In this volume of occasional papers, Joseph L. Henderson gives us observations from his rich professional and intellectual life which germinated his earlier volumes: The Wisdom of the Serpent, Thresholds of Initiation, and Cultural Attitudes in Psychological Perspective. The first of these treat certain psychological themes through cross cultural comparisons of narrative and imagery; in the second, Dr. Henderson documents initiatory experiences related to the developmental stages of psychic life as one moves from youth to maturity. In the third volume he presents his theories of the Cultural Unconscious and the Cultural Attitudes, theories which expand the structure of Jungian thinking by postulating a layer between the collective unconscious and the personal unconscious.
In the present volume, we find his first formulations of these theories, as well as issues related to these centers of his thinking and his work. These papers are derived from his clinical practice and his cross-disciplinary investigations of chosen aspects of culture. His long interest in anthropology appears in papers on the American Indian, religious questions in the East and the West, and problems which develop out of our own multi-cultural society.
His personal feeling for the arts and literature have produced papers on Goethe and Wilder. His selected film reviews document his belief that films express issues current in the collective unconscious of the culture of our own times. Most of all, from these papers we get the perspective of a man who has led a long and reflective life as an observer of the inner life of twentieth-century man, and who has been an active participant in his own culture.