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Robert Johnson 1921-2018: in memorium

Robert A Johnson (May 26th 1921-September 12th 2018) was an American Jungian Analyst and particular favourite of mine. In the Jung Study Group, we often featured his videos. He was known for being able to convey complex ideas in simple language.

In 2018, two very dear Jungians passed away.

I was privileged to meet and have a correspondence with Robert. We shared a passion outside of Jung, and that was playing the harpsichord. My own harpsichord-maker from Sydney visited Robert at his home in California. (Robert owned two beautiful heritage, original instruments.) His favourite composer was Bach, and he said that for him, as an extreme introvert, he lived the Hero's journey by conquering some of Bach's most difficult works. He must have indeed mastered these compositions, because, in one of his books, "Femininity Lost and Regained" he mentions being in a Hollywood recording studio with his harpsichord, though I know nothing of the resulting recordings. In the context of that environment, he says, "Feeling and femininity in a harsh environment carry overwhelming power." Indeed, a power that softens the harshness immeasurably. He goes on to say that one "remembers this for a lifetime."

Robert had a most exquisite presence, and was kind and deeply conscious of his own process. Thus he was a very exciting person to know. He changed and graced my life.

If you don't know the work of Robert Johnson already, there are many books to choose from, and most bookshops will have his publications.

When he was well into his 90s Robert recorded a lengthy summary of his life and ideas. Entitled "The Golden World: Our Search for Meaning, Fulfillment, and Divine Beauty", this is available as a DVD or audio series. Try SoundsTrue or Audible. You will also find some YouTube clips of his work.

Finally, this obituary covers the highlights of his extraordinary 97 years.

Farewell, dear Robert.

Kaye Gersch

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