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THE CUNNIG SECRET OF THE WISE - A Response to the Spirit of the Times

By: Issuewire
The Cunning Secret of the Wise

The book is a culmination of a life of truth seeking and scholarship… and it feels palpably like a labor of love. (Blue Ink)

Wilmington, Delaware Nov 16, 2022 ( - "I was once strongly advised by a Sufi shaykh to avoid Jung's psychology and not to delve into the unconscious psyche under any circumstances. It was, he warned me, labyrinthine. Rightly or wrongly, I disregarded his advice and The Cunning Secret of the Wise is the fruit of my indiscretion. Ironically Jung was treading the same path as the Sufis. Needless to say, when I put this proposition to the Shaykh, he was incredulous.

It would be suicidal folly to enter the labyrinth without a set of coordinates or a theoria. In alchemy, the theoria is a doctrine without which the adept cannot begin the work in the laboratory or the practica. Jung's method of psycho-spiritual development (individuation) is an alchemical process located in the depths of the unconscious psyche. His model of the psyche is the theoria and his method of engaging in a dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the personality is the practica. Jung acknowledged the path of individuation was "unpopular, ambiguous and dangerous... a voyage of discovery to the other pole of the world". The Shaykh's reservations were understandable.

I owe C.G. Jung an irreparable debt but I could not simply follow in his footsteps. My book is an attempt to deepen and extend his psychological theories. To this end, I roam far and wide from Nietzsche (1844-1900) who anticipated almost all of the insights of 20th-century depth psychology, to the all-encompassing vision of Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240). The sequence of chapters follows my journey in the labyrinth over 40 years."

Cunning Secret begins with two background chapters. Chapter one is an accessible introduction to Jung's model of the psyche and chapter two situates Jung in a wider context, the famous Eranos Conferences. There is additional background material in three short appendices. Each chapter is concise and self-contained and the readers are free, to begin with, whatever chapter captures their imagination.

The Cunning Secret of the Wise is an ambitious and grand synthesis of multiple voices, viewpoints, and traditions both philosophic and spiritual. The author gifts the reader with a historical and intellectual legacy culled from thousands of years of inquiry and insight. Frederick Burniston is a scholar who is generous in his outlook, taking the best and leaving the rest. (Pacific Book Review)

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About The Book:

The goal of Jungian individuation is a wholeness that transcends gendered existence. But is this wholeness attainable today when religious traditions seem to be in irreversible decline?  Frederick Burniston believes that the doors to transcendence have not definitively closed but the openings are difficult to discern.

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This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.

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