination, or we ARE being visited by aliens. He postulates that either option should give us plenty to be concerned about.

It is interesting to note that Jungs close friends claimed that he was fascinated by the UFO phenomenon for the remainder of his life.

This book is best suited for those who are fascinated with psychology, Jungs work and archetypes. If you are more interested in ufology as a whole, this book is less interesting.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
imaginal symbols of wholeness 1 Jun 2000
By Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Jung's interpretation of flying saucers as compensatory Self symbols of wholeness required by an era of psychological fragmentation is both brilliant and well-developed in this fine little book.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
UFO'S AS MANDALAS 29 Nov 2006
By Peter Payne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though we can come pretty close to taking it for granted that intelligent life exists somewhere out there in the universe, I also take it for granted that this has nothing to do with the UFO phenomenon. However, since so-called UFO's have been sighted by thousands of reputable people, and have been caught on radar, it is clear that they are something. In the 1950's, when FLYING SAUCERS was written, humanity felt itself to be on the brink of self destruction with nuclear weapons. Today, that menace is not only compounded by archaic religious fanaticism, but we also face the even greater threat of global warming. Dr. Jung's notion is that such tensions in the psyche create a potential which expresses itself as manifestation of psychic energy so that a "uniting symbol" is created in the unconscious. Though the idea that UFO's are psychic projections capable of being picked up by radar is hard to take seriously, it is less so than the idea that FTL alien spacecraft have been buzzing around Earth for hundreds of years.

Even is there should turn out to be some physical explanation for UFO's, it is the meaning of the rumor that is of importance. Most alien abductions might well be delusions induced during hypnogogic states of mind, but that explanation does not eliminate the importance of the fact that thousands of people are experiencing such a delusion. Mass-mindedness -- Communism, Corporationism, Nazism, and Christian and Moslem fanaticism -- has proven itself to be the greatest danger facing modern man. So Dr. Jung postulates that the psyche projects a symbol of wholeness, a mandala, in response to this danger. Of course, if mankind ignores this symbolic warning by interpreting it as alien spacecraft, it does us no good.

(Peter Payne, author of CAPTAIN CALIFORNIA: A YOUNG MAN'S ENCOUNTER WITH THE EVIL WITHIN HIMSELF)
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